Stop the Lies and Slanders: Bob Avakian and the RCP Are the Exact Opposite of a "Cult"!

October 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


People who hate the Revolutionary Communist Party, its leader Bob Avakian, and the movement for revolution—who in fact hate actual revolution and communism, and even the idea of truly radical change, far more than they hate how the world is now—sometimes hurl the bullshit accusation that this party and movement for revolution is a “cult.” In addition, there are people who may not be firmly entrenched in an antagonistic stance, and who should—and could—know better, who are all too willing to uncritically accept and repeat this accusation. They do so because, whether they know it or not, they are heavily influenced by widespread distortions of and prejudices against communism, communist leaders, and leadership more generally. And they are also influenced by a general culture and society in which slander, snark, pettiness and personal attacks are broadly treated as an acceptable substitute for critical thinking and substantive engagement with points of content. 

As this article will briefly speak to, this charge of “cult” is complete and utter nonsense, and it is a charge that both reflects and feeds off this pervasive anticommunism and culture of snark.

The rampant anti-communist prejudices and distortions in our society originate from those who run the capitalist-imperialist system we live under now, which is a worldwide system based on vicious exploitation and oppression and monumental inequalities. Those who run this system have every reason to slander past efforts or future attempts to sweep this system away and organize society in a radically different way, and to slander people who are working towards this.  So, those who enforce and advocate for this capitalist-imperialist system constantly spread absurd lies and prejudices about communism that are then repeated over and over again in the media, educational system, popular culture, and—unfortunately—even by many who call themselves “progressives.” In fact, this very charge of “cult” is a reflection and expression of the sort of crude, unimaginative stereotypes of communism that could be pulled straight from a U.S. Cold War propaganda film, with depictions of communists as “mindless, brainwashed robots who all think the same way”…blah, blah, blah.

One key particular form that this type of anti-communist attack takes is slanders against communist leaders and the role that they play. If you think about it for a minute, people in this society—and those who run this society—follow and promote all kinds of leaders in all different spheres of society, whether in politics, the arts, sports, or elsewhere. But somehow, when people follow and promote a communist leader, they are a “cult.” NO. The way any leader should be evaluated is: What does that leader stand for? What is the content of that leader’s ideas? What will be the result if these ideas gain broad influence and are taken up? What overall role is that leader playing in society and in the world?    

It is also worth noting that it’s not even only against communists that the slander of “cult” has been leveled. In the radical and revolutionary upsurges of the 1960s and 1970s, the powers-that-be and their mouthpieces warned parents about their radical children joining “cults,” and while there were in fact some cults on the scene in the '60s and '70s just as there are today, very often what were being labeled as cults were far from that in reality—they were simply radical social and political movements whose influence the powers-that-be feared.

Haters: We’re calling you out. And to those who may not be haters, but are allowing themselves to swallow the lies spewed forth by the haters, we’re challenging you to be better than that. This accusation of “cult” is just bullshit. It is lazy. It is intellectually cowardly. And it is harmful, because it spreads lies and confusion about what Bob Avakian, and the party and movement for revolution he leads, are actually all about; stands in the way of the critically needed theoretical engagement and practical involvement with the movement for revolution to emancipate humanity; and perpetuates rotten standards in which people deal in lies, snark, slander, pettiness and personal attacks rather than principled discussion and debate over the substance of key questions. 

As the Revolutionary Communist Party, the movement for revolution, and its leadership continue to gain increasing influence in society and make significant advances, those who feel fundamentally threatened by what they represent will continue to spew their garbage out of desperation. For this reason, it’s worth speaking to this briefly.

Here are three very basic and key points on this: 

Point 1: The Revolutionary Communist Party, its leader Bob Avakian, and the movement for revolution represent the exact OPPOSITE of a cult. 

Think about it. What is a cult? Generally, it is a group of people who separate themselves from the rest of society, who literally or figuratively initiate members into some “secret society” or “secret temple of knowledge,” and who adopt an unthinking, uncritical and religious approach to reality. Cults encourage blind following, or religious worship, of their leaders. And yes, they also often adopt practices and rituals that are wacky, or truly horrific—such as mass suicide pacts. And cults have absolutely nothing to do with transforming society or emancipating humanity.

In complete contrast to all of that: The Revolutionary Communist Party, its chairman Bob Avakian, and the movement for revolution engage, and seek to learn from and transform, every sphere of society and society as a whole. They do this as part of the process of making revolution and then continuing that revolution all the way to communism. As a critical element of this process, they seek to reach and influence literally millions of people from all sections of society, unleashing them to take up a thoroughly scientific approach to all of reality, including thinking critically about everything. All of this is for the purpose of changing the entire world through revolution, bringing an end to all the horrific ways in which human beings unnecessarily suffer. It is for that purpose and on that basis that the party, and the movement for revolution, follows and promotes Avakian, based on a scientific and not a blind, religious approach and because of what Avakian, his work, and his leadership objectively represent in relation to the goal of revolution and human emancipation. 

All of these points are a matter of public record. For instance, you can read the Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and see for yourself the party’s purpose, principles, and basis of functioning. You can dig into Bob Avakian’s works and see for yourself his consistent, unwavering emphasis on the critical importance of taking a scientific approach to all of reality, thinking critically about everything, and learning very broadly. You can find these works, and more generally follow the theory and practice of the revolution, at

Point 2: Saying things like “you guys are a cult” is an awfully convenient way to avoid engaging and discussing—and doing the work of engaging and discussing—the content of what this leader, party, and movement represent.   

People need to have the principle, honesty and intellectual courage to go to the source, do the work, and see for themselves. And then let’s get into the content—as well as questions, and points of agreement and disagreement, regarding that content.   

This matters too much for humanity to allow any other standards to be accepted. Billions of people on this planet suffer terribly every day, the very future of the planet itself is in danger, and the tremendous potential of humanity as a whole is squashed and suppressed. When a leader, party, and movement step forward and—based on decades of work—present a way that humanity can break free of these horrors once and for all, people have a responsibility to at the very least engage this seriously. Petty, snarky, cynical and absurd dismissals without engagement just will not fly.

Point 3: We need to fight for much better standards within political and social movements, and within society as a whole.

We should be clear that it is especially vicious and harmful when those who have devoted their lives to, and done decades of work on, human emancipation are met with lies, slander and personal attacks. While the particular egregiousness of this should definitely not be overlooked or minimized, there is also a need to fight against the broader, overlapping culture and society of snark, nastiness and slander. A lot of this gets especially disgusting on the Internet, where people hide behind anonymity to spit forth lies and gossip; to degrade, taunt and bully others; and to engage in personal attacks. 

On any question, and especially when it comes to questions of what it will take for humanity to get free of oppression, people need to get out of the gutter…and loft things up to principled discussion and debate over matters of substance.

People very broadly need to raise their sights to the vantage point of what it will take to emancipate humanity. And then let’s talk about things on those terms

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