"WE ARE THE REVCOMS," Andy Zee at Revolution Books NYC on May 16, 2023.
This evening we are going to discuss the broadsheet, the proclamation from the revcoms. After these opening remarks, I will take questions, offer some answers, and open up some discussion as we go along. Then we can have some informal discussion.
I am going to point to some of the main features of this proclamation to ground our discussion, but first I want to get a sense of how many of you have had a chance to read this broadsheet. (More than half the room raised their hands.)
Before we get into We Are the Revcoms—what it says, what it calls for, including what it calls on all of you to do, why it is issued now, and the role this proclamation can and needs to play—the fact that you’re here at Revolution Books means you are concerned, you are thinking about the state of the world, you are curious, serious, looking for answers. You didn’t come to The World Is Fine/It’s All Good Bookstore, you came to Revolution Books—where, if you didn’t know it before, the revolution in our name is not a lifestyle change, a pose, it’s not an advertising slogan or brand, but an urgent and serious mission—an objective whose urgency and possibility accelerates every week. The statement We Are the Revcoms speaks to that:
WE ARE THE REVCOMS (REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNISTS)
WE ARE WORKING FOR A REAL REVOLUTION AND A WHOLE NEW, EMANCIPATING WAY TO LIVE
Boom. There it is. It’s spoken. Declared. This is who we are—The Revcoms—an abbreviation for revolutionary communists, communists on the basis of the new communism developed by the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian. The Revcoms—an abbreviation that is a new word, that needs to become known far and wide, a nascent vanguard, a force to build, a force to be a part of and join, a force to support, a force to do what? To work for a REAL REVOLUTION.
What for? A WHOLE NEW, EMANCIPATING WAY TO LIVE.
This is what we, the Revcoms, put before the world: our determination, our scientific understanding that there is the urgent need, there is the basis and the possibility, to prepare now for a real revolution to overthrow this system of capitalism-imperialism that is the source of the existential threat to humanity and to all the madness that people here and around the world suffer.
We Are the Revcoms states that:
- We are determined to prepare the people and organize the forces for a real revolution that must finally lead in defeating the violent enforcers of this system;
- We aim for nothing less than abolishing this system with all its oppressive institutions and its governing U.S. Constitution; and
- We aim to establish a far better system based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America written by Bob Avakian. This constitution would provide the means to bring into being a society free all of slavery, all exploitation and oppression based on class, race, sex, and gender, and all relations in which one part of humanity is subordinated to and dominated by others.
We’re here in the wake of the vigilante choking to death of Jordan Neely—a troubled man, an ill man by all reports, but an incredibly talented dancer and mime who could glide a Michael Jackson moonwalk not on slick and polished stage, but on the grit of a subway platform… transforming the drudgery and tedium of an outmoded underfunded public transit system for the masses into a sublime uplifting moment and a place of beauty.
Jordan Neely’s killing has touched a number of live third rails of this time in this cesspool of a country: the callous criminal suffocation and demonization of the poor, the homeless, the infirm, the mentally ill… it stabs at the wound of white supremacy taken to a new depth with the legitimization of vigilantism across the country and from the highest levels of bourgeois politics and media… it concentrates the hardening and accelerating fascist momentum in the funds raised for Jordan’s killer—just as they did for Kyle Rittenhouse and George Zimmerman—cheered on by Republican fascist politicians and media, with the mainstream imperialist Democratic Party far from thoroughly repudiating this, arresting protesters, sweeping up the homeless… and as my comrade Lenny Wolff brought out on last week’s The RNL—Revolution Nothing Less—Show, it reveals the class dictatorship we live under… which brings me back to the importance of WE ARE THE REVCOMS (Revolutionary Communists)—WE ARE WORKING FOR A REAL REVOLUTION AND A WHOLE NEW, EMANCIPATING WAY TO LIVE.
Who is this Proclamation addressed to? To everyone who can’t stand this world the way it is... who is sick and tired of so many people being treated as less than human... These are but the opening two lines, as this preamble goes on to include all who are agonize over the state of things today… everyone who hungers for a world without oppression, exploitation, poverty, and destruction of the environment... everyone who has the heart to fight for something that is really worth fighting for…
We call on all who feel this way to become a part of this revolution. And those of you here or who are watching online on The RNL Show, and those of you who support, sympathize with, or who are themselves Revcoms: Are YOU taking this out and putting this before everyone described in this opening paragraph? If so, we want to learn from your experience. If not, why not? And we can discuss that tonight.
For this is a stark fact—a revolution when the conditions present themselves and the initial thousands have been organized requires millions to overthrow the system that we live under… If you’re keeping this message from the masses of people who do care but don’t know about this revolution and the leadership we have, then the seed of this proclamation will not bear the fruit of a revolution for a radically new emancipating way that people here and around the world could be living.
Let’s take a look at the statement as it is on the broadsheet, which needs to be distributed far and wide and find its way up onto the walls—in the streets, in stores, community centers, schools and colleges… everywhere there are people who are described in the opening paragraph.
I want to briefly point to three things in the first column—which we can discuss in the Q&A.
- That we base our understanding of what is the problem we face on the scientific method and approach that Bob Avakian has brought forward.
- It is that scientific method that reveals that it is the system of capitalism-imperialism that is the source of all the outrages and madness that people are subjected to all over the world. We draw special attention to the existential threat to the survival of humanity and much of life on earth that is heightened by the present growing danger of world war between nuclear powers—Russia and/or China and the U.S. And,
- That the very extremeness of the time we live in, and particularly to the sharp divide among the rulers of this system in this country, opens up the unusual, rare and unique time when a real revolution to overthrow this system could be possible.
I will read now what it says about this possibility:
This is a “rare time” when the capitalist-imperialists who rule over us, in this country, are deeply divided in a way they have not been since the Civil War in the 1860s, and the country is being ripped apart, with one section moving toward an outright fascist form of rule with the other fighting for the horrific way things have been. They cannot resolve these deep divisions, and “hold the country together,” on the basis of the “normal way” this system has operated—and, in any case, that “normal way” is full of oppression, destruction, and the real danger of wiping out humanity. For these reasons, this revolution we are working for is urgently necessary—and more possible.”
This column concludes with:
Bob Avakian has sharply expressed this profound reality: We can no longer afford to allow these imperialists to continue to dominate the world and determine the destiny of humanity. And it is a scientific fact that humanity does not have to live this way—a whole different way to organize society, a whole better world, is possible.
Which leads to the heart of the statement:
Shaping up before us now are two fundamentally opposed futures: Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating.
And because of this, we are determined, as I said at the beginning of this presentation, to do these three things (again, I’m going to read):
- To seize on this “rare time” to develop the basis to actually make revolution—to finally defeat the violent enforcers of this monstrous system. This means organizing for this revolution now, among the most bitterly oppressed, and from all parts of society, first in the thousands and then in the millions, and doing so consistently with a country-wide perspective... politically impacting all of society and changing the terms of how masses of people see things and how every institution in society has to respond... developing the conscious, organized revolutionary forces to the point where, with millions won to revolution, it will then be possible to have a real chance to win.
- To abolish this system, with all its oppressive institutions, and its governing U.S. Constitution—a document written by, and fundamentally serving the interests of, slave-owning and capitalist exploiters, from the founding of this country down to today—a document that restricts the notion of “freedom” to what is possible within the killing confines of this system of brutal exploitation and murderous oppression.
- To establish a far better system, based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian—which provides a sweeping vision, a firm foundation and concrete blueprint for bringing into being a society, and ultimately a world, free from all forms of slavery, all exploitation and oppression based on class, race, sex and gender, all relations in which one part of humanity is subordinated to and dominated by others. This socialist system, in uprooting the capitalist-imperialist system in this country and supporting revolutionary struggle in the world as a whole, will create a realistic possibility, and will move systematically and effectively, to address the already acute and fast accelerating environmental crisis, while also moving to abolish nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal of finally abolishing wars among human beings, with the abolition of the capitalist-imperialist system, and all systems and relations of exploitation and oppression, which are the basis for wars.”
So how do we go about doing this? That is what’s in the third column: where it outlines that:
We have the method, strategy, and plan to make this real.
To make what I have so far outlined from this statement: a real revolution, is a big deal. It is a hard road, a road that requires sacrifice. But there is no other way out of the madness of today and the terrible future that unfolds before our eyes. Don’t hide your eyes, cover your ears, and in a thousand ways avoid the reality—both the horror and the potential for real revolution for a liberating future—turning away, sticking your head in the sand, or making excuses to go along with the way things have been, standing apart from (or even bad mouthing) the revolution. Instead, get with this revolution, let’s not throw away the rare opportunity to be part of bringing something much better into being. All the more so because there is the leadership of Bob Avakian and the Revcoms, with the tools in the science that you can take up along with the strategy, the vision and the concrete blueprint in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America for a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.
We can get into as much of this tonight as you want or as we have time for… but let this be the beginning of an urgent liberating process to fight for the future of humanity. A crucial start of this process is spreading this statement We Are the Revcoms far and wide and digging into it as we will begin to do tonight. This year, we are putting revolution on the map, and we are calling on you to be a part of doing that.