Comments from Readers on Articles by Bob Avakian
Revolution #041, April 2, 2006, posted at revcom.us
Revolution received the following comments from readers about articles by Bob Avakian:
From: Quorri Isra, Masters student in Seattle
Comments Re: "A Leap of Faith" and a Leap to Rational Knowledge: Two Very Different Kinds of Leaps, Two Radically Different Worldviews and Methods (see http://www.revcom.us/a/010/avakian-leap-faith-leap-rationale.htm)
I love this article because it relates to my life very well. About ten years ago I was experiencing Sleep Paralysis, many people do. However, I was not aware of this, rationally. I only knew that I was waking up fully aware of reality and yet not able to control my body at all or move in any way. After a while of this condition persisting, I finally woke up one night and experienced a vivid perception that an "evil" entity was in my room with me, that the entity then began moving toward me and, finally, that it sat on my chest and tried to take my breath away. This experience was, no doubt, extremely frightening. Unfortunately, I, very early the next morning, encountered my friend's uber religious parents and told them of what happened. In my state, when they told me I was attacked by a "demon," I believed them. I jumped and "leaped" at the first explanation that came my way. I had previously been unconvinced of God's existence. I was saved and led a devoted Christian life for at least a year. Finally, one day, after already having conflictions with Christianity and the Bible, which I actually read, over gays and women and all sorts of things, I ran across a medical article about the condition of Sleep Paralysis and the rare but documented final stage of hallucination. All people who had reached this stage of Sleep Paralysis had experienced the same or entirely similar hallucination I did and scientists were explaining to me in this article why. The chemicals involved and whatnot. Finally, I made the leap from perceptual to rational knowledge. Now I support the party and I love all your writings. Bob, you keep me sane :o) What would we do without leaders like we have?
From: A former member of the Oakland City Council
Comments on the article: “Reform or Revolution, Questions of Orientation, Questions of Morality” (see http://rwor.org/a/032/avakian-reform-or-revolution.htm)
In the second to the last paragraph, Bob uses the term a “radical change” as a synonym for revolution. I like that term better. Revolution carries conceptions of events that are not about what I would consider to be truly “radical change.” For example, the American Revolution was about overthrowing the monarchy of the King of England and replacing it with the oligarchy of landed-gentry. That is called revolution but it is — in my opinion — not radical change. For most of the people of the US — most particularly the slaves and the Native Americans — there was no change. Some of the slaves and Native Americans were told by the “revolutionaries” that things would be better for them if they helped the “revolution.”
I point out this last bit to present what — I think — is a true measure of radical change. Radical change is embodied in the way that we relate to each other one-on-one. If you are not relating to me — for example — in a non-commercial, non-materialistic, non-hierarchical way, then how am I going to be able to believe that you are about radical change? If you call for me to storm the barricades with you in order to get the antibiotic to cure the plague and you have not demonstrated that you truly care about what happens to me and mine, I have to question whether you are truly about radical change or just about revolution in the sense of the American Revolution.
So the placing of the towels on the foreheads of the plague victims is more than a pathetic act. It is a small demonstration of connection and caring; and it is necessary to build the trust that is necessary for true communications and the opportunity for joining. It is a demonstration of radical change — in relationship — at the place where it can be perceived and realized what that is truly about.
This is an aspect of what I have in mind when I say that the vision must be presented and present about where we are truly going. The way ahead should not just be about fear or “how can I get mine?” Radical change — if it does not happen NOW with how those of us who want it relate to one another, it will not happen. No matter how many storage facilities with antibiotics we break into or George Bushes we bring down, radical change will not happen. This is a struggle for hearts and minds; it is not SIMPLY a struggle for things that can be stored up in a chamber somewhere.
Truth be told, the greatest medical advancement in human history has been habits of sanitation. This has meant more to the advancement of human health than all the antibiotics and CAT scanners by far. Bob is right in stating that it is wrong and harmful to be resigned that placing a towel on the forehead “is all that can be done.” But also let us not fall into the trap of believing that the only true solution is assuming the same “instruments of power” that the current oppressors wield and believing that “we” can wield them better. In using Bob's example of the plague, the people could be just as successful by understanding and adopting habits of hygiene. Gandhi — in a sense — overthrew British rule by showing people how to weave their own clothes and collect salt from the ocean rather than buy British goods. By focusing on the antibiotics, we give the oppressor power over us. By focusing on a deeper understanding of the illness, we not only over come the plague but get a leg up on other diseases as well and “dethrone” those who had brought “a big stash of antibiotics” back in time with them. The people would have taken a great leap forward in radical change. It would be more difficult for anyone to oppress them again because they would have learned to recognize and hold the power that they have in themselves without giving it to anyone else.
From: An unemployed 58 year old programmer/analyst
Re: Comments Re: Newfound Criticism (see http://rwor.org/a/026/avakian-newfound-criticism.htm)
An immoral and unjust act should be opposed because it is immoral and unjust. To criticize it only for failing to succeed is the stance of a scoundrel, and worse.
That's absolutely correct. I agree with most of your philosophy, but your arguments against religion and God are counter productive. You are alienating any ally. Jimmy Carter stated "war is never good" before the war started as a warning. Religious leaders around the world condemned the actions of the US government before the war started. Greed, which is the capitalistic virtue that makes the world go round, is considered a vice (sin) in Christian thinking. How hard is it for a rich man to enter the gates of heaven? His chances are practically non-existent, according to the new testament. The problem is the rich (mostly corporate) powers in the U.S. and elsewhere have hijacked the government and deluded both themselves and a good portion of the populace into believing that they speak for God. That the accumulation of great riches is "Good." "You have to be competitive" "It's only right (God's will) that I'm rich". If an action, including war or the spreading of fear to justify the war makes money, then the action is good. It becomes "God's will". In reality, follow the money and you'll see the filth and lies and misery it has created. The aggressor in a war is at fault. "He made me do it" is the rational of a 5 year old, about to get a spanking. Both the democratic and republican parties make me want to vomit.