IDOLATRY IS NOT REVOLUTIONARY
the decomposition of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
This article was written in reply to a public statement of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA - reprinted in full at the bottom of this essay
The communist movement has a long and embarrassing history - dating back to the early days of the Soviet Union - of trying to win supporters by encouraging the idolatrous worship of top party leaders, rather than convincing people of the correctness of communist ideas.
The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA takes this idea to its logical extreme - and, consequently, is frequently the target of (well deserved) ridicule on the part of the rest of the left.
UC Berkeley student-athlete turned 60's radical Robert Bruce Avakian is many things.
He's a prolific author - although his books have a very narrow readership and, quite frankly, his later books (after his 1982 self imposed exile to France and his deification within the RCP) would benefit from a LOT of editing.
He's one of the last 1960's radicals still out there - although, like most of those radicals, he really did "remember everything and learn nothing" from the 1960's radical experience.
His group is the only group on the American far left to be openly and unapologetically atheist.
Although his book on the subject - "Away With All Gods" - is badly written and, quite frankly, his argument against Christianity is flawed by Avakian's failure to understand the theological basis of Christianity in the New Testament and Jesus Christ's New Covenant with God (a bedrock of Christianity that anybody who went to Sunday School - as Avakian did when he was a child - should know by heart!)
And he's got an interesting life story [his autobiography - "From Ike To Mao" is actually a pretty good book - one of his better works, and, mercifully, he apparently used an editor, cause it's way less verbose and repetitive than his Revolution newspaper essays!].
But why exactly does this guy think he's entitled to position himself as the supreme leader of the American working class?
He's never led a strike, campus occupation or ghetto rebellion - or even a major demonstration.
He's never published a significant work of Marxist scholarship, or any new political ideas - basically, his entire body of theoretical writing is a lengthy rehash of mid 1970's left wing Chinese Maoism (basically, he read a bunch of books by Mao Zedong, Jiang Qing, Albanian Maoist dictator Enver Hoxha and other folks like that and rehashed their ideas under his own name - except Mao, Jiang and Hoxha did a much better job of putting forth their ideas than he did)
He has no mass following in this country.
His party is a remnant of an already tiny remnant of a mass student group of the 1960's that splintered over 40 years ago - basically, he retains a corporals guard of the once vast battalions of Students for a Democratic Society.
And, quite frankly, Avakian and his faction - which ended up winning control of the RCP around 1978 - were the folks in charge when the RCP launched it's disastrous and tragicomic attempt to bring about a revolution on May Day 1980 by having all of their comrades who lived in ghettos and/or worked in factories or coal mines spend a year running around and screaming about revolution.
They did NOT bring about a revolution.
They DID get one of their comrades killed by the police - and they got all of their factory worker and coal miner comrades driven from their jobs (and, in the case of their coal miner comrades, driven out of the entire state of West Virginia).
The RCP imploded as a serious and significant political force among American workers as a direct result of Avakian's adventurism and absurd posturing - and lots of dedicated communist workers paid the price for Avakian's misleadership.
In light of that fact, why exactly should we as a working class hoist up the banners of Avakian and anoint him as our leader?
His track record just doesn't back it up.
Beyond that, the working class of the world has tried cults of personality.
And cults of personality are WRONG AND NOT COMMUNIST.
The cult of personality was wrong with V. I. Lenin (although he actually was a great revolutionary)
It was wrong with Josef Stalin (because he restored capitalism in the USSR and killed in excess of 4.5 million Soviet citizens in the process)
It was wrong with Mao Zedong (who built a regime that became the basis of the state capitalist police state "sweatshop of the world" that China is today and he killed in excess of 30 million Chinese people in the process)
It was and is wrong with Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il (for reasons that should be blatantly obvious)
And it was wrong with Fidel Castro, and Enver Hoxha, and Ho Chi Minh
And it was and is wrong with the small time communists who never won state power but still tried to build cults of personality within their own organizations - Prachanda ["the fierce one"] in Nepal, Narcisco Isa Conde in the Dominican Republic and, of course, our own Robert Bruce Avakian here in America.
Beyond that, he really needs to cut it out with the whole "exile" gimmick!
Look, Avakian beat the misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct case in Washington DC BEFORE HE MOVED TO FRANCE IN 1982 - and, apparently, he's been back in America since 2001.
Now, apparently, it's useful for him within the RCP to have the whole "exile" mystique - basically, it means he's above question within the organization, so he doesn't have to debate his ideas or win support for them, because questioning his ideas with any kind of seriousness is tantamount to attacking a "martyr" and "heroic exile".
But it really takes away from his credibility in the mainstream world outside the front door of Revolution Books.
Real American revolutionary leaders like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, John Brown, Fredrick Douglass, Eugene V. Debs, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Reies Tijerina and Huey Newton NEVER hid out in "exile" - even if it cost them their lives or their freedom!
So if Bob wants to put himself in that same category, he needs to come out of closet and show and prove why he is fit to claim to be our leader!
- commentary by GREGORY A. BUTLER, LOCAL 608 CARPENTER
FOR GANGBOX: CONSTRUCTION WORKERS NEWS SERVICE
"UNION NOW, UNION FOREVER"
Originally published on Sunday, December 6, 2009
The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA's statement, reprinted in full:
The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have
A Message, And A Call, From The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
By Revolution Newspaper
This Is NOT The Best of All Possible Worlds...And We Do NOT Have to Live This Way
We live under a system of capitalism-imperialism...a system in which U.S. imperialism is the most monstrous, most oppressive superpower...a system driven by a relentless chase after profit, which brings horror upon horror, a nightmare seemingly without end, for the vast majority of humanity: poverty and squalor...torture and rape...the wholesale domination and degradation of women everywhere...wars, invasions and occupations...assassinations and massacres...planes, missiles, tanks and troops of the USA bombarding people in faraway lands while they sleep in their homes or go about their daily lives, blasting their little children to pieces, cutting down men and women in the prime of life, or in old age, kicking down their doors and dragging them away in the middle of the night...while here in the USA itself the police harass, brutalize and murder youth in the streets of the inner cities--over and over again--and then they spit out their maddening insults, insisting that this is "justified," as if these youth are not human beings, have no right to live, deserve no respect and no future.
For millions in the inner cities, if they are not killed at an early age, their likely future is prison. This system has robbed so many youth of the chance for a decent life and has got far too many living, dying and killing for nothing--nothing good--nothing more than messing up people and murdering each other on the streets of the cities here...or joining the military, being trained to be murderers on a mass scale, massacring people in countries across the globe. A system which offers millions and millions of youth no greater purpose, no better fate, than crime and punishment, or to become a mindless killing machine for the system itself--that alone is reason enough to sweep this system from the face of the earth!
Some say this is all "god's will" and we just have to "put it all in god's hands." But it was not some god that got us in this situation...and it won't be some god that will get us out of it. The truth is, there are no gods...and we don't need them!
THE REVOLUTION WE NEED
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. This is the truth that is covered up and lied about, but we have the facts and the analysis to back this up. This capitalist-imperialist system is in crisis...This system is bankrupt...This system is rotten to the core...This system is based on ruthless exploitation...This system commits so many monstrous crimes, and causes so much unnecessary suffering. We do not need to be sacrificing even more to "rescue" this system. This system needs to be swept aside...its crimes against humanity stopped cold...its institutions dismantled, and replaced by ones that empower people to build a new society free of exploitation and oppression. It is true: now is not yet the time, in this country, to go all-out to seize the power away from those who rule over us and to bring a new power, serving our interests, into being. But now IS the time to be WORKING FOR REVOLUTION--to be stepping up resistance while building a movement for revolution--to prepare for the time when it WILL be possible to go all out to seize the power.
All this is not possible without leadership. But the thing is...There is leadership.
THE LEADERSHIP WE HAVE
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 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.
Right now, and in an ongoing way, we must spread the word about the revolution we need and the leadership we have, to every corner of this country...giving 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.
For a .pdf version which can be printed and distributed, go to: http://revcom.us/i/170/170statement-short-2sided11-20-09.pdf.
Spanish version: http://revcom.us/i/170/170statement-short-2sided11-20-09-es.pdf
Revolution newspaper, //www.revcom.us
P.O. Box 3486, Chicago, IL 60654
Check out: A Talk by Bob Avakian
REVOLUTION: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About
View the video of this entire talk at //www.revolutiontalk.net
Select clips can also be seen at //www.youtube.com/revolutiontalk
By Revolution Newspaper email@example.com revcom.us P.O. Box 3486, Chicago, IL 60654