by Bob Avakian, Revolutionary Leader, Author of the New Communism
April 4, 2022
Previous writings of mine, and other important works available at revcom.us, have shined a light on the ways that the parasitism of U.S. imperialism—its domination of countries throughout the Third World (Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia) and super-exploitation of masses of people in those countries, including more than 150 million children—has provided a certain standard of living, and relatively stable conditions of life, particularly for the “middle class” in this country.1
One manifestation of this is a significant growth of the Black middle class. But, at the same time, this imperialist parasitism has had very different, and definitely negative, effects on masses of basic people in this imperialist “heartland.”
As spoken to in my New Year’s Statement of last year (January 2021) and analyzed in depth in an important study by Raymond Lotta, changes in the imperialist world economy over the past several decades have been bound together with significant changes within the economic structure and employment patterns within the U.S. itself. One of the main features of this is the decline of manufacturing employment in this country. This, in turn, has been a major cause of the fact that large numbers of youth in the inner cities are effectively locked out of the formal economy. In this situation, illegal activity has become a means of survival and support for family members—with a few getting rich, at least for a time, while the outcome for many is prison or death at an early age. All this is the result of long-standing, and continuing, discrimination interacting with the dynamics and necessities of U.S. capitalism-imperialism in this highly globalized world economy.2
This situation has fed the growth of gangs and gang warfare, along with the “drug trade,” among inner city Black youth—as well as Latinos—with terrible consequences for those involved in this and for masses of people more broadly who cannot escape the consequences of it. This, in turn, has been connected with major effects of imperialist globalization in countries of the Third World, and in particular Latin America: Imperialist domination of agriculture, and the economies overall, of these countries has led to the ruin of much small-scale agriculture and the migration of masses of people from the rural areas to the slums surrounding the swelling cities. A result of this is that a majority of people in many of these countries are forced to survive through involvement in the informal economy. (As Raymond Lotta explains in his extensive study of parasitic imperialist globalization, the informal economy “refers to jobs that are highly insecure: without regular hours (or even set pay); with few if any safety and health protections; and few if any benefits, like unemployment pay or retirement support.”)
A significant aspect of this has been the marked increase of gangs and powerful cartels in a number of these countries, based to a significant degree on the “drug trade”—along with other perversely profitable illegal activity, such as the trafficking of women and girls enslaved in the so called “sex trade” involving prostitution and pornography. (This is also analyzed in depth by Raymond Lotta in another major study.3) This, in turn, has fed an “illegal economy,” involving the trafficking of drugs, but also women and girls, within the imperialist countries themselves, including the U.S.
And what has been the response of the ruling class in this country to this terrible situation, which has been brought about through the workings of the capitalist-imperialist system itself? Mass incarceration and mass murder by police! The “good old USA” has the highest rate of incarceration and the largest prison population of any country in the world—with Black people and Latinos making up the largest numbers of those incarcerated and otherwise ensnared in the so-called “legal system.” And murder of Black people, as well as Latinos, by police is a regular feature of this country: It is a fact that the number of Black people who have been killed by police in the years since 1960 is greater than the thousands of Black people who were lynched during the period of Jim Crow segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror, before the 1960s.
All this, once more, is the result of the fundamental nature and ongoing necessity of this capitalist-imperialist system and the particular expressions this has taken with its greatly heightened globalization, and parasitism, over the last number of decades. None of this can be “reformed away”—it must be swept away, by sweeping away this system itself, through revolution.
The Revolutionary Way Forward Out of All This
The force of this system’s basic oppressive relations and viciously repressive forces of “law and order,” as well as the powerful pull of its putrid culture, has powerfully impacted those who most fundamentally and desperately need this revolution. This takes particularly acute and harmful expression among large numbers of youth in the inner cities. A big part of this is the way that this system—its basic functioning and its institutions of power and public opinion—act to mold the thinking of people to believe that there is no real, or positive, alternative to this system—and that any attempt at revolution is bound to be defeated and those taking part in this mercilessly crushed—so you might as well go for what you can get within this system, before you are taken out.
But it is also true that the dehumanizing, degrading and literally murderous treatment to which this system continually subjects these youth, and others oppressed by this system, gives rise to a real, if often suffocated, longing to be free of all this, to find a way to something better.
As I have emphasized in “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating”: Overcoming defeatism, inspiring growing numbers of bitterly oppressed people to dare to dedicate themselves to bringing about the revolution that is urgently needed, can only be achieved “through a powerful combination of fierce ideological struggle among the people, to win growing numbers to a scientific understanding of the situation we face and the actual solution to this, together with determined resistance against this oppressive system—all of which must be led to contribute to building up the forces and creating the political alignment necessary for revolution.”4 It is this revolution that is the hope of the hopeless—indeed hope for humanity as a whole—on a scientific foundation: the scientific method and approach of the new communism.
A Serious, Scientific Approach to Revolution
As I wrote in the conclusion of “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating”:
Everything depends on bringing forward a revolutionary people, from among the most bitterly oppressed, and all parts of society, first in the thousands and then in the millions, as a powerful revolutionary force, organized from the start and consistently with a country‑wide perspective, impacting all of society and changing the terms of how masses of people see things and how every institution has to respond. Everything must be focused now on actually bringing forward and organizing this revolutionary force.
And then, once this revolutionary force is brought into being, everything would be focused on how to actually fight to win.
At that point, this force of millions would need to be mobilized and wielded in such a way as to make clear that it is going for a complete, revolutionary change—that it will not back down from this goal and accept anything less. In this way, it would constitute a powerful pole attracting and drawing forward even broader numbers of people from all parts of society—and it would pose a definite challenge and call to people everywhere in society, including in all the existing institutions of this system, to come over to the side of this revolution.5
Here, in this conclusion of “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating,” it speaks to the basic doctrine and strategic orientation for the revolutionary forces to fight to win, once there is a basis for this revolution to succeed. This basic doctrine and strategic orientation
sets the basic groundwork for how, when the necessary conditions have been brought into being, a revolutionary force, mobilizing masses of people, could actually approach the overthrow of this system in such a way as to effectively neutralize and eventually overcome what would almost certainly be, at the outset, the overwhelming power of the armed forces seeking to defeat and pulverize this attempt at the revolutionary seizure of power. It speaks to how, when the revolutionary situation has been ripened, revolutionary fighting forces, with the backbone drawn especially from youth who have been won hardcore to this revolution, could be organized and trained, and provided with the means to engage and defeat forces of counter‑revolution in encounters, beginning on a small scale, which would be favorable for the revolutionary forces—and how, on that basis and through the course of doing that, they could grow in strength and win over growing numbers among those who had been part of the counter‑revolutionary forces, and then finally defeat the remaining forces of counter‑revolution.6
And this point is also emphasized:
A serious fight for revolution in this country—this country—would have the effect of a powerful political earthquake, sending seismic shockwaves throughout the world. It is true that one reaction to this would be that oppressive governments and forces throughout the world would see this as a serious threat to their position and objectives, and there is a real possibility that there could be moves by some of these forces to aid, or join in, attempts to crush such a revolution. At the same time, such a revolution would shake awake and provide a powerful positive shock to literally billions of people everywhere, shattering the sense that no alternative to this terrible world is possible.7
The basic truth and simple conclusion is this:
Everyone who can’t stand this world the way it is … who is sick and tired of so many people being treated as less than human … who knows that the claim of “liberty and justice for all” is a cruel lie … who is righteously enraged that injustice and inequality go on, and on, and on, despite false promises and honeyed words from people in power (or those seeking power) … everyone who agonizes about where things are headed and the fact that to be young now means being denied a decent future, or any future at all … everyone who has ever dreamed about something much better, or even wondered whether that is possible … everyone who hungers for a world without oppression, exploitation, poverty, and destruction of the environment … everyone who has the heart to fight for something that is really worth fighting for: You need to be part of this revolution.8
1. See, for example, the article by Bob Avakian “Imperialist Parasitism and ‘Democracy’: Why So Many Liberals and Progressives Are Shameless Supporters of ‘Their’ Imperialism.” [back]
2. Bob Avakian, A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World —For The Emancipation Of All Humanity; and Raymond Lotta, “Imperialist Parasitism and Class‑Social Recomposition in the U.S. From the 1970s to Today: An Exploration of Trends and Changes.”These works are also available at revcom.us. [back]
3. “The ‘Industrialization’ of Sexual Exploitation, Imperialist Globalization, and the Descent Into Hell.” This paper by Raymond Lotta is available as well at revcom.us. [back]
4. Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions, The Looming Possibility Of Civil War—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed, A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap For This Revolution. This major work by Bob Avakian is also available at TheBobAvakianInstitute.org and at revcom.us. [back]
5. This quote is from Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating. [back]
6. This quote is from Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating. [back]
7. This quote is from Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating. [back]
8. From The Revcoms: A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution; this is also included at the beginning of Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating. [back]