From Bob Avakian—Revolutionary Leader,
Author of the New Communism
Many people have seen the very important statement from the revcoms, A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution, which is available at revcom.us, and is being posted and passed out to people in neighborhoods and other places around the country, as a key part of spreading the word about this revolution and organizing people into this revolution. Many more people need to get, and get deeply into, this “Declaration and Call.” Here, I am going to speak to some big questions related to this.
FIRST, SOME BASIC TRUTHS
1. We live under a system—the system of capitalism-imperialism (capitalism is an economic and political system of exploitation and oppression, and imperialism refers to the worldwide nature of this system).
This system causes tremendous suffering for people, all over the world, and it poses a growing threat to the very existence of humanity.
This is a system dominated by capitalist corporations, banks and other financial institutions controlling vast sums of money, all of which is based on exploiting people—masses of people here, and billions of people throughout the world, including huge numbers of children.
These capitalists are locked in cutthroat competition with each other, and this drives them to penetrate every part of the world, especially the poorer countries, in order to exploit people even more viciously, while leaving many people without a way to work at all, within the regular (“formal”) economy.
This system has white supremacy and male supremacy built into it.
This system continually causes situations where life becomes extremely desperate and often very dangerous for growing numbers of people in their home countries—forcing them to uproot themselves and migrate across countries and continents—and then treats them as criminals when they seek asylum, or relief from unbearable conditions.
This system leads to wars—wars to conquer nations and people, wars for control of key parts of the world, and potentially even wars between nuclear-armed capitalist-imperialist countries, fighting to determine which will be the most powerful oppressor in the world (if anything is left of this world after such a war).
This system is rapidly destroying the global environment.
All this is reality, and no one can escape this reality. Either we radically change it, in a positive way, or everything will be changed in a very negative way.
2. This system cannot be reformed to be a “better” system—it must be overthrown.
The system of capitalism could not exist without exploiting masses of people, and making life miserable for the great majority of humanity, at the same time as it increasingly poses a threat to the future of humanity. (I have analyzed the basic reasons why this is so in the article Commodities & Capitalism—And The Terrible Consequences Of This System, which can be found at revcom.us.)
The system of political rule—the “democracy”—that has existed in this country is, and always has been, democracy on the terms of this system and those who rule it. This capitalist “democracy” is a cover, and a means, for what really rules in this country—the dictatorship of the capitalist class—its domination of political power and official (supposedly “legitimate”) force and violence, as when the police repeatedly murder especially Black, Brown, and Native American people.
The capitalists control the system of elections, and every other dominant institution, in this country. Voting under this system, for either Democrats or Republicans, is voting for ruling class parties—representatives of this system of capitalism-imperialism—who are determined to keep this system going, despite the terrible cost to the masses of humanity, and even with the very real threat this poses to the existence of humanity.
No matter what promises these politicians make—and no matter what schemes people try to come up with to make things more “just” or “equal” under this system—none of this can change the basic nature of this system and the way it has to operate because of its very nature.
The relations of exploitation and oppression that are built into this system are enforced through its institutions of official power and violence—the Congress and the presidency, the courts, and especially the police and the military.
Only a revolution—a real revolution, to ultimately defeat and dismantle these institutions of official violence and power, and bring into being a radically different economic and political system, with the goal of eliminating exploitation and oppression—only this revolution can deal with all this in a way that is truly in the interests of the masses of people and all of humanity.
(In the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which I have authored, there is a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for this radically different and better society—an actual plan for what to do after the seizure of power and for how to reorganize society on a completely different, emancipating foundation.)
WHY THIS IS ONE OF THOSE RARE TIMES
WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE,
EVEN IN A POWERFUL COUNTRY LIKE THIS
1. A revolution becomes possible, even in a powerful country like this, when three main factors have been brought into being:
A crisis in society and government so deep and so disruptive of the “usual way of things,” that those who have ruled over us, for so long, can no longer do so in the “normal” way that people have been conditioned to accept.
A revolutionary people in the millions and millions, with their “allegiance” to this system broken, and their determination to fight for a more just society greater than their fear of the violent repression of this system.
An organized revolutionary force—made up of continually growing numbers of people, from among the most oppressed but also from many other parts of society—a force which is grounded in, and is working systematically to apply, the most scientific approach to building for and then carrying out revolution, and which is increasingly looked to by masses of people to lead them to bring about the radical change that is urgently needed.
2. These factors for revolution obviously do not exist right now, but this is one of the rare times when these factors for revolution could be brought into being.
A basic reason why this is true is that there are now very great divisions within the ruling class of the country, and in the country as a whole—and, more than that:
These divisions among the ruling powers, and in the larger society, cannot be resolved within the framework that has existed, and has held things together, for nearly 150 years, since shortly after the end of the Civil War which led to the abolition of slavery—they cannot be resolved on the basis of the capitalist “democracy” that has been the “normal” means of capitalist rule (dictatorship) for so long.
Something radically different is going to replace the framework that has existed for all this time—and as the “Declaration and Call” sharply points out:
the crisis and deep divisions in society now can only be resolved through radical means, of one kind or another—either radically reactionary, murderously oppressive and destructive means or radically emancipating revolutionary means.
3. Here are basic reasons why things have gotten to this point.
Even though “democracy, with liberty and justice for all” is a cruel lie, this lie has been crucial for the rulers of this country to keep things together under this system—and especially to keep people who are oppressed under this system believing in the possibility of making this system more just. This is why both ruling class parties generally agreed, for a long time, to work within the same framework for ruling this country—they agreed to accept the results of elections and bring about “the peaceful transfer of power” between the different representatives of this same system, whether Democrat or Republican.
With changing conditions in this country, and in the world as a whole, over the time since the end of World War 2 (75 years ago), it has been necessary for the ruling class, in order to maintain “order and stability” in this country, to make certain concessions to the struggle against white supremacy, male supremacy, and some other oppressive relations, while at the same time insisting that this is all part of “creating a more perfect union” and “further perfecting the great democracy that has always existed in this country.” This has also been necessary in order for the rulers of this country to continue promoting it as “the leader of the free world,” which they say must remain the dominant power in the world—but which, in reality, is the most oppressive and destructive power, plundering masses of people as well as the earth.
But a section of the ruling capitalist class, represented by the Republican Party, has all along resisted even these partial concessions to the fight against oppression, and has become convinced that these changes have now gone too far, that they threaten to destroy what has held this country together and enabled it to dominate the world.
The Republicans have become a fascist party—a party based on open and aggressive white supremacy, male supremacy, and other oppressive relations—a party convinced that only it deserves to rule, moving to manipulate elections and suppress votes in order to gain and hold onto power, refusing to accept the outcome of elections it does not win, determined to gut and pervert “the rule of law,” trample on people’s rights, and adopt what amounts to an undisguised capitalist dictatorship, ready to use violence not only against masses of people but also against its rivals in the ruling class.
These Republicans have mobilized a significant section of people who believe, with an intense, irrational passion, that white supremacy, male supremacy, and other oppressive relations (as well as unrestrained plunder of the environment) must be firmly upheld and enforced. They have been driven to a state of vicious insanity, embracing all kinds of lunatic conspiracy theories, along with a crazed Christian fundamentalism, as a response to the threat they see to their entitled (or “god-ordained”) position and their insistence that further concessions to the struggle against oppression will destroy what has “made America great.”
These divisions have already become deeply rooted in the major institutions of this country, including the military, and they will increasingly become sharper and burst out into the open, as things continue to sharpen up in society overall and within the ruling class.
These deep divisions, this intensifying conflict, cannot be overcome—all this cannot be “put back together”—on the terms, and in the way, that the country has, up to now, been held together under the rule of a more or less unified capitalist class.
4. The Republicans have certain significant advantages over the Democrats in this conflict.
The Democrats are committed to “playing by the rules” and “relying on the norms” of “democratic” capitalist dictatorship, while the Republicans are moving to tear up those norms and rule through an open, undisguised capitalist dictatorship.
The peculiar nature of this country—with its history of genocide, slavery, and continuing white supremacy, and repeated “compromises” that have given disproportionate power (power greater than what is represented by their populations) to southern states of the former Confederacy, and other states with significant rural populations of “conservative-leaning” people—this is another advantage that the fascist Republicans have.
If this battle remains on the terms of this system, not only will there be horrific consequences overall, but this could very likely lead to a triumph for the Republican fascists, which would accentuate and accelerate the looming disaster, for humanity as a whole.
But things do not have to—and must not—remain on the terms of this system.
WHAT MUST BE DONE TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE REVOLUTION
1. As pointed out in A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution, we have seen the potential for this revolution in the massive uprisings of people, in this country and in countries around the world, against institutionalized racism and police terror, and in the outpouring in many countries against the oppression and degradation of women.
But this potential for revolution must be transformed into the reality of an actual revolution, by carrying out the necessary work and struggle to make masses of people aware of the urgent need for, and the real possibility for, revolution—and to organize them as a conscious and determined force for this revolution.
2. In order to seize on the rare opportunity to make revolution, the situation we face must be recognized for what it actually is: People need to raise their heads and broaden their sights, look beyond what is immediately around them, break with illusions and phony “solutions,” and take up the scientific method of the new communism to get a basic understanding, and keep on deepening the understanding, of what is actually going on, what are the very heavy stakes in all this, and what are not only the very negative but also the very positive possibilities for radical change that exist within all this.
In particular, this means getting together with the revcoms—and growing numbers of people who are drawn to what this revolution is all about—to seriously get into A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution and get with the revolution it is calling for.
3. This rare situation, with the deepening and sharpening conflicts among the ruling powers, and in the society overall, provides a stronger basis and greater openings to break the hold of this system over masses of people.
It is extremely important to deeply understand this:
As this situation develops, and the ruling class is more and more unable to rule in the old way, society and daily life for masses of people, from different parts of society, can become increasingly unsettled and chaotic, with frequent “disruptions” of the “normal” way things have been.
And as “the normal way” society has been ruled is failing to hold things together—and society is increasingly being ripped apart—this can shake people’s belief that “the way things have always been” is the only way things can be. It can make people more open to questioning—in a real sense it can force people to question—the way things have been, and whether they have to stay that way. And this is all the more likely to happen if the revolutionary forces are out among the people shining a light on the deeper reality of what is happening, and why, and bringing out that there IS an alternative to living this way.
The “Declaration and Call” makes the very important point that the divisions and conflicts among the ruling powers (and in society as a whole) have
ripped big holes in the camouflage of this system, further exposing its real nature and the lie that this is “the greatest country in the world,” the “shining light of freedom” and “leader of the free world.”
It is the responsibility of everyone who recognizes the profound need for revolution—and the rare possibility in a time like this to actually make revolution—to wage a tireless, and at times fierce, struggle to win more and more people to make a radical rupture with the confining and degrading terms of this system, and to take up, and act on, the revolutionary orientation and motivation that is put forward in the “Declaration and Call.”
Instead of “staying in your lane,” and “going for self,” while this system is moving to even more decisively crush any hope for a world worth living in, people need to be looking at the bigger picture, focusing on the greater interests of humanity and the possibility for a far better world—and acting to make this a reality.
Instead of finding excuses to go along with the way things have been, standing apart from (or even bad-mouthing) the revolution, people need to get with this revolution, and not throw away the rare opportunity to be part of bringing something much better into being.
Instead of lashing out with individual acts of frustration, or attempts to take on this system with small, isolated forces that have no chance of succeeding, people need to pour their anger, and their hatred for injustice, into building a movement of millions that could have a real chance to defeat this system and make a real revolution.
Instead of fighting and killing each other, what people need to be doing now is uniting to defend each other—opposing all unjust violence, not launching attacks on anyone but at the same time not allowing the police or “civilian” fascist thugs to wantonly brutalize and murder people. And people need to do this as part of building up the forces for revolution.
Instead of snarking and sniping at each other, and being divided by “identities,” people should be working to unite everyone, from every part of society, who can be united in the fight against oppression and injustice, with the goal of putting an end to this system that is the source of this oppression and injustice.
Instead of being a tail on the Democratic donkey—with its attempt to keep this monstrous system going, and to deal with the growing fascist danger, by relying on the “normal procedures” of this system and doomed efforts to “heal the divisions” that are deepening every day—people need to work for the revolution that is urgently needed, and deal with the fascist danger as part of doing that.
Here is another very important point from the “Declaration and Call”:
These days there is a lot of talk about another civil war, especially from fascists, in government and the broader society, who think they could just carry out a one-sided slaughter of those they hate, including Black people and other people of color, “illegal immigrants,” “uppity women” and those who don’t conform to “traditional” sexual and gender relations and “norms.” This situation needs to be radically changed, to where there are masses of people prepared to defeat these fascists and to do so as part of getting rid of this whole system, which has bred these fascists, along with all the other horrors it continually perpetrates.
What we need is “repolarization for revolution”—making real revolution an active and increasingly powerful force of first thousands, and then millions, of people organized to work for and win more and more people to this revolution—radically changing the “terrain” on which the revolution will be fought.
4. Acting on the scientific basis, and the scientifically-grounded strategic approach for revolution, which has been developed with the new communism, we need to work tirelessly to build up the organized forces for, create the best possible conditions for, and then carry out the revolution that is so urgently needed.
As emphasized in A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution:
Organizing people into this revolution means reaching out to all sorts of people—not just where there are protests and rebellions against oppression and injustice, but everywhere throughout society—spreading the word about revolution and getting people together (in real life and online) to grapple with why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for. This will enable people who are new to the revolution to themselves become organizers for this revolution and to recruit more and more people to do the same.
On this basis, and through the growing ranks of the revolution acting together as an increasingly powerful force, it will be possible to attract and organize the necessary numbers, and build up the necessary strength, to be in the position to do what needs to be done.
As the revolutionary forces grow in numbers and organized strength, fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution, they will be able to attract even greater numbers to their ranks and increasingly influence the society as a whole, winning over more people from different parts of society and changing, in a more positive way, the terms on which things in society are understood and struggled over. This will provide even more favorable grounds for exposing the real nature of this system and what is really involved with the divisions within the ruling class, and making clear that the interests of the masses of oppressed and justice-loving people everywhere are in direct and fundamental opposition to this whole system.
The revolutionary forces, through the impact of their growing strength, can create a situation where it becomes increasingly difficult for the ruling powers, deeply divided as they are, to rely on their institutions of organized violence to act in a unified way to put down the righteous rising of the people, and where every move they make to crush this rising leads to further outrage among the people, with more joining the ranks of the revolution, and the ruling institutions themselves further torn by internal divisions. The strength of this revolution, especially as it grows from thousands to millions, can exert increasing influence so that, within key institutions of the organized power and violence of this system, more and more of their ranks—many of whom are drawn from among the most oppressed in society—are won to identify with, and refuse to be part of unjustly attacking and suppressing, the masses of people who are fighting to put an end to injustice and oppression.
5. All this will create the most favorable conditions to carry out the strategic approach that has been developed for fighting to win an actual revolution—the all-out struggle for power in society as a whole. (This strategic approach is put forward in the statement On The Possibility Of Revolution, and is further elaborated in my speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, as well as the article A Real Revolution—A Real Chance To Win, Further Developing the Strategy for Revolution—all of which are available at revcom.us.)
There is the basis to seize on the rare possibility to make revolution, even in a powerful country like this—there can be a real chance to win—IF, among growing numbers of people who cannot stand to live any longer under this people-killing, spirit-suffocating system, there is the scientifically-grounded understanding, determination and daring to make this a reality.