Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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"The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have"

May 1, 2010—Push Out Big with the Campaign

May 1 is the revolutionary holiday. May 1 is the day when people come together, around this tortured planet, and declare their determination to end exploitation and all forms of oppression. It is the day when they state their aim to unite millions to overthrow this system, to bring to an end the ruling state power of this system that maintains and feeds off exploitation and oppression—and bring into being a radically new state power, working to end all forms of this oppression. And to do that as soon as conditions allow. It is a day when the revolutionary movement of today reaches out, boldly, to awaken and bring forward those who have not yet heard of this vision and this goal.

May 1 is an international holiday. A day on which the vision of a world without oppressor and oppressed nations, and ultimately without borders and nations of any kind, is set forth. A day of solidarity with struggles everywhere against the oppressive order of the world. A day celebrated in every corner of the globe.

And May 1 is a holiday of struggle. A day that commemorates the martyrdom of leaders of the radical workers' movement in Chicago 124 years ago, framed up and hanged by the authorities. A day celebrated by standing up against the system, expressing resistance as part of a movement for revolution.

This year, on May 1, we call on people around the U.S. to find the ways to mark this revolutionary holiday with the spirit and determination it must really symbolize. In particular, we call on people to use May 1 to make a further advance in the Revolutionary Communist Party's campaign to let people know what communist revolution is really all about... to get them acquainted with the leadership of this revolution, Bob Avakian and the RCP, USA which he leads... and to draw them into this movement. May 1 should be out in the streets and neighborhoods—centered around massive distribution of the RCP's message and call to the millions who don't yet know about this revolution—"The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have." Our special May 1 issue—coming out on April 26—will carry this call, along with other materials that highlight the themes of May 1.

Imagine bands of people, determined and with confidence, marching through the streets and getting out this message, and drawing in others as they go. Imagine drum corps of youth giving a vision of the discipline demanded by our struggle, and the pride, energy and joy that must surge through it. Imagine men and women proudly taking the streets together, and declaring their refusal to go along with the oppression of women. Imagine faces of every color shouting their hatred of racism and white supremacy. Imagine signs and posters boldly opposing the religion-fueled ignorance that demonizes and denies gay people their rights.  Imagine chants ringing out in different languages, the voices of those who were born here raised in unison with those who've been driven here—all on the theme that, in the words of the party's message and call, "this is NOT the best of all possible worlds and we do NOT have to live this way." Imagine people making the connection between imperialist wars, economic misery and the threats against the very ability of the planet to sustain human life—and, as they do so, manifesting their determination to go up against all that with a whole new revolutionary society, and a revolutionary movement aiming to bring it into being. Imagine militant manifestations in the day, and celebrations in the evening—with culture, and with setting forth the real vision of revolution, including by playing parts of Bob Avakian's classic speech, Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About. And imagine those manifestations in the day, and celebrations at night, giving a sense of a movement with a morality, culture, and relations between people that are night-and-day different from what people live today.

May 1 has been suppressed in the United States. For many, it is hardly known, or at best known vaguely. In most other countries it has been sterilized into just another day for a reform-minded labor movement, that hasn't had a radical impulse in decades, to parade around. And in revisionist countries—where those who have cut the revolutionary heart out of communism still rule in communism's name—it is just a day to strut around symbols of military might in a way that has nothing to do with revolution. In a world that desperately needs a really radical alternative, we can't tolerate that.

This is all the more reason to fight to reclaim this holiday as part of beginning a whole new stage of communist revolution. And all the more basis for a movement that is yet small in numbers, but very, very large in terms of the truth it grasps, the vision it aims for and the determination it manifests, to boldly rally people to it. And there is no better means to do this than massive distribution of the message and call from the RCP, USA, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have."

Again: let May 1 mark a major effort in the party's campaign to put this revolution back on the political map... to make known very broadly the leadership of Bob Avakian—giving people a sense of the work he is carrying out, his history and character as a rare and outstanding communist leader and the ways in which this leadership heightens our chances to actually make revolution for real... and to bring forward and further forge a core of dedicated fighters for this revolution.

Let us know your plans. And keep up with to learn what is going on everywhere.

The Campaign

In July 2009, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, launched an important campaign with the issuing of the message and call "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have" in Revolution newspaper. It was announced that the campaign would be the focus and pivot of our Party's efforts over many months, reaching and enlisting many, many people, in a campaign with many parts and dimensions.

We ARE BUILDING a movement for revolution, concentrated now in mounting the campaign: The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have. The point: to familiarize millions with the goal and character of communist revolution, as it has been reconceived by Bob Avakian, to inject this into the discourse in a radically creative and urgent way, and to make known very broadly in society the leadership of Bob Avakian—giving people a sense of the work he is carrying out, his history and character as a rare and outstanding communist leader, and—on the broadest level—his connection to revolution... and through all this to begin forging a core of dedicated, ardent fighters for this revolution.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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Lessons of the Revolution:
The Message and the Call... and the Revolution Talk

Supporters of the RCP, USA have been interviewing people in different cities, trying to learn about the impact of our campaign to let people know what communist revolution is really all about... to get them acquainted with the leadership of this revolution, Bob Avakian and the RCP, USA which he leads... and to forge a core of determined fighters for this vision and this revolution.

We will be reporting on what we have been learning in the weeks to come. And we ask anyone reading this paper who has criticisms, observations or other feedback to give us to write to us. But right now we want to sum up two big lessons in particular.

One: we have not done nearly enough to popularize the message and call that is the heart of this campaign—"The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have." Yes, we distributed some at different points, and we used the recording of this... but we have not grasped how important it is for people to see this everywhere, and to see this over and over. Once, twice, even three times is not nearly enough. In fact, when we have interviewed people and introduced this by reading over the call with them, people tell us that this gives them a very clear idea of our aims and objectives, and what we are trying to do. And this is true even if they have seen it before. There is really nothing like this—nothing that puts out, in language with such power and clarity, the basic communist vision and the understanding of how we can make a revolution... and the sense of the leadership that we have to actually achieve all this.

Two: we have not done nearly enough with Bob Avakian's talk Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About. People from all walks of life have told us over and over that there is nothing like this. Some have suggested to us that it should be constantly playing in Revolution Books stores. Many tell us that they often didn't get its power until they had watched it all the way through—and one person said that it was only after watching it three times that he actually began to get it. We should certainly learn from this and make even more use of it. Put it this way—anyone who comes around this campaign should find it quite easy to hook into a group that is viewing and discussing this regularly. Anyone who wants to make this campaign succeed should be making sure that they are setting up watching sessions of it. And everyone should be watching this, returning to it, learning from both the content and from the method used by Chairman Avakian to break things down. All this, of course, should be coupled with spreading this even more broadly, especially on the Internet.

On the weekend before May Day (April 24 and 25), we are going to focus our efforts on distributing the REVOLUTION talk in English and Spanish, distributing the promotional materials for the video, and posting quotes from the talk (available at

Send us your comments.

Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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Lessons of the Revolution:
Resisting Repression—and Getting Stronger

Two key elements of the nationwide campaign to popularize communism and the leadership of Bob Avakian, and to bring forward new revolutionary fighters are being actively suppressed. Prison authorities at Pelican Bay State Prison in California and Menard prison in Illinois have banned Revolution newspaper. Prisoners in these hellholes who, in an outpouring of letters responding to this campaign have begun to profoundly impact the political terrain, are being deprived of this lifeline to the outside world. Now this week, the Harvard Crimson (the student newspaper at Harvard) refused to print an open letter, submitted as a paid advertisement, from Raymond Lotta to Roderick MacFarquhar. MacFarquhar is a leading academic historian and China scholar who has written a book full of misrepresentations, gross distortions and outright lies about China's Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)—giving "scholarly credibility" to the lie that communist revolution is a nightmare and failure. (See page 12.)

The reason for this refusal? Crimson President Peter Zhu has deemed the open letter "too controversial."

No movement for serious change—and certainly no revolutionary movement—has ever advanced without meeting the forces of repression and suppression. Sharp lines of demarcation must be drawn between what is in the interests of the people and what is an attack on the people, wrong and harmful. And new forces must be won to wage struggle to defeat these attempts to suppress the revolution.

Do prisoners—and those they are speaking to—have a right " wake up and shake off the ways they put on us, the ways they have us thinking so they can keep us down and trapped in the same old rat race..." and to raise themselves up as conscious Emancipators of Humanity, as the message and call from the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) calls upon them to do? Do the students—and others drawn to hear Raymond Lotta—have a right to critically examine what they are being taught and to pursue the truth wherever it leads? Do they have a right to question and debate whether capitalism is the best of all possible systems or to look beyond it to revolutionary and communist solutions to the horrors which billions live every day on this earth?

Right now, these attacks on the rights of prisoners, students and many others to read about, to hear and debate these arguments and this vision must be turned back on those who perpetrate this censorship. These attacks must become, as Mao Tsetung said, rocks they have picked up to hurl and dropped on their own feet.

It is crucial to overturn the prison ban! And, as for shutting down this "controversy" at Harvard—we should stir up the controversy! And we must go out boldly to mobilize people to take up this struggle. And as we do so, call on them to engage with this communism and revolution and to build the movement for revolution. What is it that is being suppressed? Why? What is the real nature of this system—and the need and possibility to do away with it?

Meeting these attacks head-on takes on even greater importance and significance because they are key elements of the campaign around "The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have." Meeting and overturning these attempts to keep the revolution from reaching whole sections of people is integral and critical to advancing. Such action will contribute to breaking open the debate more broadly in society. It will contribute to putting communism and revolution before all. The leadership of Bob Avakian—and the work he is doing—will become more broadly known throughout society. And new forces will step forward, not only to resist these attacks, but to join the movement for revolution.

As the message and call says: "We mean what we say, and we will not back off or turn our backs on what we have started, on the people who need this revolution. We will keep coming back and digging in, to strengthen this movement for revolution, to build up the bases, spread the influence and organize the forces we need to make revolution. We will not be scared off, backed down or driven away." ("The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have," Revolution #170)

Send us your comments.

Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Editors' Note: The following are points made by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, in a recent exchange with other comrades. This has been edited for publication here.

One of the more important statements in the Manifesto from our Party (Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage) is the quote from Marx: "Once the inner connection is grasped, all theoretical belief in the permanent necessity of existing conditions breaks down before their collapse in practice." This is not just a matter of abstract theory—it has a broader effect. That belief weighs heavily on people who don't like the way things are—they are weighed down by a belief in the "permanent necessity of existing conditions." Over and over we are confronted by the fact that people can't see beyond the way things are now.

This has to do with the importance of constantly wrangling with what a revolutionary situation would look like and how a revolution could actually be made. There is a point in "Out Into the World—As A Vanguard of the Future" on grappling with what a revolutionary situation would look like.1 We need to give people a really living sense of what we mean by "hastening while awaiting" the emergence of a revolutionary situation. And this is linked to the point that what we're doing is building a movement for revolution and letting people know what we think that revolution would look like.

This question of belief in the permanent necessity of existing conditions—and the inability to see beyond those conditions—came up with World Can't Wait when people would ask: "What good would it do to drive out the Bush Regime?" Well, think of the pyramid dynamic2 in that light: what would the Democrats have had to do if there were a million people demanding "Drive out the Bush Regime"? If there were millions even today insisting in the streets that the Democrats not "bow down" to what is represented by the Republicans, even that would change the dynamic; the Democrats would have to make tactical adjustments to deal with this, and the adjustments would create more necessity and more freedom for the revolutionaries to deal with. We have to break people out of the belief in the permanent necessity of existing conditions.

This has to do with the idea of putting out a constitution for the future socialist state.3 It has to do with the Raymond Lotta speech.4 We are precisely taking on, in many different dimensions, this belief in the permanent necessity of the existing conditions. This also happens with initiatives among the proletariat and other basic people that project an alternate authority while challenging illegitimate and abusive actions of the current authority. And so is what we're doing with the woman question, and morality and culture—because what we're doing with popularizing and actually creating a movement where people live our morality is nothing less than projecting an alternate authority in the realm of ideology. All of these initiatives are saying that the world does not have to be this way; they are all different avenues of bringing people to grapple with the reality that the world really does NOT have to be this way.

We ARE Building a Movement for Revolution

A big part of transforming the people is, yes, a different consciousness and morality, but also people seeing the breakdown in their own understanding of the "permanent necessity of existing conditions" and the possibility of a whole different thing. This is related again to how we talk to people: we ARE BUILDING a movement for revolution—not asking them: "Would it be a good idea to have a revolution?"—after which they give all the reasons why it wouldn't, or why we can't, and that sets the tone and conditions for what follows. No, we don't ignore those questions—we talk with people about them, but by saying, "okay, those are points and we have thought about them and have answers we can get into—but we ARE BUILDING a movement for revolution and this is what that revolution will look like, and this is how everything we are doing is contributing to this revolution."

That Marx statement is very profound—and not just for the intellectuals. Just because "all theoretical belief" is used, we could make the mistake of thinking it only applies to people who grapple with high levels of theory. But in today's world, this belief (that the world cannot be fundamentally changed) has "filtered down" and is one of the main things that weighs on people. So this is a thread that has to come through much more in terms of this campaign that we're waging this year to really change the whole trajectory of things, now, very radically, focused on the message and call issued by our Party, "The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have."5 It is nowhere near the case that the basic spirit, substance and sense of what Marx is getting at there guides what we're doing now. And this is one of the biggest weights on people. There are ways in practice as well as theory that we have to begin to break down the belief in this "permanent necessity," as well as battling over whose morality is attracting people.

This has everything to do with the "hastening while awaiting" point. If you conceive of revolution as someday the world is somehow going to be radically different and at that point we will do something to radically change, that won't happen—but that's not what we're doing. We have to elevate our sights and lead consistently with the understanding that the world does NOT have to be this way, and we ARE building a movement for revolution. This is not put forward, at least not in any consistent and compelling way, to the advanced around us at this point—whose number is still too small—this is not what's coming through to them. The whole thing about "revolution is real"—revolution made palpable—this is bound up with everything I'm talking about here. Actually building a movement for revolution and bringing that to the fore.

What follows that quote from Marx is that he brought to light not only the inner connections of capitalism itself, but its inner connection with other systems and showed on that basis that there was no necessity for capitalism or any other systems of exploitation. He showed that this is an historically evolved system. Marx made the point that bourgeois theorists will talk about all kinds of changes in capitalist relations, but always with the assumption that those relations are the highest and final end point of human development. But it's not the only way, especially in today's world, to do things—there's a much better way. This is the point that's made in the "Revolution" speech on the DVD, about how we can do all this complicated production without the imperialists, and do it better.6

But everything you say gets filtered through the existing production relations and superstructure that arises on this economic base. Look at the experience of the person who wrote the newspaper on the "Imagine" section of the talk on revolution: because they didn't first see it in the context of the whole speech, they understood it as just another "politician's promise." Then they saw the whole speech all the way through, and it clicked in a whole different way with them.7

All this has everything to do with whether we're building a movement for revolution and a radically different society, or whether we're just puttering around. We're not going to get there if this orientation doesn't infuse and inform everything we're doing. Then you get the phenomenon where people newly coming into this run into opposition and fall away, and while there are problems with our comrades taking an "all-or-nothing" approach with such people, this point I'm making here is even more essential.8 In fact the actual breakdown of the existing system is impossible in practice if it has not been done first in theory, that is to say, in the understanding of many people. This has to much more consistently come through, in everything we do—not just in speeches or articles, but in the whole ensemble of the work we do, this is what we should bring forward to people: There IS NO permanent necessity for the existing conditions.

There will never be an attempt at revolution, a real attempt, if you are not constantly grappling with what that might look like when, with the necessary qualitative changes and leaps in the objective situation, what is talked about in "On the Possibility"9 would be real. You cannot transform things through this capitalist economic base in a progressive way; if you want to "get beyond General Motors" you will have to do away with the existing state power. I'm not saying we should give a speech to this effect all the time, but this should infuse and guide what we're doing, and what we bring to people.

Then, when you do have a significant core that no longer believes in the permanent necessity of these conditions, they can do much better in going back and forth with broader masses. They can make clear to people who do come forward that, yes, you will get a lot of opposition out there, but that's just because there's a superstructure (there is a whole apparatus for "molding public opinion" and shaping "popular culture") which influences people to think that there's no other way to live than this—and in actual fact that's just not the case.

This is what it means to build a movement FOR REVOLUTION. Yes, fight the power, but this is the "for revolution" part.10 We should be going to people like I said: "We are building this movement for revolution and you should be part of this, but we're not having a poll as to whether people think it's possible...we have plenty to say about that...but we are in the meantime building this."

Emancipators of Humanity

What is the actual new synthesis?11 The heart of it is solid core and elasticity. At a talk I gave, years ago now, someone asked: "How would you do better than the Soviet Union or China under Mao?" One of the things I said to him is: "I don't believe in tailing people because they're oppressed—we need emancipators of humanity." When you are in a qualitatively different situation than what we have now—when the present system has been swept aside and the new, socialist system has been brought into being—there would have to be an army, as the backbone of an actual state, that enforces the new system, and that army would be made up of very basic people in large part. But we have to train them to understand that, as part of that, they are going to have to be out there protecting the rights of people who oppose this new system, and they are going to have to defend the right of these people to raise this opposition, while at the same time they would also have to stop people who really are making attempts to smash the state power we have. I said that this will be a struggle with masses, but we have to bring forward on every level people who have this kind of understanding of what we're doing. The Constitution of the new, socialist system is going to enumerate the rights of people, and this state apparatus is going to protect people's rights who don't agree, so long as they don't actively and concretely organize to overthrow that state apparatus. That is where the Lenin point comes in: As long as there are classes, one class is going to dictate, and "better me than you"—that is, better the dictatorship of the proletariat than the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (capitalist class).

But what is that dictatorship of the proletariat? BOTH aspects of this are important—solid core and elasticity. There would not be a General Motors in socialist society, and there would also not be an FBI or an LAPD. Those kinds of institutions would be abolished and—unless they agreed to abolish themselves voluntarily—they would have to be forcefully abolished under a future dictatorship of the proletariat. Maybe they would be given 24 hours to disband!...but disbanded they would have to be. There would be revolutionary institutions in place of those old, oppressive and reactionary institutions...and, yes, that is what we're building for—aiming for the time when there is a qualitative change in the objective situation, when a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people in the millions and millions have been brought into being. And when that revolution is made, when a new, revolutionary state power is brought into being, there would not just be a new army, but that new army would be guided by very different principles. There would be a culture in that army, but it definitely would not be (as in the hymn of the imperialist Marine Corps): "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli"—that's just not going to be what guides the new state apparatus! No more General Motors and no more Marines. The principles we're talking about here, and the reason we're going out to win people to be emancipators of humanity, is that they're going to be the actual backbone of the new state.

This has everything to do with the "permanent necessity" point. It has to do with "human nature," and the fact that, just as there is no "permanent necessity" for the existing conditions, there is also no "unchanging and unchangeable human nature."

People say: "You mean to tell me that these youth running around selling drugs and killing each other, and caught up in all kinds of other stuff, can be a backbone of this revolutionary state power in the future?" Yes—but not as they are now, and not without struggle. They weren't always selling drugs and killing each other, and the rest of it—and they don't have to be into all that in the future. Ask yourself: how does it happen that you go from beautiful children to supposedly "irredeemable monsters" in a few years? It's because of the system, and what it does to people—not because of "unchanging and unchangeable human nature."

We're talking about a whole different and better way that we can bring into being...if we win.

Yes, we are talking about conditions that don't yet exist now, and our enemies can intentionally take things out of context and misconstrue it. So we had better learn how to talk about this well, because people do need to grapple with the possibility of these future conditions as part of having this vision out there. Let's inspire people—let's have a lot of expressions of a radically different culture, and let's write some new hymns for people—ones with a radically different message than that of a marauding, murderous, invading and occupying imperialist force—"From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli"...NO. How are people being led and inspired to live and to die? We have to say to those who want a new world but who don't want—or don't understand the need for—the whole thing of fostering and protecting and listening to dissent: "If you want a new world where children are not killed by police and where all these other outrages don't happen, then we have to be down for this whole thing. We should not want these outrages to happen to any group of people. Our aim should be a radically different world, where all that has been buried in the past."

1. This refers to the following passage from "Out Into the World—As a Vanguard of the Future," a talk by Bob Avakian in 2008:

"Next, I want to turn to what could be called: more on—more work to be done on—a revolutionary situation (with its various components), particularly in a country like this. What I'm getting at here is the importance of continually wrangling with the questions: What would such a revolutionary situation actually look like? What could it emerge out of? What factors could come together to establish the necessary basis for such a revolutionary situation?

"It is very important to be continually returning to and wrangling with such questions. At the same time, it is also important to emphasize that this must not be approached in an idealist fashion—conjuring up a scenario and then seeking to impose this, in an apriorist manner, on reality. Rather, it is a matter and a need of constantly probing, digging beneath the surface to identify trends and forces, within a particular country and in the overall world situation, that could become part of, or contribute to, the 'mix' of a revolutionary situation; and it is important to do that in advance not only of the actual emergence of a revolutionary situation, but well before the specific features of that situation become immediately and obviously apparent. Well before that, and repeatedly, it is necessary to be grappling, in the realm of strategic conception once again, with both the objective and subjective aspects of such a revolutionary situation: with how objective factors could conceivably come together to provide the objective elements of a revolutionary situation and what position would the vanguard of the revolution have to be in, in terms of its influence as well as its organized ties with different sections of the masses, in order to seize on such a situation—and what the vanguard would have to do in such a situation to bring about its full ripening and to then lead people, in their millions, to wage the actual struggle for the seizure of power. This is another expression of theory, or strategic conception, 'running ahead' of practice. But, at the same time, it would be necessary and important to keep in mind and maintain the recognition of a decisive principle that Lenin stressed—that, in the event itself, life is much richer than its anticipation in conception and, in this sense, as Lenin emphasized, theory is gray while the tree of life is green—and accordingly, as real-life contradictions continue to unfold—including through the role of accident and contingency, in dialectical relation with necessity and causality—it is necessary to be continually returning to and grappling anew with the conception of what a revolutionary situation would look like and what demands its development would place on the subjective factor (the vanguard party).

"It is not idle speculation—nor, again, idealist apriorism—that is being called for, but a continual wrangling with what, after all, we are trying to get to, in terms of the first great leap, getting over the first great hump, and how that informs and influences what we are doing now, even while our work in this period is qualitatively different than the work revolutionaries would be doing once a revolutionary situation actually emerged. This is another way of saying: what is the living link here?—in this case particularly on the level of strategic conception and its relation to practice at any given time.

"And it can also be emphasized, and must be emphasized, that not to grapple with this, in the way I've been speaking of this here, is another form of tailing spontaneity and will lead in the direction of 'gradualism'—or, to put it simply, revisionism—and of accommodation and capitulation to the world the way it is, as it's dominated and ruled by imperialism and reactionary classes." [back]

2. For a discussion of the pyramid dynamic, see Bob Avakian's most recent talk, "Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution" at—in particular, the section "The Continuing Relevance and Importance of the 'Pyramid Analysis'" under "I. Once More on the Coming Civil War...and Repolarization for Revolution." [back]

3. Bob Avakian has recently raised the idea, among Party leadership, of having some comrades in the Party write a constitution of a future socialist state, as a way to give substance and life to how the new synthesis would apply to actually governing a society that would be both a radically new system itself and at the same time a society in transition to communism. [back]

4. This refers to Raymond Lotta's speech "Everything You've Been Told About Communism Is Wrong—Capitalism Is a Failure, Revolution Is the Solution!" given on college campuses in 2009-2010. [back]

5. See Revolution, #170, July 19, 2009, for this message and call. That issue also contains an editorial laying out the campaign's aims:

"First, we intend to really put revolution out there in this society, so that millions of people here and around the world come to know about THIS revolution.

"Second, we intend to make Bob Avakian, the Chairman of our Party and leader of the revolution, a 'household word'—someone known throughout society, with growing numbers checking out, getting into and supporting his work, his thinking and his leadership.

"And third, as laid out in Chairman Avakian's recent talk Ruminations and Wranglings, we aim to draw forward a core of 'people who see it as their mission, and are guided by the Party's vision and line, to go out and actually fight for this line, win people to it, organize them into the revolutionary movement and struggle for them to become communists and then to join the Party once they've made that leap to being communists.'" [back]

6. This refers to a passage in the speech Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, where Bob Avakian states: "Capitalism, especially now that it has reached the stage of imperialism, controls, dominates, manipulates and mangles the lives of people all over the world. Many times you hear these imperialists and their mouthpieces say things like this, 'well you say we're exploiting people. But without us there'd be no jobs.' They come out with this especially when it comes to light that they are paying people something like a few cents an hour in countries all over the Third World. No. The truth is, without these imperialists, there would still be people capable of working, people capable of planning and running an economy. There would still be natural resources and potential wealth for the people in those countries, when they take control over their societies and remake them in a radical way through revolution. But then, what there would be, is no capital, no capitalism, no imperialism, exploiting and robbing the people and plundering their countries. And the masses of people everywhere in the world would be much better off. You cannot make this system into something else than what it is. So long as it rules, so long as it is in effect, everything that it does, all the ways it makes people suffer all over the world, will continue and will only get worse. Because that's the only way this system can operate." [back]

7. The reference here is to a letter from a reader published in Revolution #190, "The Revolution Talk: 'A Precious, Rare, and Enormous Tool.'" [back]

8. The "all-or-nothing" approach being criticized here is one that demands a high level of activity and commitment from anyone who shows interest in revolution, communism and the Party, rather than finding the ways for people to check things out and participate at a level corresponding to their actual understanding of the world and their sense of how to change this at any given time, "giving them air to breathe" and room to learn through their own experience, while at the same time struggling with them over these questions—struggle which is carried out in a living, non-dogmatic way, encompassing both learning and leading. [back]

9. The reference here is to "On the Possibility of Revolution," which originally appeared in Revolution #102 and is included in the Revolution pamphlet Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation (May 1, 2008), pp. 80-89. [back]

10. The formulation "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution" embodies a basic part of the Party's strategic approach for building a revolutionary movement. For a discussion of this formulation, see Bob Avakian's talk "Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity," in particular "Part 2: Everything We're Doing Is About Revolution." [back]

11. Substantive discussions of the new synthesis can be found in "Re-envisioning Revolution and Communism: WHAT IS BOB AVAKIAN'S NEW SYNTHESIS?" (a talk given in spring 2008 and available online at and in a section from Bob Avakian's talk "Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity," which can be found in PDF format at Go to for more works by Bob Avakian. [back]

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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Some Observations on the Culture Wars:
Textbooks, Movies, Sham Shakespearean Tragedies and Crude Lies

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

On the Texas Textbook Battles

I recently read a very significant article in the New York Times (Thursday, March 11, 2010), "Texas Conservatives Seek Deeper Stamp on Texts." And ABC news also did a feature story on this subject. What is involved are moves by Texas "conservatives" to change social studies curriculum to make it (even more) overtly reactionary. A driving force among these "conservatives" is a "young earth creationist" who actually insists, despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, that the earth is no more than 10,000 years old! You really have to read this article to see what lengths, or extremes, this is going to. To give a further "taste," these "conservatives" are insisting on including, in textbooks, the words of Jefferson Davis, head of the slave-owning Confederacy in the Civil War, side by side with quotes from Abraham Lincoln. Their aim is not to expose and condemn Jefferson Davis but rather to lend status and respectability to what he represented. "Fascist" is certainly not too strong a word to describe these "conservative" forces.

As the word "Deeper" in the title of the Times article suggests, Texas is already a major "trend-setter" for public school textbooks in the U.S.  It is striking that, among other things, these "conservatives" not only want to more thoroughly reverse the verdicts of the 1960s about the U.S. and its role in the world, including as the influence of these verdicts gets reflected—even though in a watered-down way—in school curriculum, but they also want to reverse the verdict on the Civil War—treating the Confederate slave system as deserving of legitimacy and respect! This is a salient illustration of the point that is made by citing the observations of Hubert Locke in "Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution," and more generally the analysis (in that talk and elsewhere) about "the coming civil war"—about the current polarization, within the ruling class as well as in American society more broadly, and the challenges of repolarization...for revolution.1

What a world! What a system and what a ruling class where "young earth creationists" and other reactionary cretins are allowed to have a major impact in influencing what is taught in the public schools—and apparently no higher political (ruling class) authority is willing or able to step in and declare, and act decisively to effect, that this cannot and will not be allowed, that it is simply impermissible for dangerous lunacy like this to be promoted as public policy and for people who promote such lunacy to sit on influential decision-making bodies.

All this provides yet another profound illustration of the fact that this ruling class has objectively forfeited any right to rule and to determine the direction of society—and to significantly influence the course of the world and the fate of humanity overall.

Note that an "overhaul" of public education is clearly a major objective of the Obama administration (see, for example, the front-page article in the New York Times, Sunday, March 14, 2010, "Obama Proposes Sweeping Change in Education Law," referring specifically to No Child Left Behind). But I see no evidence that Obama, et al., are gearing up for battle against these Christian (and other) Fascists around the issues I have pointed to here.

* * *

Adding to this Texas Textbook outrage is an article by Sam Tanenhaus in the New York Times, on the front page of the "Week in Review" section (Sunday, March 21, 2010), "In Texas Curriculum Fight, Identity Politics Leans Right." This piece enshrines and in effect celebrates relativism and identity politics—specifically in relation to this Texas Textbook outrage. It does this as an expression of the interests not of the petit bourgeois democratic intellectual but of the bourgeois ruling class of the U.S., in the framework of the specific historical development of the capitalist-imperialist system in this country, with its "peculiar institution" of slavery, and everything that has flowed from—or developed as a consequence of—that, down to the present. Here again, you really have to read this article to see how grotesque it is. As a basic way of exposing what it is putting forward, this question can be posed:

Is opposing, or on the other hand actually upholding, slavery—and other egregious injustices perpetrated as part of the development of the dominant system in this country—really just a matter of different "narratives"? Or is there not, in fact, objective reality and truth and a basis for clear-cut moral certitude in relation to these things?

A related, and very important point is this:

For humanity to advance beyond a state in which "might makes right"—and where things ultimately come down to raw power relations—will require, as a fundamental element in this advance, an approach to understanding things (an epistemology) which recognizes that reality and truth are objective and do not vary in accordance with, nor depend on, different "narratives" and how much "authority" an idea (or "narrative") may have behind it, or how much power and force can be wielded on behalf of any particular idea or "narrative," at any given point.

The Movies/the "Oscars"/the Sphere of Culture

Check out the opinion piece by Ross Douthat, "Hollywood's Political Fictions," (New York Times, Monday, March 15, 2010). This piece is itself a grotesque example of political fiction—or, more baldly put, the lie that the invasion of Iraq was not rationalized by lies of the first order but rather resulted from a much more complex and nuanced process, a real Shakespearean tragedy, wherein "even many of the invasion's opponents" believed that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), and that this posed "a real danger to world peace." Here we see, once again, reality turned on its head, so that truth is reduced to indecipherable murkiness, while lies become...well, something that any decent person (even opponents of the invasion of Iraq) could actually have believed. To restore some clarity, let's turn things rightside up, and review some essential facts. The truth is that, by the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there were very clear indications and mounting evidence that there were no WMDs in Iraq, that Bush, et al., were determined to go to war in any case, and that they went to war precisely when ongoing investigation, by UN inspectors, was heading in the direction of revealing that there were no WMDs. The lies involved the insistence, by Bush, and other key officials in the Bush regime, that it was a fact that there were such WMDs—lies which they persisted in repeating, even as there was mounting evidence that there were no WMDs.

The kind of "rhetorical gymnastics" that Douthat engages in is a shame-faced variation of the apologias for the imperialists. When they are not only caught committing war crimes—and the invasion and occupation of Iraq, as well as many things done as part of this invasion and occupation, certainly do constitute war crimes on the part of the U.S. imperialists and their military—but, on top of that, when the rationalizations for these war crimes are shown to be outright lies, all of a sudden their stock in trade, essentially comic book depictions of good and evil with which they normally bombard us—"good guys" and "bad guys"—are replaced, especially when speaking to more "sophisticated" audiences, by ersatz existentialism about complexity and nuance!

A particular target of this piece by Douthat is the movie The Green Zone, which he lambastes in these terms: "[I]t refuses to stare real tragedy in the face, preferring the comfort of a 'Bush lied, people died' reductionism"!!

Never mind that "Bush lied, people died" is very much to the point, and captures much of the essence of the matter. No, insists Douthat, it is more meaningful to indulge in empty references to "real tragedy" in a way that avoids and evades the truth. And—surprise, surprise—one of Douthat's main devices is to contrast The Green Zone with... (you'll know if you've been paying attention these days...) The Hurt Locker. Here is Douthat again:

"Such glib scapegoating [as in The Green Zone] looks particularly lame in the wake of last week's triumph for The Hurt Locker, the first major movie to paint the Iraq War in shades of gray. But The Hurt Locker, of course, was largely apolitical. Throw politics into the mix, and there seems to be no escaping the cliches and simplifications that mar [movies like The Green Zone, and other films about the Iraq war that Douthat deems insufficiently 'gray']."

In fact, Douthat—and the ruling class for whom people like Douthat are shills—may well be concerned that the opposite is the case: that, with the attractive force of Matt Damon, and the "Bourne" movies with which he is associated, The Green Zone might undercut, for a significant and somewhat diverse audience, the effect that The Hurt Locker (and the awarding of "Oscars" to it, and its director) were intended to have. That The Green Zone could draw too much attention back to the matter of WMDs, and more specifically the lies about WMDs that were wielded to rationalize the invasion of Iraq. And that this would undermine the attempts to say, "Whatever the reasons were for getting into this war, we are there now and we just have to make the best of it" (a line pushed not only by the "neo-cons" but also by the likes of Obama) and the related attempts to focus attention on the hardships, and the supposed heroism, of the American forces of invasion and occupation, as part of the effort to engender sympathy and support for them—and, by extension, support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, as well as the other wars the U.S. imperialists are waging, or are increasingly involving themselves in, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, and elsewhere.

Every part of the above passage from Douthat's piece—and indeed the piece as a whole—is itself a rather crude (not at all "gray") distortion, where it is not an outright lie. And here, once again, we find the typical "logic" of the camp followers of the imperialist ruling class. When things in the realm of culture run counter to the interests of the imperialist ruling class, the accusation is frequently made that this is a matter of "injecting politics" and of doing so in an inappropriate and crude way (this applies not only to works of art but other dimensions of culture as well, such as sports—think of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics2). On the other hand, anything which upholds or serves the imperialist interests of this ruling class is not condemned as "political" but treated as just conveying "common sense" or "what everybody knows" or what any honest and decent person would believe and be motivated by, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

While I have not seen The Hurt Locker nor The Green Zone (although, given the content of the attacks on it, by Douthat and others, I am anxious to see the latter, as soon as I am in a position to do so), I have read a number of articles, in various publications, about both movies, and it is clear from this, as well as from watching the Academy Awards, what the essential difference is between them: The Green Zone (with whatever limitations we might recognize in it) runs counter to the "official narrative" about the basis on which the Iraq invasion was carried out—a narrative that has, at least in some circumstances, undergone a transmutation from "it is a certainty that Saddam Hussein has WMDs and is still trying to hide them, and this poses a grave danger that cannot be allowed to continue," to Douthat-style hand-wringing about the Shakespearean tragedy of it all—whereas The Hurt Locker reinforces this "official narrative," even if perhaps somewhat subtly, and therefore all the more insidiously, through portraying the supposed "courage" and righteousness of the invading and occupying U.S. forces and, by extension at least, the "justness" of the invasion and occupation themselves. This is made all the more clear by the remarks of the director of The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow, in receiving the Academy Awards for best picture and best director—most pointedly Bigelow's statement, referring explicitly to the U.S. troops in Iraq as well as Afghanistan: They are there for us, and we are here for them.

Once again, when the imperialists are caught in the commission of war crimes—and lies to rationalize those war crimes—perhaps it is not surprising that the "color" of the apologias, particularly those aimed at more "sophisticated" audiences, changes from "purple" declamations about "good guys" and "bad guys" to "gray" dissertations about the murky complexity of it all—a murkiness through which, however, the essential courage and righteousness of "our side" somehow shines through.

As I previously wrote to some people: It certainly seems that influential forces (within and very likely beyond the Academy) were at work to have The Hurt Locker prevail over Avatar—to have the message associated with The Hurt Locker (especially as that was conveyed by the director of that movie) drown out the message of Avatar—to have "support the troops" rewarded, in opposition to what is conveyed through Avatar, where a military clearly recognizable as representative of the brute and plundering force of an invading and occupying imperialism is soundly and righteously defeated, not by other reactionary and oppressive forces but by the waging of a people's war.

1. Dr. Hubert Locke's speech, "Reflections on Pacific School of Religion's Response to the Religious Right" appeared in Revolution #32 (January 29, 2006). "Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution" can be found in its entirety at and was serialized in Revolution issues #184-197 (November 29, 2009-April 4, 2010). The reference to Dr. Locke's speech is in the fourth part of "Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution," Revolution #187 (December 27, 2009). [back]

2. See "1968 Olympics: Striking a Blow for Freedom, The Courageous Story of Tommie Smith and John Carlos," Revolution #136, July 20, 2008. [back]

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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Harvard Crimson Censors Ad Challenging Anti-Communist "Scholar" to Debate

Last fall, as part of the RCP's campaign to popularize the "Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have," Raymond Lotta began a tour of campuses. Lotta's tour has been challenging the almost universal "official story" in the universities that communist revolution has been a failure and disaster. The tour is titled "Everything You've Been Told About Communism Is Wrong: Capitalism Is A Failure, Revolution Is The Solution."

Lotta will be speaking at Columbia University in New York and Harvard in Boston in the next ten days. Now, in the midst of the building controversy, the tour has encountered open censorship. The Harvard Crimson—the student newspaper at Harvard University—is refusing to print an open letter from Raymond Lotta to Roderick MacFarquhar, challenging MacFarquhar to a debate. MacFarquhar is an influential historian of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and a professor at Harvard. And—as the censored open letter explains—MacFarquhar's "writings on the Chinese Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 concentrate and put a scholarly gloss on the 'official narrative' on the Cultural Revolution as chaos and killing. It is a bogus narrative that not only perpetuates ignorance about the real aims, real experience, and real results of the Cultural Revolution—but one that also contributes to the grave constriction of critical thinking and critical inquiry about whether a radically different and emancipating world is possible." ("An Open Letter from Raymond Lotta to Roderick MacFarquhar: 'I Challenge You to Debate the Truth of Communism, And to Defend Your Distortions About the Cultural Revolution, Before the Harvard Community.'" Available at, and in this issue of Revolution, p. 14)

Raymond Lotta released this open letter to Roderick MacFarquhar two weeks before he was scheduled to speak at Harvard University on April 14. In his open letter, Lotta offers to dispense with his talk altogether and "turn it into a public debate with Professor MacFarquhar."

Lotta's open letter was submitted as a paid advertisement to the Harvard Crimson. The business manager for the Crimson said the ad will not appear because Crimson President Peter Zhu has deemed it "too controversial." When pressed, the business manager objected to the language in the letter that MacFarquhar was spreading lies. When challenged by a supporter of the tour that this was a legitimate and well-documented challenge to MacFarquhar's scholarship—that it was indeed spreading lies—the business manager said, "Well, the decision's been made." It is significant that the Crimson never notified the organizers of the tour that they were refusing the ad—the organizers themselves only found out when inquiring why it had not yet appeared on Thursday, April 1; that the Crimson management never provided, or offered to provide, the organizers with regulations or pre-existing institutional standards for paid ads; and that the Crimson never offered alternate language for the ad.

"Too Controversial"?

A substantial intellectual, academic, and political challenge is issued... on a question central to any real engagement with or acting on the state of the world... It is submitted as a paid ad. And it is censored from the Harvard student newspaper for being "too controversial," and contesting the truthfulness of the scholarly claims of a professor at the institution.

What does this say about the intellectual atmosphere (or lack thereof) at what is supposed to be one of the elite universities in the United States? The truthfulness—or lack thereof—of scholarly claims should be open to vigorous contestation. The fact that revolutionaries have to resort to a paid ad to get their views aired is outrageous enough. To then refuse even this—with virtually no notice—is outrage on top of outrage.

The message and call from the Revolutionary Communist Party, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have," describes the overall situation in U.S. schools: "[D]espite the good intentions of many teachers, the educational system is a bitter insult for many youth and a means of regimentation and indoctrination overall. While, particularly in some 'elite' schools, there is some encouragement for students to think in 'non-conformist' ways—so long as, in the end, this still conforms to the fundamental needs and interests of the system—on the whole, instead of really enabling people to learn about the world and to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, education is crafted and twisted to serve the commandments of capital, to justify and perpetuate the oppressive relations in society and the world as a whole, and to reinforce the dominating position of the already powerful." (The entire message and call is available at

The censorship of this ad by the Crimson is exactly an example of one way critical thinking that goes up against "the fundamental needs and interests of the system" gets ruled out of order.

The fact that this is happening at Harvard increases the stakes of all this. The Harvard Crimson is not just another campus newspaper. It is, by its own account, "the nation's oldest continuously published daily college newspaper," with a "a rich tradition of journalistic integrity" that includes having two editors who went on to become presidents of the United States (John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt).

One could go on and on about the kinds of outrageous lies and oppressive values that are not considered "too controversial" in the "rich tradition" of what passes for "journalistic integrity" in the mainstream media. In that light, the Crimson's rejection of this advertisement represents gross hypocrisy and outrageous trampling of basic principles of critical thinking and free speech. It must be protested by all who claim to support those principles.

The Biggest Lie of All

But this is not just any censorship. The refusal to print Raymond Lotta's open letter serves to promote the ultimate lie—that humanity has reached what a bourgeois pundit once called "the end of history"—that capitalism is here to stay, and any visions and agendas for social change must be locked in that constraint.

As we stated above, there is an official verdict that communism has been, and can only be, a failure and a disaster. That verdict is fundamentally based on misrepresentations and lies, but it is institutionally enforced in all kinds of ways, including through putting a "scholarly gloss" on the official narrative in academia. And then, when that verdict is challenged, such challenges are declared, and "automatically" perceived as "too controversial" because... the powers-that-be have decreed that communism has been and can only be a disaster.

As the RCP's message and call says: "The biggest lie of all is that there is no other way than this system—or that attempts to really make a different way, through revolution and advancing toward communism, have brought about something even worse. The wretched of the earth have made revolution and started on the road to communism—first in Russia and then in China—and they achieved great things in doing so, before they were turned back by the forces of the old order. We are here to tell you that not only has this been done before, but we can do it again—and even better this time. This is the truth that is covered up and lied about, but we have the facts and the analysis to back this up—tremendous historical experience has been summed up, scientifically, and is there for us to learn from and build on."

Breaking Open the Debate

Lotta's campus tour has already provided a glimpse of the potential to challenge the "official verdicts" on communism. The tour has taken Lotta to UC Berkeley, UCLA, NYU, and the University of Chicago, the last of which witnessed a spirited discussion and debate attended by some 300 students.

And several respected experts in the field of Chinese studies and other areas, coming from different views about socialism and communism, recently signed an open letter noting that Lotta has been "challenging liberal intellectuals who are influential proponents of anticommunism, as well as scholars of the Russian and Chinese revolutions, to debate him in the public square." The letter continues, "For Lotta's challenge to go unanswered perpetuates what is essentially a one-sided conversation in the university—and robs people of a special opportunity to compare and contrast analysis over a question with enormous stakes: what does historical experience reveal about the possibility for remaking society and changing values through revolution?" And this letter and signatories encourage students and professors to "engage with Raymond Lotta's work and analysis, and to bring their most deeply-felt questions and concerns about revolution and communism to his programs." ("An Open Letter: Engaging With And Debating Raymond Lotta On Communism," available at

Organizers of the Harvard event are developing plans to get the word out and challenge and protest the banning of the ad. A leaflet version of Lotta's open letter with a banner headline saying "CENSORED!" and an explanation of the refusal of the Crimson to run the ad is beginning to get out on the Harvard campus, and beyond. The leaflet version of the open letter was passed out to participants at a seminar at Harvard, where it was personally presented to Roderick MacFarquhar by one of the organizers of the Lotta tour.

Lotta at Columbia—April 8

Meanwhile, at Columbia University, Lotta has issued an open letter and challenge to Jeffrey Sachs, the lionized Columbia professor who heads the Earth Institute at Columbia and is a leading advocate of a "humane capitalism." (See As the message and call quoted above states, Raymond Lotta is going to put forward the facts and analysis to back up what the RCP says about socialist revolution—its great achievements, and the ways "we can do it again—and even better this time."

Raymond Lotta will be speaking at Columbia University on April 8, 7 pm, Altschul Auditorium, International Affairs Building, and at Harvard University on April 14, 7 pm, Emerson Hall, Room 105.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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An Open Letter from Raymond Lotta to Roderick MacFarquhar:

"I Challenge You to Debate the Truth of Communism, and to Defend Your Distortions about the Cultural Revolution, before the Harvard Community."

I invite members of the Harvard community to a talk I will be giving on April 14 at 7:00 p.m. at Emerson Hall, Room 105. The talk is titled "Everything You've Been Told About Communism Is Wrong: Capitalism Is a Failure, Revolution Is the Solution."

The stakes of discussion and debate about the truth of communist revolution are very high. The world is a horror for the great majority of humanity—from food crises and wars of empire, to environmental devastation and the degradation that women face everywhere. This is a world that cries out for radical change, for revolution.

But people have been systematically lied to about the real history and actual promise of communism. They have been told that communism is a nightmare and failure. This spurious verdict constrains critical thinking and exploration. Indeed, the "official verdict" on communism reinforces the oppressive status quo.

On my national campus speaking tour, I am challenging and, with facts and substance, refuting this "conventional wisdom." I am cracking open a debate about communism. The issue is nothing less than historical truth and human possibility.

I address this letter to Harvard Professor Roderick MacFarquhar because his writings on the Chinese Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 concentrate and put a scholarly gloss on the "official narrative" on the Cultural Revolution as chaos and killing. It is a bogus narrative that not only perpetuates ignorance about the real aims, real experience, and real results of the Cultural Revolution—but one that also contributes to the grave constriction of critical thinking and critical inquiry about whether a radically different and emancipating world is possible.

So I also invite Roderick MacFarquhar to attend and respond to my April 14 lecture. I am prepared to dispense with my talk altogether and turn it into a public debate with Professor MacFarquhar. The decision is Professor MacFarquhar's.

Historical Truth or Anticommunist Distortions

Roderick MacFarquhar's book Mao's Last Revolution (co-authored by Michael Schoenhals) has been described by Harvard University Press as "the most authoritative and compelling study to date" of the Cultural Revolution. In point of fact, this "study" is standard issue anticommunism shot through with shoddy scholarship and blatant distortions.

EXHIBIT 1: Professor MacFarquhar charges that the Cultural Revolution was "the disastrous enactment of [Mao Zedong's] utopian fantasies" (p. 459). But far from being a "utopian fantasy," the Cultural Revolution had very concrete and historically grounded objectives. It was a society-wide struggle launched by Mao to prevent the quite real danger of the revolution being turned back to capitalism. It sought to promote values of social cooperation. The real "disaster" is the China of today: the sweatshop for world capitalism and society of obscene inequality.

EXHIBIT 2: Professor MacFarquhar presents a fairy-tale account of Mao the monster. It is a Mao who allegedly admires Hitler and who, according to MacFarquhar, declares as an ideological benchmark of success in the Cultural Revolution: "the more people you kill, the more revolutionary you are" (p. 102). And what is Professor MacFarquhar's authentication of this rather chilling statement? Here is his endnote: "From a very reliable source seen by one of the authors" (note 2, p. 515)! This level of proof would be laughed out of the academy were it any subject other than communism.

EXHIBIT 3: Professor MacFarquhar cavalierly asserts: "All available data suggest...that the Cultural Revolution failed miserably to benefit those for whom it was supposedly launched." This is an easily refutable claim. One illustrative fact: middle school enrollment rose from some 9 million in 1966 to almost 68 million in 1977. In my talk, I will present data and analysis about other extraordinary changes benefiting basic people: health care availability in the countryside; the creation of new base-level institutions of popular management and governance; the attention the Cultural Revolution gave to issues of gender equality.

To Roderick MacFarquhar, my message is this: you are wrong about the Cultural Revolution... you are spreading lies... and you are causing great harm.

Because This Matters A Great Deal

In my talk, I will show how the received wisdom about communism is built on lies and misrepresentations. I will show that in the first wave of communist revolutions—the Soviet Union (1917-1956) and China (1949-1976)—humanity made unprecedented leaps in moving beyond the "long dark night" of exploitative and class-divided society.

But my talk will not confine itself to a defense of the past. I will be discussing the new synthesis of communism of Bob Avakian. He has been summing up the great achievements as well as the shortcomings and problems of the first wave of socialist revolutions. Avakian has brought forward a vision of socialism that is as determined to forge a society in which intellectual and cultural ferment will flourish on a scale unseen in human history... as it is committed to solving the most pressing material problems confronting humanity.

To those concerned about the state of the need to come to my talk and bring your toughest questions.

To those who want to dedicate their lives in one form or another to the betterment of humanity but who have never heard a coherent and spirited defense of communism... you need to come too.

To those who want to defend this system... you need to be there too, because I am taking on all comers.

Send us your comments.

Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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Letter from Dennis Loo Opposing Harvard Crimson Ban on Raymond Lotta Open Letter

Dear Peter Zhu:

I write to you as a former Crim (Photo) Editor (1969-1973). I understand that Raymond Lotta's letter to Dr. Rodrick MacFarquhar, which was to run as a paid ad in the Crimson, has been rejected by you as "too controversial."

I also write to you as someone who has written about China during the post-1949 revolutionary period, including about the Cultural Revolution and the Spring Uprising of 1989. I did my Masters Essay on China on the way to my Ph.D. in sociology. In the process of preparing my Master Essay on China "Exorcising the Ghost of Mass Political Activism: Deng Xiaoping, Workers, Peasants and the 1989 Spring Uprising," and of preparing one of my three Field Statement areas for my doctoral orals exam on the post-1949 Chinese period, I read the post-1949 scholarly literature in great depth and breadth. MacFarquhar's work was part of this research. I also write you as someone who has read Raymond Lotta's work extensively, both his work and talks on China and his works on political economy, including his book America in Decline and his book And Mao Makes Five. I have met him in person and regard him as an exceptional individual, of tremendous integrity and intellectual rigor. He is painstaking in his research.

I find your decision to reject Raymond's letter as too controversial to be itself controversial. I ask that you reconsider your decision. The actual nature of the events in China are far too important to be left untilled by someone as knowledgeable as Lotta. The China scholarship is unfortunately riddled with inaccuracies and misstatements of material facts. Even if you don't agree with that assessment, I ask that you consider my credentials on this and also that if the positions that either MacFarquhar or Lotta takes are wrong either in part or in whole, that they and people's knowledge about China and socialism will both benefit from the debate. It does not serve the pursuit of truth and academic freedom to suppress debate and inquiry, even from those we disagree with, especially from those we disagree with.

Please do live up to the Crimson's high standards of letting debate flourish.


Dennis Loo, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Harvard BA cum laude 1973 (Government)

(PS, if you are interested, you can find an Internet version of my masters essay here:

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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National Campus Speaking Tour:

From the Burkha to the Thong: Everything Must, and Can, Change—WE NEED TOTAL REVOLUTION!

a talk by Sunsara Taylor

If you are a woman, your body is a battleground. Spin the globe. Anywhere you look women are being held down and slammed backwards, objectified and degraded. On campuses nationwide, Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution newspaper, will make the case for why there is no biological, god-given, or man made reason why things have to remain this way—and how this can change through revolution and through a movement for revolution starting now.

LA • April 8 • Thursday • 7pm
La Kretz Hall Auditorium, UCLA. (Doors open and photo display at 6:30 pm.) Sponsored by Critical Thinking at UCLA; Academic Advancement Program (AAP), UCLA; and Revolution Books/Libros Revolución.
for information: 310-210-6012

Honolulu • April 13 • Tuesday • 7 pm
UH-Manoa, Architecture Auditorium
Sponsored by Revolution Books
contact: 808-944-3106

More dates upcoming.
To bring Sunsara to your campus, Contact:
Find Sunsara Taylor on YouTube and Facebook.

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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From a reader:

"I have seen the future in these letters"

As a reader of Revolution's letters from prisoners, I am outraged that a prison in California or ANYWHERE USA is banning their right to read Revolution newspaper. This goes to the most basic rights of people locked up on the bottom of society to lift their heads to understand the world and through their voices to be part of changing it.

Do prisoners have a right to develop as critical thinkers?

Do prisoners have a right to the wonder and awe of science?

Do prisoners have a right to atheist views and to break the mental shackles of religion?

Do prisoners have a right to understand why so many of them are in prison?

Do prisoners have a right to learn how to build bonds of multi-racial unity through recognizing the common roots of their oppression?

Do prisoners have a right to understand the oppression of women, to reject the misogyny and porn so prevalent in prisons?

Do prisoners have a right to explore alternatives—radical, revolutionary and Communist solutions to the plight of the people and of the planet itself?

Do prisoners have a right to transform themselves into emancipators of humanity?

I have read the letters. I have seen the future in these letters. I see in your prison bans the echo of the past when it was a crime for slaves to teach themselves or be taught to read. It is as basic as this—Do prisoners have a right to a life of the mind, to be human even under the most horrible conditions? YES THEY DO!

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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A Prisoner Writes to Revolution

"I'm just amazed at the whole realm of science"

Greetings 'rades,

Got the literature you sent. This will keep me busy for a while. And as well it's good to have some good study material at hand for the brothers here.

I have been trying to get deeper into the theoretical and philosophical questions as regards communist application. I like to study so many different fields of science, all of it basically. I'm just amazed at the whole realm of science, especially how everything is interconnected. I was reading Stephen Hawking and he had insinuated that all the different forms of matter are just one different primary element (hydrogen), that the early universe just composed that basic element and at the big bang, once the universe expanded and the hydrogen atom went to war with itself, all the other elements were formed. No, of course, he didn't say it like I did, and I wouldn't even call that paraphrasing. I let another brother read the book so I can't quote verbatim but this was how I understood it. And the fact that all these different galaxies actually have a history, that even the earth was once just a gas ball, and that if not for the sun we would go flying off. The law of gravity, special and general relativity, natural selection—I'm just awed at it all. I mean all these specialists in all these different fields, yet we still don't know the half of it. And we will never know some things. I know some of those people must pull out their hair, dumbfounded for an answer. I do, and I'm no specialist at all.

There's also something that leads me on dialectical materialism. I do see how if we all did our jobs well, we could help untangle some of the things that hinder people like Hawking or even Einstein for that matter, with his statement, "God doesn't play dice." And Hawking, who can take us on a theoretical journey to the beginning of time, who by his own work's admission, discards any concept of gods, yet he still states some things are meant for god to understand.

Anyways, as I stated, I do see where we are to enter the stage and how, if we do it right, we can bring into life a thing that we all may indulge in the intoxication of potential. And on a philosophical level as well as ideological level, imagine what we could do! Talk about potential. But even now I get riled up just to do battle on these fronts. It's the only way life even begins to resemble living. As Marx stated, various philosophers have interpreted the world; the point however is to change it!


Our Mission: The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF) is an educational literature fund that fills requests from U.S. prisoners for revolutionary literature.

(For our full Mission Statement and more information on PRLF, go to our website:

And that is what I'm dying to do. So anyways, thanks for the material. They will be used well!!

You guys have a gold mine on your hands. Bob Avakian is no joke... It must be all those years of struggle that allows him to put down his orientation so lively. He has what it takes to indulge millions.... Would love to rap with him.

Let me tilt the revolutionary rose for now. Love you guys. Remain vigilant.

In struggle,

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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On the scandal in the Catholic Church:

The Child Molestation, the Double Cover-Up... and the Morality We Need

by Toby O'Ryan

In the U.S., Germany, Africa, and many other places massive numbers of small children and vulnerable teenagers were sexually molested and often raped by Catholic priests—with some of these priests carrying out these crimes for decades.

The Catholic Church reacted by covering up the crimes, silencing and often further persecuting the victims who came forward (sometimes using the police to do this), and all the while protecting the accused priests. In some cases, the Church authorities knowingly reassigned these priests to work with children and youth somewhere else. The scandal of this cover-up reaches to the highest offices of the Church. And now, to add insult to injury, some high-ranking members of the church hierarchy and their defenders claim to be the victims in this matter!

But there is a second cover-up going on, and it concerns the causes of these crimes, and what they are connected to. In short, these crimes are not a departure from the morality promoted by the Catholic Church, but a concentration of it.

Think about it:

What kind of morality creates a climate where people in authority can molest and rape children, in some cases hundreds of children over decades, and then are protected when these horrible crimes come to light?

The same morality that justifies an institution using its great power to ban abortion or, where abortion is legal, to sponsor fanatical movements that harass and attack women who attempt to exercise their rights. It's the same morality that justifies banning birth control and preventing education in safe sexual practices, thereby condemning millions to death. It's the same morality that justifies banning divorce, often locking some women into lifetimes of abuse or just loveless drudgery with no way out. It's the same morality that demonizes gay people and prevents them from exercising basic rights like getting married.



The Yiddish language, spoken by the Jewish people of Europe, has a word for it: "Chutzpah." Chutzpah means unbridled, unmitigated gall. The textbook example was the man who murdered both his parents, then threw himself on the mercy of the court—because he was an orphan.

On Good Friday, speaking right before the Pope, a Vatican spokesman compared criticism of the Church to anti-Semitism, that is, hatred of Jews. Now let's be clear: the Catholic Church sanctified the persecution and outright murder of Jewish people for centuries, based on the myths and lies of the Catholic Bible. Not to be flippant about a matter of real horror, but when it comes to anti-Semitism, the Catholic Church literally "wrote the book on it." And we are not just talking about the ancient past, either. Officials in the Catholic Church, including the Pope, colluded in or at least remained silent in the face of the attempted final extermination of Europe's Jews in World War 2. Now this same institution dares to equate the valid and, if anything, far too mild verbal criticism of its officials for systematically protecting and enabling the rapists of children with the centuries of persecution and murder that culminated in the paroxysm of killing six million Jews—a crime in which they themselves are soaked in blood.

The ONLY connection between the rapists of children and the persecution and murder of the Jews is the religious institution complicit in both—the Catholic Church itself.

What kind of morality?

The same morality that deems women to be inferior—whose "holy scripture" commands the submission of women to men and the limitation of their essential social role to bearing and rearing children. For example:

Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty. (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

In short, patriarchal, male supremacist morality. And you cannot have patriarchy—which elevates and privileges the rights of males to dominate women and children in every sphere—without the kind of terrible crimes now being exposed in the Catholic Church. Such "male right" carries with it the "right" to force others to serve as tools for one's own sexual gratification.

Additionally: you cannot have a spirit in which people who abuse authority are criticized, exposed and then prevented from further abuse when your institution is founded on a superstitious belief in magical, supernatural beings that don't exist and blind obedience to the churchly authority which purports to speak in their name and do their will, and that institutes rituals of degradation ("the confession box") to enforce that authority.

This morality is not "peculiar" to the Catholic Church—it runs through all the main religions and is deeply woven into the ruling structures of this rotten society. The time is long past to build a movement to make revolution and put an end to that system and, as part of that, to break with its morality, and bring forward a better one—a morality that (among other things) values equality between women and men; a morality that promotes sexual relations in which both partners freely flourish and have their humanity honored, rather than relations in which one of the people involved is subordinated, degraded and all too often coerced; and a morality that values the critical spirit and critical thinking.

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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Battle Over Abortion Raging In Mexico

On April 24, 2007 abortion in the first trimester was legalized in Mexico City, in the face of fierce opposition by the Catholic Church and President Calderon's ruling PAN (National Action Party), and including direct intervention by the Pope himself. Right away, thousands of women in the capital, and those able to get there from other parts of the country, chose to terminate their pregnancies under safe, legal conditions. Making abortion legal, while only in the first trimester, represented a breakthrough in the struggle of women for control over their own bodies, and for their liberation. It is estimated that 30,000 women had legal abortions in Mexico City in 2009 alone. In December 2009, gay marriage was legalized in Mexico City.

These developments represented a direct challenge to the reactionary movement launched by the Catholic Church, not only in Mexico but throughout Latin America, to reassert and reinforce the patriarchy, the authority of the Church, and the morality of the traditional family. In response the Church and dominant ruling class forces have unleashed a powerful backlash with the aim of denying women the right to control their own reproduction by completely criminalizing abortion under any circumstances.

Women Forced Into Clandestine Abortions

Until 2007 abortion was almost completely illegal anywhere in Mexico. The few exceptions—for rape, fetal deformity, or danger to the mother's life—were effectively blocked in most cases by bureaucratic delays. As a result, women have had to resort to clandestine (secret) abortions. Estimates are that 880,000 of these "back alley" or underground abortions are performed per year in Mexico, leading to 150,000 women—or 17%—hospitalized due to complications from unsanitary and unsafe procedures (compared to less than 0.3% in the U.S.).

Now the ruling political parties have taken up a counter-offensive to have abortion under any circumstances equated with murder, punishable by imprisonment. If they are successful, women throughout Mexico will face the "choice" of forced childbirth, prison, or risking death due to untreated complications.


Immediately after the abortion rights law was passed, the PAN filed a challenge before the Supreme Court, arguing the law was unconstitutional. The attempt failed; the law was upheld by the Court in August 2008. But by then this backlash had spread throughout the country.

The PAN started amending the constitutions in the states they controlled to declare that "life begins at conception." The PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), which held office for 70 years until their defeat by PAN in 2000, followed suit, submitting anti-abortion amendments in the states where they govern. The role of the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) has been contradictory. They were in power in the capital when abortion was made legal. But the PRD has been bending to the political winds in the rest of the country. In Chiapas, for instance, where complications due to abortion are the number one cause of death of women, the PRD governor refused to oppose the anti-abortion measure, and all 11 PRD legislators voted in favor of it, which passed unanimously in December 2009. In February 2010, the PRD leadership nationally called on the party to oppose the bans.

At this point 18 of 31 states have changed their constitutions and are enacting punishing laws against women and those who help them obtain abortions. Women who need emergency medical treatment for hemorrhage due to a self-induced or clandestine abortion, or even a spontaneous miscarriage, face being turned over to authorities. According to Claudia Elena Águila, federal deputy to Congress from the PRD, a woman in the conservative state of Guanajuato can face a 35-year prison term for interrupting her pregnancy, and there are 165 women imprisoned at this time. (La Jornada, March 9, 2010. "Exige el PRD frenar la criminalización del aborto") In Chiapas, women who have abortions must submit to psychological counseling to "restore their maternal instincts" or face prison.

In November, the state of Veracruz submitted an amendment to the national Congress that proposes adding "life begins at conception" to the Mexican Constitution, which would outlaw abortion throughout the country. If passed, and then ratified by three-fourths of the states, abortion anywhere in Mexico would be a crime.

Underlying Changes, and Reasserting Patriarchal Authority

As Revolution wrote following the vote legalizing abortion in Mexico City in 2007:

"Big changes have been taking place in Mexican society with the opening up of the country to much greater imperialist penetration. One result of this is that women have been driven in large numbers into the workforce, in factories and maquiladoras, where they face brutally exploitative conditions. And these women have been preyed upon and murdered, particularly in the border region of the country. Though these changes in the economic base of society have brought new forms of oppression, they have also undermined and called into question the traditional views of women's role that arose on the foundation of feudal and semi-feudal relations. This has opened up the question of women participating in society as full human beings with full rights—including the right to determine whether and when to have children—which is an absolute necessity for the emancipation of humanity. And any talk of revolution, liberation, or emancipation that leaves out one half of humanity is empty—and worse." ("Abortion Decriminalized in Mexico City," #90, 5/27/07)

Mexico in 2010 is a pressure cooker. The global economic crisis has hit Mexico harder than any other country in Latin America because of the dependence of its economy on the U.S. They face very high levels of unemployment and impoverishment; and the downturn in the U.S. economy, together with the border crackdown, is limiting the immigration safety valve. There's an intensifying crisis of legitimacy in the government, and the militarization of the country has only intensified the war with the drug cartels, and brought great suffering to the people.

The growing consensus among sections of Mexico's ruling classes toward the assertion of conservative religious "values," focused on the family and women's subordinate role there, must be viewed in this context; as an essential "glue" needed to maintain the unity of the nation.

The Spearhead of a Fascist Catholic Movement

Outlawing abortion is the spearhead of a fascist Catholic movement, joined by Protestant evangelicals, that is working to impose traditional family values and the complete submission of women in Mexican society. Soledad Loaeza, a professor of political science at El Colegio de Mexico, wrote in a recent article: "The Catholic hierarchy [in Mexico] has decided to draw a line in the sand against the modern society in Mexico. It's not their initiative, they are simply carrying out the Vatican instructions that order the defense of 'the right to life' and the concept of the traditional family."

To see what it looks like where abortion equals murder, examine El Salvador and Nicaragua today, where women are dying because gynecologists can be jailed for performing abortions that would save their lives. Standard medical procedure dictates that a woman who comes to the doctor's office with a spontaneous abortion, hemorrhaging, and contractions, should be given a drug to expel the fetus. But it's a crime for the doctor to do anything to save the mother that endangers the fetus' beating heart. All over Latin America, the site of the most clandestine abortions in the world, anti-abortion laws are being passed.

In January 2009, the Vatican's annual World Congress of Families was held in Mexico. This is an annual meeting attended by the Catholic hierarchy from all over the world. President Calderón spoke at this conference, stressing what he claimed were the corrosive effects of divorce on the ability of a society to fight criminality. Commentators and legal experts pointed out that by appearing at this conference, Calderón violated his responsibility as president to uphold the Mexican Constitution, which mandates the separation of church and state.

A mass social movement to support and fight for religious morality and laws is being rallied from the pulpit of Catholic churches and in Catholic schools among the youth. Organizations like Provida (Pro-Life) and Caballeros de Colón (Knights of Columbus) have organized marches under the slogan "Viva Cristo Rey!" (Long Live Christ the King!) against abortion, condoms and other contraceptives, gay marriage, and euthanasia and in favor of religious education in public schools.

Opposition to Dark Ages Theocracy

In January of this year, the Mexican Academy of Sciences circulated a statement through the Internet and in several major newspapers signed by 16 former presidents of the organization. The AMC statement declares that "the simplistic, arbitrary and poorly informed definition of life that is the basis for the specified reforms is in flagrant incompatibility with modern, multi-faceted and complex concepts of what a human being really is."

September 28 has been declared the "International Day for the Legalization of Abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean;" on that day in 2009, 1,000 women marched in Mexico City united under the slogan, "We are not baby machines. We are women with rights and decision." They demanded the legalization of abortion nationwide and the striking down of the reactionary state laws. They repudiated the meddling of the Catholic Church in the affairs of society. Five hundred women marched in Oaxaca chanting, "Get your rosaries off of our ovaries!" In Baja, California, women went to the Bureau of Vital Statistics to request a certificate of fertilization instead of a birth certificate!

In December 2009, a nationwide organization against the attacks, called the National Pact for Life, Freedom and Rights of Women, was formed by representatives of 990 organizations in 20 states to fight the laws, present a case before the UN, and develop different forms of opposition nationwide. In February 2010, 400 women grouped around the National Pact protested in front of the legislative palace in Mexico City. They set up three cages to represent the women who are imprisoned. The National Pact plans to organize actions all over the country.

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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From A World To Win News Service

"In memory of comrade Issa (Yousef Momand)"

March 29, 2010. A World to Win News Service. We have received the sad news that after resisting serious health problems for several years the veteran revolutionary comrade Yousef Momand from Afghanistan died of a heart attack in Frankfurt, Germany. Following is an excerpt from a statement issued by the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan on March 11.

Comrade Yousef Momand, the secretary of the Committee of Supporters of the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan in Europe, passed away. The kind and sincere comrade is no longer among us but his memory will be alive and stay with us.

Comrade Yousef was very ill with diabetes and related heart problems. But even after several operations, he did not leave his responsibilities and tasks and despite many pressures he remained in the trench of revolutionary ideas and struggle until his last moments.

Comrade Yousef started his political activities when he was a student in Kabul University, where he became one of the activists associated with Shola Javid. (Shola JavidEternal Flame—was the very popular newspaper of the Maoist-led Progressive Youth Movement in the 1960s that trained a generation of Maoists in Afghanistan. Many veteran Maoists first became involved in politics through this movement.)

After the 1975 coup d'état by the pro-Soviet revisionist party, like many other Shola Javid activists, comrade Yousef's life was in danger and he finally had to leave the country. Nevertheless he continued in the revolutionary struggle and joined the organization called Struggle for the Salvation of Afghanistan (one of the groups that united to form the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan). He participated in revolutionary democratic activities in Europe, first in the Union of Students and Afghans abroad, and then in the National Democratic Organization of Afghan Refugees and also in the United Front against Imperialism and Reaction, in which along with his other comrades he played a leading role.

After the start of the process of unifying the communist (MLM) movement of Afghanistan, comrade Yousef was one of the first to support this process. A short while after the Unity Congress of the Communist (MLM) Movement (in Afghanistan) he took the responsibility of serving as secretary of the Committee of European Supporters of the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan and he remained at this position until the end.

We are determined to turn the sorrow and sadness due to the loss of this veteran and experienced comrade Yousef Momand into a struggling force and to keep alive his memory as a revolutionary Maoist who remained committed to the revolution and the line of the Party until the last moments of his life.

A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine (, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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Support... Sustain... Revolution

We ARE BUILDING a movement for revolution, concentrated now in mounting the campaign: The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have. The point: to familiarize millions with the goal and character of communist revolution, as it has been reconceived by Bob Avakian, to inject this into the discourse in a radically creative and urgent way, and to make known very broadly in society the leadership of Bob Avakian—giving people a sense of the work he is carrying out, his history and character as a rare and outstanding communist leader, and—on the broadest level—his connection to revolution... and through all this to begin forging a core of dedicated, ardent fighters for this revolution.

We ARE INITIATING a new stage of communist revolution—with a leader, Bob Avakian, who has analyzed both the overwhelming achievements of the first stage of the revolution, and the significant shortcomings and problems... and developed a new synthesis that can take things further. And this paper is a major outlet for that new synthesis, both its foundations and basic principles, and in its ongoing development.

Today Revolution newspaper and the online edition is a lifeline and scaffolding for this movement. Thousands of people already read this newspaper every week—including many, many people in countries around the world—from those who value its unique analysis of events, to those who are learning what is worth living, and dying for, through its pages. It is an entry way for many thousands more—and potentially for tens and then hundreds of thousands more.

Your financial support is URGENTLY needed to enable this paper to flourish and develop, and indeed to continue its regular publication.

This is a time when the future is openly in the balance. After Copenhagen... and in the midst of brave people refusing to take it any more, from Iran to Oakland to the universities in California... there is a crying need for a vision, for an analysis, that reveals the real inter-connections between things, and that shows a real way out.

The restless and dissatisfied, the questioning ones, will hear about the "tea party" movement, they will be inundated with quasi-fascist conspiracy theories on the one hand and the killing confines of choosing between Republicans and Democrats on the other.

But will they get to read analyses that actually lay bare the real causes and real solutions of the horrors of today, and the greater horrors in the making? And will they not only learn about the horrors, but also the potential heights of humanity? Will they hear about Avakian's vision of revolution and have a chance to get to know what this rare and unique leader is all about? Will they be exposed to the movement for revolution that comes to life in its pages, spreading its advances, analyzing its problems, and criticizing itself where it falls short? Will they learn that there is a party that is actually and actively preparing people to make a revolution that could really bring about the changes that we need?

Only if you support this. Act—supporting this paper in both its print and online editions, and winning others to do so, is vital work toward revolution. Sustain this paper every month! Donate now!

How to donate/sustain:

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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The Revolutionary Communist Party is in the midst of a major campaign—and you need to know about it, and become part of it.

This campaign aims to let people know what communist revolution is all about... to acquaint them with the leadership that we have for this revolution, Bob Avakian and the RCP, USA which he leads... and to bring people into making this revolution happen, in many different ways.

The idea: to put revolution—this revolution—much more on the map in people's thinking.  To initiate nothing less than a whole new stage of communist revolution, building on the achievements of the past but critically sifting and going beyond them in significant ways... reviving the viability and desirability of communist revolution based on Bob Avakian's new synthesis, and bringing forward a real social force around this, contending powerfully with the other solutions that are out there.

The Party's Message and Call, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have," forms the glue of this campaign. You can get it online, or in Revolution Books bookstores, or from Party supporters. The video of Bob Avakian's speech, Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, forms a basic foundation—and is available on-line. Many of the things we do and talk about in this paper—from the efforts to spread Bob Avakian's classic talk on revolution... to the fight against the censorship of our paper in the prisons... to the tours by revolutionaries like Raymond Lotta or Sunsara Taylor... to initiatives to "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution"... to building the circulation and sustainership of Revolution newspaper—these are all related. They are all getting people to see that, in the words of that message and call, "This is NOT the best of all possible worlds...And we do NOT have to live this way."

Find out about this campaign. Download and distribute the statement and call.  Popularize the on line Revolution talk by Bob Avakian.  Get this paper out. Come to one of our bookstores and find out how you can volunteer. Write us with your questions, your ideas, your experiences. Be part of, in the words of the message and call, spreading "the word to every corner of this people the means to become part of this revolutionary movement, and organizing into this movement everyone who wants to make a contribution to it, who wants to work and fight, to struggle and sacrifice, not to keep this nightmare of a world going as it is but to bring a better world into being."

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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Get Ready For... Special Issue of Revolution on the Environmental Emergency

The upcoming Revolution that will go online and be out on the streets the week of April 12 will be a special issue focusing on the environmental emergency that humanity now faces.

Global climate change and other factors are coming together to confront us with the threat of massive extinction of species—and even beyond that, the possible collapse of whole ecosystems and transformation to a different kind of planet that could endanger the very existence of humanity.

The special Revolution issue will connect the dots on the dimensions of this unprecedented crisis. But in order to really deal with this emergency, our actions must be based on an understanding of the actual causes of the problem—and so the special issue will show how the environmental emergency is rooted in the capitalist system. And the issue will give people a sense that there is a way forward for humanity—a revolutionary society in which we could actually live as custodians of nature, rather than its plunderers.

The special environment issue will speak to—and needs to reach—a broad range of people: from scientists to prisoners in America's bulging dungeons... from youth in the inner cities to students in the "elite" universities... from immigrants working as modern-day slaves to activists in the environmental movement... and our readers internationally, from Mexico to Germany to India and elsewhere.

So, we call on our readers to prepare NOW for the special environment issue:

Very important, start raising funds now for this issue for the costs of production (like powerful photographs), printing, and distribution.

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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What Is Communist Revolution?

It is this system that has got us in the situation we're in today, and keeps us there. And it is through revolution to get rid of this system that we ourselves can bring a much better system into being. The ultimate goal of this revolution is communism: A world where people work and struggle together for the common good...Where everyone contributes whatever they can to society and gets back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings...Where there are no more divisions among people in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them not only of the means to a decent life but also of knowledge and a means for really understanding, and acting to change, the world.
This revolution is both necessary and possible.

From: The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have
A Message, And A Call,
From The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #198, April 11, 2010

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Who Is Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party?

In Bob Avakian, the Chairman of our Party, we have the kind of rare and precious leader who does not come along very often. A leader who has given his heart, and all his knowledge, skills and abilities to serving the cause of revolution and the emancipation of humanity. Bob Avakian came alive as a revolutionary in the 1960s—taking part in the great movements of those days, and especially working and struggling closely with the most advanced revolutionary force in the U.S. at that time, the Black Panther Party. Since then, and while many others have given up, Bob Avakian has worked and struggled tirelessly to find the way to go forward, having learned crucial lessons and built lasting organization that could continue the struggle, and aim to take it higher, while uniting with the same struggle throughout the world. He has kept on developing the theory and strategy for making revolution. He played the key role in founding our Party in 1975, and since then he has continued the battle to keep the Party on the revolutionary road, to carry out work with a strong revolutionary orientation. He has deeply studied the experience of revolution—the shortcomings as well as the great achievements—and many different fields of human endeavor, through history and throughout the world—and he has brought the science and method of revolution to a whole new level, so that we can not only fight but really fight to win. Bob Avakian has developed the scientific theory and strategic orientation for how to actually make the kind of revolution we need, and he is leading our Party as an advanced force of this revolution. He is a great champion and a great resource for people here, and indeed people all over the world. The possibility for revolution, right here, and for the advance of the revolution everywhere, is greatly heightened because of Bob Avakian and the leadership he is providing. And it is up to us to get with this find out more about Bob Avakian and the Party he learn from his scientific method and approach to changing the build this revolutionary movement with our Party at the defend this leadership as the precious thing it is...and, at the same time, to bring our own experience and understanding to help strengthen the process of revolution and enable the leadership we have to keep on learning more and leading even better.

From: The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have
A Message, And A Call,
From The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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