“If you don’t have a poetic spirit—or at least a poetic side—it is very dangerous for you to lead a Marxist movement or be the leader of a socialist state.”
Bob Avakian (BA) is the architect of a whole new framework of human emancipation, the new synthesis of communism, which is popularly referred to as the “new communism.” The goal of the new communism is a total revolution—the most radical revolution in human history that aims at nothing less than overcoming all forms of oppression and exploitation all over the world, a society where humanity could truly flourish. The new synthesis is based on more than 40 years of revolutionary work that BA has done critically analyzing and drawing from past revolutionary experience and theory, and a broad range of human activity and thought. It is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed. It provides the basis—the science, the strategy, and the leadership—for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.
Bob Avakian is the author of The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, an inspiring application of the new synthesis of communism. This Constitution, which was adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, in 2010, is a blueprint for the new socialist society, beginning with Day One of a protracted transitional period leading to a world without classes and class distinctions, a world without oppression and the destructive divisions and antagonisms between people.
Ardea Skybreak, a scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and a follower of Bob Avakian (BA), captures the essence of BA’s revolutionary work and leadership over the last 40 years:
The hallmark of Bob Avakian’s work [has been] working on building a society that most human beings would want to live in. Bob Avakian has been spending his whole life, decades and decades, developing work that is deepening our understanding of why these problems are not just accidental, or periodic anomalies—how they actually stem from, originate in, the deeper structures of the system, and why it’s the system itself, the system of capitalism imperialism, that has to go, and be replaced with a completely different system, before we could really emancipate humanity.
Central to Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism is its thorough and consistent scientific method and approach. “The new synthesis represents and embodies a qualitative resolution of a critical contradiction that has existed within communism in its development up to this point, between its fundamentally scientific method and approach, and aspects of communism which have run counter to this.” [Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, January 1, 2016.]
This qualitative advance in the scientific approach to making revolution and emancipating humanity provides the foundation and point of departure for a new stage of communist revolution that is urgently needed in the world today. The scientific method and approach of the new synthesis is key to its theoretical breakthroughs which include: deepening the understanding of internationalism; developing new insights into the strategic approach to revolution, which reveal the actual possibility of making revolution, even in a country like the U.S.; and re-envisioning how to go forward in the struggle to create a radically new—and truly emancipatory—society.
Bob Avakian is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP), which he has led since its formation in 1975. He emerged as a major political figure throughout the upheavals and rebellions of the period of the ’60s: awakening to political life in the period of the emerging discontent and ferment among students in the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley; joining and then becoming a leader of the resistance and protests against the Vietnam War; becoming an early and prominent supporter of the Black Liberation struggle where he was closely associated with the Black Panther Party; then playing a critical leading role in the political and ideological struggles of the New Left Movement of the 1960s, which ultimately led to the founding of the RCP. In the decades since the 1960s BA has given decisive leadership to the theoretical as well as strategic and practical dimensions of the revolution, both in the U.S. and internationally.
As a revolutionary leader, he embodies a rare combination: someone who has been able to develop scientific theory on a world-class level, while at the same time having a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the most oppressed, and a highly developed ability to “break down” complex theory and make it broadly accessible.
The scope and content of BA’s leadership is reflected in his extensive body of work which includes more than a hundred articles, books, films and audio recordings. BA’s collected works are available at www.revcom.us/avakian/ba-important-works-en.html and through The Bob Avakian Institute, www.thebobavakianinstitute.org.
Not only has the new synthesis of communism, especially its fundamental premise that communism is a science, been a point of controversy and contention, but BA himself is a “contended question”: There are some, including defenders as well as functionaries and enforcers of the present oppressive order in the world, who hate and vilify BA fundamentally because of the revolutionary leadership that he represents and provides. But countless others, even those with political differences, have deep respect for BA and what he stands for—a radical break with a world full of oppression and unnecessary suffering—and for his lifelong dedication to advancing revolution and emancipating humanity.
Those who recognize the profound significance of the new synthesis of communism see BA as the Marx of this era: An exceptional and rare revolutionary leader whose theoretical contributions have qualitatively transformed and advanced the science of communism and have paved the way for a new wave of truly emancipating communist revolutions throughout the world.
Return to Bob Avakian (BA)—Official Biography
Go to Part 1: Formative Experiences, Critical Junctures, Decisive Leadership