Breaking Out of a Deadly Dynamic

An Excerpt from:
Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution

by Bob Avakian

Excerpt republished November 2, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following is from Part 1 of Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution, an edited transcript of a talk given by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Fall 2009. The entire work is available online at:


I want to begin by briefly speaking to the continuing relevance and importance of the “two historically outmodeds” analysis in today’s world—that is, historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, with a particular focus on U.S. imperialism. As we have, for good reason, repeatedly emphasized, the greater harm done and the greater danger to humanity is by far embodied in the imperialist “outmoded,” and in particular U.S. imperialism. And because of this, it is criminal to (at least objectively) support U.S. imperialism and its many monstrous crimes in the name of opposing the other “outmoded.” Even with the very real horrors committed by Islamic fundamentalists—against women in particular, but against the masses of people more generally—it must never be forgotten, or covered up, that these very forces and the crimes they commit have, in a fundamental sense, been fostered by the imperialist system itself, directly and indirectly, through conscious efforts to support and build them up in certain circumstances (for example, U.S. support for and massive aid to such fundamentalists in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation of that country) and through the overall functioning of the imperialist system with the massive dislocation and upheaval and brutal oppression and suffering it causes for masses of people in the countries of the Third World under imperialist domination.

Breaking Out of a Deadly Dynamic

It is also very important to emphasize yet again that these “two outmodeds” do, in fact, reinforce each other even while opposing each other; and that therefore supporting either of these “outmodeds” leads to the strengthening of both and the continuation of this deadly dynamic and a disastrous dead-end for humanity. This is something which many people have difficulty, for various reasons, grasping or coming to terms with. To put this another way, many people have a hard time understanding how it is we got to where we are today.

There is, ironically on the Fox channel, an interesting TV program called Lie to Me, whose main character (played by Tim Roth) is Dr. Cal Lightman, a scientist who is supposed to be the world’s leading deception expert. As presented in this program, Lightman is able to study people’s body language and facial expressions, etc., and tell much more accurately than a lie detector when they are lying or covering something up, or what emotions they are feeling, even when this may be manifested in ways that are difficult to discern by the ordinary person without the necessary training. Well, whether it is really possible, scientifically, to determine things like this in this way—or to what degree that might be possible—may be of interest, but it is of secondary interest in regard to the point I am emphasizing here. More interesting, in this regard, is an exchange that took place in one of the episodes of this program (Lie to Me) where the FBI had gone in and bugged some Islamic mosques, and at one point, as a result of doing this, they were supposedly able to prevent a crime from having been committed—another “terrorist act,” although on a lesser scale than September 11, 2001. And then in the aftermath of this, at the end of this episode, there is an exchange between Lightman and an FBI agent (played by Mekhi Phifer), where Lightman says: Well, you may have prevented a specific act, but you’ve created a lot more Islamic fundamentalists by the way you did it—because you went in and committed this outrage against a sacrosanct mosque, you invaded this holy place in this way by bugging it. And the FBI agent comes back with: Yes, but we prevented this horrible act from taking place. In response to this, Lightman insists that you have to think about the longer term effects—to which the FBI agent replies: that’s a problem for tomorrow. And then Lightman comes back with the punch line, which “caps” the exchange: How do you think you got to today?

This, in its own way, captures what a lot of people don’t understand. You keep this dynamic going—whether it’s Israel or the U.S.—you go and you obliterate whole sections of a country, as was done in Lebanon and then in Gaza by Israel with the full backing of the U.S. (including Obama, by the way, in the middle of his campaign in 2008) and, with every bomb that falls, with every small child that’s buried in the rubble, you are creating a new generation of thousands and thousands of Islamic fundamentalists. Now, of course, there is a role—a very important role—for people who are genuinely, and from a much better place, against the imperialist system and opposed to what Israel represents in the overall framework of the imperialist system and as an occupying colonial settler state in Palestine; it’s the responsibility of such people to actively resist this, and it’s our responsibility to unite with people in opposing this and work to win them to our revolutionary viewpoint. But when people, especially those in the imperialist countries themselves, support, or passively acquiesce in and do nothing to oppose, the acts of war and wanton slaughter, torture and so on, carried out by their governments, which today are aimed largely against people in the Middle East and other countries where Islam is the dominant religion—and whether this support or acquiescence is justified in the name of “modernity,” in the name of ending horrible oppression of women, or is rationalized in some other way—this only serves to reinforce the dynamic where the imperialists have a freer hand to carry out these acts, and as a consequence new legions of Islamic fundamentalists are being created. So that tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow there are more and more people willing and determined to engage in acts of “terrorism against the West”—while, in the name of opposing these acts, and the forces who commit them, you are supporting imperialism or Israel or other reactionary forces in the world—while the dynamic goes on, and on, and the terms become increasingly worse.

People need to be confronted with that question: How do you think we got to today—and what do you think is going to be the dynamic if we don’t actually stand up and oppose the crimes committed by U.S. imperialism, by our own government, in our name—or, even worse, if we actually support these crimes in the name of the horrors committed by the other “outmoded,” by Islamic fundamentalists and other similar reactionary forces?

All this emphasizes, once again, the need to break out of, and fully rupture with, this whole framework and dynamic. Unless and until this is done, the people whose actual interests don’t lie with either one of these reactionary forces, either one of these “historically outmodeds,” will have no initiative, no way in which their real interests can actually be expressed in the powerful way they need to be.

So, it is crucial that revolutionaries and communists—but others as well who genuinely abhor these crimes committed by the one outmoded and the other, and who want to see a different kind of world where these crimes are not endlessly perpetrated and perpetuated—step forward and resist this. And this is all the more so, in recognition of two things, if you’re in the imperialist countries and in particular the U.S. First, it is in reality the imperialist “outmoded,” and in particular U.S. imperialism, which by far has done the greatest harm and poses the greatest danger to humanity. That’s an objective fact. I challenge anyone to look into the facts objectively, and if you do so you cannot but come to the conclusion that this is true.

And secondly, in recognition of the fact that you live in this country, that this government acts in your name and justifies its acts on the basis of “protecting” you and acting in your interests. This only gives a further dimension to the need to step forward and oppose this imperialist “outmoded” in particular while, at the same time, working to break things out of this whole framework—opposing both “outmodeds” and the ways in which this deadly dynamic goes on where they mutually reinforce each other even while opposing each other.




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