Letter from a Reader

July 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


My immediate response upon reading this document was to be tremendously impressed by the sweep and scope of the new synthesis of communism in all its many dimensions, and to think that we really need to get this document out far and wide (and also use it extensively in our boxing–our ideological struggle—with individuals and with other trends). Although others have written articles or given speeches aimed at summarizing the new synthesis of communism, this document is unique because this is Bob Avakian (BA) himself outlining in a very concentrated way what he considers the core elements of this new synthesis of communism, those areas where he has made the most significant and most path-breaking advances in our science. 

When you understand the emphasis that BA has put on developing a more thoroughly scientific method and approach and then can see the application of this method and approach reflected in significant theoretical breakthroughs in relation to so many elements (and these are only the core elements and not a comprehensive list of all the elements where he has charted new theoretical territory!), you can’t help but recognize and appreciate the extent to which BA has revolutionized communism by putting it on a more scientific foundation. As a result of this theoretical work that he has done over decades, BA is indeed “ushering in a whole new phase of the communist revolution and a whole new conception of the kind of society and world we need to be building for the benefit of humanity” (to quote from our website).  

This document drives home the tremendous potential that the new synthesis of communism holds to emancipate humanity, and I couldn’t help but think what a crime it is that this new synthesis of communism isn’t more widely known and embraced here and throughout the world. I think that this document could have a powerful positive impact in turning that situation around and opening people’s eyes to why we say that BA is a great communist leader on the level of Marx, Lenin, and Mao. In regards to boxing and addressing those in other trends or those who are simply skeptics about BA, I say, “You want evidence of why we consider BA a rare, precious, and irreplaceable communist leader? Start by reading this document, and then tell me of anyone else in the world today who even begins to come close to grappling with the questions outlined here with the same sweep and with the same depth and substance and with the same seriousness that BA has. He has dedicated his life to this, and spent decades developing this new synthesis of communism—and is continuing to do so.”

Although I have read this document a few times, I feel that I have only scratched the surface. When I first read the document, what especially stood out to me was the significance of the advances/ruptures in relation to all the areas that are outlined. Specifically, I considered how radical and new the conceptual understanding forged by BA on each of these elements is; the ways in which this understanding builds on, and at the same time in some significant ways diverges from, what has historically been the thinking around these elements within the communist movement; and also the profound implications that this new, more dialectical and more materialist, understanding of all this has for our entire project. I also reflected on why these advances/ruptures are so often undervalued, and what this has to do with the denigration of theory, as well as the phenomenon of sights of so many being so lowered from the truly radical and historic leap that is represented by an actual revolution aiming for the final goal of a communist world, free of all exploitation and oppression.

Even though the various core elements of the new synthesis, as indicated in this Outline by BA, are extremely wide ranging, what has stood out to me more than ever is the overall coherency of the new synthesis of communism. I think that this is an important point that is not well understood, and I wanted to briefly comment on this. This coherency clearly stems from BA’s consistent grounding in a scientific method and approach, which I have gained a deeper appreciation for over the course of the Cultural Revolution within the RCP, and most recently from this document and also the Interview with Ardea Skybreak. I feel that this Outline (in combination with that Skybreak Interview) has contributed to giving me (and presumably others) a more synthesized understanding of the interrelationship of the many layers and dimensions of the new synthesis of communism and how these different parts mesh together to form an integrated and coherent  whole. This understanding stands in marked contrast to a more mechanical and linear approach, which tends to view each particular theoretical breakthrough in isolation, divorced from other core elements or from the underlying scientific method and approach.    

The more that I have read (and re-read) this document, the more that it has caused me not only to think about the profound and qualitative leap represented by the new synthesis of communism, but also to reflect once again on what we have in BA and his leadership, and how precious he is to the masses of the world. Put bluntly, without the new synthesis of communism that BA has developed, we would not have the theoretical understanding required to emancipate humanity and forge a communist world. Those with responsibility to lead a communist revolution might still be well-intentioned, but we would be flailing, mired in idealism and continually pulled down in the undertow of various bourgeois-democratic, economist and reformist, and nationalist tendencies, unable to recognize how corrosive such tendencies are to making a communist revolution and advancing to a communist world. 

In reading this document, I was reminded of a statement made by BA that he doesn’t set out to write a great work; instead he proceeds from the orientation of meeting a great need. As this document demonstrates, this orientation has led to his wrestling with the thorniest contradictions that we face—and in the process, challenging the method and approach, and thinking on key political and ideological questions, that currently prevails within the communist movement. Furthermore, I think it is important to recognize that he has had to show tremendous perseverance and determination, because at every turn he has been met with resistance and outright opposition, as well as venom directed at him personally.      

It definitely does need to be said out loud: Thank you, BA for all that you have done and that you continue to do! The possibility of making an actual revolution and forging a new communist world has been greatly heightened as a direct result of the new synthesis of communism that you have developed, and are continuing to work to further develop, while providing leadership to the revolutionary struggle on so many crucial fronts.


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