I’ve been getting a lot of experience in learning to lead discussions of A Declaration, A Call to Get Organized Now for a Real Revolution from the revcoms/revcom.us with new people who are just meeting the revolution. There’s a lot of richness to what kinds of discussions and struggle get opened up when it is on the basis of the Declaration and Call.
One important thing I want to note is that in recent experience we’ve had a lot of focused discussions on Part 3 of the Declaration focused on the question of leadership:
3. To make this revolution a reality, we need leadership with the scientific method, the strategy and program that can shine a light through the madness and chaos that this system is constantly creating and can lead in carving the path forward out of this madness to the radically new world we need. AND WE HAVE THAT LEADERSHIP—IN BOB AVAKIAN (BA). BA is the architect of a whole new framework for the liberation of all oppressed people and the emancipation of all humanity: the new communism. We are followers of BA. And you need to become followers of BA too. There never has been a leader like this in this country and there is no other leader like this in the world now. We cannot afford not to follow this leadership if we ever want to get free and put an end to this madness.
After reading that, a lot of people asked, “who is Bob Avakian?” There were a few people who said they had heard the name before but didn’t know his work. As some discussions went on, people raised that they felt weird about the bolded part: “We are followers of BA. And you need to become followers of BA too.”
We got into this by drawing from the pamphlet “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity”—both drawing from who BA is as a leader and what are the breakthroughs he’s made. We got into WHY we say if you want to get free this is where you go, this is who you follow. In one of the discussions, another revcom did this really important riff about what it means to follow Bob Avakian, taking up the scientific tools to understand reality, take up his work, continue to get a deeper understanding of what he’s brought forward, spreading this leadership and his works, all in the service of making revolution and emancipating all humanity. There was a lot more we were saying in the back and forth, including on the question of defending leadership—this is someone who has been gone after by the state and various counter-revolutionaries, and we better recognize the precious leadership we have, and actually defend this leadership because of what he represents.
I’ve gone back and re-read the pamphlet on BA for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity and I definitely think we need to be wielding this when this question comes up. It’s so good in walking through the work he has done on this question. I was telling people this point in particular, but I think we should be reading this with people, when this question comes up:
In the speeches and writings of BA overall, there is not only powerful, penetrating exposure and uncompromising condemnation of brutal and murderous oppression but, even more importantly, there is scientific analysis of how all this is rooted in this system of capitalism-imperialism and of the need, the possibility, and the means for making revolution to overthrow this system and finally put an end to all the outrageous and unnecessary suffering that the masses of humanity are continually subjected to under this system.
This is WHY you need to become a follower of this person!
There is a lot richness and serious engagement with ACTUAL revolution when this question gets opened up in this way, and those two things cannot be disconnected: BA concentrates REAL revolution.
We have also started giving people “Bob Avakian Answers Accusations of 'Cult': IGNORANCE, AND COWARDICE” because we know this comes up and we need to learn from how BA goes on the offensive on this, really setting the right terms.
Concretely Organizing for REVOLUTION FOR REAL
One other thing that I've learned from leading these discussions of the Declaration and Call is that we have to straight up tell people WHY it matters to get into these collective discussions of the Declaration right there on the spot—this isn’t an abstract discussion of good ideas, this is to go to work on the problem described in part 4, that “We need to urgently change the situation where not nearly enough people know about this revolution and are with it.”
This is tied in with really getting concrete with people and seeing plans through right on the spot. This has been a shortcoming that we're quickly working to change.
On the basis of everything above, how are we getting concrete with people on how they are spreading this? For example, people checked the box on the sign-up sheet to spread materials, but we didn't make sure they had materials (!). We kind of looked at the signup sheet and said “ok, so we’ll follow up” but not “taking it home” with people—getting them materials, making concrete plans. We need to ask people, “Is there more you want to walk through together so you can lead these discussions with others?”
If we aren't doing this, it conveys that we don’t really expect them to act on their plans... it conveys the wrong thing and people don’t feel responsible to this. No, this can't be “that was a good discussion” but not really working on the need NOW to get organized for revolution FOR REAL!
People need to leave these discussions with a real sense (even if beginning) of this is serious and I’m responsible for X, Y or Z. And we should figure out the ways where people are being followed up on these things collectively, not just back to calling the ones and twos. People should be seeing that it isn’t just them by themselves doing this, they should see those they were in discussions with, doing the same kind of work, summing up what they learned in leading these discussions, getting up flyers and posters, or whatever material they are getting up. They should be seeing each other at The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show Zoom watch parties, and then going and hosting their own watch parties.
This is a rare moment when revolution is possible and we need to work quickly and seriously on organizing blocs of people in this way—learning more as we go!