Correspondence from Readers about Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis



Reflections off Reading Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis

Editors note: These are edited excerpts of reflections by members of the National Revolution Tour and the Revolution Club, sparked by their reading and engagement of Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis: Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism, by Bob Avakian.

I mainly dedicated a lot of time to rereading the piece Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis and there’s a lot to get into, so these are just my initial thoughts as well as questions.

I think that there are many important things that are tightly packed into this piece, including how to approach the ways people are thinking in this moment with a fascist regime in power and acting commensurately with that. It really speaks to where the outlooks of individualism, American chauvinism, parasitism actually come from and are not just forms of “selfishness” that get in the way of people acting in the interest of humanity, but are outlooks that have a real material basis in reality to be taken up spontaneously because of the workings of capitalism-imperialism and how it conditions people to think. Also, if challenged in the right way it can be transformed and has to be seen as a problem of the revolution that we have to solve with the very masses of people who are influenced by it in one way or another in order to change it.

I was thinking more about what BA says: “[T]here’s a tremendous importance to people, even before they become highly developed theoretically, to get a basic understanding that there is no necessity, there is no permanent necessity, to the existing conditions, and why that is so. This is the source of hope, not on the basis of illusions such as those propagated and perpetuated by religion, but on a scientific basis.”

How do we unleash this hope in a mass way and have a situation where many people are starting to see that the world doesn’t have to be this way even in a basic sense? How does that relate to the two-way street and the role of the revolutionaries in this moment? I think I see a lot of this basic hope within the youth who are striking for the climate around the world, or the students on different campuses more recently protesting against Ann Coulter, Trump Jr., etc., and the people flooding the streets in different countries demanding the ouster of oppressive regimes. Where that goes is a question, but I think that’s where a lot of the potential for things to break open in society lies, and how these different outpourings and responses in society can have an impact on the people who are not acting, and is key in the process of making revolution. I feel like once this basic understanding comes into play, a whole lot of different things can come into question and to the fore even in a short period of time, but there’s a need to follow those basic convictions through because individualism/American chauvinism are actively working against even obtaining that basic understanding. But I think outlining where hope comes from on a scientific basis, and comparing it to faith/religion or lack of hope is important, because it allows people to compare and contrast what is to how things could be, and how there’s a basis to get there in reality, if that makes sense.

Not to jump around, but something I hadn’t thought of more deeply but struck me when rereading this piece was the section on individualism and “indifference.” And I think it’s because this outlook I’ve seen play out and taken up by people I know (including myself) who should know better, and has done great harm to people on an individual level but ultimately great harm to the masses of humanity. And the indifference can go easily unnoticed or unchallenged because it’s very much the norm, but makes it all the more poisonous, frustrating and dangerous. What I see and have seen in people is very concentrated in these two parts:

You think you’re acting independently, but you’re really just caught within a web which conditions how you act (and how you think), while, at the same time, this “independence” often takes the form—and here again is the phenomenon of oblivious individualism—of indifference toward other people. This can be expressed in the outlook that “I’m not consciously trying to mess over other people, I’m just pursuing my own interests and my ‘dreams’ (I’m just ‘doing me’)”—but in reality you’re being forced into competition and conflict with other people, and you’re being impelled to be indifferent to the effect of all this on those others by the “spontaneity” of how this system operates.

I’ve experienced and seen a lot of this “I’m doing me,” and thought it was wrong and ugly, but didn’t actually walk it all the way through on what that kind of outlook is bound up with and what the actual effects are in reality when you act like that. People are individuals, but we don’t just exist as individuals and what we choose to do or not do has an effect on the people around us and on society as whole, even if we know it or not.

The thing around being forced into competition and conflict is still something I’m wrestling with, but I can see it in the ways that women are forced to compete with one another over men, or people ignoring the larger world on the basis of doing their own thing, meanwhile, the ability to function that way actually rests on the lives of human beings, especially living in America where everything we have or own is acquired through a global network of exploitation (food, clothes, etc.) And this kind of mentality really reminds me of the dominant social media culture/selfie culture where people live out their whole lives posting pictures of themselves or their brand on social media and it can be liked by thousands of people, who in turn those people are kind of living vicariously through these social media influencers because they want that kind of life and can’t have it, and gives them a way to be consumed with something really meaningless and not pay attention to the world. [back to top]


There’s a lot to be gleaned from why it is that BA opens up this work, which deals a lot with the obstacles that stand in the way of masses of people acting in the interests of humanity, in a way that shatters the misguided and harmful notion that “things have always been this way” or, at least, “nothing can be done to change things.” BA provides some texture of “the times” of the Sixties, not just because it’s interesting in its own right (although it is), but as a way to illustrate how drastically different circumstances and people can be, and how quickly they can be transformed in a positive direction. This overall analysis and summation of this period, the key social forces and the thinking of the people, is done with a lot of materialism and historical sweep. The section which hits at religion illustrates an approach and method which is consistent with what he put forward in the Dialogue with Cornel West, and the “big arms” of a communist statesman. It’s really important to know why religion is such a mental shackle, what that means in general, and in particular for the struggle against oppression and for revolution and a better world.

The section on individualism deals with both the underlying philosophical and material underpinnings of the forms of individualism that are so dominant in the society and the world and their connection to the world-historic conjunction we face with ascendant, consolidating fascism and the largely passive, inactive masses of people who are effectively collaborating with and allowing this to happen by their inaction. The formulation of Pelosi’s “Three Fears” is particularly relevant for how we both orient people and how we “push on” the objective situation in this period, and without this analysis, masses of people will be left confused and led by one section of the bourgeoisie or another to explain (or explain away) the divisions at the top.

Similarly, the “A Question and A Challenge” on the real possibility of Trump either being re-elected or refusing to leave office, continues to be essential. We’ve used this “provocation” a lot in the course of mass work (although a lot more could be, and should be done going forward, as RefuseFascism/#OUTNOW continues towards another manifestation), and it has transformed some of how we’ve gone at working with people, in that it concentrates a good deal of method: putting the problems of the revolution (and what is, in this case, a BIG problem for the masses of humanity overall, whether they realize it or not) before the masses of people, and active social investigation as a pivot into organizing. This experience has been uneven, particularly when it comes to organizing, and it’s totally different from passive social investigation, which can be a tendency.

The question of individuality being given flight and people’s potential creativity and freedom being unleashed on a whole other level and with a different basis under Communism is something that really connected with me in a way this point hasn’t before. The way it’s put here was very illuminating. [back to top]


This shit really got my brain going... It so well stitched and consistent! BA is so awesome. Mostly I feel like I need to read it two or three more times though to be honest.

While reading Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis there were a lot of things that provoked me, but I felt profoundly struck by this part near the beginning where BA is talking about the relation between the movement for revolution and the immediate need to #OUTNOW the fascists. This is not a one-way street and should not be viewed in a linear mechanical sense, i.e. “first we build a mass movement to remove the Trump/Pence fascists and then turn our efforts to working for revolution.” He makes the point that we have to unite and mobilize masses of people from different perspectives, but that it will be extremely difficult to do this on the scale and with the determination that is needed to meet our objective if there are not greater numbers of people coming forward around the understanding that its both necessary to remove the regime, and the whole system from whose contradictions fascism is born. In particular, I was provoked by the this determination point. I started to wonder about what kind of determination will be required and how that determination will be forged and what kind of understanding is needed to fuel and sustain it. BA does make the point in this same paragraph that “[T]he more that people are brought forward to be consciously, actively working for revolution, the growing strength and ‘moral authority’ of this revolutionary force will in turn strengthen the resolve of growing numbers of people to drive out this fascist regime now in power, even as many will not be (and some will perhaps never be) won to revolution.” I get the sense that hope and determination go together, and that the defining character of that hope is decisive. Will the determination of the people be forged by the kind of hope that is marked by any of the many strands of individualism? Or will the determination of the people be forged, influenced, and strengthened by the understanding, even a basic understanding at first, of why there is no permanent necessity for things to be as they are now? Hope on a scientific basis.

If the latter is to win out, the forces for revolution need to be thinking of strategic, creative, and tactical ways to wage the ideological battle for the emancipation of humanity now in that most crucial arena of Epistemology. Deepening our own understanding and thereby strengthening our own resolve while carrying this out in practice is crucial. Knowing is theoretical vitality, it gives us hope and fuels our determination, it can and must do the same very broadly for humanity and its future. BA makes this clear and emphasizes that it’s not just that Knowing about actual reality and grasping the essential character of the scientific method is crucial for academics, but it is vitally important for those who catch the worst hell under this fucked-up system here and all over the world; for all those who can and must become not just the backbone, but the driving force of a revolution to bend the bars and break the chains of all oppression and exploitation throughout the world.

To uproot a thing you have to have a firm grip. To uproot the parasite of capitalism-imperialism, you’re gonna need the most consistent, systematic, and comprehensive scientific approach to reality, the communist world outlook and method, and more specifically, the work that BA has been doing for decades. On this point of the communist world outlook, it’s actually what is needed. BA says, “Confronting reality as it actually is—and as it is changing and developing—and understanding the underlying and driving forces in this, is crucial in order to play a decisive and leading role in bringing about this revolution and ushering in a whole new era in human history....” Marx and Engels for their part made the declaration over 150 years ago that the communist revolution, and emancipating principles, methods, and aims involves a radical rupture with the traditional property relations that enslave people, and a radical rupture with all the traditional ideas that reflect and reinforce those property relations. Understanding the radical difference between faith and the process of acquiring rational knowledge is of the utmost importance in carrying out the struggle to achieve these two sets of radical ruptures, and taking the next leap toward a whole new and liberating era in human history. All this has really provoked and inspired some ambition in me to dig deeper and fight harder in the arena of epistemology, to step up my game and deepen my understanding, to learn from and alongside my comrades and the masses, while fighting for and seeking out the truth no matter how unpopular it might be. [back to top]


I have been thinking a lot about the title of the BA’s book: Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis and what the relationship is between hope and a scientific basis. And that there is a dialectical relationship between both understanding scientifically why the world doesn’t have to be this way and hope for something better. Hope in something real. Not religion or things that are unseen but hope for something that could be. I think about Outernational’s song, I got these dreams, when I sleep and I got these dreams that really could be. In a time where the future is in peril, the planet itself and a fascist regime on the brink of consolidating power—big questions of whether or not there is going to be the future, hope on scientific foundation is our biggest strength. If it were to take root, (and how does it take root?) it could be game changing.

 I was struck by in the piece where he talks about the tremendous importance to people getting a basic understanding that there is no necessity of existing conditions and why that it is, and I wonder how do we bring that understanding to people, not just in a one-to-one way but to blocs of people and what’s the process people enter into to develop that understanding, not just in an academic sense, although theory is tremendously important for people. One thing that I have gotten a deeper appreciation is the relationship between the Enriched What Is To Be Doneism, putting the problems before people, and the struggle over how people arrive at what’s true and what they understand.

Part of this, is people themselves are then brought into a conscious process of getting at what’s true and I think we need a lot more of this—but also not applying EWITBD because you are trying to get people to think a certain way, but you are trying to get them to THINK CRITICALLY, also wanting to learn a lot from that process vs. we have our fixed way of doing things. This is a big part of what I applied with people who came to the meeting, asking them about the elections, how did they see the elections stopping this? What would happen if Trump won again? What do they understand about what we are trying to do?

And then there are a lot of other important points BA is making about what we are confronted by, in particular in a country like this, where people whose outlook is self out, and the fact that, yes, people are individuals but they are that IN A larger context.

Some of us were re-watching that movie Human Flow by Ai Weiwei which everyone should see; it’s about the massive refugee crisis and it documents what people go through along with really bringing to life their humanity, and this hits you even harder, because these people aren’t just numbers, but as Rachel Corrie said, “They are us and we are them.” And then you think of people who are have literally spent their whole lives in these refugee camps with nothing, not electricity, no clean water, no clean sanitation, with disease and so forth, and all the gates and walls going up around the country, and then people want to say, well I’m just going to “do me” or follow my dreams. Completely oblivious not only to what is happening in the world, but actually part of why this shit has happened has been because of what YOUR country has done to these other countries in pursuit of its riches, the wars, the destruction to the environment. You want to think you are independent of this but you aren’t, you are part of this, your life, your goodies came from that, you are bound up in this network of exploitation, you didn’t choose it, but you exist in it so let’s all just stop pretending like we are just people following our dreams absent of that. This was one thing that had a big impact on me, when I went to Costa Rica and we stayed in a village, and we stayed in this really nice house with a pool and everything, and next door, people had huts with no electricity. And on my visit—I was seriously considering living there and being off the grid, not working anymore, but then I confronted, actually while I was there, and even more sharply—did I really want to be someone who turned my back on all those other people so that I could have my comforts. And so I decided against it.

This is also what I was thinking about in relation to the American Crime series. That people have no fucking idea what is happening around the world or what these imperialists have done and the murderous organization that the Democratic Party is. I’d like us to have a big chart with all the crimes of the Democratic Party and have people add on to it as a project, something visual that could be taken to different places where you say—how many people have to be massacred by an organization before you declare them a murderous organization... It’s amazing to me you can live in a country responsible for such massive atrocities—as Frederick Douglass said, “For revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”

There’s a lot to say too about the BEB, the illusions of Painless Progress, & people striving to come under the wing of the bourgeoisie, and all this is driven by not what is in the interests of humanity, but by self, not paying attention to the larger dynamics shaping up in society and so forth. The thing that struck me in this piece too is how he identifies all the different expressions of how the individualism takes shape in opposition to a communist outlook—the narrowness of identify politics, the pseudo-cynicism, excusing your refusal to do anything and a persistent sense of entitlement, not wanting to confront the overt leap of fascism because it means you might have to do things differently.

There is really a lot of ugliness in people’s thinking, but all of this is important to compare and contrast, hitting at the American Chauvinism can break people out of that. Even when Colin Kaepernick sat down for the flag, what got cut out was the best thing about it—how he was challenging the narrative that America is the greatest country in the world, and instead what he was doing was “being patriotic” by trying to make this country live up to its true values... So I think there is a question around how do you hit at something that deep and what is the relationship between standing up, and going up against all the ways of thinking in society and bringing to life that fact that the world doesn’t have to be this way—we could have a world without all this white supremacy, exploitation, degradation of women, without the wars and borders and walls and tanks to enforce them, and how truly liberating that would be. Something worth fighting and dying for & something worth sacrificing for. [back to top]


When I first read this piece, the part that stood out to me was the one on the youth. How BA was posing questions or where is it that the youth are at and where he provided different observations from the past when he was younger & during the time of the ’60s to some obstacles the youth are going through now. He talked about how the feeling of “who are these people to run things” not coming from a self out or identity perspective but coming from the danger... to humanity or feeling like they are incapable of what is needed to be done. This point led me to pay more attention to art & culture among the youth from popular artists to memes, TikToks & YouTube content creators.

... Every generation has some bit of rebelliousness but the character matters & a lot of what is out there is in alignment with the points on individualism that he makes in this piece.

The other point that I mentioned earlier was the point on the infantilization of the youth and treating them as if they can’t or shouldn’t handle the reality of what’s going on. This made me reflect on my years of high school, some of our work with students, but more so how youth are treated in society overall. I’ve noticed that when talking to youth seriously and speaking plainly to the reality of what is going on, the more common reaction is retreating in to the comfort of that “infancy” or so to speak “I’m too young” or “I can’t vote” and other responses that correspond to this.

It’s very tricky because at the same time there is a major wave of youth stepping out around the climate crises & who are taking up the position of “you guys have fucked up the world and now it’s up to us to save it.” Yet this goes out of focus & that conscious recognition goes back to an oblivious & parasitic state. Modeled in new pop culture trends of alternative lifestyles or “groups” such as VSCO girls—who are eco-conscious but still live consumer lives with talk of saving turtles by having metal straws or e-girls & boys who are modern day “scene kids” that ridicule this lifestyle but seem to have a basic agreement that if anything the environment is being destroyed but who are still proceeding from ME ME ME I I I with their internet personas. I think this new piece not only poses a lot of questions but provides some concrete backing for the potential that there is to tap into what could be a turning point in (1) learning from people & (2) giving people hope on a scientific foundation.

I’ll have to read it again but I hope to write more thoughts on this in the future. [back to top]


In general I think this is a very complete piece that breaks down some important fundamental theory, and at the same time is struggling big time to break down most of the dominant frameworks in American society, as well as the challenges posed to people who want to fight for revolution.

For example one very heavy insight is brought up when the author at the beginning is talking about the fight to oust fascism, and references Steve King’s comment which is very heavy and as he points out has a “demented insight” of what are some of the dynamics that are at play right now with the fascists and the opposition. BA rightly points out that such comment is full of aggression, but he goes further into acknowledging not only the righteousness of fighting and standing for different rights (in this case trans rights), but also the real limitations of outlook of those people in the right side of the divide: narrowness related to identity (and other things) and the fact that such a narrow approach doesn’t pay attention to the larger dynamics shaping society as a whole and that ultimately are going to be affecting and defining to a large degree what happens with those rights that people are fighting to defend. This is not just a great insight of BA, but is a real problem, because such a narrowness is the most widespread phenomena among those people opposing injustice or even when opposing Trump directly. This is also a model, which runs through the piece, of bringing to life the reality of what we are confronting, and leading the reader to understand why, for example, that approach is narrow without seeming careless about real particular injustices that are being carried out (and heightened).

Quoting the Why/How speech [Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution], there is a statement on how it would be more difficult to mobilize people around the demand of T/P out, at the scale and with the determination that is required if there are not greater numbers of people being brought forward with a revolutionary understanding. I thought when I first heard it that it was a profound statement which was true in part because having a revolutionary outlook would allow for people to more easily identify when the struggle is being hijacked (let’s say solutions that can lead to a resolution short of getting rid of the regime, for example replacing Trump with another fascist who is gonna carry out the same program). Or getting people demobilized given certain concessions short of getting rid of regime. Specially given the level of American chauvinism and illusion in painless progress, any kind of resistance could be corralled back into the workings of the system—like right now in Colombia, given precisely the illusion of painless progress, the uprising that is going on right now in the country is calling for certain demands short of the ousting of the fascist in power, and seeking to meet with the government to get to agreements and reforms- so having a growing core of revolutionaries would strengthen the OUTNOW movement..... Some examples that can be drawn for example have been the mobilizations we have seen across the world in the past months and years, in which the scale and determination of the struggle came more from the workings of the system itself which opened up people’s eyes on what is the role of the police, for example, or the role of the politicians, or the press, and stood up in growing and more determined resistance. (There is an example of mothers in Hong Kong defending their kids in a peaceful way have been attacked by police, which has lead them to more fiercely speak up and defend the protests in a moment when the state have been trying to criminalize them).

“Parasitism, American Chauvinism, and Individualism”

I think it is very important specially for people in the middle class everywhere and people living in imperialist countries in general, to wrangle and examine social phenomena they are part of, things they have been led to think, and to enable them to see why people’s minds are occupied with certain things. And this is a big part of what this section is about.

For example the selfie phenomena, the branding yourself, hedonism, acquisitiveness (as the ideological seal of parasitism), and the connection of those seemingly harmless ways of thinking with the parasitism of this society and the fact that whole sections are led into occupying their minds with those things, precisely because in a more globalized capitalism, the main economic activity of imperialist countries (and now middle class in Third World countries too) has to do with finance and financial speculation, or the high end of technology (and not so much the production of basic materials for life). So that is not just a matter of harmless interests, but those interests have been shaped precisely because of the position those countries/class occupy in the world economy. Let’s say for example, branding yourself, the self-creation of status, wouldn’t really be the first thing you would think of if you were a peasant trying to make ends meet every harvest cycle, and in fact, the peasants I have been around have no notion of branding themselves, in opposition to people with more middle-class aspirations. It doesn’t mean that this phenomena doesn’t affect people of all walks of life, precisely because imperialism is like a parasite reaching out to every corner, and in fact even people who don’t have a brand are branding themselves through social media, or just by bragging about things, because we are all forced into this relation of competition. But it is an important understanding that people’s preoccupations are very much shaped by the position they hold in the production chain (themselves or the positions the countries where they are born has). So all of that to say that part of fighting for people to break with the parasitic entitlement that comes spontaneously with living in an imperialist country or by being part of a privileged class, is to show people where those things come from and how disgustingly people get manipulated into accepting things as the natural order of things, when in reality there is a larger phenomena shaping all of that. That ideological part of the parasitism, as well as the material part (that society couldn’t function, or those ways of living couldn’t really be possible without the whole network of production and exploitation worldwide) is something I really appreciate from the piece, that through the whole of it, it is dealing with those more prominent phenomena that hold people into going along with the world as it is, as a fundamental struggle that HAS to be waged and popularized if we are to seek a real change. And again the author goes through it all in a way that is just remarkably accessible, giving living examples on how everyday customs/assumptions/etc. are closely linked with the structural organization of the society.

I also appreciate of this section the profound analysis of how this whole imperialism leads people to identify their interests, and status, with the dominant position of the U.S. This is very close to me also because I have seen that in my own family, that once moved to the U.S., see themselves as holders of more status, even as in this country they are being oppressed. And that seems as a general rule even for those in a worst situation, like the family who stayed, who also would see the ones living in the U.S. as better people and those staying in as of lesser status. It was very spontaneous, and if one thinks about it, it’s so disgusting to make an equivalence of the dominant position of a country that accomplished it by destroying other peoples lives, to make an equivalence of that to your own worth. Definitely comes down to getting in on the oppression, even as it is not a conscious decision. So this as a very literal example, but in the document BA struggles hard on the fact that silence is complicity and in the face of all the horrors that this country commits against the people of the world, knowing about it and being silenced is one of those forms of just getting in on the oppression.

“Identity Politics and Individualism”

This whole section in general is so important because is directly polemicizing against the most common and spontaneous paths that people take in dealing with oppression and how identity politics is shaping the terms of people’s opposition to the system and its horrors, terms that are all upside down and actually work counter to any attempt to get rid of oppression. To a great degree this section sets the criteria by which things should be judged and acted on (example with trauma phenomena, the cancel culture, etc...) and walks people thru some of the texture of why one path could lead to liberation and not the other one.

Identity politics can be seen as a liberating outlook because it upholds oppressed people, and I appreciated the quote from All Played Out, which is very enlightening: “there is the ‘politics of ‘identity’ that really comes back down to me.’” Reflecting on it, that outlook of identity politics doesn’t look into strategies for getting rid of oppression, but instead just seeks to provide with some gratification or some sort of “reparation” to oppressed individuals in the form of “letting them speak, giving them a platform, having a safe space, etc....” And leaving out of the picture the whole fight for full liberation of the whole section of people.

In characterizing some of the elements associated to identity politics, in speaking about the trauma, I can’t agree more about the extreme to what this is taking to, and how idealistic is to carve out safe spaces, or pretend that the world goes around anyone’s particular trauma. But I actually think that when speaking about where the horrors that generate trauma come from, and the need for people to come together with determination to put an end to the causes of it, ... is the fact that the real trauma, depending of its levels and specifications, does need to be treated in itself, with the right tools and particularities. [I feel] ... only being part of a collective to fight to end the source of the atrocities that traumatize people, is not enough (nor the only thing needed) for people to actually be enabled to contribute as much as they can to such a goal. So not turning inwards is fundamental in the approach to end the source of oppression, as individuals who need it, should undergo a process of healing according to their situation. I think that is a more dialectical-materialist take on it, and something important to acknowledge.

“Individualism and ‘Indifference’”

I also appreciate the quoting of Ruminations and Wranglings on the personal ties of people. Ruminations and Wrangling has been such an important work to be able to understand a lot of the social relations (and all the dynamics intertwined with them, as the 4 Alls) that people enter into, to demystify them and see them for what they are, a network of relations which appear independent of the dynamics of capitalism, but in reality, a network defined by those dynamics. So “rumination” has been particularly helpful in the struggle to break with petit bourgeois illusions. And I really appreciate how in this piece: “Hope On A Scientific Basis,” the point that Marx makes on the apparent independence of personal ties is analyzed in how it takes the form of individualism and the indifference towards other people as “I am just a person, my own interests, doing me” and being forced to be indifferent towards others because of the relations people are forced into (competition, conflict) I think that is correct, and even as that formulation by Marx has been extremely helpful, I hadn’t analyzed that in this way.

“Particular Interests and General Interests”

This comment is actually something that runs through the whole piece (and in general in the works of BA) which we still can have a hard time doing, and is the way in which he doesn’t dismisses people’s fight against different forms of discrimination or exploitation, but he is able to draw out even as those fights are important, and shouldn’t be opposed, they don’t deal with the essence of what the problem is, and how they sometimes (like putting women in positions of power given their discrimination) end up reinforcing the relations of oppression. And he just breaks it down, the fundamental truth that other than revolution, everything else is BS, but done in a way in which people are led to understand why is that so. And a lot of why I think he is able to do that, is because he departs from reality, and not from dogma, from investigating and probing reality and not making “our truth” fit the real world. I think this is something we as a movement need to exercise more and develop so that it is how we approach things consistently.

I also want to highlight after the brief but in depth analysis of the forces for revolution, there is a challenge that get posed, as to what is it we need to do now, to do what is in the interest of humanity “in order for those ideas to be taken up by masses of people and made into a powerful material force for revolution, a tremendous struggle must be waged against ‘spontaneity’ and the overall influence of the currently dominant ways of thinking.” And that it is our responsibility, the responsibility of those who have come to a scientific understanding of the problem and solution, to go and wage that tremendous struggle among people. And this is really a call to go wage the necessary struggle, which means to go in the middle of where all the frameworks that keep people from understanding the world as is are taking hold, to get in the mix of things and fight to bust people off their frameworks. A positive example of this is the intervention done at the FTP rally in NYC. And we must be full energized and full confident that that is what we are supposed to be doing, and fight to do it even better, develop better forms to inspire more people, to challenge more people... and if there has been any kind of hesitation because of people’s response to our challenges, etc., then we have to consistently go back to this point that in order for this rev to be taken up by masses of people, we have to wage a tremendous struggle against all the dominant ways of thinking, and that is what would give us the confidence and the determination to go up against whatever odds we confront. Our slogan of “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution” has real meaning.

There is much more to say, about the rest of the piece, but given time I won’t be able to write it down, but I am looking forward to wrangling collectively about the implications and significance of the content of this piece, as well as the transformations we can make using it as part of the tools to inform our work, outlook, and method. [back to top]

An Urgent Question: What Are YOU Gonna Do NOW?


Every time I have gone over the article “Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of ‘Painless Progress’” that you have been running by Bob Avakian, I have been struck by the following questions that he poses “for the millions and tens of millions who hate everything Trump stands for but have failed or refused to mobilize, in their masses, in non-violent but sustained action around the demand that the Trump/Pence regime be removed from power, as has been called for by Refuse Fascism.”

The questions are:

If you will not take to the streets now to demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go, what will you do if Trump is re-elected (perhaps through the electoral college, even if he again loses the popular vote)? And what will you do if Trump loses the election (even by the electoral college count) but then refuses to recognize the results and insists he is still President?!

Of course there are other important questions posed in this article and there are other very strong and provocative sections of it. But I want to suggest that your readers take the two questions posed above that I have pulled out, put them on a big poster-board and then set them up on a downtown street, or in front of a campus cafeteria or student union, or at a busy transit hub, etc. with a sign saying something like, “We are asking this question of everyone. What do you think? And what do you think we can do about the fact that millions are not taking to the streets, now?” Then get into this – gather several people around to talk about it with each other, or call a meeting for later that day near the same spot where people can talk about it, or both. And then you go from there…

I think if people took this quote out like this, right now, very simply, and reported on the results to the website (write, we would learn something very important… and perhaps set in motion a larger process as we do. [back to top]


And here are some very relevant questions for the millions and tens of millions who hate everything Trump stands for but have failed or refused to mobilize, in their masses, in non-violent but sustained action around the demand that the Trump/Pence regime be removed from power, as has been called for by Refuse Fascism: If you will not take to the streets now to demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go, what will you do if Trump is re-elected (perhaps through the electoral college, even if he again loses the popular vote)? And what will you do if Trump loses the election (even by the electoral college count) but then refuses to recognize the results and insists he is still President?!

From "Individualism, BEB and the
Illusion of Painless Progress"

by Bob Avakian

A Reader Responds to Bob Avakian’s Talk: Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis: Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism

This new piece from Bob Avakian, “Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis: Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism,” has had a big impact on me. There were questions here that have been a struggle for me before but became more sharp after reading this piece.

The part that really struck me was the section “Parasitism, American Chauvinism, and Individualism.” First off, there is a lot in those four pages. And all those three things come together really blew my mind. He starts off with a critique of the “status obsessed culture,” “look at me doing this, look at me doing that” and how that culture feeds into the individualism, and the idea of your “brand” which goes hand in hand with the entre-manure-alism which is basically going for getting a piece of the pie and getting in on the oppression. But on its face, you don't see the underlying dynamics of capitalism and how all this is sitting on top of the millions all over the world, and you don't see the conditions of the existence of those people.

This all made me think of this article I was recently reading on the exploitation of children in Madagascar. It describes these children living their whole lives mining these minerals called Mica which is used in paint among other things, including glitter on makeup. This article described the horrible conditions these kids are living in, they interviewed a 6 year old, and one of the things he said was that he couldn't imagine life different than what he had been living and he couldn't imagine going to school. In stark contrast, you think about an American, living off the backs of all that, looking at glittery makeup going “ooh, pretty!” without knowing or thinking about where it all comes from, and why, what is underneath it all. In the piece, BA ties all this back to the American chauvinism. He makes the point that people end up “identifying personal interests, prospects and status with the dominant position of – and the plundering of the world and the masses of humanity by – U.S. capitalism imperialism.” The most grotesque manifestation of this is that there is no outcry about the mass destruction and crimes being done by the U.S. on the people of the world, and in our name.

BA makes the point that “there are 3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: 1) People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this. 2) People have to dig seriously and scientifically into how this system of capitalism-imperialism actually works, and what this actually causes in the world. 3) People have to look deeply into the solution to all this.”

All this made me confront some shit on a whole other level: the reality of the horrors that this system creates on the people of the world (not to over simplify it but...) so that Americans can put on pretty glitter makeup! While these children are living their lives in holes where they can hardly breathe to mine the Mica, and the countless other children who have been condemned to a life of misery and brutality, even before they are born! In the face of this, millions of people are stuck in that individualism, that parasitism, American Chauvinism. I was one of those people, the conditions of people in other parts of the world seemed abstract to me, and I was forced to confront the reality of how people are living their lives right now! It was one of these questions that seemed on the surface like “yeah, I'm aware that there is exploitation of people all over the world” but since I read this new piece, I find myself constantly thinking about these questions and seeing it all around us. I guess I was forced to confront this on a whole other level.

All I keep thinking about is the people all over the world who can't even begin to imagine life the way Americans live it, and we are able to live that way on the backs of all those people. In that same section BA says that in opposition to the poisonous outlook of American Chauvinism, the orientation that must be fought for is “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People's Lives” and “Internationalism – The Whole World Comes First.” This is also taking on a whole other meaning to me and I feel like I get these quotes on a whole other level: it's not abstract! We are taught our whole lives that all that matters is what is directly in front of you, we get conditioned to not even question why is it that Americans are able to live this comfortable lifestyle, that we end up ignoring the conditions of actual human beings in other parts of the world. The reality is the interests of those people, in Madagascar and other countries where people live their whole lives in horrific conditions, are the same interests of us here in America. Most of these people here who don't see that, who are stuck in this gross individualism and American chauvinism are capable of breaking free from that shit and coming to see that our interests are the same, and fight for a different and better world. [back to top]


The following is taken from the talk
Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis:
Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism

by Bob Avakian

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of “Painless Progress”

With a Note Added by the Author, Fall 2019

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Trailer for the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion: A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN

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