Percolations – #1

June 19, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



With this article, we are introducing a new column in Revolution: “Percolations,” which will feature some of the thoughts that are sent in concerning developments in the world, questions of theory, observations from the work and life of the Party, and ideas on what to do.


In recently going back and reading Part 2 of Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon and digging into the very real need we have to be accumulating forces for revolution right now, I thought it was very helpful and instructive how BA approaches this question, both what immediately precedes the question, hastening while awaiting a revolutionary situation, and everything we are doing being aimed at being in a position to make revolution when the conditions are right, and in particular the question of revolutionary tenseness, which I think is something we as a Party need to be much more grappling with and applying to the conditions we face—to quote—“constantly probing in the realm of analysis and theory to see what might be beneath the surface that could be part of the ‘mix’ of a revolutionary situation emerging, while working consciously with the necessary revolutionary tenseness to hasten things towards that– to influence the political terrain, to do what is possible at a given time to shape that terrain, and to reshape it, rather than passively waiting on and reacting to objective developments.” I really think there is something to the question of being tense, in the sense of being able to recognize based on a scientific analysis as different contradictions start playing out and working consciously to shape and reshape the actual terrain. I think the paper (published in Revolution) a few months ago on the questions of immigration and the border was both in line with and working on this.

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA



The next point I wanted to make, drawing from Birds/Crocodiles, is that on the basis of the orientation of hastening while awaiting a revolutionary situation, he talks about the importance of accumulating forces for revolution and I found it really instructive to go at this question by digging into and breaking down “Some Principles for Building a Movement for Revolution.” I think this is something really worth us going back to– including why BA poses there that “Some Principles...” in a concentrated way really does speak to much of what is involved in this process. One of the reasons I was reflecting on this was recently when we had the discussion about accumulating forces for revolution, near the end I think I brought up some of the picture of the next few months, with the Texas Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, the 1000 years/$1000 BA Everywhere nodal points, the McKibben call for tens of thousands of people to come to NY around the environmental crisis and what we need to do to shape the terrain, all of which would be going into the October Month of Resistance and this doesn’t include what other things may erupt in society, and another person said, yes, but that’s what we said last year, if the only thing we do over the next few months is accumulate forces for revolution that will be right, and I agreed with them then, but it has been on my mind because if that is how we are looking at it, I don’t think we will be accumulating forces for revolution. I think we really need to wrestle with and actually carry out the actual process concentrated in the “Some Principles...” as well as what the full process of “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, For Revolution” describes. It’s true that we have not been accumulating forces for revolution, in particular bringing people into contributing at the highest level of organization, i.e. the Party, but we need to both interrogate why that is, and we need to go to work on carrying out the strategy that would actually result in doing that—and not keep separating aspects of the strategy out from each other in a way that ultimately guts the process of preparing for the seizure of power.

For example, right now it is worth reflecting on the following from “Some Principles...” and think about the ensemble of revolutionary work over the next few months: “The objective and orientation must be to carry out work which, together with the development of the objective situation, can transform the political terrain, so that the legitimacy of the established order, and the right and ability of the ruling class to rule, is called into question, in an acute and active sense, throughout society; so that resistance to this system becomes increasingly broad, deep and determined; so that the ‘pole’ and the organized vanguard force of revolutionary communism is greatly strengthened; and so that, at the decisive time, this advanced force is able to lead the struggle of millions, and tens of millions, to make revolution.” Now as the comrade was correctly pointing to, if we went at the question of transforming the political terrain without accumulating forces we would not be carrying out this objective and orientation, and this has been a key weakness in our work, but to then swing into thinking that we can work on that cut off from the fuller picture and process described here is also incorrect. So again, we need to actively and consistently be working on the whole thing, also keeping our eyes open to developments in the terrain.

One other point that I was provoked to think about off of re-reading BA’s piece about the two mass initiatives and their relationship to preparing for revolution—this question of driving people to the mainstays—how are we actively, both formally and informally, finding the ways and the means for driving people to the two mainstays? As developments happen in the world, and we get out there to lead the masses of people in struggle, what’s the relationship of we ourselves being driven back to the mainstays to wrestle with how and why to carry out our strategy of preparing for seizure of power, and what that’s good for, but also contributing to the paper on this and consciously driving the people we are leading to them as well—and the role of both formal and informal discussion and wrestling with this? When you read the memoir you get much more a sense of people collectively informally wrestling with big questions, and this is what is beginning to happen in some places where we work. This has to become much more of the culture and life of the movement for revolution and the Party and not people being so busy going from meeting to meeting and no time to spend being out to the masses and with the masses, working both on changing circumstances and changing people. The bookstore also needs to much more have this atmosphere—where people really can come find the books AND the engagement over why things are the way they are and how they could be radically different—it is the importance of the hot topics/burning issues discussions. For example, recently another comrade and I were talking about how questions concentrated in BA’s piece “More on Choices... And Radical Change” are being struggled over, so we should do a discussion at the store or in the communities where we do work. Not everything has to be planned weeks in advance. That comrade can lead such a discussion and members of the Revolution Club can too, learning as they are doing. All this is related to “Enriched What Is To Be Done-ism,” and it’s worth going back to that portion of Birds/Crocodiles as well.

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