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Hundreds of Thousands Introduced to Bob Avakian
by Revolution (revolution.sfbureau [at] gmail.com)
Tuesday Apr 10th, 2007 3:27 PM
The current issue of Revolution, a special broadsheet, will be getting into the hands of people of all walks of life this week from coast to coast. Distributors of Revolution are calling on students, residents of the barrios and ghettoes, as well as teachers, clergy and all who want real change to take part in this massive two week project. Showings of the DVD Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About are being planned in homes, bookstores and other spots to prepare for this effort. The point: to introduce hundreds of thousands of new people to Bob Avakian’s vision of communism, his analysis of the heavy challenges that people face today, and his program for how to deal with all this.
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The editors of Revolution note that we are at a crossroads, citing wars in the middle east, , the desperate poverty of the regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America, the oppression of people without the U.S. from New Orleans to the U.S./Mexico border, the subjugation of women, the pursuit of profit at the expense of the planet : "The situation we face—the situation the whole planet faces—cries out for change. Urgently. Look around, with fresh eyes."

"All this and more cries out for radical change."

Challenging "conventional wisdom" that says that fundamental change is unrealistic and impossible, this special issue of Revolution argues that the most "unrealistic" thing in the world is to "put your trust in official channels and established authority, while things continually get worse. If a different—a better—world is possible, you’ve got to struggle to understand how and fight to bring it into being."

From Revolution:

"Bob Avakian fought against the war in Vietnam in the 1960s, and worked closely with the Black Panther Party in the struggle for Black liberation. He was inspired by the courage and creativity of the masses who rose up in those times and the horizons they opened. He was fired by anger at those injustices and by an unstoppable drive to understand their root causes—a fire that burns in him to this day. And as he dug deeper, he saw a system, one whose very rules and workings give rise to—and indeed require—this oppression.

Then, grasping not only that things shouldn’t be this way but that they didn’t have to be this way, he became a revolutionary and a communist. He persevered, even after the high tide of revolution ebbed. He built, and today leads, a revolutionary party, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA—a party that has mobilized thousands to fight against the system in different ways through the past decades and that has continued to promote revolution and communism.

But Bob Avakian is more than that. He is someone who has persisted in confronting the hardest, most excruciating questions before humanity. In so doing, he’s taken the communist understanding of the world and how to change it to a new place. The answers he’s brought forward and the pathways he’s forged demand a serious look—a deep engagement—from everyone concerned about the future of humanity."

What people are saying about Bob Avakian:

Cornel West, commenting on From Ike to Mao and Beyond:
“Bob Avakian is a long distance runner in the freedom struggle against imperialism, racism and capitalism. His voice and witness are indispensable in our efforts to enhance the wretched of the earth. And his powerful story of commitment is timely.”

******

From a letter from a prisoner forwarded from Insight Press to Revolution, commenting on Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy:
“I could read Bob Avakian all day long, literally. His writings speak to me very powerfully and profoundly. He doesn’t speak as an 'intellectual' to the masses; he speaks intellectually to the masses, in a way that’s easy to grasp a hold of and figure into our everyday lives and scattered ideas and feelings about our place in society and the system which exploits and oppresses us and gives form and organization and orientation to all this. It’s very motivating and inspiring when everything that troubles us finds accessible interpretation and a 'bright' though 'tortuous' future is unfolded before us.”

* * * * *

Howard Zinn, commenting on From Ike to Mao and Beyond
“A truly interesting account of Bob Avakian’s life, a humanizing portrait of someone who is often seen only as a hard-line revolutionary. I can understand why Bob Avakian has drawn so many ardent supporters. He speaks to people’s alienation from a warlike and capitalist society, and holds out the possibility for radical change.”

* * * * *

From a letter from Joanne Rojas, proletarian woman, printed in Revolution, Aug 20, 2006
“A different world is possible. And I think we need Bob Avakian out there much more explaining to people what that different world, a communist world, could be. And I think this all needs to happen pretty fast because the Bush regime are trying to sew things up. And they are going to try and shut Bob Avakian up, so more people need to have his back and defend him.... Now, especially, I really believe we need Bob Avakian’s leadership. The masses need him and his ability to take really complex ideas about revolution and communism and 'break it down' to people—like he says, 'Revolution: why it’s necessary, why it’s possible, and what it’s all about.'”

* * * * *

Read the full article "The Crossroads We Face... The Leadership We Need" at: http://revcom.us/avakian/crossroads/index.html
by not you
Tuesday Apr 10th, 2007 3:35 PM
And most of them ran screaming away as fast as they could.

Sorry, a crazy commie is still just a crazy commie.
by tkat
Tuesday Apr 10th, 2007 4:28 PM
I like dozens of other comuters recieved a free copy of this revolutionary broadsheet. I was initially somewhat interested, what was this brightly colored free newspaper with contemporary looking graphics...what was thsi? perhaps guerilla marketing from Moveon or more ironic Post modern cigarette ads...but then the angel of giving said the 2 key works BA, not as in bad attitude like BA Barracas but Bob Avakian. It felt like a real live cult moment. I was blown away by the earnest, child like glee when that name was uttered Boahb Avaahkian!!!! It is not Robert or Bobby, or bobcat or billy joe bob, it is just Bob, but boob would be more interesting.
After I read about Bob's Pogroms I fell asleep and dreamed of jim jones and marshmellows. I don't really understand. but that is the truth....
by Felix
(felix60 [at] hotmail.com) Tuesday Apr 10th, 2007 4:56 PM
Like the post says, "If a different—a better—world is possible, you’ve got to struggle to understand how and fight to bring it into being." If you're serious about bringing about fundamental change then you need to engage with what Avakian is saying.

These are some of the questions that the broadsheet deals with:

Is revolution is possible in a country like the U.S.— or are the rulers of this country too powerful, the people in the middle too comfortable, and the people on the bottom too ground down and divided.

Is it true that socialism not only didn’t work but that it can’t work, and that “communism is dead.” -- or is it possible to bring into being a vibrant socialist society that we would want to live in.

Can we have a communism that has room for high ideals and dreams and “heart."

Is democracy, american style the best we can hope for or is it a lie at the source of the illusions that trap people in an unrealizable “American dream”…and could only have, turned into a nightmare for so many.

Is the divisions between oppressor and oppressed nations and races something eternal, or is it something deeply embedded in the imperialist system…and that this can and will be overcome through fierce struggle against that oppression and those divisions, as part of making revolution and bringing in a communist world.

Ending the oppression of women must be one of the most crucial parts and one of the fundamental aims of the communist revolution.

Maybe dealing with these questions puts you to sleep, but these are literally life and death questions that must be seriously discussed if we are serious about change and not playing games.
by tkat
Tuesday Apr 10th, 2007 5:31 PM
It is funny when you felix say discussion, bob Bad Ass Avakian preaching the word of commuinism is not a discussion. It is a lecture, where chairman bobbie, proslatizes as bad as any christian. Yall lack imagination, and for that we must all suffer, thank the sweet ass of jesus that we will never live in a state run by you evangelistic communists. Serious change happens, but not when the vangaurd says so....peace out....
by hmm
Tuesday Apr 10th, 2007 5:33 PM
Not tomcat but figured Id respond to some of this stuff:


"If you're serious about bringing about fundamental change then you need to engage with what Avakian is saying."

That sounds ok when I first read it but the focus on Bob has a deeply irrational feel to it one doesn't find in other Socialist groups. I love the writings of Tariq Ali and think he has a lot of useful stuff to say about politics in the Middle East but the ISO and British SWP present a variety of views and dont treat him as a leader who has the sole or best take on things. Chomsky, Zinn, Fisk, and others also may be smart and know a lot more than the rest of us about their areas of expertise but one doesnt hear groups with which they are involved touting them as the be all and end all (for a bit I admit I did see some stuff like this around Chomsky in the late 80s).

"Is revolution is possible in a country like the U.S.— or are the rulers of this country too powerful, the people in the middle too comfortable, and the people on the bottom too ground down and divided."

The answer to the first one really depends on what the question means. China, Russia and Iran had "revolutions" with some extreme changes right afterwards but they mostly drifted back to "prerevolutionary" power structures or power structures more similar to other countries that didnt go through "revolutions". I think the word is oversold and rather meaningless since it carries with it ideas of social change that effect the economic relations between all members of society while also carrying with it the idea of overthrowing a government. Overthrowing a government can happen anywhere but the reasons you give explain why one is unlikely to get a new governmental structure in the US any time soon (although changes in policy by those elected and even changes to the Constitution are always possible even in the near term). Changing the way people relate economically is much more difficult and probably impossible without gradual change. Get rid of big companies and one still has exploitation by employers of employees even in under the table jobs where the government is not involved. If the state were to provide everyone with good jobs then I guess one could see quick change but even in the USSR and China after their revolutions this didn't really happen. With modern distrust of those in power (no matter who is in power) I think the world is in less of a place for people to hope for a system where so much power falls in the hands of one entity.

"is it possible to bring into being a vibrant socialist society that we would want to live in."

Since its hard to get everyone to agree on one thing and people tend to distrust both unelected and elected leaders, the only way to get from here to there is through changes that can take place without a revolution. Sweden is somewhat Socialist and lacks the extremes of wealth and poverty one sees in the US so it obviously is possible to move pretty far down the road to Socialism with gradual changes that society consenses upon.

"Can we have a communism that has room for high ideals and dreams and “heart.""

Not sure what that means.

"Is democracy, american style the best we can hope for or is it a lie at the source of the illusions that trap people in an unrealizable “American dream”…and could only have, turned into a nightmare for so many."

Things are obviously pretty bad but since one can never get a large group to agree on things and forcing people to accept change not unly results in new oppression but also backlash, its hard to see any likely alternative in the US in the short-term other than grass-root organizing for social change combined with some electoralism.
There are minor changes to how the government works (like a Pariliamentary system) where one could probably get a lot of people to say thats a better system, but even in that case, getting enough people to agree to make it possible in the next decade or two would be unlikely. Beyond that, any larger change is pretty much impossible through consensus and forced change where one person or small group claims to know best usually ends up with things getting worse (since even if the ideas are good, conflict and backlash are more likely outcome than the desired result... and most likely any small group wont know all the peculiarities of every other groups' problems)

"Is the divisions between oppressor and oppressed nations and races something eternal, or is it something deeply embedded in the imperialist system…and that this can and will be overcome through fierce struggle against that oppression and those divisions, as part of making revolution and bringing in a communist world."

Divisions and conflict are probably eternal but what groups are fighting and what they are fighting about will always change. A stable world where everyone is happy and there is no conflict or oppression is the dream of not just Communists but also Christians and NeoCons... when any group claims its the "end of history" (think Fukuyama), things start moving quickly again.... China and Russia were perhaps not doomed from the start to end up where they did but assuming that once the Revolution (an idea Marx almost seemed to take from an Anabaptist view of the 2nd Comming most visible in the Münster Rebellion) happens that is the end and divisions wont grow and power hungry individuals and "sellouts" wont push things in a different direction seems irrational.

"Ending the oppression of women must be one of the most crucial parts and one of the fundamental aims of the communist revolution."

Fighting to end the opression of all groups is a good thing and in the past "Communist" revolutions and movements did tend to leave out women, queer and minority ethnic and religious groups.

"these are literally life and death questions that must be seriously discussed if we are serious about change and not playing games."

The RCP isn't aiming or capable of carrying out a coup and its also not influential enough to push society into major cultural change (at least directly). Some of your front groups are doing great work and in the case of the death penalty and police brutality, doing the work can mean the difference between life and death for people. But what you do that's good is fighting within the current economic/social system to reduce oppression that almost everyone (whether Communist, Anarchist or even many self described progressice Capitalists) would agree is a bad thing that needs to change. When you fight for the people, everyone likes you, but when you start sounding more cultlike than other groups (with the whole "Bob knows best" thing) people get scared away not only from your core group but also your many front groups (which then can hurt the causes you are fighting for if your group has taken over the main organizing on the issue in a specific community)
by pooter
Tuesday Apr 10th, 2007 5:34 PM
ha ha - jim jones and marshmallows.
by ???
Tuesday Apr 10th, 2007 7:56 PM
According to Wikipedia:

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Avakian was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Berkeley, California. The grandchild of Armenian immigrants who settled in Fresno, California to farm, he was a football player for his high school. His father was Spurgeon "Sparky" Avakian (1913-2002), an Alameda County judge in Oakland, California, and member of the Berkeley School Board. Bob attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he became involved in radical politics. He participated in the Free Speech Movement at the University of California—Berkeley that was led by Mario Savio. His political activities continued and he became spokesman for the Peace and Freedom Party, and an active supporter of the Black Panthers.

Bob Avakian was active in Students for a Democratic Society and was a leading figure in the Revolutionary Youth Movement II. In the Bay Area he worked to form the Bay Area Revolutionary Union. BARU expanded nationally by absorbing other Marxist-Leninist collectives coming out of the SDS. It became the Revolutionary Union.

Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Union, along with others such as C. Clark Kissinger and Carl Dix, led the formation of the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1975. When Deng Xiaoping went to the United States to visit Jimmy Carter, the RCP led protests at sites throughout Washington, D.C. Avakian and others participants in the march became engaged in a conflict with the police. Avakian and others arrested for the incident were charged with several counts of assault on a police officer. After a court granted Avakian and the other arrestees' request to be charged and tried together, their punishment exposure (the most severe possible sentence) was over 241 years. As a result, Avakian went to France in 1981.

Bob Avakian's current whereabouts are kept secret. His last appearances caught on video were two speaking engagements (on the East and West Coasts of the United States). These were recorded for the DVD REVOLUTION: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About. The recordings were the first publicly available images of Avakian since 1981.

----
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So where is he?

Does he work for a living or is he a Capitalist making money off the sweat and blood of his followers who do all the real work?
If the RCP isn't giving him profits from their work, how does he support himself? Does he have a trust fund he is living off of? Is he living in his parents garage in Berkeley? Is he on SSI?

Why does he never speak at antiwar rallies? Is it because he is insane and paranoid or is it because he is lazy and want to live in luxery while his workers sell his papers? Is it because he is "wanted" for some crime and if its the one listed on Wikipedia wouldnt the statute of limitation make him safe now?

Why does the RCP focus so much on Bob? Can you name the founder or head of the ISO, SWP, Sparts, MIM, WWP, CPUSA? Why does only the RCP have a leader who they claim is the knower of the one truth? If his books are so amazing why do leaders of other tendencies tend to have their books respected and read outside of their immediate organization while the only time I hear of Bob's book is from the RCP itself.

With a war in the Middle East right now is Bob a good person to tell us about the Middle East? Why is some relatively rich white male from Berkeley the expert on everything. Is Bob perfect (like the Maoist Jesus) or has he made mistakes and had personal conflicts that ended up ugly? Is he abusive to his partner? Does he belive in free love in the way some older hippie males do where power is abused for sexual favors? if Bob is just some nice old guy who lives in friends' houses and writes books, what would happen if everyone ran out of space on the couch for him, do his supporters have a choice or is taking care of Bob required to be in a senior position in the RCP? If Bob is paranoid does he not go to the doctor or is he only secretive within the activist community for reasons unrelated to the government? Even Mao and Lenin appeared in public and addressed crowds when they were in danger, so why is Bob so reclusive? Is he self-concious and ashamed of how he looks?

Why did Bob do when he was in France? You never really heard his name around the European Maoist circles so he didnt seem to be a prominent activist and he didnt produce a lot of writing during that time. Was he living in the Loire valley and tasting French wines and ocassionally going to the Riveria for a swim or was he locked in his room afraid to come out for ten years?

Bob really does seem a bit like a cult leader but not a particularly good one. Jim Jones spoke in public and had Willie Brown and Moscone eating out of his hand, Bob write pamphlets that several dozen people hand out at BART stations. L Ron Hubbard is dead but still gets Hollywood celebrities to promote him, while Bob get people to work with his front groups but the core RCP group continues to stay around the same size and grow older. Even La Rouche has more people on the Berkeley campus handing out literature and slicker pamphlets. I guess Bob isn't nearly as bad as any of those guys but its still weird how his group focuses on him so much considering how little he has actually done personally for the movement (or even the RCP itself) in the past few decades.
by ???
Saturday Apr 14th, 2007 1:14 PM
Im sure Bob is a nice guy but my point in the questions in the last comment is that when someone is held up as a great leader by a group but that person is also very secretive it's not surprising outsiders become suspect (and with the cases of most cults run by inaccessible leaders there do turn out to be reasons to be concerned ... locally one just has to look at the Black Muslim Bakery and Yusuf Bey). People make fun of Bob partly for political disagreements but also because the whole thing smells weird and makes one want to get at least some anwers to the questions in my last comment.

The unfortunate paranoid response to the questions I ask is that Bob is a fake and either a rightwinger or working for the government. The more likely real response is that hes a private person with a not too radical life who still likes being seen as a close to God by his small group of followers and plays into the groups dellusions even though in real life hes probably not particularly radical. If thats true, I guess its not that bad a thing if the RCP actually does good work in their front groups, but people who have as much personal power as Bob does in his group tend to abuse that power and one does have to wonder about that since there are so few cases of leaders like Bob who didnt end up in abuse scandals.
by some of the above
Wednesday Apr 18th, 2007 7:12 AM
I'm sorry, but it's not like there's a big crowd of revolutionary leaders getting blotted out by the shadow of Avakian. I wish he wasn't so rare. I wish leaders didn't always begin by telling us what we can't do, what we can't say, where we can't go.

There's nothing weird about fighting for our lives, for the world our children will live in. There's nothing wrong with being to the point, building a party instead of settling for shooting off an essay of dissent every now and again. There's nothing wrong with being practical instead of whimsical.

Avakian has my respect even though I'm not a party member. He's a real hero. There's nothing, I mean nothing religious about that. Speaking of which, he has the balls to call the religion racket out for what it is instead of pandering to people's desperation. He does this without patronizing or insulting, but argues and struggles with people to have a scientific, materialist worldview.

Right on, Bob. Don't let the bastards get you down.

by ???
Wednesday Apr 18th, 2007 7:25 AM
Except with the secrecy, following Bob is following someone you dont really know. Is he what he appears to be? The small amount of time he actually spends on party work leads one to suspect otherwise.

Other groups on the Right and Left have "leaders", but how many have absolute leaders who never appear in public and rarely communicate with Party members?

How many have leaders who arent known for an area of expertise but are supposed to know more than everyone else about everything?

How many spent years abroad supposedly networking with international activist communities yet for all that time spent networking apparently arent remembered or known outside of a small membership circle in the US?

Actually all of these characteristics are not completely unknown to groups but usually are seen in new age gurus and people who use secrecy to create a personal mythology around themselves to exploit members of their group. Bob may not be engaging in anythjing unseemly but the personality cult he has built around himself has all of the signs of a religious cult and it has nothing to do with being an effective leader since there are few remaining Communist groups anywhere with these same cultlike qualities (military leaders in places like Nepal may have remained distant from the press while fighting was going on but they actually were engaging in day to day work not relaxing in the French Riveria and not communicating with soldiers in the field).
Just reread your comment and am curious why you see him as a hero. He made a DVD talking about some stuff and wrote a few dozen essays over the years but ther are no signs of him having done anything else.

Before the internet Bob sortof made sense but its hard to see how his type of cult can exist when its possible to lookup Bob and see that nobody in Europe knows about him so its really unclear what he was doing when he was away.Now thats hes back its also confusing. If he doesnt go to meetings and isnt involved in day to day organizing exactly how much time does he spend a week on RCP work and how much money does the RCP have to take from members to support him? What percent of every paper goest o pay for Bob's food and lodging and why does he get to be the RCP's Capitalist who lives off his 25 year old investment in a group he barely cares about while current members sell papers and have to give all the money they make back to the Party.

In the 70s Bob was actively involved in day to day organizing and protests. Then he fled to France and probably was being helped out by members in the US assuming it was a short-term thing (although he left everyone else back in the US to face trial when he ran). Somehow for 30 years Bob managed to still get support form the Party even though he never returned to really be a leader. My guess is that he lead through the RCP's cultlike mystique; "dont ask questions since those above you in the Party probably know what's really up and are being secret for security reasons". There were wars in Peru and elsewhere and Bob was abroad engaged in the larger struggle and since guerrilla warfare requires secrecy, of course Bob wasnt open about what he was doing. But unfortunately for Bob the internet grew and its now possible to look acrosss the world and see that Nepali Maoists are becoming part of the government, Sandero pretty much died off years ago, and in Europe nonRCP Maoists groups hold much more sway than anything related to the RCP. Hiding behind security concerns and struggles that lower level members cant know about only works when one doesnt have access to enough world news to notice that no such struggle exists.

So where was Bob for the past 30 years? 30 years is a long time and people even change political tendencies over that time frame. Bob is still ocassionally releasing his words of wisdom to party members but if the Party is paying for his food and lodging he pretty much has to or he would have to come out of hiding and get a job. He has a good thing and even if he no longer belives in the struggle thats all he has so he cant really give it up.

Its hard to break through the cultish lies that Bob feeds the RCP but RCP members should be able to see through Bob more than nonmembers. You have been to national meetings and at most Im guessing Bob wasnt there. You made day to day decissions about protests and front groups and Bob didnt really get involved. You raise money for the Party and some "higher up leadership" gets a cut, but you never really get a huge amount of direction from this higher up leadership and most of the recent decissions (NION, World Cant Wait, etc..) arent really that "revolutionary" and most of the work around mission statements and the like came from others, not Bob. So just really ask yorself what Bob is doing with the 99% of his time hes not working on RCP stuff...
by Matthew
Sunday Apr 22nd, 2007 3:01 PM
Let me get this straight. Mr. Avakian wants a violent communist uprising, then a "dictatorship of the proletariat" to "free the masses"? Sounds fantastic doesn't it? I can't wait!!!!
by friend of the P
Monday Apr 23rd, 2007 8:15 AM
Word from a non-member supporter of the RCP: Bob Avakian leads by politics, by building a party that engages in mass struggle and popular education. They aren't humble in their intentions, and if anything "smells weird" it's the tendency of people who view themselves as radicals to find comfort in permanent marginality.

Many activists find succor in hanging out with people who already think like them, creating community of belief instead of movements of struggle. Avakian is the exception to this rule. The RCP isn't a surrogate family or an intentional community – it's a political party, aiming to make the very "cultural transformations" the non-leaders complaining here insist is impossible.

Is the RCP the one, true and only way? I don't think so, neither do they. But between absolutism and agnosticism is a world of activity.

Avakian is about creating new possibilities, not telilng us what we already know. He doesn't cut his position to fit whatever is in fashion (as determined by the consensus of who is already "in the room").

I'm a communist and a revolutionary. When I read his memoir, it hit me how much of my conception of socialism derives directly from his uncompromising analysis. I don't know if promoting "the name" is the best way to get these ideas out – but everytime my skepticism comes smack up against the passivity, routine and dim horizons of the professionalized lefty aristocracy and DAMN, Avakian will have none of it.

So bitch and moan. The party doesn't need the crabapples and scenesters, but the dedicated and determined. Don't just listen to what people say, watch what they do.

Venceremos.
by hes not a leader
Monday Apr 23rd, 2007 5:01 PM
The RCP does great work but none of it is due to Bob's leadership. Leaders lead. Bob doesn't even speak at protests. Leaders organize. Bob takes energy out of movements by promoting himself to get money and when he does that the RCP's positive work gets put aside while recent allies are alienated by the personality cult of an absentee land lord. The problem with Bob isn't Maoism, the problem with Bob is that he is a leach who lives off Maoists to promote and support himself.

Its not nice to be so negative but considering the effects of the yearly RCP Bob prmotion, it has to be said.The style of Bob promotion seems cultlike and its not just other activists who feel that way, it is most people who get the handed out literature and may agree with the politics but wonder why some rich white Berkley kid is being sold as the be all and end all when nobody is ever allowed to meet him, see him or get answers about what he does in his nonparty time (is he an undercover cop? A psychotic cult leader? Just shy? There isn't ever enough about him revealed to ever know. He never talks about his views on Democracy Now or Flashpoints. He never debates other activist "leaders". He rarely writes books... he claims to be so revolutionary he has to live in the shadows but while he hides from the people its pretty obvious the government must know where he is and probably loves him for making Revolutionaries look like cult followers)
by hmm
Monday Apr 23rd, 2007 5:39 PM
"Word from a non-member supporter of the RCP"

Considering how the RCP is structured that doesnt mean much does it? "Nonmembers" run much of the upper portions of the Party and you know it.

"Bob Avakian leads by politics"

Except the RCP's front groups that have drawn in the most people are the ones that are the least overtly Revolutionary (like NION) and the actual Maoism is only talked about to the small group that never grows and seems to feed off of alienated youth in a way thats a bit more similar to 1970s Bay Area cults than most other political groups.

"by building a party that engages in mass struggle and popular education."

Again, Bob rarely educated the public since he is never to be seen. The revolutionary message has been preached in the inner cities of Chicago, NY, Washington and Oakland but no mass struggle has appeared and even though others in the community may treat the RCP members with respect, the strange cultlike aspects of the Party make it pretty far from a mass movement (somewhat similarly to how people deal with the Nation of Islam, La Rouche and the Christian groups that do work to help the poor)

"They aren't humble in their intentions"

Bob isnt humble and loves promoting himself asthe second comming of Mao but Im sure he knows its just a fashion statement and his immediate intentions are to sell a few papers, pay rent on the book stores and maybe get some new alienated teenagers to join to replace the members who have grown up and left the Party.

"if anything "smells weird" it's the tendency of people who view themselves as radicals to find comfort in permanent marginality."

Do you mean that the RCP finds comfort in its own marginality or that those on the outside that are radical who find the RCP weird are somehow marginal. The RCP is not very big and if you were to count the members who have actually meet Bob they would probably fit in one room.

"Many activists find succor in hanging out with people who already think like them, creating community of belief instead of movements of struggle. Avakian is the exception to this rule."

Because nobody ever sees him!!! Wouldnt reaching out to people mean talking on the radio? If he hates liberal radio he could talk at community rallies or pirate stations or something. But he doesn't. He doesnt reach out to activists or nonactivists but instead ocassionally gets the Party fathful to reach out to people to buy his DVDs. Having to pay to hear a revolutionary message reminds me a bit too much of Scientologys thing of having to pay to find salvation; DVDs cost money but when the message always comes in a format one has to pay for (unlike other people who talk on the radio or at rallies) one really has to wonder about motives.

"The RCP isn't a surrogate family or an intentional community – it's a political party, aiming to make the very "cultural transformations" the non-leaders complaining here insist is impossible."

Im not so clear about that. The ISO and ANSWER are political Parties. MIM and the Sparts are political Parties. The RCP is much more tightknit as a group and its tendency to reach out to runaway youth who want parent figures does make one see it as getting its membership mainly because it does act as a surrogate familly for those who have little to lose by joining even if they do feel a bit weird about the structure (its the same way Neonazi cults, La Rouche and religious cults get members but not the way other political groups get members)

"Is the RCP the one, true and only way? I don't think so, neither do they. But between absolutism and agnosticism is a world of activity. Avakian is about creating new possibilities, not telilng us what we already know. He doesn't cut his position to fit whatever is in fashion (as determined by the consensus of who is already "in the room")."

He sounds like a great guy. Maybe he could talk about his organizing experience in one of the "how I became an activist" events? Or he could talk about antiwar organizing on Democracy Now? Or he could appear at an ANSWER protest and rally the crowd to greater radicalism?
Or .... I guess he could just ocassionally sell DVDs of himself talking for hours....

"I'm a communist and a revolutionary. When I read his memoir, it hit me how much of my conception of socialism derives directly from his uncompromising analysis. I don't know if promoting "the name" is the best way to get these ideas out – but everytime my skepticism comes smack up against the passivity, routine and dim horizons of the professionalized lefty aristocracy and DAMN, Avakian will have none of it."

Isn't he part of the Lefty aristocracy himself since he is too good for the rest of us and will only talk to the masses through DVDs? Just joining the Party doesnt give one access to Bob, one has to work ones way into an inner circle just to have the privelege of hearing him first hand.

"So bitch and moan. The party doesn't need the crabapples and scenesters, but the dedicated and determined. Don't just listen to what people say, watch what they do"

WHAT DOES BOB ACTUALLY DO? He says a lot of great things on his DVD and if it was on a specific topic rather than one single release on everything, a lot of people might buy it and like it. Bob talks about Revolution but he isnt a Revolutionary. Trotsky and Lenin took risks and rallied crowds in speite of great risks. Mao went to the masses himself and formed and army. Even people like Zinn and Chomsky come out of their ivory towers and talk to ordinary people about organizing and struggle. Bob talks and writes (but really not that much for the lack of other things he does) but never really DOES ANYTHING himself. NION, World Cant Wait and other such groups are great and are doing something but are not revolutionary groups and have been at times similar to groups like United For Peace And Justice and perhaps even MoveOn. Can one give credit to Bob for such groups? I never saw him organizing them so all he could really get credit for is their names (if he even helped with that) and since others outside the party helped with the organizing, it's hard to say if the groups may have existed in a similar form if the RCP hadnt even been involved.
by jimmy s
Tuesday Apr 24th, 2007 1:16 PM
Bob Avakian is a contemporary cult leader, bring it up to an RCP member sometime and look at their face. Its like watching a bottle leave a baby's hand. Its really pathetic. 25+ years of intermittent "analysis" and absolutely nothing to stand on but the backs of his admiring vanguard. Sad.
by Brianna
Monday May 21st, 2007 12:32 PM

tkat, Bob Avakian doesnt just preach "communism" if you have read anythiny by him.

most people communist and not communist support Bob Avakian because he is actually talking about how we need to be talking about what kind of world we want to live and how we can realistically get there.

If you dont agree with communism or think that something about it is dogmatic, then lets talk about, lets get into it and grapple with ideas.

It is not the same as Christianity because it is actually rooted in reality. Engaging with Bob Avakian doesnt mean you have to be a communist or even agree with everything he says.

But you need to get into it on a "political" disagreement verus just putting communism down without really having a knowledge on what the Revolutionary Communist Party stands for.