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Rich and Lively Engagement About “‘Woke’ Lunacy vs. Real Revolution” at Two Universities in North Carolina

A Letter from a Professor 

I recently hosted, and helped build for, Rafael Kadaris’s “’Woke’ Lunacy vs. Real Revolution” campus tour at two North Carolina universities: UNC Greensboro and North Carolina State. Each talk was attended by about twenty people and followed by a rich and lively question and answer session. 

Rafael Kadaris at Revolution Books NYC


Rafael Kadaris at Revolution Books, NYC   

The promotion and preparation for these talks came right in the midst of Israel’s genocidal bombardment of Gaza. This horror has served as a “jolt” which is disrupting the “normal routine” on campuses and society generally and has the potential to awaken large sections of society. At such a moment, this tour is as important and timely as ever. It is “woke” identity politics which has hegemony among the decent people right now. This “wokeness” presents itself as the solution to oppression, while it in fact disarms, demobilizes, and diverts people from a scientific understanding of the cause of this oppression, and the revolution required to end it. 

So, not only is this tour and campaign—taking on “woke” from the perspective of the new communism—absolutely essential to making revolution in these times, but it is very relevant in terms of how people understand and act on what’s unfolding in Israel and Gaza right now. As Rafael addressed in his talk, the state of Israel is the logical extension of “woke” identity politics: Oppressed people who pit their interests against the interests of all oppressed humanity, and who are willing to collaborate with the powers-that-be for a slice of the pie. Further, why is it that so many “woke” so-called “leftists” refuse to criticize Hamas? Rafael also got into this in his talk: One reason is the ridiculous, harmful notion that you cannot criticize or speak about something if you’re not directly experiencing it. So, with that as backdrop, I want to talk a little bit about the experience of building for, and participating in, this campus tour, share some of my initial summation, and encourage you to bring this tour to your area.

I want to start by giving a sense of the events themselves. While neither talk was as well-attended as we’d hoped, the people who came were very engaged. During Rafael’s speech, the audiences at both schools were largely rapt and immersed. Students and others asked substantive questions—about the relationship between communism and human nature, about Bob Avakian’s new communism, of whether things such as safe spaces can play a positive role among the oppressed, how it could be possible to make revolution in a society where so many people support capitalism, and much more. While Rafael fielded most of the questions, I helped facilitate the engagement with the audiences, and weighed in on some of them. In response to a group of students’ questions about why the revcoms make such a big deal about Bob Avakian (BA), and the relationship between his leadership and the initiative of his followers, I challenged them to do the work of seriously engaging BA and the breakthroughs of the new communism, and on that basis decide for themselves whether to become a critically thinking follower of BA. After the Q&A ended at both schools, several students stuck around to engage further with Rafael and I, and a number of them expressed interest in watching the BA Interviews together. 

There is nothing remotely like this “Woke” Lunacy vs. Real Revolution Tour on campuses right now. Virtually no one is taking on “woke” identity politics from the left (besides a few crusty “class reductionist” reformists) and certainly not from the vantage point of total revolution and emancipation. There are many on college campuses who hate aspects of this suffocating cancel culture, and who grumble about how it shuts down critical thinking and intellectual engagement, but there is no one taking it on frontally, excavating its philosophical roots, its noxious methods, and its poisonous effects other than Bob Avakian and the revcoms. This is both because there is a tremendous amount of intimidation and fear of the wokesters; AND because even those who vehemently dislike aspects of it are still trapped within the “deadly dance” between “wokeness” and fascism—what Bob Avakian has called the new two outmodeds—and share much of “woke’s” ideological framework. 

Bring this tour to a campus in your area! Pass out and post flyers on “Woke” Lunacy vs. Real Revolution, or the 7-point indictment. Go out with a big, provocative display. Talk to professors and students about hosting this event. Raise funds. Stir up some controversy and intrigue. We were able to do this with very limited time, resources, and people. It matters to project this tour, and all the big questions it opens up, onto campuses around the country. There will be no revolution without masses of students and intellectuals whose allegiance to this system has been ruptured, and who become emancipators of humanity. And that will NOT happen without frontally, boldly, and substantively taking on this “woke” identity politics madness! Check out the “’Woke’ v Rev” resource webpage for materials, contact information, and guidance. 

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