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

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As a service to readers, we are posting the session plan for the first “Zoom into the Revolution” seminar.

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Welcome to the opening seminar on Bob Avakian’s New Year’s Statement—A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity.

On one very important level, we’re going to dig into an extremely important analysis of the crossroads that all of humanity stands at from Bob Avakian, or BA as we call him—the most important political thinker and leader in the world. On another, deeper level, we’re going to learn the method that he uses to scientifically analyze the source of the problem we face and the pathways to solving it, through revolution.

Through this, we’ll be learning to “interrogate”—ask questions about—the social reality we live in with the scientific method and approach of the new communism. Sometimes we’ll struggle over the answers. Sometimes we’ll build on each other’s insights. And sometimes both. The point through it all is to learn more deeply, again, what is the problem humanity faces... and what is the solution?

For the first session, it would be good if people thought about the paragraph on the top of the syllabus:

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.

We should walk through this—as it grounds why we are doing these seminars. Why is it said that this defeat “only ‘buys some time’”? Do you think this is true? What questions or reflections did it provoke in you? And so on.

The second thing to think about is this: in the statement, BA writes that:

Among many who have been outraged by the way Trump has consistently engaged in both pathological and purposeful lying, there has been a great deal of emphasis on the importance of science and truth, on facts and evidence-based reasoning. This has focused to a significant degree on the criminally anti-scientific approach that Trump and Pence have taken to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the encouragement of this anti-scientific madness among the fascist “base” in society at large—all of which has led to at least tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of unnecessary deaths as well as unnecessary hardship and suffering for masses of people. This emphasis on science and the scientific method is vitally important, but it is also necessary to emphasize the real need and great importance of being consistent with this, and following scientifically-determined truth wherever it leads, in order to correctly understand reality, in every sphere of life and society.

Immediately after that, comes the paragraph in your syllabus on identity politics. How do you understand the argument being made here by BA?

[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.

Then, we’ll touch on the final point in your syllabus for the first session—

“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.”

What we don’t get to this time, we’ll get to next time. We’re going to limit these sessions to two hours maximum, while we’ll also allow for extra optional sessions if people want to pursue questions further.



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