by Bob Avakian, Revolutionary Leader, Author of the New Communism
October 11, 2021
Today, there are people who call themselves “abolitionists.” In addition to the abolition of literal slavery remaining in the world today, for some “abolition” means the ending not only of the racial discrimination that exists throughout the law and the application of the law in this country, and the mass incarceration that is bound up with this, but the ending of a society that requires and institutionalizes these outrages. But what these abolitionists do not say—and what is critically important to recognize, and act on—is the truth that it will require the revolutionary overthrow of this system of capitalism-imperialism and its replacement by a socialist system, aiming for the final goal of communism, in order to bring about a society, and world, that will actually do away with and move beyond racial oppression, in every form, as well as all other relations of oppression and exploitation.
An article on revcom.us states this very basic and crucial truth:
You cannot bring a radically different and emancipating society into being, moving to abolish all oppression and exploitation, without breaking the capitalists’ violent hold over society (the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie) and establishing a radically different socialist form of rule (the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat). And only with this socialist system can you give the most powerful support to the revolutionary struggle throughout the world.1
Without this, there is simply no way to abolish the systematic discrimination, brutality and outright murder by police, and no way to do away with the mass incarceration and what amounts to torture in prison of millions of especially Black and Latino men (and growing numbers of women). To speak bluntly: Regardless of their intent, those who talk of “abolition,” without talking about the need for this revolution, are “the foolish victims of deceit and self-deceit” (to invoke an important formulation from Lenin, the leader of the Russian Revolution of 1917, who made crucially important contributions to communist theory).
In a previous article (“Police and Prisons: Reformist Illusions and the Revolutionary Solution”), I have made a scientific analysis of why the idea of abolishing (or “defunding”) the police and abolishing prisons under this system is a serious and harmful illusion.2 And, as a matter of fact, as spoken to in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which I have authored, even in the fundamentally different and emancipating society for which this Constitution provides a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint, there will still be a need for security forces and prisons, although these institutions will be radically different and serve radically different purposes than institutions of this kind (police and prisons) under this system of capitalism-imperialism.3
And here the question is sharply posed: If you really want to abolish prisons and police that embody and enforce terrible, murderous injustice—if you really want to abolish systematic, systemic and institutionalized white supremacy—why not dedicate your efforts to abolishing this whole system that requires all this, and replacing it with a system that does not?
Why not become actively involved in the movement, led by the new communism, to prepare for and then carry out an actual revolution to overthrow this system, and bring something much better into being, aiming for the abolition of all exploitation and oppression, everywhere, as set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America?
That is an abolition really worth dedicating your life to.
1. “Questions That Come Up… And Answers: On Revolution And The Need For The Scientific Leadership Of Bob Avakian. On Dictatorship, The Need For Revolution, And What Comes Next.” This article is available at revcom.us (emphasis in the original). [back]
2. This article by Bob Avakian(“Police and Prisons: Reformist Illusions and theRevolutionary Solution”) is part of a collection of articles, Bob Avakian: Writings in 2020—A Momentous Year, which is available at TheBobAvakianInstitute.org and at revcom.us. [back]
3. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, is also available at revcom.us. [back]