August 16, 2021
From Bob Avakian:
On COVID, The Importance Of Getting People Vaccinated, And The Very Real Problem Regarding Rampant Individualism
The following are helpful in getting a deeper sense of the basic content, and the method and principles, involved in the article On COVID, The Importance Of Getting People Vaccinated, And The Very Real Problem Regarding Rampant Individualism. All are available at revcom.us.
First, the following:
On the basis of a constitution, laws embody and involve both protection and coercion, in regard to members of society and their rights. As I spoke to earlier, in socialist society for example, you can’t go and decide that somebody has something that you want and it’s unfair for them to have it, so you’re just going to arbitrarily take it. There are laws which will prevent that….
So, we have to understand this once again as materialists: As long as you have laws, and as long as you have a constitution setting rules, this is going to involve both the protection of rights and the protection of people in society and, at the same time, coercion in regard to individuals and generally the members of society. This, once again, flows from a materialist understanding—it reflects where we are and where we have not yet gotten. Even when we have made the leap to socialism, it reflects where we are and where we have not yet gotten in terms of the social relations and in fundamental terms the production relations, but also the role of the superstructure in such a socialist society.
The above excerpt is from Constitution, Law, and Rights—in capitalist society and in the future socialist society, Selections from the writings of Bob Avakian including excerpts from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). It is originally from Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, Part 1). Note also the following from the (same Part 1 of) “Birds and Crocodiles”:
Here we see once more the profound importance of the understanding that freedom does not lie in the absence of necessity and constraint—nor of coercion of one kind or another. Nature coerces us all the time, in case anybody hasn’t noticed. But even social coercion is not something that we’re going to move entirely beyond: the essential question is whether or not that takes place in the form of social antagonism rooted in fundamental relations of exploitation and oppression. But, to put it in general terms, necessity will always confront human beings; there will always be both constraint from nature in the larger sense and social constraint on individuals and on members of society collectively, and there will always be struggle over how to deal with those contradictions. Freedom will always lie not in the evasion or the absolute absence of these things, and of necessity as a general phenomenon but, once again, in the transformation of necessity into freedom through struggle.
And this, from the article Bob Avakian On The Law, Justice, And Ending Oppression And Exploitation, is also very relevant.
The criminal legal process is not—or should not be—a contest between individuals but a confrontation between the state and people whom the state seeks to deprive of freedom on the basis that they have violated societal norms that are embodied in criminal statutes. The whole point of a legal system is, or should be, to remove disputes or perceived wrongs from the sphere of individual grievance—and the corresponding attempts to settle such grievance through individual acts of revenge or reciprocal wrongdoing—by providing a framework in which society, through established institutions and statutes, which are to be applied and work equally in regard to all, can adjudicate such disputes or claims of wrongdoing. (Emphasis—italics—in the original)
For further reading: The Supplementary Excerpts from Bob Avakian, and Further Supplementary Excerpts, which accompany the articles Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds,” and I’m So Sick of this Whole “Identity Politics” and “Woke” Thing, REVOLUTION AND EMANCIPATION—NOT PETTY REFORM AND REVENGE: On Movements, Principles, Methods, Means and Ends—and in particular the excerpts from Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis on individualism—are very relevant and important.