Revolution #93, June 24, 2007

Dangerous times demand courageous voices.
Bob Avakian is such a voice.

Bob Avakian combines an unsparing critique of the history and current direction of American society with a sweeping view of world history and the potential for humanity. He has brought forth a fresh, relevant and compelling approach to Marxism, deeply analyzing the history of the Communist movement and the socialist revolutions and upholds their achievements. At the same time, he honestly confronts and criticizes what he views as their shortcomings, opening up new paths of inquiry in the process and initiating dialogue with people who hold a wide range of views. He’s addressing the burning problems before society from a unique vantage point, and we consider his revolutionary analysis and solutions to be an important and necessary part of the ferment and discourse required in this society and the world in this dark time. While those of us signing this statement do not necessarily agree with all of his views, we have come away from encounters with Avakian provoked and enriched in our own thinking, and we invite others to hear and engage that voice.

Bob Avakian is also the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA; as such he not only theorizes about the world, but plays a special role in organizing and leading that change. He’s been called a “long-distance runner in the freedom struggle against imperialism, racism and capitalism” and he draws on deep connections and engagement with people from all walks of life and all corners of the earth. All this informs and animates his work.

Unfortunately, such voices in this country are, and have been, all too frequently the objects of suppression and repression. This repressive edge in American society has been particularly brought to bear against those who advocate revolution and especially those who do so effectively. Surveillance, harassment, suppression, political trials, prison terms, exile and even assassination have been the fates of many revolutionaries throughout U.S. history and many of those measures have, in fact, been visited upon Avakian. The current administration has instituted serious repressive measures like the Patriot Act, instituted the use of preventive detention and isolation of those whom the president deems to be “terrorist,” and has created a climate where, for example, radical or even liberal professors find their reputations and even their livelihoods under assault; all this makes the ability of Bob Avakian to freely function even more of a concern. The statement by the German pastor Martin Niemoller – which begins, “First they came for the communists, and I did nothing because I was not a communist” and which goes on to describe how Niemoller did nothing while Hitler peeled away the victims of the Nazi regime one at a time, until there was no one left to defend Niemoller when his time came – sounds with particular resonance today.

Thus, in addition to calling on people to engage with the thoughts of Bob Avakian, and bring them into what needs to be a rich and diverse dialogue, we are also serving notice to this government that we intend to defend his right to freely advocate and organize for his views, and to engage broadly with people about those views.

Initial list of signatories: Charles Aikens, journalist, Oaktown News,*  /  Jaafar Aksikas, Prof., Cultural Studies, Columbia College*,  /  Aladdin, actor, comedian  /  Bob Anderson, Prof., College of New Mexico*  /  Rafael C. Angulo, Assoc. Clinical Field Faculty, USC*  /  Bernardo Attias, Prof., CA State Univ., Northridge*  /  Fr. Luis Barrios, John Jay College*  /  David Best, artist  /  Robert Bloom, attorney  /  Herb Boyd, author, journalist  /  Anne Bray, artist  /  Michael E. Brown, Prof. of Sociology, Northeastern Univ.*  /  Leroy Bryant, Sr., Prof. and Chmn. Emeritus, History, Philosophy, Political Science, African-American Studies, Chicago State Univ.*  /  Kevin Burgess, Black Vietnam Vet  /  Rev. Richard Meri Ka Ra Byrd, KRST Ctr. of African Spirituality*  /  Angelica Carapia, Editor, Laney Tower*  /  Robert Keith Collins, PhD, Homalusa: Ctr. for African and Native American Research*  /  Jeff Cooper, Dir., Freshman & Transfer Summer Progs., UCLA*  /  Chuck D  /  Jesse Diaz, Jr., UC Riverside*  /  Victor Diaz, Principal, B-Tech*  /  Dr. Roger Dittman, Pres., Scientists Without Borders  /  Lynn Domingo, human rights activist  /  Derek Dorsey, music publisher, co-owner, The Fire*  /  Judy Drummond, teacher  /  Richard Duardo, artist  /  Ramona Dvorak, MD, Harvard Medical School*  /  Quentin Easter, theater producer  /  Rev. Jon Eckels, poet, human rights activist  /  Dick Eiden, Dir., North County Forum*  /  Amon Emeka, Assist. Prof. of Sociology, USC*  /  Sonny Espinoza, Prof., Loyola Marymount Univ.*  /  Jeffrey Felshman, writer  /  Leslie Fields-Cruz, media arts administrator  /  Joe Fortunato, attorney and NJ Green Party*  /  reg e. gaines, director  /  Jim Geraghty, Marin Peace and Justice Coalition*  /  Joan P. Gibbs, Natl. Conf. of Black Lawyers*, Jericho Movement*  /  Lois Gish, nurse-midwife  /  Bill Goodman, civil rights lawyer  /  Connie Grappo, theater director  /  Tom Harker, singer, songwriter  /  Lilith Hazard, student  /  Bob Helmick, retired contractor  /  Julia Butterfly Hill, activist, author  /  Jack Hirschman, SF Poet Laureate  /  Danny Hoch, actor, playwright  /  Rachel Holmes, author  /  Phil Hutchings, civil & human rights activist  /  John Hutnyk, Academic Dir., Ctr. for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths Univ. of London*  /  H. Range Hutson, MD, Harvard Medical School*  /  Dr. Tony Jackson, psychologist, artist  /  Bill Jennings, It’s About Time Committee*  /  Russ Jennings, radio producer  /  Talbert Jennings, producer, Carl Stokes Forum*, Community TV  /  Steve Johnson, activist, thinker, writer  /  Larry S. Jones, retired adjunct instructor, Chaminade Univ.*  /  Rickie Lee Jones, singer, musician  /  Pa Joof, Africans On the Move*  /  Paul Kangas, Vice Pres., Veterans for Peace*  /  Erin Aubry Kaplan, journalist, writer  /  Yuri Kochiyama, civil rights activist  /  Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church*  /  David Kunzle, Prof., UCLA*  /  Mike Ladd, writer, producer  /  Ray Laforest, staff organizer, Dist. Council 1707 AFSME*, Mbr. Pacifica Natl. Board*  /  Michael Lange, actor, playwright  /  Aron Laub, attorney  /  Kenny Leon, theater director  /  Calvin Levels, actor, playwright  /  Brian Lloyd, Dept. of History, UC Riverside*  /  Dennis Loo, Assoc. Prof. of Sociology, Cal Poly Pomona*  /  Raymond Lotta, Maoist political economist  /  Fr. Lawrence Lucas, Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church*  /  Paul Magno, Catholic Worker Movement*  /  devorah major, author  /  Lucia Marano, actor, writer  /  Bill Martin, Prof. of Philosophy, DePaul Univ.*  /  Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Harvard Univ.*  /  Peter McLaren, Prof. of Education, UCLA*  /  David Meltzer, poet, Professor, New College of California  /  David Meyerhof, teacher  /  Alan Miller, teacher, Berkeley H.S.* /  Eric Mofford, filmmaker  /  Will Napoli, teacher, writer, artist, inventor  /  Not a Number, store, Seattle  /  Susan Nussbaum, actress  /  Heriberto Ocasio, MD  /  Denise Oliver, Instructor of English, Cuyahoga Community College*  /  Tomás Olmos, civil rights attorney  /  Claire Ortalda, novelist  /  Gary Pak, Prof. of English, Univ. of Hawai’i*  /  Jose Palafox, lecturer, UC Santa Cruz*  /  Hal Perry, basketball player  /  Peter Phillips, Prof. of Sociology, Sonoma State Univ.,* Dir. , Project Censored*  /  Townsand Price-Spratlen, PhD, sociologist  /  Jerry Quickley, playwright  /  Ruth Reese, Black Studies Prog., Cleveland State Univ.*  /  Rhadames Rivera, SEIU Local 1199, New York* /  Phil Rice, MD, Harvard Medical School*  /  DJ Riddm  /  Wilson Riles, Jr., former Oakland City Councilman  /  Walter Riley, attorney  /  Tara Rivera, librarian  /  Victoria Robinson, lecturer, UC Berkeley*  /  Al Ronzoni, Progressive Democrats of America*  /  Floyd Salas, author, poet  /  Dorothy Salem, Prof. of History  /  Ricardo Salinas, actor, Culture Clash*  /  Vicky Scheidler  /  Thomas Willy Sepe, artist  /  Elias Serna, lecturer  /  Nick Setka, bookseller  /  Adam Shapiro, Current Events WRFG*  /  C. Zadik Shapiro, attorney  /  Joann Shapiro, theater artist  /  Herbert Siguenza, Culture Clash*  /  Henry Silverman, Prof. and Chairperson Emeritus, Dept. of History, Michigan State Univ.*  /  Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Co.*  /  Ted Sirota, musician  /  Michael Slate, host & producer KPFK*, journalist Revolution  /  Jimmy Slater, Black Panther Party*  /  Tolbert Small, MD, George Jackson Free Clinic for the Black Panther Party*  /  Sparrow, poet  /  Carol Steiner, tenacious misfit  /  Lynne Stewart  /  Brenda C. Stokely, Million Worker March* convenor  /  Ula Taylor, Assoc. Prof., UC Berkeley*  /  minimum tek, musician  /  Hank Willis Thomas, artist, photographer  /  Dwight Trible, musician  /  Daniel Tsang, KUCI Subversity Show*  /  Katherine Turner, St. Vartan Armenian Church*  /  Morrie Turner, cartoonist  /  Kinan Valdez, writer & director, El Teatro Campesino*  /  Jose Luis Valenzuela, Artistic Dir., Latino Theater Co.*, Prof. of Theater, Film and Television, UCLA*  /  Collins Van Nort, teacher  /  Chuy Varela, radio producer & writer  /  Tony Vick, DJ Vick  /  Paul Von Blum, Prof., African American Studies, UCLA*  /  Michael Tarif Warren, attorney  /  Rev. George W. Webber, Prof. of Urban Ministry, Pres. Emeritus, NY Theological Seminary*  /  Bob Weick, actor, Marx in Soho  /  Cornel West, Prof. of Religion, Princeton Univ.*  /  Susan Wicklund, MD  /  Michael Williams, Black Studies Prog., Cleveland State Univ.*  /  Saul Williams, artist  /  Dr. Donald E. Winters, author Soul of the Wobblies  /  John Wood, poet, Prof. Emeritus, McNeese Univ.*  /  Kriss Worthington, Berkeley City Councilmember  /  Marvin X, The Univ. of Poetry*  /  Malik Yakini, educator, activist  /  Al Young, California Poet Laureate  /  David Zeiger, filmmaker, Sir! No Sir!  /  * for identification purposes only.
Engage! A Committee to Project and Protect the Voice of Bob Avakian
To add your name to this statement and to contribute, including for future publication, contact Engage! at
Engage!, 1474 University Ave. #141, Berkeley, CA 94702 (Make checks payable to Engage!)
For information: 415.902.7936 or

Click here for PDF of Engage Statement

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond