Grappling with the Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible... and how to organize for revolution to seize on this

From a Member of the National Revolution Tour



I’ve appreciated recent discussions on the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour, on the importance and need to root our work and thinking in the Declaration from the revcoms: A Call to Get Organized Now for a Real Revolution and the recent piece from Bob Avakian (BA), “This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity.” These are world historic interventions—providing clear leadership on what’s needed and why... putting the basic reality to people, the problems of the revolution, and leading people to grapple with why we need a revolution, the situation we’re in, and how to get organized for revolution.

There is a higher synthesis in these pieces of what it means to organize for revolution—linked to the way organizing forces for revolution can interact with an incredibly sharp and volatile situation—building up the forces for revolution, acting on a situation where people are being driven to question, as BA says, “the way things have been, and whether they have to stay that way...” which provides more of a basis to make leaps in accumulating forces for revolution... wielding those forces... to have more impact... people becoming aware of the need for revolution (through spreading the revolution everywhere, and as it says in the Declaration, grappling together with others “why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for”)... becoming organizers themselves, spreading this revolution, replicating this process in increasingly exponential ways... and bringing that together in the Revolution Clubs, through monthly meetings and more.

There is a PROCESS described there that is simple, understandable and compressed.

We are also working on moving, volatile ground—there is gravity and intense instability in this situation—the reality that, as BA says, “the crisis and deep divisions in society now can only be resolved through radical means, of one kind or another—either radically reactionary, murderously oppressive and destructive means or radically emancipating revolutionary means” keeps getting borne out/fought out.

This is true on the political, ideological, epistemological (the struggle over what is true and how you come to determine what’s true) levels in terms of “what’s up” and being fought out.

I encourage people to read Jane Mayer’s latest article in The New Yorker, “The Big Money Behind the Big Lie,” where she talks about how hard a section of the Republican Party fascists are working to be able to accomplish what they didn’t in 2020—to steal the election in 2022 and 2024, to not just suppress voting but to subvert it. In discussing this, she quotes the senior advisor to the president of the AFL-CIO, Michael Podhorzer, who gets at how the fascists are acting on the divide that we are “two countries sharing the same border...”

“What blue-state people don’t understand about why the Big Lie works,” he said, is that it doesn’t actually require proof of fraud. “What animates it is the belief that Biden won because votes were cast by some people in this country who others think are not ‘real’ Americans.” This anti-democratic belief has been bolstered by a constellation of established institutions on the right: “white evangelical churches, legislators, media companies, nonprofits, and even now paramilitary groups.” Podhorzer noted, “Trump won white America by eight points. He won non-urban areas by over twenty points. He is the democratically elected President of white America. It’s almost like he represents a nation within a nation.”

The fascists are working very hard (and with a multifaceted plan) to install their fascist program in a context where they are actively delegitimizing their Democratic counterparts... while the answer of Biden is to “reach across the aisle”... legitimizing and accepting the legitimacy of the fascists.

There’s the big shifts and widening of the divide on the biggest questions of what it means to be “an American”—I read about a recent poll where 67 percent of U.S. adults (of 1,400 asked) said “they were extremely or very proud to be American...” But among those aged 18 to 24, just 36 percent said the same, with 35 percent in that age bracket stating they were “only slightly” or “not at all proud to be American.” There are also big shifts happening with whether people are religious, and how they practice their religion. There was a recent Gallup poll that said, “Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50 percent for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47 percent of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque, down from 50 percent in 2018 and 70 percent in 1999.” (NOTE: This kind of polling is not a rigorously scientific approach, and needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but it does tell you some things about the shifts and changes among some sections of people. It’s also essential to understand that as BA has said, “What people think is part of objective reality but objective reality is not determined by what people think.”)

Bound up with some of the changes around religious practice, there was an interesting article from the Washington Post, from early July, “A horn-wearing ‘shaman.’ A cowboy evangelist. For some, the Capitol attack was a kind of Christian revolt.” that made the point: “Many forces contributed to the attack on the Capitol, including Trump’s false claims of electoral victory and American anger with institutions. But part of the mix, say experts on American religion, is the fact that the country is in a period when institutional religion is breaking apart, becoming more individualized and more disconnected from denominations, theological credentials and oversight.” And then goes on to quote a sociologist from Yale, “There have been these periods of breakdowns and ferment and reinvention in the past, and every indication is we’re in the middle of one of those now... Such moments are periods of opportunity and creativity but also of danger and violence.” (my emphasis)

This Christian fascism is and has been organized and cohered, but even within that, there is a fraying—as things harden, get more and more unmoored from longstanding institutions and get more individualized.

There is tremendous fascist danger here but the more we grasp, fight for, and organize growing scores of people around “the powerful positive potential” of a scientific, coherent and liberating ideology, framework, worldview, and method... the more that can set different terms, in a context where the old ways aren’t just coming apart... but are being torn apart by the fight at the top. (This “point of orientation” on speaks to the powerful positive potential of having a contending, scientific framework and leadership at a time when things are being torn asunder. And in that context, there is a lot to learn from the level of struggle being waged in the Declaration and by BA in “Rare Time...” with the sharpness and loftiness of how BA wages a whole series of polemics in that piece.)

These are just some examples (of which there are many), but I wanted to point to the all-sidedness of this fight.

Applying the Declaration—Forging a Different Style of Mass Work—in the Field

With that as the moving ground, I don’t think we’ve up to now wrestled enough with what it looks like to apply the approach in the Declaration “in the field.”

First, we need to be much more simply setting terms with the content of it and wielding it (reading it on the spot) to wage struggle with people. Making clear that what’s needed is for people who are described by that first paragraph in the Declaration and Call, to “be part of this revolution NOW.”

We need a lot of broader forms for people who are “interested” but not ready to step in... LOTS of people following on social media, subscribing to The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show youtube channel, and spreading the show themselves. But mainly, we need to focus on the people who are serious—or who can be won to be serious through struggle—right then and there on the spot. We need mass forms, immediately and consistently, to bring people together to “grapple with why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for...” enabling “people who are new to the revolution to themselves become organizers for this revolution and to recruit more and more people to do the same...”

Think about the simplicity and substance of this: getting into those questions with others, from the beginning and through a process, enables people to become organizers for this revolution and replicating that with others.

This needs to have simple, concrete and immediately actionable forms—the revolutionary change jars, being 1 of 50 people contributing $10 (like the example from the Revolution Club in Chicago), or being 1 of 100 spreading The RNL Show in a week... people stepping in, grappling with these questions, and on that basis, spreading the word, organizing others in a mass way and with mass forms... then reporting to and on social media... A simple form that has a lot of potential: T-shirt Thursdays with everyone in the Revolution Club wearing their “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” shirt wherever they are, going to work, on a campus... sparking discussion and questions, advocating for watching the show and getting others to do the same.

Do we need “starter kits” on the spot for people? Where they get into the 5-2-6,1 get 10 copies of the Declaration, 50 palm cards for The RNL Show, 50 stickers, and a couple buttons... how does that interpenetrate with the website and social media where people are getting graphics to spread?

We need to plan monthly mass Revolution Club meetings that happen with regularity—like the first or fourth Sunday of every month. And then intersperse that with social kick-it sessions of some form. A fundraising barbecue or picnic... something where people can come together, get to know each other in a more relaxed setting while raising funds... (building in this kind of informal gathering as a way to get to know people, have people meet each other, forge a sense of “we” and a culture of living by and struggling over the Points of Attention for the Revolution).

Then, there are the questions of learning how to crack the challenge of speaking to blocs of people based on the Declaration. How do people go from turning their heads initially to revolution to stepping into this in numbers? We need a lot of experimentation in the youth scenes. We need more practice and preparation on the agitation ahead of time—searing agitation that challenges frameworks and draws people in... to then have a collective discussion on the spot.

Campuses are coming back into session in a few weeks—and they’ll be coming back in a whole different situation—the students’ entire world was thrown into the air in the last year... the COVID lockdowns and extreme isolation, the mass outpouring of protests against police brutality and murder, the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the backdrop of the fires, droughts... the completely uninspiring (and clearly inadequate) Biden program. Going back to campuses, there will be the organized fascists, oblivious individualism and “woke insanity,” but people will be coming back onto campus, and coming together in a really shaken-up world. I can’t wait to hit the campuses in a big way with provocations and invitations that can bring people into the process described in the Declaration quickly and with a lot of struggle and ferment.

There is also a major role for the recent pieces from BA, “Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and ‘Woke Folk’ Insanity: A New ‘Two Outmodeds’“ and “I’m So Sick of this Whole ‘Identity Politics’ and ‘Woke’ Thing, REVOLUTION AND EMANCIPATION—NOT PETTY REFORM AND REVENGE: On Movements, Principles, Methods, Means and Ends.” We need to kick up a big shitstorm around these and overall, fighting for people to get into and become followers of BA. (I was very struck by the new listing on on BA’s writings in 2020 and how significant these works are—leadership like nothing else on the planet on the most burning, and lofty questions!!!!)

I want to bring all this back to the Declaration and Call and ask whether we’re really understanding what is here and how to wield it. Walking through it, I’ve come to appreciate how this concentrates a different understanding and a different process of organizing for revolution—in a different period. I encourage readers of to get together and really walk through what this process can and needs to look like:

Organizing people into this revolution means reaching out to all sorts of people—not just where there are protests and rebellions against oppression and injustice, but everywhere throughout society—spreading the word about revolution and getting people together (in real life and online) to grapple with why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for. This will enable people who are new to the revolution to themselves become organizers for this revolution and to recruit more and more people to do the same. On this basis, and through the growing ranks of the revolution acting together as an increasingly powerful force, it will be possible to attract and organize the necessary numbers, and build up the necessary strength, to be in the position to do what needs to be done.

The Declaration and Call and the “Rare Time” piece from BA provide a framework of understanding and analysis, of method and approach to organize for revolution now! I don’t want to underestimate how much of a fight we have on our hands, but I want to appreciate again what it could really mean, and how precious it is, to have a serious opening for revolution... to be in a rare time (that really does come along very rarely in a country like this)... and with the simplicity and clarity in approach concentrated in the Declaration to seize on this.


1. This refers to the 5 STOPS, the 2 Choices posed by Bob Avakian (“We have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—or, make revolution!”), and the 6 Points of Attention for the Revolution. See here. [back]


Reaching youth in Little Tokyo, Downtown LA



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