Revolution #221, January 9, 2011
A Revolutionary Resolution:
It Is Not Enough to "Do Good" in a Bad World... We Must Bring Into Being a Whole Better World
As you start the new year, scan the globe.
Start in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where U.S. drones rain death down on families in wars that grind on, seemingly without end.
Move down to the Congo, where political forces and militias—set up by and serving competing capitalist entities and governments—systematically rape women and girls so brutally that they can no longer hold their bladders or their bowels.
Look at the razing of the planet's forests, the extermination of its species and the poisoning of its waters and air by corporations and militaries competing for dominance.
Cast your eyes into the concrete and broken-glass ghettoes of the U.S., where Black and Latino youth as young as ten or twelve years old are daily brutalized by police.
Turn to the southern border of the U.S. where immigrants live in the shadows and in fear of being locked up and deported for nothing more than crossing the border in search of the means to survive.
Look to Washington, DC—the pulsing heart of the so-called beacon of "freedom" and "democracy"—and witness the ever-narrowing range of political discourse with its open fascists at the one end and an aggressively repressive and compromising-with-fascists president at the other.
In view of all this, we at Revolution newspaper will not be updating you on who was the best dressed in 2010, filling you in on the latest celebrity break-up, or predicting the 2011 trend-setting iPhone app. Nor will we be offering tips on how to take off the inches gained through the holidays or whether it is okay to exchange the gifts you got. We won't EVEN be focusing on those admittedly much better resolutions about being a "better person" and "doing good" in this messed-up world.
Instead, we call your attention to something much less reported on and much less known, but also much bigger-hearted, much more global-minded, much more impactful than any of that. It is also something that we resolve—and hope you will join with us in resolving—to turn into something that cannot be ignored in 2011.
A movement for revolution is struggling to be born...
A revolution that can lift all of humanity out of its war-torn, blood-soaked, hunger-stricken state... a revolution that will empower people to build a society where people are no longer exploited, competing with each other just to survive, and brutally oppressed; that can not only put a stop to the plunder and destruction of the planet; but can unleash the creativity and joyfulness, the critical thinking and highest aspirations of masses everywhere as they join together to transform this world, and themselves, in the most liberating ways.
Over the last year, this revolution has been fighting its way onto the stage of history with new depth, renewed strategic approach, new momentum and—most of all—tremendous, still untapped potential. While there are many aspects to this movement for revolution, we want to highlight three developments which carry a great deal of the hope humanity has for a better world.
The first is the publication of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the Revolutionary Communist Party. This Constitution makes concrete and vivid the vision and the actual workings of a liberatory, socialist society starting "Day 1" after the revolution. It lays out the economic and social principles of a society in transition to a world without classes or any of the oppression bound up with them and it gives a working, breathing sense of what it would actually feel like to be free. In the short time since its publication, we've glimpsed the unique potential for this Constitution to change the discussion and lift people's sights to another way, including in sparking people who had been convinced, or had convinced themselves, that communist revolution was hopeless to look at it anew with life and interest.
The second is the campaign: "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have," with its three interrelated goals of putting revolution on the map throughout society for real, making Bob Avakian—the leader who has both re-envisioned revolution and communism for the world and who is actively leading the movement for revolution here—a household name, and bringing forward a growing core of people who are taking up the goals and outlook and method of this revolution, getting organized into it, and fighting for it to advance all throughout society. While this campaign has real leaps to make before it achieves its goal, this past year was marked by significant advances in this campaign, particularly the distribution of hundreds of thousands of copies of the Message and Call from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, which powerfully and concisely captures the sweep of this revolution, the strategy for making this revolution, and the precious leadership we have in Bob Avakian. This historic campaign is critical in the struggle for the future of humanity.
While each has importance in its own right, these two things together take on even greater significance. The success of the campaign will bear greatly on the chances of an actual revolution succeeding in this country, which itself is necessary if the Constitution is to be implemented with everything that will mean for humanity. Yet, even before the seizure of power—and the construction of the new society—this Constitution can and must become a catalyst in this movement for revolution now. People will be introduced to the actual character and content of this revolution. Their sights will be elevated to the positive vision of a whole new world, repolarizing for revolution. And it will train and prepare growing cores of people to take part in leading the new society when we do succeed.
Third, a key dimension of our work to make Bob Avakian known throughout society in the coming year will be the publication of BAsics. This will be a book of powerful quotations from Bob Avakian. It must introduce many thousands of people to this leader BA and give them the BAsics of revolution. BAsics will include concentrations of method and truth that are principles to live by and fight for, that provide a framework for understanding and changing the world, that provide a materialist source of inspiration and daring, that provoke and challenge.
In an ongoing way, this newspaper will have much more to say about this new Constitution, the campaign, and BAsics. It will spotlight the experience people are having among different sections of people; it will serve as a center of the dialogue over that experience as well as the content of this work; and it will give shape and direction to the efforts to maximize both their reach and impact, projecting important plans for getting these out into the world.
Revolution at the hub
But, in this first issue of the year 2011, we want to speak to the role Revolution must, and intends to, play in society and the world—and in advancing this burgeoning movement for revolution.
In the whole ensemble of revolutionary work, this newspaper must be at the hub of hastening the development of—and preparing the people, ideologically, politically, and organizationally for the emergence of a revolutionary situation. This newspaper is central to getting people ready for revolution. Revolution gives guidance and direction to all our work; it is the scaffolding of the movement for revolution. For this movement to grow in the way it can and must, Revolution looks forward to going far beyond what we have done thus far as the scaffolding of the movement for revolution.
Revolution is essential to fighting the power right now. What is exposed in this paper week to week can fill people with an irresistible desire to resist. As the Message and Call says: "It is up to us: to wake up…to 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 rat-race…to 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." Getting this paper out consistently and broadly is essential in bringing people to that position.
The MORE people see that this oppression is not only brutal but unnecessary... that this is not something that people brought on themselves but something imposed on the people by this system... and that there is a better system and a better society possible... the MORE people grasp that, the MORE they will resist, and the more that resistance will feed into building a revolutionary movement.
Fighting the power is very much part of what this paper has to and will be about. We will be there when people stand up, taking our communist understanding into these struggles, spreading the word about them, and highlighting, popularizing and building on what they achieve.
We will be there when students fight against cuts in education. We will be there when people stand up against police brutality and murder, and when people fight against attacks on immigrants. We will be there, covering the struggles of people all over the world to save the environment. We will give people the full and uncensored picture of the movement to end the horrific wars the U.S. is waging. And more.
Revolution needs to connect with those who are most inclined towards revolution—but it needs to reach far more broadly, to everywhere people are dissatisfied or angry, everywhere they are standing up or just searching, to those who may be put off by its revolutionary communist perspective but are willing to listen. Everywhere we go, we should be taking this paper and getting it into people's hands—and utilizing it to unleash discussion and debate over events in society and the world.
It is true that there is not right now a high tide of struggle against the system—though there ARE instances of people standing up, and these must be popularized and given leadership to. But there are elements pulsing beneath the surface—a book like The New Jim Crow begins to become a phenomenon among Black students and Black people more broadly. Cultural works that, with whatever shortcomings, in some way express a mainly progressive defiance for the values of this society and at the same time become very popular, striking a chord with people very broadly—works like the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, the movie Avatar, or "The Suburbs" by Arcade Fire—indicate that "all is not well," that there is dissatisfaction and more beneath the surface, even if people are not yet giving this political expression. This too forms part of the basis for the works of Bob Avakian and for this newspaper—and more than that, this movement FOR revolution and communism—to find much farther reach and deeper root in society.
Nowhere else can people from all corners of society find the systematic exposure and analysis they need to understand, and to become an active part of knowing and changing the world in the most liberating ways. Nowhere else can people regularly engage the writings of Bob Avakian on questions of strategy, philosophy, art and science, life's choices and meaning, and more. Nowhere else can people connect up with, hear the voices of people here and around the world, and see the revolutionary potential of others—from behind the walls of America's prisons to the halls of academia, from the suburbs to the shantytowns, and beyond.
In this next year, we at Revolution will continue—and go even further in—featuring the engagement and debate of this growing movement. In the pages of this paper and at revcom.us, readers need to engage each other...taking on the toughest questions and sharing experience. And the newspaper will be an active participant in this back-and-forth. In this way, the embryos which have been forged in building the movement for revolution can be both consolidated and spread.
Emphasis must be given to systematically organizing people in circles and networks around this paper. Building these networks gives people the means to link up with each other, to think and act together in a meaningful way—and work towards a real, radical alternative. Even as many do not yet fully agree with everything the paper says, they can get organized around it, work on it, dig into it and study it, and develop ways to distribute it.
A New Year's Resolution
Step back and think about the people described at the start of this article: the child who has grown up under U.S.-made bombs, the women who have lived through hell, the beautiful Black youth and others who have been made to feel there is no place for them on this planet. Think about the people who are in turmoil over the crisis of the global environment, or the deadly "choices" framed by electoral politics. Most of these people—and the millions more like them—have never heard of this revolution or its leader. Yet, all of their futures and all of their hopes for something better, not only for themselves but for their children and the planet, are objectively bound up with this revolution advancing.
In this next year, let us who do know of this revolution not keep it to ourselves. Let us find the ways, as it says in the Message and Call, to "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..." Let us put ourselves—collectively, creatively and energetically—to fighting through to the success of this campaign and towards the greatest advances that can be made towards revolution.
In sum, let us refuse to be hemmed in in our dreams and our determination by the weight of the very horrors of this world that we so righteously detest, let us not aim merely to "do some good" in this terrible world, but let us instead take up the challenge—and the joyful work—of fighting to bring a whole better world into being.
- Centerfold (PDF)
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