Syllabus for Zoom Into the Revolution Seminars on the
New Year’s Statement by Bob Avakian



The electoral defeat of the Trump/Pence regime only “buys some time”—both in relation to the imminent danger posed by the fascism this regime represents, and more fundamentally in terms of the potentially existential crisis humanity is increasingly facing as a consequence of being bound to the dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism. But, in essential terms, time is not on the side of the struggle for a better future for humanity. So the time there is must not be squandered—mired in oblivious individualism and political paralysis or misspent on misdirected activity that only reinforces this system which perpetuates endless horrors for the masses of humanity and has brought things to the brink of very real catastrophe.
– from The New Year’s Statement By Bob Avakian, A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity

The events of 2020 and early 2021 were a cataclysmic shock.  Why did this—the wildfire spread of COVID, the uprisings against police murder and white supremacy, the fascist reaction and then the coup attempt by Trump—happen? Where is this headed?  Where do the interests of humanity lie? 

Most importantly: is a different and better future possible?  And if it is, what IS that future… and how do we get to it?

The “Zoom Into the Revolution” seminars will focus on the New Year’s Statement by Bob Avakian: A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For the Emancipation of All Humanity to dig into and answer those questions.  This statement is not just a scientific analysis—though it is that, and a unique and very profound one—it is most of all a call to fight for and bring forward a radically new world, one in which all of humanity would be emancipated.


There will be four sessions:

1. Applying the scientific method to society: what is this method and why is it crucial?

We’ll focus on this from the statement:

“[Following scientifically-determined truth wherever it leads] means fully breaking with and moving beyond an approach of merely embracing truths—or supposed truths—with which one is comfortable, while rejecting, dismissing, or evading actual truth which may make one uncomfortable. One important dimension of this is rising above and repudiating methodologically the philosophical relativism of ‘identity politics,’ which does a great deal of harm through its own version of reducing ‘truth’ to partial, unsystematized experience and subjective sentiment (‘my truth’...‘our truth’...) in opposition to real, objective truth, which is correctly, scientifically arrived at through an evidence-based process, to determine whether, or not, something (an idea, theory, assertion, etc.) corresponds to actual material reality.”

And we’re going to dig deeply into this paragraph:

“To understand why we are confronted with the situation we are, it is necessary not merely to respond to—and in effect be whipped around by—what is happening on the surface at any given time, but to dig beneath the surface, to discover the underlying mainsprings and causes of things, and arrive at an understanding of the fundamental problem and the actual solution.”

Supplementary viewing:

Why We Need A Scientific Method and Approach to Life and Our Struggle

Session plan for the first “Zoom into the Revolution” seminar:

Further Questions for Session 1 of “Zoom into the Revolution” Seminars


2. Applying the scientific method to society, part 2: Why are we in the situation we’re in today?

What has changed—and what hasn’t changed, at least fundamentally—in the conditions of the African-American people, women, the economy, and the grip of religious fundamentalism (internationally, and within the US)?  What accounts for these changes—and what are the dynamics and direction of these, if we confine our actions within the political bounds of this system?  Do you think that BA’s analysis is true—that is, do you think that it accurately reflects objective reality and correctly captures the motion and underlying dynamics of how society has changed, and why?  What do you think about the quote from Leonard Pitts that BA cites at the beginning of section 4—do you think it’s true?  And what do you think about how BA responds to it?

Supplementary viewing:

What is capitalism? Parts 1, 2 and 3 (from Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What’s It All About)


3. Why can only revolution, and nothing less than revolution, deal with the problem(s) we face?

How do you understand, and do you agree with, the following—that is, do you think it’s true?  If so why, and if not why not?  And what are the implications of this:

“It is necessary to confront the fundamental reality that there is no future worth living for the masses of people and ultimately for humanity as a whole under this system—which has given rise to a powerful fascism; which is the source of horrendous, and unnecessary suffering, not only for masses of people in this country but for billions of people throughout the world; and which poses a growing threat to the very existence of humanity, through its massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons as well as its accelerating destruction of the environment. It is true—an important truth— that the Trump/Pence regime (and others like it, for example the rule of Bolsonaro in Brazil) has made the environmental crisis far worse—has, so to speak, accelerated the acceleration of environmental destruction. But the dynamics and requirements of this system are driving the climate crisis toward the point of no return, regardless of which particular person or regime is acting as its dominant political representative. Capitalism is often extolled for being a ‘dynamic’ system, constantly bringing about changes. But this is a ‘dynamism’ based on exploitation for privately-accumulated profit, and driven by anarchy (and anarchic competition between capitalists), and that very anarchy is rapidly propelling things toward an existential threshold—past which humanity could well be irreversibly hurtled—if this system of capitalism, in its imperialist globalized expression, continues to dominate the world.”

How would you apply science to answering this question? How does BA?

Supplementary viewing:

The Five Stops: Why This System Can't Be Reformed

4. The future we need… the leadership we have—a better world IS possible—the new communism and Bob Avakian.

BA calls on people to

“apply this same approach—that science and scientifically-determined truth matter—to communism and the historical experience of the communist movement, and in particular to the new communism which has resulted from decades of work I have carried out. This new communism is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed… This scientific approach has led to the conclusion that with the actual socialist societies that have been brought into being, with the leadership of communists, first in the Soviet Union and then in China (before capitalism was restored in the former in the 1950s and in the latter after the death of Mao in 1976), this experience of socialism has been mainly—and in the case of China overwhelmingly—positive, while secondarily there have also been significant, in some cases serious or even grievous, errors.” 

We’ll dig into that experience.

Then, as the main thing, we’ll get into and break down the boldfaced paragraph that discusses the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian.

“It is a fact that, nowhere else, in any actual or proposed founding or guiding document of any government, is there anything like not only the protection but the provision for dissent and intellectual and cultural ferment that is embodied in this Constitution, while this has, as its solid core, a grounding in the socialist transformation of the economy, with the goal of abolishing all exploitation, and the corresponding transformation of the social relations and political institutions, to uproot all oppression, and the promotion, through the educational system and in society as a whole, of an approach that will ‘enable people to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and in this way to continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to changing it in accordance with the fundamental interests of humanity.’ All this will unchain and unleash a tremendous productive and social force of human beings enabled and inspired to work and struggle together to meet the fundamental needs of the people—transforming society in a fundamental way and supporting and aiding revolutionary struggle throughout the world—aiming for the final goal of a communist world, free from all exploitation and oppression, while at the same time addressing the truly existential environmental and ecological crisis, in a meaningful and comprehensive way, which is impossible under the system of capitalism-imperialism.”

Supplementary viewing: 

BA Speaks: REVOLUTION – Nothing Less, from Part 2, 18:08 to 32:14



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