Thoughts in light of the “THE NEW COMMUNISM COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING—IF…” article

April 4, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:


I have been strongly influenced by Bob Avakian (BA) and the RCP throughout my political development, which has had many twists, turns, advances, and setbacks over the years. Ultimately it was not until a little over a year ago that I really became actively supportive and partisan to the new communism and the leadership of the RCP in making an actual revolution to emancipate humanity. There are other supporters in my area who I have worked alongside with in Refuse Fascism, and our efforts to contribute to its mission becoming a success takes up most of our time and energy. That being said, since then I kind of just read things on my own in a nominally systematic way, participate as a core organizer with Refuse Fascism in my area, send the occasional correspondence to Revolution/, and spreading and discussing all this on various social media. I haven’t really given feedback on my work/development, but that should be changing to a degree after working out some plans to improve this with other supporters in my area. Also, we have arranged two screenings and discussions of sections of the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! DVD. I was left wishing that it could be like this all the time, or at least more often than the sporadic gatherings we have managed to make time for amidst all the shit going on in this country.

I also consider that I’m not subordinate to the Party’s Constitution, its discipline and standards, although I do aspire to be—and I try to take up aspects of it voluntarily to prepare myself. However, a lot of times my negative self-perception will keep me down (which in no small part is a reflection of this system’s culture and values), thinking I might not really be cut out to meet the Party standards. I have some individualistic tendencies that I think could only be fundamentally overcome by being involved in heightened collectivity with other supporters, and there are real objective limitations that prevent this from just being willed into being. To be clear, absolutely nothing said here should prevent doing the work needed to contribute as much as possible and keep my own theoretical and practical development advancing. 

“We revolutionary communists are supposed to represent and speak in the name of the interests of all of humanity. And we are supposed to do so on the basis of science and nothing less.”

“The new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian (BA) really is a total game-changer, which objectively represents and constitutes the opening of a whole new chapter in the historical evolution of communist theory and practice. IT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING. But this will happen only IF the New Communism of BA becomes widely known, takes root, and spreads ever more broadly, in a kind of geometric progression, throughout this society and also throughout the entire world.”

There is a lot of urgency in the article, and for good fucking reason. The majority of people on the planet do not have an understanding of the situation that humanity faces, much less a grasp of the even basic fundamentals of the kind of science and scientific method we need to emancipate humanity and save the earth from ecological collapse. I recall the times when I really understood and felt the ruptures in my thinking and the journey I was being taken on as I further engaged with the new communism and the larger body of work of BA (and also especially the Demarcations journal). In my particular case, this was leading me out of the mire of Ajithism (a masterfully encapsulating term) that I had been trapped in for years. Breaking with the mass line, separation of communism and the labor movement (and the enriched critique of economism), solid core and elasticity (not just all solid core), emancipation of humanity—not “the first shall be last,” critique of the reification of the proletariat. These have been really transformational aspects of the framework brought about by the new communism that have developed my thought personally and continue to help situate me toward being scientific and shedding all kinds of epistemological blinders.

To bring this back in relation to the article, I want to echo its appeal to the ranks of the Party: don’t let it be the case that partisans outside of the Party you belong to are taking this more seriously and more critically engaging with it more than you are. Obviously this is still a problem, as this contradiction is one that the Cultural Revolution within the RCP is trying to address. As outlined in THE NEW COMMUNISM, “[…] there is a basis for this Party to be what it needs to be; and, as a key aspect of that, there are the forces—forces inside the Party, and others who are at this time still outside the Party—who want to fight to go forward on this road, and who need to be led to fight forward on this road, including new people coming into the Party.1 Really, get to work on resolving this contradiction—and it starts with those in the ranks of the Party who are supposed to be communists… actually being communists! It’s really fucking great for us all that this contradiction was even identified to begin with. Obviously the new communism hasn’t taken root like it needs to, but it has a little bit here and there, and it will continue to do so as more people are introduced to BA and the Party he leads through one or another initiative. If the “new faces” and “ones and twos,” like me and others who are being attracted to and are working to take up and spread the new communism, if we cannot be integrated and articulated into this Party (on the right basis—and being up to the standards of the Party’s Constitution), then we will bang on your doors until you do or else we’ll be tragically, needlessly squandered. I hope this letter helps those who aren’t seeing it to understand that there are indeed people out there who really give a shit about this.

Back to my own reflections on BA’s interventions and the model of revolutionary leadership that he concentrates—one thing I regret most in my political development is that unlike how BA consistently models for us an outstanding and necessary method and approach—I cannot say I have really begun to try to bring others along with me on this journey.2 In light of the barefoot doctor/Huxley orientation that is called for here, I often find myself taking the easy road of a basic barefoot doctor—which isn’t at all commensurate to my level of understanding. One obstacle is contending with the pervasive culture of snark within people of my age group. An aspect of my coming of age is—like many others—being steeped in internet shock culture, the kind of shooting-at-all-sides attitude where nothing is safe from being an object of abject mockery, this heart-numbing cynicism and inability to form healthy social bonds that comes from excelling at tearing others down. It took years to even regain basic humanity, like even a minimal sense of giving a damn about other people’s suffering outside of my own. The fact is that “for whom and for what” this is all about has not really been integrated into my consciousness, so being afraid to say something stupid or fearing the intense ridicule that will at some point come from going out into the world with BA and the new communism earnestly is still a heavy pull. It’s another one of the multitude of ways that people are torn down and tear themselves down under this rotten system of capitalism-imperialism. In areas without things like Revolution Clubs or Revolution Books, in situations where supporters may be scattered from each other and face objective limitations that prevent greater collectivity—it’s hard to take this out if you don’t fully sense that you’ve got a strong core of people who can back you up through it all—while also understanding that even if you don’t have that (in the case of lone supporters out there)… goddammit someone has to do this if there’s any hope for the world to be transformed.

“[…] one thing is crystal clear: There is nothing that would be more important to accomplish in this period of history than to succeed in breaking through some of these obstacles and getting the New Communism, as well as its architect, BA (the person who has elaborated and developed this new synthesis of communism, and who himself stands as a concentrated expression of its core principles and scientific methods), widely known, engaged and appreciated throughout this society (and among all strata), and beyond that throughout the world.”


On the point that if the new communism doesn’t take root, “there really is no point to any of the other things we do,” I was taken aback by this. Like damn, really? There’s no point to any of the work and initiatives? A supporter brought up that in the formulation “Fight the Power, Transform the People, for Revolution,” it’s the “for Revolution” that is the decisive component that the other components are in relation to.

On the point that “in relation to our strategic communist objectives, the failure of what is represented by Refuse Fascism might well end up putting the final nail in our coffin.” I initially felt a bit of outrage, my thinking was that these people better mean the literal annihilation of all humans that compose the movement for revolution, and not for a second that giving up is an option. This is probably the result of not having a fully formed understanding of what is meant by the statement “what is represented by Refuse Fascism”—since my first thoughts are “why would we give up if the consolidation of fascism fails by some other means unforeseen by us or mainly outside of our conscious initiative?” Perhaps a little more clarity on this “what is represented by Refuse Fascism” point would have cleared up any whiffs of defeatism—a clearer picture of what it could mean concretely for the movement for revolution if fascism is consolidated in the U.S. Some supporters I spoke with helped me explore different dimensions when I brought this up, but overall I was urged to compose my thoughts and send this letter.


I wonder how BA’s interventions could still “bear fruit” if we don’t succeed in the core mission? Future generations would dust off the tomes that were buried as the movement was forced underground? Maybe one dimension of this, a more optimistic one, is that there are people who are fighting for the new communism to take root in other countries. I do think that these efforts should be propagated more widely. Articles from A World to Win News Service are often buried at the bottom of the Revolution newspaper current issue page on the website. Frankly I don’t think this is appropriate, these developments are not only important in their own right and have implications for us here as well as the world generally, but are also downright inspiring.


Ultimately the article is a welcome jolt of urgency with the calm scientific certitude that will be continuously needed. It doesn’t pull any punches and there’s no bullshit. Even with my confusion and anger at some parts, I fundamentally agreed and felt the need to reassess how much I’m contributing in light of how much I could contribute to this mission.


1 Bob Avakian, “The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP” from THE NEW COMMUNISM, p. 318 (Insight Press, 2016) [back]

2 This particular article from Lenny Wolff was pivotal in my study of the new synthesis of communism and helped me gain a concrete vision of how we should model ourselves. “On the Revolutionary Road with Chairman Avakian“ [back]



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