Question: I thought a good note to end on would be: What does BA’s leadership and new synthesis of communism have to do with how you understand and approach the world?
AS: [Laughs] People sometimes inquire about what kind of people will work with BA or follow his leadership. And I guess that’s part of what your question is trying to get at. Well, I would say, just look around. I think you’ll find an impressive and diverse mix of creative people of conscience with many different backgrounds, skills, and personalities. Speaking for myself, I guess I’d say that I’ll always be a critical thinker. I just don’t know any other way to be! [laughs] I’m sure I’ll always be curious about just about everything, both in the natural world and in human society. I am both challenged, and sustained, by the diversity and complexity of the natural world and the social world. I think I am, at heart, an explorer. Exploring the unknown, discovering what has not previously been understood, breaking new ground: In my own view, this is a lot of what makes life worth living.
But I also don’t want to just understand the world. I want to help change it, for the better and in the interests of all of humanity. And that’s where BA’s new synthesis of communism comes in for me. Because thanks to BA’s new synthesis of communism, and especially as it is concentrated in his application of scientific methods and approaches, I feel that I have gained, over the years, a much deeper appreciation, not only of the great complexities of the overall process of revolutionary transformation, but also of the very real possibilities for such transformation. How you could actually do it. How you could actually win. How you could actually bring into being a new society that would be worth living in.
If it weren’t for the new synthesis of communism, I might have gotten discouraged. In my own work on the woman question, in my work on popularizing the science of evolution, and in many other areas where I have tried to make some contributions, I have repeatedly drawn great insights from the new synthesis epistemologically and methodologically, and I have tried to apply this in my work, to good effect, I think. In all of my life’s work, I think it’s clear that I am very committed to spreading basic scientific understanding and methods among the people as broadly as possible, helping many, including from the most oppressed and the least formally educated, to actually enter into and participate in the scientific process in their own right. And I am also committed to bringing to bear all my training and life experiences to bringing a more consistently rigorous scientific approach into every nook and cranny of the movement for revolution and to forging the pathways that go towards a new society, a new socialist transition towards communism. And BA’s new synthesis of communism, and the whole method and approach that most clearly characterizes and concentrates it, has inspired and provoked and challenged my work in many positive ways over the years, and in many dimensions.
Again, more than anything else, it is the method and approach concentrated in the new synthesis, and in particular its epistemological dimensions: its rigorous pursuit of the patterns that reveal material reality as it really is, regardless of how unexpected and how uncomfortable those discoveries might be; and its scientific grasp that it is always the contradictions that exist within a thing or process that provide the material basis for change; and that therefore you will find that the material basis for the radical, revolutionary transformation of society and the world resides primarily right within the handful of the key underlying contradictions, the ones that constitute the core underpinnings and defining characteristics of the prevailing system, which today is the system of capitalism-imperialism that currently dominates the world. All this has not only provided the framework within which I feel one can “ask the right questions,” increasingly, but also pursue those questions to their resolution. It has, in a very real sense, provided me personal sustenance and air to breathe. And I feel that it has enabled me to make at least some significant contributions to the overall process of scientific discovery and transformation in various spheres. Not just for my own enlightenment, or because of my own curiosity, although it does assist in this as well [laughs], but also to help advance the process of radical transformation of society that is needed so urgently and by so many. BA’s new synthesis of communism has challenged me in positive ways, and enabled me to make contributions that I would not otherwise have been able to make. And, speaking not only for myself, but for many others who have been inspired in their own work and in their own contributions by BA’s new synthesis, that once again is a sign, an indication, of what I think of as really good scientific leadership.
AS: Especially in the face of not just the hardship and difficulties, but also the slander, the snark and gutter attacks that some people never tire of spewing forth, I’d like to say some thank yous, because I think there are some thank yous that good people have in mind sometimes, but that are not enough, not often enough, said aloud. So let me say some of those thank yous aloud right now.
Thank you, first of all, to Bob Avakian, for his tireless dedication and many personal sacrifices over many decades. Again, all he’s done his whole life is work tirelessly to serve the people, not for personal advantage or to feather his own nest. Thank you for never giving up, for never selling out, for always trying to more deeply understand the deep root causes of the great unnecessary suffering experienced by so many here and around the world. Thank you for buckling down and doing the hard work to apply consistently scientific methods to uncover the truth of things, wherever it might lead, however uncomfortable it might be, and then following through to bring to the fore “the logic of the logic”– that a revolution is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary and also possible. Thank you for your generosity of spirit and your broad-minded inclusive and optimistic vision. Thank you for all your work in developing the vision, the strategy, and the concrete plans to advance towards the emancipation of humanity from capitalist-imperialist oppression, and then working tirelessly to spread this understanding and this strategy and this plan broadly among the people–to thousands, to millions, to any who would listen, especially among the most oppressed at the bottom of society that so many in society would just feel comfortable throwing away, while you invite in all others who are willing to join in the movement of resistance and revolution. Thank you for telling it like it is, for doing systematic, scientific work on the problems, for giving of this knowledge and of yourself to all who would listen.
Thank you, also, to all the other comrades, the followers of BA’s new synthesis of communism who contribute daily to this process, to the best of their abilities, and also often at great personal cost. Thank you for not giving up, for fighting through the exhaustion and discouragement, for dedicating your lives to serving the people, for striving to always learn more and contribute more, and on an ever higher level.
Thank you also to all those in the broader society who in many different ways donate their time, their money, their ideas, their legal expertise, their research, their organizing skills, their music, designs, paintings and other art works. To all those who open their doors and their hearts to welcome and assist the resisters and revolutionaries, thank you. To all those who have refused to bow down to social pressure, to turn their backs on the revolutionary communists, to shun or slander them, thank you. Thank you to those brave elements who have stood up in places like Ferguson, in defiant resistance, who are serving notice on the system that they will not take it any more, and who are working to put aside their own conflicts and the differences among themselves in order to stand up together to the greater enemy–this system and its enforcers. You inspire and motivate many, many more in this country and around the world. And you are being heard. Thank you.
Thank you to all the heart-broken ones who have suffered unimaginable loss and grief as their children and other loved ones have been brutally slaughtered by the police and other enforcers. Your cries of agony echo forevermore in the minds of the revolutionaries, and are constant reminders of the need to persevere to put an end to this horrible system. Thank you for standing up in the midst of your pain, and joining with others to fight and resist these outrages, to demand justice, to demand that these outrages stop once and for all, so that no other family should experience ever again such needless pain. What you are doing is a fitting tribute to your lost loved ones, and will give strength to the movements of resistance and revolution which are working to get beyond all of this. Thank you.
And once again, coming back around full circle, thank you to Bob Avakian for the dream, the vision, and the ability to turn all this into concrete plans and a concrete strategy for the emancipation of all the oppressed and exploited, and all of humanity, and for envisioning and mapping out how things really could be so different, and so much better, for the vast majority of people on this planet. Thank you for your willingness to shoulder the responsibility to lead. Thank you.