On Bob Avakian’s New Works...
AN EXTRAORDINARY VISION AND SYNTHESIS—AND A CHALLENGE TO EVERY RADICAL, REVOLUTIONARY, AND COMMUNIST
This week we inaugurate a new series from Bob Avakian: The Basis, the Goals, and the Methods of the Communist Revolution. As we do so, let’s step back for a minute and realize what we have here. Something historic is going on, right now, in the development of Marxism. The series of works by Bob Avakian that we have been printing since the first of the year—drawn from a talk given in 2005—take on decisive questions, on a level not seen before, and at a moment when the revolutionary forces confront huge challenges. 1
These works have a definite polemical element, directing intellectual fire against trends that would suffocate the communist movement, and this should not be lost. But in the tradition of the great polemics of the communist movement—like Anti-Duhring, by Engels, or Lenin’s still-classic What Is To Be Done?—Bob Avakian not only defends the foundation of Marxism; he breaks new ground. He addresses fundamental questions of philosophy and world outlook, on the vision of communism, and (especially) on both the continued need for proletarian revolution and proletarian state power and a much more developed—in many respects a qualitatively different—conception of what that power must be, if it is to actually advance humanity to a classless society. In short, the works that have come out of Bob Avakian’s 2005 talk build on and extend his previous work 2 to advance the science of revolution itself in qualitative ways, to a higher synthesis. They possess a sweep that is breathtaking and a newness that is both challenging and mind-opening; taken as a whole, they call to mind nothing so much as the title of the series just finished which, while it mainly relates to the whole rupture inaugurated by Marx, applies as well to the new contributions by Chairman Avakian: “a radically new kind of state, a radically different and far greater vision of freedom.”
This material is science, and much of it is new. You have to struggle with it, you have to grapple with it and you have to think—deeply and from different angles—about it. It takes work to understand—indeed, the hard work required to understand and transform reality is a major theme of Views On Socialism and Communism. One reading is only the beginning. But anyone who wants fundamental change badly enough to be scientific about it will want to return to the talk again and again, and will find it essential to even begin to correctly identify, let alone face and overcome, the true challenges of the moment. Conversely—if you’re not engaging with this, you won’t be able to rise to the demands and responsibilities that we face. There is really nothing else like this.
People face many pressing tasks in waging the class struggle. That is as it should be. There is real revolutionary potential to be wrenched out of the upheaval and swirling turbulence of these times—and there is a real danger of squandering very rare opportunities. But that struggle and work will ultimately amount to very little if it is not guided by the most advanced theory of our time. There is nothing more pressing—and nothing more exhilarating!—than getting into this new material being brought forward by Bob Avakian. No revolutionary worthy of the name can fail to engage this; anyone who is truly radical will want and demand to do so. Study it, think about it, talk to your comrades and friends and people you know about it, live with it, apply it to the world we face, write us with both your initial comments and your well thought out responses... and take it out to transform reality, toward human emancipation.
1. The excerpts from the 2005 talk have included the series Views on Socialism and Communism: A Radically New Kind of State, A Radically Different and Far Greater Vision of Freedom (Revolution #37, #39, #40, #41, #42, and #43); the individual excerpts “More on 'The Coming Civil War'” (#29), “Polarization...Repolarization...and Revolution” (#30), “The Christian Fascists and the U.S. Military” (#31), and “Reform or Revolution: Questions of Orientation, Questions of Morality” (#32); and now the new series starting this issue, The Basis, the Goals, and the Methods of Communist Revolution. Find these online here.Back to article
2. See, for example, Bob Avakian: Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy (Chicago: Insight Press, 2005)Back to article
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