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A Message to the Revcoms and Everyone Else Yearning for a Better World

THIS Is A “Game-Changer”: The Bob Avakian Interviews

Part One

Editors’ note: recently received a valuable contribution from two readers on how to go out and turn the new interviews with Bob Avakian, BA, into the societal game-changers they can—and urgently need to—be. We will be posting edited excerpts from this letter over the next few weeks. We urge all our readers to write us with your thoughts on this and how we can meet this crucial goal, and your experience—positive and negative—in doing so.

What is concentrated in these interviews is objectively a game-changer: there simply is no one and nothing else like this, and any decent, honest and intellectually curious person who cares about the state of the world and watches this will be transformed, even as those newer to things will of course not immediately become revcoms, and will have plenty of questions, things they don’t understand and things they understand wrongly.

But in the process of and alongside thinking about why and how to project these interviews out in society in a big way, anyone who is part of these efforts should take some time—whether they are brand new... or have heard this before and think they already have a deep grasp of this point—to truly and seriously reflect upon what is contained and concentrated in these interviews and what it would mean for the prospects for revolution in this rare time in history to SUCCEED in creating a climate in which these BA interviews and BA himself increasingly make a big societal splash and become known to and a huge reference point for first hundreds, then thousands and ultimately millions—with increasing waves of these people getting deeply into these interviews and into BA and stepping forward into the movement for revolution that he is leading.

Really being anchored in the above will lead to all kinds of good, exciting, and compelling ideas and to really thinking big in a way commensurate with what and who it is that we’re projecting.

Part 1: Some Important Principles and Points of Orientation

These points are informed by the understanding that our forces are currently very small... but also not non-existent. Along these lines, we wrangled, brainstormed and shuttled back and forth between two planes of conception in our thinking:  

*Pursuing a thought experiment in which the two of us arrived in a new city, were the only two people who had heard of BA and these interviews and were seeking to make as big and broad a splash as possible as quickly as possible... and

*Stepping out of this thought experiment back into a reality in which we are not, in fact, literally starting from scratch and do have forces, ties and factors to work with, even if starting out they are small in number.

With this in mind, here are some key principles and points of orientation that we discussed, and that should inform brainstorming, ideas and efforts to break through on making these interviews a huge deal in society.

Point 1: Strategic confidence and radical simplicity

Once again, think about these interviews and what it was like to watch them.

Like, really actually think about that for a moment...

Think about who and what they feature... what these interviews talk about and how they talk about it... think about their substance... their style... think about how they inspired and moved you... how they challenged you... what they illuminated... what they made you think and what they made you feel.

Think honestly about whether you have ever seen and heard anything else like this...

Now, with that still fresh in your mind...

Think about someone who doesn’t want to watch these interviews. Who makes snarky, dismissive comments... or who does watch the interviews and is “unimpressed.”

Think what that says about that person’s worldview and priorities.

Now: Why the hell would we want to be in any way defensive or deferential towards... waste time with... or kiss the ass of people like that?!

That is what is meant by strategic confidence. That is the attitude we need to be going out with if we are going to break through... it means we go out into the world, whether on the ground or online, knowing that who and what we have and are working to connect people with is special... is vital... is decisive... and that, to paraphrase an old saying, if you don’t know... you better ask somebody!

No, this doesn’t mean we write people off or give up on them permanently if they don’t immediately respond well—or respond in contradictory ways... but it does mean that we don’t take any nonsense from people who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

In fact, this kind of strategic confidence on our part is essential for people to be able to transform and get off the bullshit they’re on.

Existing revcom forces really grasping and applying the above points about strategic confidence—what it means, why it’s essential, and how to apply it—is critical methodologically and epistemologically in its own right; and is also of paramount importance in terms of being able to make advances and accumulate forces for revolution in an accelerated way. Therefore, further discussion, struggle, ruptures and clarity on this point within our existing forces would seem very important. 

To be blunt: Masses will not really take us seriously, will not be called forth into this revolution and will not be unleashed to transform in the ways that are necessary, unless we do comprehend, project and apply strategic confidence in the ways discussed here.

Conversely, our forces—including the newer people we are calling forth and accumulating along the way—will get much less discouraged and disoriented by bullshit, attacks, snark, etc. if we are internalizing, applying and projecting this strategic confidence... which will create the basis for telescoped further advances in dialectical relation with the unfolding of events in the world.

Again, if there is disagreement, discomfort or lack of clarity on these points about strategic confidence—and what this means—among our existing forces, this should be: unearthed, explored, struggled over and transformed. 

Radical simplicity, meanwhile, is closely related to strategic confidence and flows from it. Radical simplicity means that without in any way watering things down, there is a need to put forward some simple, clearly distilled, easy-to-grasp points about what this interview is... why people need to get into it and contribute to making it a huge societal phenomenon... and why that matters.

And then, of course, we can and must bring plenty of substance behind that radical simplicity to back it up, which we are more than capable of doing. But there is an importance to getting a good dialectic going between the simplicity and the complexity and to having some key forms where we hit people with the simplicity in a compelling way.

As one example, in building for the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West in 2014, it proved to be an important turning point in our promotion when—a few weeks out from the event—we settled on a few (it might have been three) very succinct and simple points for why this event was so significant and historic and why people couldn’t and shouldn’t miss it. It has been a few years, so I don’t remember the exact phrasing of these points now, but I think it was something along the lines of: you can’t miss this event because of the chance to see this leader (BA), these speakers (BA and CW) and this subject matter—REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight For Emancipation and the Role of Religion: A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST and BOB AVAKIAN.

We think there is an important role for some similar short, succinct and provocative points for why these interviews are must see, can’t miss, and must spread.

The points emphasized in the promotional palm cards for the interviews would at the very least provide some good initial ideas, inspiration and material for developing these succinct, radically simple promotional points.

This kind of radical simplicity infused with strategic confidence—rather than being a substitute for more in-depth explanation of things—can rather help to more quickly distinguish between masses who are or could be fairly quickly won to be seriously interested vs. those who should not be given up on but are at the moment not serious, while also calling forward the more serious masses and creating the basis to work and struggle with them in more depth while avoiding getting bogged down with and by those who are not serious.

A couple of final thoughts for now on this point about radical simplicity: There is a radical simplicity of this interview at this moment in history and in the world.

If we really fully understand the point from the interview about how humanity can no longer afford to allow this system and this ruling class to be in power—that this is actually an existential question for humanity, and that it’s not just that “things are really bad and getting worse” but that humanity is truly confronted acutely with the choice between “something terrible OR something truly emancipating,” then there is important radical simplicity flowing from this in terms of the fact that now is the time to bring forward something truly emancipating and making these BA interviews a huge social phenomenon that can play a massive role in relation to that.

So this is how our people should feel—and project—the urgency in their bones of this interview and the need to project it throughout society in a huge way.

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