BA Everywhere—No Religiosity, Just a Scientific Approach

By Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party

January 20, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following is an excerpt from some comments which were conveyed by Bob Avakian to other leading comrades of the Party, raising some criticisms of the original version of the article "BA Everywhere—Imagine the Difference It Could Make!  Why and how it is key to changing the world—to making revolution."  That article originally appeared on, on November 27, 2013.  On the basis of leadership discussion of these comments by BA, a new revised version of the "BA Everywhere" article, with the same title but incorporating the changes proposed by BA, now appears on with a brief explanatory introduction, and this new version has been published in Revolution newspaper, #324, December 15, 2013.  The leadership of the Party also felt that it would be helpful to publish this excerpt of the comments made by BA, because of the content and, even more fundamentally, the principles and methods that they apply and illustrate.  The excerpt follows here.


In the [original] article on BA Everywhere, there are a number of good and important points.  But there are, unfortunately, some formulations which are wrong and actually harmful—which are not scientific and run counter to the emphasis in this piece itself, and how we have been giving emphasis overall, to the need for and importance of a scientific method and approach, and which can have the effect of promoting religiosity, and of undermining BA Everywhere and the pivotal role it must play in the overall ensemble of revolutionary work we are carrying out now.  Here I am going to focus on two of these formulations which concentrate the problem.

The most striking of these is the following:

"Without BA Everywhere, quite simply, revolution is not possible...."

This is simply not true.  BA Everywhere is a very important campaign—it is at this point the leading edge of the overall revolutionary work (the ensemble) we are carrying out—but it is just that, a campaign, and NOT something on which the whole prospect of revolution depends.  Think about it: as important as it is to actually achieve the objectives of this campaign (BA Everywhere), if we were to fail to do so, would it actually be correct to conclude that revolution had become impossible?  To pose the question this way points to the answer: NO.  Failing in this campaign would constitute a serious setback—and for that, as well as more positive reasons, we should really work to achieve the goals of this campaign, as the leading edge of the overall ensemble of our revolutionary work in this period—but if this should somehow fail, we would sum up what happened (how and why we fell short, etc.) and we would determine how to regroup and fight forward toward the goal of revolution, on the basis of a scientific assessment that this revolution is still both necessary and possible.  Starting out this important paragraph with a sentence that is wrong, unscientific, vitiates what follows in this paragraph and in a significant way vitiates the article as a whole.

It is true that without making major advances in terms of the impact of the first mainstay of our overall revolutionary work—the appreciation, promotion and popularization of BA/the new synthesis of communism—as well as the other mainstay (the website/newspaper), we would very likely be unable to make revolution.  But that is NOT the same thing as saying what is said in this piece—that "Without BA Everywhere, quite simply, revolution is not possible."  Among other things, what is involved here is a confusing—a conflating—of BA Everywhere with the first mainstay, in its role overall and in an ongoing way.

To further highlight the decisive distinctions here, let me suggest a rewrite of the passage in question:

"The widespread promotion and popularization of the new synthesis of communism that BA has brought forward, and what is embodied in his leadership overall, is a crucial part of preparing minds as well as organizing forces for revolution.  In this period BA Everywhere is the concentrated focus of the work to carry out that promotion and popularization.  It is the leading edge now of a whole strategic process interacting with objective developments in the world through which the movement for revolution and the party that is leading the revolution gets built; a process through which a revolutionary people takes shape; a process which can hasten the understanding of people broadly that the system is the problem—with its leaders and structures seen to be illegitimate and through which millions can come to see that this revolution is the solution to the horrific and intractable problems that humanity faces.  If people broadly do not know there is another way the world could be—with a vision and plan for a far better society that would actually be liberatory; and know and respect that there is a plan and a leadership to make that real; that there is a whole other way to think about, understand, and act on what is the problem and what the solution is in the world today, then the world will stay as it is—destroying lives and crushing spirits.”

Instead of the above, what was in this part of the piece, as written and posted, can very well encourage both religiosity and defeatism, making everything hinge on the success (or failure) of BA Everywhere.  To emphasize it once more, it is certainly NOT the case that we do not need to be stressing the importance of achieving the objectives of BA Everywhere—indeed, we very much and very urgently need to actually realize those objectives, and we need to be leading people on the basis of that understanding—but this needs to be done, and in fact can only be done, on the basis of being thoroughly and consistently scientific, and not lapsing into non-scientific analyses and statements which run counter to what we need to be leading with and popularizing.

The other formulation that concentrates the problems I am focusing on here comes a little earlier in the article.  It is in the following paragraph, speaking to the need for revolution, as the solution to the problem in the world:

"Today, what makes this possible is the leadership and the work of Bob Avakian—BA—the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.  The basis for revolution lies within the very nature of the capitalist system itself—its very sharp contradictions that repeatedly give rise to great suffering and crisis, including at times acute situations when the system is shaken to its foundations. Whether the contradictions and crises of this system can be transformed into a revolution depends on far-sighted, scientific revolutionary leadership."

To make the bald statement—and to start this paragraph with this bald statement—that what makes revolution possible now is the leadership and work of BA puts things on the wrong foundation and wrong footing.  It strongly implies, if it does not actually state, that without BA revolution would not be possible.  This is wrong, and harmful—and again promotes religiosity, which can easily "flip" into (or in fact be accompanied by) defeatism.  What if something were to happen to me, which literally or in effect removed me from the scene and meant that I could no longer provide leadership?  Obviously, something like that would be a very major setback—and doing everything possible to prevent this is critically important.  But, if such a setback were to occur, would it be scientifically correct to say that revolution would then become impossible?  NO—again. No, because the fundamental basis for this revolution resides in the contradictions of this system.

Along the same lines, in the last sentence (in the paragraph as written) the statement that the possibility of making revolution (on the basis of the contradictions and acute crises of this system) "depends on" scientific revolutionary leadership, is also too bald, and absolute.  This possibility of revolution does depend to a large degree on this—but everything, even in the context of acute crisis, cannot be reduced to just the subjective factor (scientific revolutionary leadership).  And, as I have emphasized before, we should not be giving grist to formulations—which in fact are redolent of religiosity—that it is "because of BA" that revolution is possible.  While, again—and this does need to be stressed—scientific revolutionary leadership is crucial, and this does take concentrated expression in the new synthesis and the leadership I am providing, it is NOT correct to say that this leadership is what "makes revolution possible."  If you compare this incorrect statement to what is said in the "Because" statement which we have correctly given emphasis to, the basic difference will stand out. *

In this paragraph in the piece (on BA Everywhere) as originally posted, it is the second sentence that is actually fundamental and pivotal.  As we have been giving increased emphasis to, as an important part of the overall emphasis on a scientific, materialist and dialectical, method and approach, the basis for revolution does indeed lie within the very nature of, and decisive contradictions within, this system.  This is what should have been stated first in this paragraph, as the foundation for the rest.  To again highlight the decisive distinctions, here is a rendering of this paragraph, in the way it should state, and unfold, things:

"The basis for revolution lies within the very nature of the capitalist system itself—the very sharp contradictions within this system which it is incapable of resolving and which repeatedly give rise to great suffering and crisis, including at times acute situations when the system is shaken to its foundations.  Whether the contradictions and crisis of this system can be transformed into a revolution depends in great part on far-sighted, scientific revolutionary leadership.  With this understanding, the importance of the leadership of BA, and the new synthesis of communism he has brought forward, stands out."

Hopefully, the fundamental and essential questions of principle and method—and the contrast with the problems in the formulations I have cited and examined—is clear.  And the point is to learn from this, and do better as we go forward.


*  The "Because" statement referred to here by BA is as follows: “Because of Bob Avakian and the work he has done over several decades, summing up the positive and negative experience of the communist revolution so far, and drawing from a broad range of human experience, there is a new synthesis of communism that has been brought forward—there really is a viable vision and strategy for a radically new, and much better, society and world, and there is the crucial leadership that is needed to carry forward the struggle toward that goal.” [back]

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