Summer 2014:
Making Advances...Toward Revolution

June 16, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Over the next several weeks we will be outlining major moves for the summer and into the fall—all designed to "prepare minds and organize forces" FOR hasten the time when millions can be won to revolution and led to seize power.

But how will this ensemble of different initiatives concretely advance things toward revolution? How are they connected into something larger than just a lot of good things to do? This editorial lays out the overall strategic thinking that will ground, and give meaning and direction to, these different initiatives. It will enable those in and around the movement for revolution to grasp HOW what we do today can make a real difference to getting to the point where we finally can, as conditions change and develop, make a real go at seizing power.

Last week we presented a new slogan:

Prepare the ground, prepare the people, and prepare the vanguard—get ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win.

Let's start there. This slogan encapsulates "A Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party: On the Strategy for Revolution" in a few short words. The different parts of what we have called "the ensemble of revolutionary work" are all, taken together, about that—about carrying forward our Party's strategy. While there is a whole process involved in preparing minds and organizing forces for revolution, with this slogan in mind we can see the potential for the different things that the Party is leading and participating in to actually serve making revolution, at the earliest possible time.

How is this so?

Preparing the Ground and Societal Impact

If there is a situation where BA Everywhere—the campaign to raise big money to spread the word on the vision and leadership of Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA—is reaching out to millions with the word that there is a conception of and leadership for a whole new world... if tens of thousands are being inspired and organized to actively stand up against and resist the glaring outrages of the mass incarceration of Black and Latino peoples and where thousands more are taking action against the enslavement and degradation of women and different terms are being set around these outrages... if Revolution/ is reaching hundreds of thousands, and then millions... if the Party itself is becoming known and seen as the leading force at the forefront of the struggle for a whole new world... and all these are mixing and meshing in people's minds—then this would greatly increase the potential to change how literally millions see this world and what is desirable and possible.

Doing this—affecting the thinking of millions, propelling them toward revolution—IS societal impact. And that is what we need to have. Everyone in our movement should constantly ask themselves—what is the importance of societal impact? Are we having it? And will our plans, if realized, give us the impact we need? We cannot build a revolutionary movement off to the side of what is going on in society—that just won't cut it. Revolutions are built by going into the heart of the most intense contradictions in society, leading people to stand up and politically battle back against that... putting that resistance in the context of a way and a strategy to change the whole world through revolution... and leading people to change themselves as they change the world.

An Ensemble of Initiatives, Not a Jumble of Activities

Each of these initiatives—again, the BA Everywhere campaign as the leading edge, and the initiatives to stop mass incarceration and to end pornography and patriarchy, the enslavement and degradation of women—are important in their own right. But they are even more important and can have greater impact in the ways in which they work together, interact, synergize. Each of these has to aim, in its own right, to mobilize hundreds and thousands and to reach millions... but they are even more powerful and more effective in the ways in which they combine to do so. The second slogan of the July 4 picnics this year—"We Refuse to Accept Slavery in Any Form"—provides a powerful framework for many people to understand the links between these different kinds of activities. These picnics themselves should be occasions when the links are being drawn and all kinds of people are mixing together—and they shouldn't be the only time that happens either!

But this doesn't mean that everybody who gets active or contributes in some way has to agree with or participate in everything that the Party is doing. It's a process! Actually, in projects like the Month of Resistance to End Mass Incarceration (set for October) or the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride in Texas (set for August and early September)—the overwhelming majority, on the order of 90 percent of those who take action or otherwise support these efforts, will probably NOT agree at the outset with the need for revolution (even though their actions objectively contribute to revolution and some actually gravitate in that direction); and if the percentage is much less than that, it means that we have not been reaching out broadly enough, and these initiatives will fall short of what is needed.

At the same time, while these initiatives do have their own identity and integrity, Party supporters and revolutionaries within these initiatives will put forward their views as to the source of the problem and the character of the solution and show the connections to the fundamental dynamics of the larger society and to other things going on—the same as other people within these struggles who also will put forward their views as to the character of the problem and the solution. There should be lively struggle between all kinds of views over what is the reality we face... HOW to fight it... and WHAT to fight for; in other words, the world we face now... the immediate struggle, with all its high stakes... and the world we want to ultimately bring into being.

When we say BA Everywhere is the leading edge of this ensemble, it means that the crucial work in this realm puts the ensemble—as a whole—in the context and a framework of what is the problem, and what is the solution to all the horrors and outrages in the world today, raising sights to a radically different and far better world, concentrated in BA's new synthesis of communism. The massive multi-faceted fundraising efforts should be reaching out to and involving all sections of society to contribute to getting BA everywhere, characterized by all the lively debate and actual struggle over these questions. As an important element, it involves creative projects such as the current 1000 years—$1000 initiative that mobilizes prisoners and ex-prisoners to reach out to all sections of society. All of this creates a certain atmosphere or chemistry, and lends the whole ensemble power and direction by doing so.

"Revolution in the City"—Going to the People

Revolutionary work must go on in all sections of society. But it must have a particular energy and force among those who catch the hardest hell every day, and especially the youth. These youth can and must play a powerful and unique role in turning around the thinking of tens of millions as to what is possible and desirable in society—this happened before in the 1960s, it has happened in other countries, and it can happen here, today, on a far more significant scale. But that will take dedicated WORK... along with daring and imagination.

"This is Bob Avakian,
Chairman of the
Revolutionary Communist Party,
with a New Year's message—


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In order for that to happen, the revolutionaries have to challenge these youth to get into the revolution—challenging them not just to stand up, but to get with what is REALLY worth living and dying for: Revolution... nothing less! This can't be done without real ways to go up against the powers-that-be... but it also can't be done without BA Everywhere, and everything that this vision, line, and leadership represents, as the leading edge of how we step to these youth. If they've been caught up in madness, or have just gone along with it, we can't—and shouldn't want to—step around that; and we don't need to! Again, challenge it. And BA, and what he's brought forward is a tremendously powerful factor in doing that—if we wield it boldly and represent for it in a way consistent with what people get from BA, as epitomized and concentrated in his New Year's message.

In this work to bring forward the youth, and in their effect more broadly on society, the role of those prisoners who have in fact broken with their old lives and taken up the revolution is extremely important and potentially very powerful. We have barely scratched the surface in doing that. It is also critical in this that the WHOLE package—including, in particular, the emancipation of women and the fight against the enslavement and degradation of women—be brought to these youth, both male and female.

In all this work and through all this work, there should be a palpable feel of "Revolution in the City" this summer. Revolutionaries and people who are part of this movement have to be constantly going out among the masses... giving people easy ways to find and plug into the revolution... getting materials advertising and BA Everywhere up and around everywhere... and right in the thick of leading people against the outrages that this system constantly generates among these masses.

At the same time, there is a real importance to reaching out as far as we can to students... to intellectuals... to middle-class people who do have concern and empathy for those on the bottom and for the world as a whole and who in different ways are trying to change things, or restlessly seeking answers... and again, with the whole ensemble of this work, and in its various facets.

One very important point to prepare for this summer will be the massive demonstrations around the environment, set now for New York, in late September. The movement for revolution, with the Party at its core, must be reaching broadly into those involved in these movements and demonstrations, in many different ways... with its full program... with the elements of its ensemble... and also by bringing forward those from among the basic people who have caught fire with revolution over the summer to be part of, and positively influence, what is shaping up to be an extremely important struggle around the environment.

There have been a lot of stirrings on campuses this past year, with students beginning to much more actively fight back and raise questions on different fronts. Uniting and interacting with these struggles, debating philosophical outlooks and what is to be done, the whole ensemble for revolution should be manifest at select campuses this fall, from widespread popularization of BA's New Year's message, BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian and the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live, to providing ways for students to organize and fight around mass incarceration and the enslavement and degradation of women. Across campuses nationwide, there is tremendous potential and basis for the Month of Resistance in October to be a big deal. What we do throughout the summer should lay the basis for and put us in a different position to go to the campuses when they open in the fall. This should include as a crucial aspect, preparing people from the base of society to go onto the campuses and vice-versa.

Ready for Anything

This ensemble has been conceived in active engagement with the key dynamics of how society is developing, and it has to be continually re-conceived in that light. And this means that it must be adjusted if and as things go through leaps.

Even as this is being written, there is dramatic change going on—and the potential for much greater change. The nexus of Iraq, Syria, and Iran is in deep crisis... Ukraine... Egypt... who can say what may happen? Revolutionaries have to be preparing people even now to distinguish the interests of the people of the world from those of the imperialists.

It is also particularly important to continue to grasp the extreme polarization within the U.S. ruling class—polarization so acute as to recall the period leading up to the U.S. Civil War in 1861, about which we've written elsewhere. (See The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era and Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution by Bob Avakian; and "The Shutdown, the Showdown, and the Urgent Need to Repolarize... For Revolution.") This crisis, which simmers along and then periodically flares up, sets a backdrop for things. A sharp crisis among the rulers over how to rule can create openings for people to question things more deeply, as well as a greater willingness to resist. From the opposite end, sharp struggle from the people can heighten the divisions and difficulties among the rulers. This dynamic may come into play independently of what we do or, for instance, in relation to the struggle focused this summer in Texas over abortion rights, where the rulers are set to effectively deprive millions and millions of women of this basic right.

The point is this: We have to be alive to the world, and ready to respond in a heartbeat.

In all of this, the importance of the Revolution website stands out. This site can enable people to grasp the larger significance of the major events in the world... it can expose the ways in which the powers-that-be are twisting things, or covering up the real truth... it can give them a living sense of how the movement for revolution is fighting the powers, and transforming the people... it can introduce them to, and deepen their grasp of, the key elements of the line of our Party, with the work of Bob Avakian at its foundation... it can let the basic people, in particular, "see themselves"—speaking to their questions and showing them the effect that they are having... and in all these ways and more drive forward the revolution.

Preparing the People

At the same time, we must involve people in everything we're doing—not only giving them the ways to be active (though that is crucial!), but also the ways to transform their thinking. This gets to the other big question we should be constantly asking ourselves as we go forward this summer and fall: Are we accumulating forces for revolution in everything we do? Are more and more people being actually organized for revolution, to act collectively to impact society?

In regard to this, BA said in his recent talk on strategy, "The Strategic Approach to Revolution and Its Relation to Basic Questions of Epistemology and Method":

To put it another way, we're accumulating forces for revolution. That's very important. That is one of the major yardsticks by which we should measure what we're doing. Are we actually accumulating forces? Not just accumulating forces for any old thing, but are we actually, in this overall process—not that everybody we're involved with in any particular struggle or any particular mass initiative, not that all the people or even maybe a majority of the people at any given time are for revolution—but are we actually, through this overall process, which I've spoken to in many dimensions, are we through this overall process actually accumulating forces who are more and more consciously seeing the need and basis for revolution and actively working to bring closer and then to carry out that actual revolution, when the time comes and the situation is qualitatively different: the actual defeat and dismantling of the old system and its forces of violent repression and the bringing about of a radically different system—are we accumulating forces who are actually more and more consciously working for that and are part of that process where they're moving forward in a revolutionary direction, and making the leap to join the Party as part of that?

In this, the element of BA—what he's brought forward and the leadership he provides—is critical. This has to take a lot of forms—including, as was published in Revolution several weeks ago, the use of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and, in particular, the regular showings at the bookstores, or in other venues.

These showings should serve to cohere people around the revolution—these should be times when they come together from the swirl of revolutionary activity and get a deeper grounding in what the revolution has to be all about. Yes, they should be getting that from everything we do. But these showings, in other words, focus on that aspect of things, and have great importance—they should be giving a whole significant dimension of meaning to people. The same is true in a different way for very broad and on-the-spot use of the New Year's message from BA. And from the book of Bob Avakian's quotations and short essays, BAsics.

Fighting and learning better how to fight, people learning about the different world that is possible as they do, changing their thinking and themselves in the process and learning how to link theory and practice—this process of Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution should be the vibrant core of the movement for revolution, pulsing with energy.

Preparing the Vanguard...

If there is to be a revolution, there MUST be a revolutionary party, a vanguard. We have such a vanguard today, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, with a revolutionary line, strategy, and leadership. This is precious, but the Party must be built and strengthened to rise to what is required of it.

First, the Party must grow in quantity—drawing new people into its ranks, bringing forward new initiators of a new stage of communism. The time we have now is precious time to strengthen our ranks, to train people, to focus our efforts as fully and effectively as possible on hastening the development of a revolutionary situation, and to develop as much capacity as possible going into such a situation... when and as it does finally emerge. Helping people sort through their questions in the midst of this bubbling cauldron will be very important—and here, the recent paper "What the World Needs Now, More Than Anything Else, Is Communists: A Few Reflections on Individual Passion, Self, and the Revolutionary Process" is very important for people to engage.

Second, within the Party, the struggle to fully take up the orientation, method, and approach concentrated in BA's new synthesis continues in different forms. These struggles and transformations must be done not apart from but in the heat of struggle, with all comrades reaching for the heights and flying without a safety net. As part of the whole process of and implementing the strategy for making revolution, practice should be informed by a sense of how all these efforts and struggles fit into the larger goal, not "without perspective," and guided by the dialectic of theory-practice-theory (as described in the Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA). While everyone is very busy and "a thousand deeds cry out to be done," there is a need to continually keep the larger goal of revolution in mind and in perspective, which will contribute to the life of the Party being full of both the seriousness of purpose and yet playful informality of people engaged in scientifically trying to understand and transform the world... trying to lead humanity out of its "long dark night" of oppression, exploitation, and needless suffering.

One Integral Process... With a Specific Aim

These "3 prepares" are not separate from each other. For instance, you're not going to build the Party—not a revolutionary party, anyway—off to the side of fighting to transform the world, in its biggest dimensions. And you're not going to really have societal impact—revolutionary societal impact, at least—if you're not building and projecting the fact that there IS a vanguard, and that people need to relate to and support this vanguard. To a certain extent, the way in which this editorial has treated each in turn is a bit artificial. It's not like that in real life, but it can help to look at things in their parts sometimes before—and in order to—put them back together. Each "prepare" works in relation to the others, and unless we're working on all of them at once... on the whole process... things are going to go off and people's efforts and sacrifice will be squandered.

And it's not just that. These all have a purpose. For what? To prepare for "the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win."

Are we getting closer to that? Are we advancing in the "3 prepares"? This is the yardstick with which to measure the work that the movement for revolution is already launching, and the important initiatives we'll be discussing on this site/in these pages in the weeks to come. If we're not, what do we need to do? If we are, how do we go further, with all the urgency demanded by the terrible situation humanity faces? Those are the questions with which this movement for revolution, with the Party as its leading core, must bristle and vibrate, all summer and into the fall... and beyond.


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