Revolution #175, September 6, 2009

A Real Beginning

About six weeks ago, our Party launched an unprecedented campaign.

The goals?

To make this revolution, and what it’s all about, known to millions of people, here and around the world...

To make Bob Avakian, whose leadership greatly heightens the actual possibility of making that revolution, a major reference point in society...

To bring forward a core of people willing to fight for this line, build up the organized strength around it, and prepare for—and hasten the advent of—a situation in which this revolution can truly be made.

The principal means?

A message, and a call, to millions, that concisely and powerfully indicts the system at the root of humanity’s suffering... puts forward the vision of the revolution that has to be made to get free of it... and gives people a sense of the leadership we have to make that revolution. This message and call first appeared in issue #170 of our paper. It is the pivot of a whole campaign, with many dimensions, reaching through the whole country, with reverberations through the world.

Why We Are Doing This—The High Stakes

Why are we doing this? Because the world as it is is intolerable... because more and more people understand that things cannot go on in this way, and that humanity needs a way out... but everywhere they turn they are offered false solutions. There is only one real way to emancipate humanity: revolution, communist revolution. And there is a leadership that makes the prospect of this revolution real. But people don’t know this.

To get at the importance of this campaign, we need to realize where we stand in world history.

In 1976, a counter-revolutionary military coup in revolutionary China killed and imprisoned thousands of revolutionary communists. Capitalism was restored in what had been a socialist country on the road to communism (even though the current leaders of China still claim to be “communist”).

Since that bitter defeat, the capitalist-imperialist class worldwide has conducted a relentless ideological and political assault against communism.

Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, puts it like this:

“The temporary defeat of socialism and the end of the first stage of the communist revolution has... [a]mong other things ... led to lowered sights and low dreams: Even among many people who once would have known better and would have striven higher, it has led, in the short run, to acceptance of the idea that—in reality and at least for the foreseeable future—there can be no alternative to the world as it is, under the domination of imperialism and other exploiters. That the most one can hope for and work for are some secondary adjustments within the framework of accommodation to this system. That anything else—and especially the attempt to bring about a revolutionary rupture out of the confines of this system, aiming toward a radically different, communist world—is unrealistic and is bound to bring disaster.

At the same time, in the ‘vacuum’ created by the reversal of socialism and accompanying setbacks for communism, and with the continuing, and even heightening, depredations carried out by imperialism—with all the upheaval, chaos, and oppression this means for literally billions of people throughout the world—there has been a significant growth of religious fundamentalism and its organized expression in many parts of the world, including among the desperately oppressed. Imperialist marauders and mass murderers, and fanatical religious fundamentalists—the former more powerful and doing greater harm, and in so doing giving further impetus to the latter, but both representing a dark veil, and very real chains, of enslavement and enforced ignorance, reinforcing each other even when they oppose each other.” [See, Revolution #143, September 21, 2008]

As the Manifesto later poses it, communism is at a crossroads. The revolutionary communist movement, worldwide, faces the very real and sharply posed question of whether it will be a “vanguard of the future, or residue of the past.” Vanguard of the future is the only acceptable answer to that question. Putting revolution and communism back on the map—not just surviving, but contending as a real force, all over the planet: this must become the mission of this generation.

This campaign aims to take a giant step toward carrying through that mission. Because of its overarching importance, it is particularly important to sum up the progress so far, and to apply the lessons learned to charting out some key focuses of the next few months. In this editorial, we are speaking to those who have taken up this campaign—and inviting others to join in on grappling with the challenges the revolutionary movement is taking on.

“Here Come the Revolutionaries”

“We mean what we say, and we will not back off or turn our backs on what we have started, on the people who need this revolution. We will keep coming back and digging in, to strengthen this movement for revolution, to build up the bases, spread the influence and organize the forces we need to make revolution. We will not be scared off, backed down or driven away.” [Revolution #170, July 19, 2009, “The Revolution We Need… The Leadership We Have”]

There is a new boldness in how the revolutionaries have been rolling these past several weeksnot just in the way they carry themselves when they come into an area, but in the clarity with which they put forward their aims, their leadership, and what they’re all about. Not hype, but substance—and a boldness befitting that substance.

As part of that, they are stepping to people with “a style of work” that involves deeper listening and a more substantive engagement with people’s questions and views. Revolutionaries are beginning to involve people in supporting the movement in different ways and on different levels, fully appreciating and building on even very initial forms of support. And there have been important instances—from Oakland to Akron—where all this has been combined with joining with, and leading, people to fight the power.

This is good; but it is really just a beginning. This has to become a whole campaign. The revolutionaries are out to forge the ways to take this to a higher level, to actually succeed in its goals, not just “do a few good things.” As a key part of that, we aim to continue to find the ways for all kinds of people to be part of this revolutionary mission; that’s part of why we’re laying out what we’ve learned here.

A few key lessons so far:

Really getting people acquainted with Bob Avakian’s leadership, in its different dimensions, really focusing on this, is a powerful way to cut through the fog and defeatism and give people hope... on a solid, scientific foundation.

Other ways that people have already found to bring this home—like using the pictures in the special issue in which the message and call was printed, or reading the statement out loud in groups and stopping to break down and examine each idea—must be built on. In particular, the poster printed in issue #171 (August 2, 2009) of Willie “Mobile” Shaw, with Bob Avakian’s statement on Mobile’s death, can serve as an important gateway for people into the statement, and the revolutionary movement... and at the same time provides a powerful example that must be further popularized. The Manifesto from our Party, its powerful recent statements on the oppression of Black people and the oppression of women, our newspaper—all of these and more should also be wielded fully.

Again, even with beginning advances in involving the people, this must become much more a “campaign of the masses”—taken up in manifold ways by hundreds and then thousands and then tens of thousands of people.

Which leads to our next point:

The People Must Be Organized

“We must spread the word to every corner of this country…giving people the means to become part of this revolutionary movement, and organizing into this movement everyone who wants to make a contribution to it, who wants to work and fight, to struggle and sacrifice, not to keep this nightmare of a world going as it is but to bring a better world into being.”

It is very important—it is a crucial goal of this whole campaign—to bring forward a core of convinced and dedicated revolutionary communists. But this core cannot be forged in a hothouse. This core must be part of, and at the heart of, a larger process involving many different kinds of people, with many different levels of understanding and commitment, all supporting and to different degrees participating in this movement. The glue and pivot of all this will be getting out the statement. But there are many different forms that revolutionary work will take: getting small groups together to talk about it... taking up different struggles against the system in the course of this next year…raising funds to sustain and expand this movement…and others as well. All of these are crucial elements requiring the efforts of many many people, working at different levels. And all of these are potential doorways deeper into the revolutionary movement.

The point is this: the movement we are building requires many different kinds of people with different levels of understandings doing many different things... from today forward. We should be striving to build ongoing, working relationships with people in everything we do.

With the vision of a vibrant and many-sided revolutionary movement, with all kinds of unevenness and elasticity in it, you can also see even more clearly just how crucial a leading core is—and just how urgent it is for that core to expand right now, to grow deeper roots, to become clearer on the goals, aims, and means of making revolution. And people can also begin to see the outlines of the future society in the work and struggle of the present, and get a feel for that.

“Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution”

“It is up to us: to wake shake off the ways they put on us, the ways they have us thinking so they can keep us down and trapped in the same old rise up, as conscious Emancipators of Humanity. The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those days must be GONE. And they CAN be.”

Two things that have become even more sharply focused through what people have told us as we have taken out this statement: their deep concern for the future faced by the youth; and their anger and hatred for the ways in which the police dog, brutalize and murder these youth. This points up the importance of building an extraordinarily powerful day of protest against all that on October 22 of this year, in ways that challenge the brutal stranglehold of the authorities.

The statement is the glue and pivot of a larger campaign. And that campaign very much includes “fighting the power” as a critical element. Already, as noted above, there has been good experience in integrating the statement, and other ideological forms like the DVD, with fighting against oppression. This must be redoubled, and become a permanent feature of what happens when the revolutionaries come on the scene. There have also been the important instances of standing up for women’s right to abortion, and militantly protesting against the Bush regime torture-monger John Yoo… and in October there will be important actions against the war, against recruitment in high school, and for the rights of gay people, including to marry. The message and call must be at all of these, part of “inspiring and organizing people to stand up.”

All the elements of the slogan above—Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution—must be in effect when the revolutionaries roll next week with the special issue directed to the high schools and middle schools.

Raising Money Is Essential Revolutionary Work

One urgent element to this is fund-raising. Contributing and raising funds is a key way in which very broad numbers of people can get involved in and support this movement. And, at the same time, without a leap in fund-raising, both in quantity and in the way it is integrated into every phase of revolutionary work, the revolutionary movement cannot advance.

Take just one example: there are today over 150 prisoners on the waiting list for a subscription to Revolution. These prisoners, each and every one, could play a crucial role in spreading the ideas in this newspaper to those the system has cast off, changing people from cast-offs to “emancipators of humanity”—but they cannot do so because there is not sufficient money to send papers to all those who want them. And these prisoners are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of potential. It is hard to sleep knowing that. It is an intolerable, and utterly unacceptable, situation. Yet can we not win many many people to support the right of these prisoners to plug into this crucial lifeline to the revolution and to life itself?

Of course, the financial needs are even greater than that: the support of the bookstores that spotlight and spread the Party’s literature, as well as other radical books and publications, during hard and changing economic times; the financial support of speakers who can bring the Party’s line to life and connect it to thousands and, yes, millions; publicity for the spreading of the DVD of Bob Avakian’s speech Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About; the publication and expansion of this newspaper; and so on.

Each of these is a challenge that must be met... and each is also an opportunity to bring new levels and layers of people into supporting the Party, and to cultivating an ethos among thousands and tens of thousands right now that the people need to support their leadership.

But let’s be clear on the stakes: this is not just a “good thing to do.” This is about actually rising to the challenge, as we said above, of being a vanguard of the future. This is about whether we will come through this crossroads for humanity with real revolution on the minds of millions and as the life purpose of a growing core, especially of youth. This is about revolution breaking though, emerging as a new force in the world, and this is about breaking out of the grip of “low sights and low dreams” and the widespread acceptance of THIS as the “best of all possible words.” This is about beginning a new stage of communist revolution in the world.

Now is the time.

Going Forward

Those who have set out on, and enlisted in, this campaign around “The Revolution We Need… The Leadership We Have” should take pride in being part of initiating such a bold, and absolutely necessary endeavor. They will be part of initiating a new wave of communism.

We have begun. Now we must persevere—not aimlessly, however, but working consistently, and concretely, toward the three objectives of the campaign, on the basis of the Party’s line, as concentrated powerfully in the statement.

We must persevere with correct principles and methods in command and, as a concentrated expression of that, with the three objectives of the campaign—and the need to be constantly learning, and developing and forging the means of advancing toward the actual realization of those objectives—consistently in mind and as a standard and measure of everything that is being done in this campaign.

We must persevere in a way to make good on what is pledged at the end of the statement—not as some kind of abstract “stand,” divorced from (and therefore really opposed to) the actual line and strategic objectives embodied and concentrated in the statement and the campaign, but precisely with the unwavering aim of making a material-political reality of what is set forth in the statement and what the campaign is all about.

In the words of the message and call:



As our Party’s Constitution says: “The emancipation of all humanity: this, and nothing less than this, is our goal. There is no greater cause, no greater purpose to which to dedicate our lives.”

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