"The film brings you up close inside Cornel West's and Bob Avakian's dialogue: the passion, the audacity, the science, the morality, the revolutionary substance. Two courageous voices modeling a morality that refuses to accept injustice – pouring heart and soul into standing together challenging all of us to fight for a world worthy of humanity."

Andy Zee,
co-director of the film


BA Speaks

"No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that."

BAsics 1:13

Do you know anyone else—any person or organization—that has managed to bring forth an actual PLAN for a radically different society, in all its dimensions, and a CONSTITUTION to codify all this? — A different world IS possible — Check out and order online the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

What Humanity Needs

At the beginning of 2012, an in-depth interview with Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, was conducted over a period of several days by A. Brooks, a younger generation revolutionary who has been inspired by the leadership and body of work of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism this has brought forward.

Special Issue

People need the truth about the communist revolution. The REAL truth. At a time when people are rising up in many places all over the world and seeking out ways forward, THIS alternative is ruled out of order. At a time when even more people are agonizing over and raising big questions about the future, THIS alternative is constantly slandered and maligned and lied about, while those who defend it are given no space to reply.

Contains Interview with Raymond Lotta, Timeline of The REAL History of Communist Revolution, and more...


Report on promoting Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism at the Tunis World Social Forum

May 4, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


A large and enthusiastic team gathered in Tunis March 24-28 on the politically charged terrain of the World Social Forum, to argue from many angles the burning relevance of communist revolution—specifically the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian.

The World Social Forum, whose slogan is “Another World is Possible,” sees itself as based on “international solidarity, equality and social justice.” The WSF’s more than 1,000 workshops and forums addressed and discussed solutions for many grave social problems plaguing the world and drawing people into opposition and resistance. They included the oppression and degradation of women worldwide; the reasons why immigrants risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean; the environmental crisis with a focus on climate change, land, agriculture and water issues; human rights and equality before the law; developments in Rojova (west Kurdistan in northern Syria); and the outcome of the Arab Spring and the situation of Arab youth in particular, in terms of why many are drawn to become jihadi fighters in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

WSF organizers reported that more than 48,000 people registered to participate this year. Most were progressive-minded individuals and groups from North Africa and around the world. Tunisians were by far the most numerous. They had serious questions about what they considered the hijacking of their “revolution” by political parties whose goal was to get into or come to terms with the existing power structure rather than change the system. Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also took part. Some are sponsored by the same corporations who create the very conditions that the workshops exposed and opposed. The main leadership of the WSF promotes various approaches to challenge some of the glaring inequalities and social injustices in the world, but stop short of going for ending the system responsible. This results in a limited framework regarding the possibilities of solving the complex and pervasive problems the WSF brings to light and debates. Thus there is need and grounds for serious and ongoing discussion, which many participants came to the WSF to find.

Our team of two dozen included people from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America, with a large number of supporters of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist—CPI[MLM]), and a strong contingent of women. The goal was to participate in these wide-ranging debates and unite with the outrage those attending the WSF share over these crimes, while at the same time wrangle over how to overcome these major problems and challenge the assumption that fundamental change can be achieved through the existing system. We wanted to engage with why this can only be done through communist revolution, which requires applying the best theoretical understanding, the new synthesis.

People who yearn for revolutionary solutions need the vigorous scientific method and approach that characterizes the new synthesis, with its unflinching search to understand actual patterns and dynamics of material reality and discern the contradictory nature of reality that provides the basis to act and bring about the revolutionary transformations that all humanity needs urgently.

Leaflets were prepared in French, Arabic and English, on the intolerable dead-end alternatives of imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism, women’s oppression, the anti-austerity debate (Greece) and capitalism’s destruction of the planet. The leaflet “From Ferguson to Palestine, We Can’t Breathe!” brought out the common threads, the common oppressive system, as well as the particular complexities of resistance emerging in the world today, all pointing to the need for revolution. They were very well received.

World events affect Tunisia

After being held in Tunis in 2013, the WSF returned there for the second time, implicitly promoting Tunisia as an oasis of stability in a region torn apart by chaos. The dynamic of the “two outmodeds” was the major theme in the main leaflet by the Revolutionary Communist Manifesto Group (RCMG) entitled Caught Between the Deadly, Dead-end Alternatives of Imperialism & Religious Fundamentalism: Only Revolution Can Get Us Out of this Situation, and The Many Faces of Terrorism by the CPI-MLM. This dynamic was in many ways visible throughout the forum. Less than a week before the WSF began, the criminal attack at the Bardo museum, killing 18 tourists, by Islamic fundamentalist jihadists sympathetic to ISIS/Daesh (the Arabic acronym for ISIS), exposed illusions of calm and highlighted the real intensifying dynamics of the situation in the region and the world.

This further complicated and added confusion to the contested political terrain in Tunisia. In many discussions held informally and throughout the workshops, the urgency of struggling over a correct and scientific understanding of the reactionary dynamic between imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism became pivotal and controversial.

The Islamic fundamentalists’ operations in the Middle East and North Africa reached all the way to the Tunisian capital and provided an opportunity for the newly-elected government of Beji Caid Essebsi, a former minister under the deposed President Ben Ali, to present its pro-Western allegiance as the choice of the people and a reflection of national unity.

The general mood among the masses broadly speaking was certainly less optimistic than two years ago about advancing the revolutionary struggle. Ordinary people in the streets, taxi drivers, shop keepers and other people we chatted with in cafes and restaurants who tended to welcome foreigners, felt that the Bardo attack was just an isolated incident, minimizing fundamentalism as a real and growing threat in Tunis.

Lowering of sights, dashing of hopes for revolution and no small amount of demoralization had set in after the high tide of rebellion and the overthrow of the Ben Ali regime. The effects of the situation in Syria, Libya and Egypt added to an unfavorable polarization. Some sections of the people want to hold on to what exists today without ceding further ground to the Islamic fundamentalists. They are hunkering down in hope that the democratic process will keep the Islamists out of power and think they can ignore the intensification of contradictions and gathering storms like those occurring in Syria and Libya (with whom Tunisia has a long border—being ripped apart by reactionary war). Others from the small business class tend to complain about disorder, security problems and economic hardships in the wake of Ben Ali’s overthrow. For the youth of the countryside and lower classes in the cities nothing has changed since 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in December 2010, igniting the Tunisian revolt. Since then thousands of youth from Tunisia have gone to Syria and elsewhere to join Islamic jihadists.

While the high tide of radical sentiments has ebbed, a considerable number of people, especially youth and women, but also a small important section of older activists are determined to find a way out of this situation. They long to understand what happened to the “revolution” and refuse to come to terms with the existing order.

The new members in our group were pleasantly surprised to see some Tunisian youth and others eagerly help us with various aspects of printing, logistics and translation. They had met us in 2013 and introduced us to their friends as comrades from the RCMG. When we learned of their disillusionment with previous political affiliations and the situation in Tunisia and that they were studying Marxist political theory, our discussions with them invariably veered into how the new synthesis is a more scientifically grounded theory of revolution and communism. We argued that study of revolutionary theory should proceed from Bob Avakian’s theoretical contributions, analytical method and deep summation of the first wave of revolutions. This was just the beginning of an eventful week.

Despite heavy downpours and occasional strong winds, our literature table became a hub of political discussion and debate, as it had been two years ago. There was an extensive outlay of revolutionary communist literature in English, French and Arabic projecting revolutionary optimism and a liberating vision of socialism. In addition to leaflets and pamphlets focusing on Islamic fundamentalism and the woman question from the CPI(MLM), and RCMG leaflets, there were DVDs of Bob Avakian’s speeches and books by him (BAsics, Away With All Gods), the Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, the Constitution For The New Socialist Republic In North America (Draft Proposal), Demarcations journal articles and Revolution newspaper supplements devoted to themes on the environment, “Set the Record Straight on Communism” and the struggle of African-Americans in the U.S. Large banners hung high behind the table. One from the RCMG read (in French), “Humanity Needs Revolution, Long Live the New Synthesis of Bob Avakian.” Next to it was, “There Is a War Against Women... Revolution Is the Only Solution, Forward to a New Wave of Communist Revolution,” signed by the CPI-(MLM). Palm cards with the website were given out along with the leaflets. Hundreds of copies in Arabic of Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and the Demarcations article “Egypt, Tunisia and the Arab Revolts: How They Came to an Impasse and How to Get Out of It” went out. Our table was definitely one of the preferred sites for “‘selfies” with the banners as a backdrop.

Invitations to address workshops

Some comrades were busy providing material and answering questions at the table while others were engaged in controversial group debates that continued throughout each day. Remembering our table and our banners from two years ago, people from Tunisia and other countries were happy to see us again and enthusiastically pursued the ideological and political struggle, including some from the southern part of the country, 500 hundred kilometers away. They invited us to speak out at workshops where they considered our line needed to engage the topic being addressed.

For example, at one workshop the main speaker was putting forward a familiarly tired reformist recipe that the initial revolution in Tunisia failed so people needed to go into the social movements and trade unions. There was no mention of the dynamic behind the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, the need to defeat U.S. imperialism or the need to go for world revolution. The invited revolutionary comrade who intervened paraphrased a well-known quote from Malcolm X, saying “I came here to say things you might not want to, but need to hear.” He continued that communists should not bury themselves in the existing social and political movements. Resistance against the regime must be part of building for revolution, and draw strength and confidence from the material basis of internationalism.

At the literature table, a number of Iranian women comrades were engaging actively in heated discussions around the role of religion and Islamic fundamentalism. They were an effective force calling for all-the-way revolution and the crucial and integral role of the emancipation of women in this struggle. Young activists from Tunisia paid close attention to their experience and the bloody history of repression by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Debate and discussion and intense line struggle in the international movement and the impasse of the Arab Spring provided additional reasons this year to check out Avakian’s new synthesis. Some questions were new, freshly stemming from contending evaluations that were circulating about the new synthesis spread by some of those calling themselves Maoists in Tunisia.

In the pouring rain, WSF organizers led the opening march to the front gates of the Bardo museum as a symbolic protest against Islamic fundamentalism but failed to really distinguish themselves from the political message of the government’s call for national unity. The government’s show of specialized security forces at this march represented a certain paradox that was in the air—whether these forces of repression were deployed actually to protect or to intimidate the protesters.

Many issues but only one solution—revolution

Our group planned several workshops as part of the official WSF program. One of these focused on the theme “Kobane and the broader situation in the Middle East.” The Kurdish town of Kobane concentrates the contradictions of the whole region wreaking havoc in the Middle East. On the one hand, the workings of the capitalist imperialist system undermine and break apart current borders and social structures. On the other hand, among the forces of opposition and resistance (with the exception of Islamic fundamentalist reactionary forces), there is a prevalent acceptance of the existing oppressive system and the idea that nothing can be achieved without or beyond democracy, promoted by the guardians of the system.

In a lively discussion, deadly illusions and cynical realpolitik were brought to light and the idea that it is impossible to fight off Islamic fundamentalism without relying on the help of the U.S. and its allies was criticized, along with the claim that there is no need to fight U.S. imperialism because fighting ISIS, considered a puppet of the U.S., amounts to fighting the U.S. itself. A widespread view falsely considers ISIS to be a deliberate conspiracy created as a direct tool of U.S. policy. A back and forth discussion took place with some progressive radical minded individuals from Europe over what is called by some a non-state “radical grass roots democracy” experiment in Kobane, and how these self-deceptions are dependent on the existing order and reactionary states.

A fatal flaw and tragic consequence of this logic is that if you rely on the U.S. to fight Islamic fundamentalism you will only get more Islamic fundamentalism, and moreover, you will be used and betrayed by the U.S. one more time.

This discussion on Kobane revealed an acute particular manifestation of the current ideological polarization in the region and beyond, the capture and enlisting of political forces by one or the other of the two equally reactionary poles, U.S. imperialism with its accompaniment of bourgeois democracy, or the Islamic fundamentalists. Without a communist approach, the revolutionary potential among the masses is squandered, while the erstwhile rebellious insurgent forces seek accommodation with the existing oppressive system.

Our team pursued debate around these questions in other workshops. In one entitled “Solidarity with the Syrian people”, we pointed out that opposition to imperialism and reactionary regimes was being left to the reactionary Islamists.

Another workshop, entitled “From Ferguson to Palestine: We Can’t Breathe,broadened out the discussion from another angle. This slogan, popularized in Palestine at the time of the Ferguson rebellion, expressed a felt bond between those demanding justice in Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere in the U.S., and the victims and opponents of the U.S. and other Western powers in Asia, Latin America, Africa and especially, occupied Palestine. Our speaker put forth that the same system of capitalist exploitation oppresses Black people in America and Palestinians. It’s one system, with one solution. Capitalism in the U.S. (and Europe) arose with slavery, and without understanding that, we can’t understand mass incarceration and other forms of brutality inflicted on Black people today. This same system has pillaged and plundered the Middle East and North Africa, now being ripped apart by a reactionary polarization between imperialists, the main enemy, and Islamic fundamentalism. Everywhere there is a crying need for a liberating alternative that targets both and strives to end the divisions and inequalities that exist.

An international human rights lawyer on the panel expressed both broad agreement with the presentation and reservations. She felt that the new synthesis’ analysis of the two outmodeds may alienate some people who adhere to the religion of Islam if they falsely perceive we are making the dividing line to be between religion and secularism. This view tends to downplay the deep influence that religion has on many people, often holding them back from transforming themselves and fully participating in the revolutionary struggle, people who will be and need to be the bedrock of this struggle. The fight against injustice and oppression can and must include large numbers of believers while struggling to transform their limited and even sometimes obscurantist views and thinking. Only with a more scientific view of the world will people be able to fully fight for the emancipation of humanity, including building a new socialist society. Another speaker from the panel argued in favor of Franz Fanon’s anti-colonialist analysis and how genuine democracy can still be relevant today if it were actually rendered to mean genuine independence from imperialist domination for the oppressed nations.

The discussion became sharp around whether the communist revolution is the solution to capitalism and imperialism worldwide. An Occupy activist from Britain asked whether we were proposing “to kill millions like Mao and Stalin”. These prejudices about the first wave of communist revolution, heavily influenced by the propaganda of the guardians and ideologues of the system, were sharply rebuked by a woman from Iran. After denouncing the horrendous crimes and brutal enslavement brought upon humanity by the system, she wholeheartedly called for getting rid of this system through communist revolution. Her comments received a hearty round of applause from the majority of the audience.

Considerable summation has been made by Bob Avakian of the first wave of proletarian revolution relating to this point. In opposition to the seemingly endless distortions and slanders spewed forth against socialism and communism, the conclusion must be clear that the historical experience of socialism in the Soviet Union (and more so in China) was positive, even with significant secondary shortcomings and errors, including in how these societies handled opposition and dissent, that must be unsparingly criticized. Only through this approach and method can a better, more liberatory vision for a future socialism come about.

With the orientation of “a Marxist-feminist theorization as a dialectical understanding of exploitation and oppression which constitute a regime of social relations often conceptualized as capitalist patriarchy,” some Iranian comrades held joint panels and workshops on the woman question with other organizations and trends.

One of these workshops discussed the experiences of Muslim women under Ben Ali’s state repression of Islam and women’s experiences in Iran during different periods, particularly under the vicious suppression of women inside and outside the dungeons of the Islamic Republic. The brutality faced by Kurdish women in the dungeons of the Turkish state was discussed, bringing out the sinister reach of patriarchy through the state and its prison system. This was documented in different ways through film and dance. Women wrangled over the pervasiveness of violence in state institutions and questioned how to mobilize and reconstruct the experience of women as a form of resistance. One Iranian comrade asked how all this resistance would be tied in with the struggle for revolution.

The RCMG leaflet on the environmental crisis, “Capitalism is destroying the environment and can never cure the problem: What is it going to take?” raised critical points about the human exploitation and destruction of lives and livelihoods connected to the massive wreckage of the environment underway in many forms today. It showed why capitalism and its political representatives cannot and will not offer any real or lasting solution to the threat to the world’s ecosystems, climate destabilization and the resulting impact on life on earth. The leaflet gave a sense of the possibilities of conceiving the protection of the physical environment within the perspective of a revolutionary society and power, repairing the damage to the earth and consciously mobilizing human activity and scientific understanding.

Our team debated with many people harboring ideas that developing local alternative energy sources was the only practical way to oppose corporate control, and why the system itself is the problem. At the same time we were also clear that we had in no way exhausted the opportunities to raise the stakes at the WSF over the struggle around the environment, which tended to be much too confined to agendas that avoid holding the capitalist social order responsible for much of the crisis and mobilizing people on that basis. Further discussion pointed to the importance of intervening in activities around the upcoming United Nations summit on climate change (COP21) to be held in Paris in December 2015 with participation of 196 countries.

The sovereign debt crisis in Europe, especially concerning Greece, where the so-called radical left Syriza government came to power in January 2015, drew many leftists enthusiastic about the example of Syriza as a possible solution to the debt crisis and model for other European countries. In the workshop entitled Syriza, Podemos... restructuration or annulation of the illegitimate debt?, there was struggle between reformist illusions, centering on Syriza’s anti-austerity platform and the need for disengaging with imperialism. The RCMG leaflet argued that the situation in Greece was one of “concentration of the global contradiction between the severe imbalances built up between the financial system—and its expectations of future profits—and the accumulation of capital, that is, the structures and actual production of profit based on exploitation of wage-labor. Questions that require serious answers are posed by this situation. How can capitalism in Greece unzip itself from the global, competition-driven profit system—which is not Syriza’s intention anyway? How could radical change in Greece—or anywhere else, for that matter—take place except as part of a country by country but ultimately worldwide revolution whose ultimate aim is the abolition of all exploitation and all the oppressive relations of class society?”

An Iranian comrade intervened from the floor provoking a debate and drawing applause when she pointed out that the illusions the workshop speakers were so desperate to preserve, are built upon the bones, the broken backs and the stolen wealth of the rest of humanity. She asked why should activists spend so much time discussing how to repair this now malfunctioning machine? Why should they spend such energy wrangling over how to divide the loot of imperial pillage? Why would they contribute to helping this system of murderous injustice to recover and regain its smooth, efficient functioning, to the despair of all humanity?

Step forward to take up revolutionary responsibilities

For the interested people we met, our team held extended evening discussions about the new synthesis. Presentations focused on identifying the problem and the solution—why the masses’ yearning for liberation will not be realized without the most advanced scientific understanding of communist revolution. We aimed to help these revolutionary youth from various political trends in Algeria and Tunisia to have a real sense of how the new synthesis provides the required method and approach to understand and have a strategic grasp of the revolutionary process, to prepare and carry out revolution. We tried to impress on people why the new synthesis is crucial in today’s world to conceptualize and carry out revolutionary work. The question was posed whether one ultimately makes peace with the existing order as happened in Tunisia in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, something those attending were acutely aware of, or whether one steps forward to develop vanguards of the future and prepare the next stage of communist revolution.

Other features of the new synthesis also presented included internationalism, revolutionary strategy, the underlying revolutionary opportunities in the region and how crucial it is for potential revolutionary forces to wield the new synthesis. This was followed by discussion of particular issues of the political process unfolding in Tunisia, and how to view the role of elections and bourgeois democratic procedures.

At the end of the week, the WSF organized a closing march in solidarity with Palestine that ended where Yasser Arafat lived while in exile in Tunisia. Several thousand people marched, many fewer than two years ago. The low attendance was due partly to the confusion around the issue of national unity against Islamic fundamentalism. The government sponsored a march to the Bardo museum the following day, with heads of state of a few African countries and president François Hollande of France, which continues to preside over neo-colonial relations with Tunisia.

For the closing WSF march another banner was made to sharply delineate our position of not yielding any ground whatsoever to either of these two outmoded reactionary forces with the slogan: “Caught between the deadly, dead-end alternatives of imperialism and religious fundamentalism, Only revolution can liberate us.” Again people wanted their photos taken with our banner in the background. Many Arabic-language copies of the Manifesto from the RCP,USA were sold and the few remaining leaflets got into the hands of some youth on the march.

Within all the complexities of the WSF situation, promoting, explaining and fighting for people to engage with the new synthesis was particularly crucial, even in an immediate sense of being able to bring out to people that the only way out is revolution guided by this approach to communism, the world’s most advanced revolutionary thinking. Our contingent had a lot of rich experience and was enthusiastic about the work done. They felt that their experience brought out the truth of the statement by Bob Avakian, “It is very important not to underestimate the significance and potential positive force of this new synthesis.” We all were learning, and are now continuing to seriously engage with at a new level, how to do this work better, how to reach out boldly and broadly, and how to make people’s introduction to the new synthesis a real enabling leap to consciously step forward and take up revolutionary responsibility.

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