Revolution #261, February 26, 2012

IF We Are Not Doing This, Then What ARE We Doing?

Thoughts on BAsics, Supplement 6

In the supplemental essay to chapter 6 of BAsics, "The Revolutionary Potential of the Masses and the Responsibility of the Vanguard," BA gets right to the point when he says on page 197:

One of the things that I see, something that I haven't lost sight of, is this: I see all the strength of the ruling class, but I also see all the way through all this shit, all the contradictions in society—I actually see a force in this society that, if it were developed into a revolutionary people, actually could have a go at it, could have a real chance of making a revolution, or being the backbone force of a revolution, when the conditions were ripe. I see a force of millions and millions and millions—youth and others—for whom this system is a horror: It isn't going to take some cataclysmic crisis for this system to be fucking over them. The ruling class, ironically, sees them too. It is those who once had but have lost—or those who never had—a revolutionary is they who can't see this.

How do you understand this:  "...if it were developed into a revolutionary people, actually could have a go at it...being a backbone force of a revolution, when the conditions were ripe..."?

Let's be clear. We are about communist revolution. A revolution that first leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat (socialism) as the transit point to a new era in human history, where social antagonisms of any kind no longer exist and in effect cannot exist.

This is really key to what this revolution is about. Leading, developing those who are most brutally exploited and oppressed under this system—developing, gelling them into the backbone, into leaders of this revolution. Leading them to reach their full potential. To become communist emancipators. This can only happen by us going deeply into BA with people. Into the essence of what he has brought forward. The essentials of his body of work. Method and approach.

Communism and the new synthesis. Bringing them onto this team. Training them in this team's style of play which has been developed by BA. Preparing, fitting these masses to be leaders in the cause of making this world historic transit.  

When we step to the masses or when they step to us they should feel inspired and challenged by this. Both things. Inspired and challenged.

Communist revolution is what they should give their life over to. In comparison to what else? Of course there will be all sorts of ideological struggle over all kinds of different ideologies, thinking, and activity. Nationalism. Religion. Conspiracy theories such as the Illuminati that are extremely reactionary and harmful. Or revisionism which is counterfeit communism—a communism without revolution and with no historic transit of any kind. Or the hustling mentality. Just to name a few things that there must be a lot of ideological STRUGGLE with the masses over—some of the things we need to lead them to rupture with—so that they can rise to their full potential.

Quickly: we got to wage ideological struggle with people influenced by the hustling mentality. That is using others so that you can gain an advantage. Where you can "come up" by "playing others." "Running a game on people" as a way to survive. It really comes down to "me first" and "me and mine against everyone else." It is an expression of commodity relations. It is in sharp contradiction to everything this revolution is about.

A lot of people will come to the revolution influenced by the hustling mentality as well as other things, other ways of understanding/looking at one's relationship to the world, i.e., other ideologies. As they read BA, watch the Revolution talk (Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About), study Revolution newspaper—more often than not they are trying to fit this in with what they already think. It's not going to spontaneously "rub off" on them. We got to struggle with the whole ideological framework they have developed for engaging and understanding the world.

These ideologies are in sharp conflict with each other. The masses will also sooner rather than later drop out of the revolution unless they make a rupture, make a break with this way of thinking (these other ideologies). This is where we should come in. We got to struggle with people over this and a lot of other shit. People can change. They can become communist revolutionaries. 

If we are not doing this, then what ARE we doing?

Doing this as they fight the power, as they stand up for themselves and others, as they walk around burning with anger, as they spontaneously internalize the shit they get from this system. And as they inquire or search out the movement for this revolution. This is a key component of the whole process of "fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution" (with emphasis on transform the people, for revolution) that's laid out in the strategy for revolution in the Chapter 3 supplemental essay in BAsics.

If we are not doing this, then what ARE we doing? If we are not constantly striving to measure, to gauge, to sharpen this, then what ARE we doing?

Connecting BA with people is key. It is key to giving people scientific grounding. It is key to tempering, key to toughening, key to sharpening the deep anger that boils up daily from hour to hour by those catching some of the heaviest blows from this system, tempering it with revolutionary and scientific understanding. This kind of grounding and strategic thinking prepares people to not only make revolution but to be rulers of a whole different and better society.

Look at the difference it makes among prisoners who have been engaging BA and BAsics. Look at the difference it has made to those who responded to BAsics 3:16 in issue #247 of Revolution. Look how BA and BAsics has resonated with those put in a situation where they are forced to choose between indignity on the one hand and further indignity on the other, all those whom this system has cast off in more ways than just one.

What do we make of this? The effect of their engagement with BA? What it has meant for them? The revolutionary potential it shows? What are we going to do with this?

There is so much more potential from those who responded to BAsics 3:16, potential to be initiators of a new stage of communist revolution, to be leaders, to be a driving force for this revolution (not the only ones—but most definitely essential to developing the backbone, and essential as one of the driving forces for this revolution). Today thousands can be reached, brought forward and trained in a revolutionary way. Influencing millions more, even before there is a revolutionary situation, and then when there is a revolutionary situation, those thousands can be a backbone and pivotal force in winning millions to revolution and organizing them in the struggle to carry the revolution through.

Let's not be complacent and say: "Oh, good, people are responding to BAsics 3:16." We have to win these masses to be leaders of this revolution. Winning them means waging ideological struggle with them.

If we are not doing this, then what ARE we doing?

One of the things that people at the very base of society often say is that when you have leaders like BA the ruling authorities (and their counter-revolutionary henchmen) will rip them off. Basic people have a keen understanding of this. The challenge we must solve is taking this understanding back to those who have this awareness and develop that as part of developing an active movement for revolution and communism. A movement so thick among those at the base of society that it actually turns into a really, really thick political "wall" surrounding this leadership—standing against and determined to frustrate any and every attempt they make to reach our leadership.

If we are not doing this, then what ARE we doing?

Today we got to aim high to find bold, creative, and unconventional ways to reach and bring thousands of them into the movement for revolution, to develop them into some of the most ardent active partisans for the communist cause, and many into Party members! Together with thousands of students, intellectuals, the middle class more broadly—those who may not feel the hardest blows but are demeaned, degraded, alienated, and often outraged by what this system does.

If we are not doing this, then what ARE we doing?

Over the past 30 years, BA has developed a whole body of work that addresses and solves tough problems we ran up against in Russia and China during our first attempts in making this world historic transit to communism. A lot of this is available by way of audio and video and in BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian done in short quotes and essays.

You can see and really appreciate how BA is constantly striving to make what he is doing accessible to those who have the greatest interest in this revolution. But what also comes through is BA is confident that with the right kind of leadership, communist leadership, the masses can lead—can take responsibility for the revolution to emancipate all of humanity.  

People need to know about this. That they have a leader like this—a leader who goes all-out for them in this way so that they can rise to their full potential.

This is only a small taste of the deep love and equally deep confidence that Chairman Avakian has in the revolutionary potential of the masses. People need to stand up, step out—defend and protect this rare and precious leader.

This leads to a related point from the same essay in Chapter 6 of BAsics:

…Those who have been kept illiterate by this system are capable of being leaders of a revolution and of a new society that will overcome the things that made them illiterate. We should struggle like hell, ideologically and practically, to enable them to become literate; but, even if they don't, they can still play a leading role in the revolution. You want to talk about the non-professional leading the professional? This is how you do it—you do it with ideology, communist ideology and methodology, in the fullest sense. And you do it with the correct understanding of this ideology.

We can and will solve this problem with state power. This is one of the sweeping goals of the communist revolution—uprooting and overcoming that great divide between mental and manual workers. The way this process will be undertaken and approached is embodied throughout the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from our Party. I encourage everyone to get their hands on it.

But we can't wait until then to begin transforming this. If we do, there will not be any revolutionary state power to speak of.

We really got to be scientific about this, which means being fearless and materialist in grasping that working with ideas is a human quality/trait and not something that some people are born with and others are not. To not struggle with basic people and to act like they can't do this is a different outlook than communism. It's unscientific. It is condescending and full of the "arrogance of the enlightened" to think basic and oppressed people can't change based on grasping revolutionary theory and humanity's highest and fundamental interest to be rid of oppression and exploitation. That time belongs to the past. Communism and the new synthesis belong to the future.

If we are not acting on this, then what ARE we doing?  

What is there to learn from this?

In this essay in Chapter 6, BA is giving emphasis to the basic masses, the outcasts, to them becoming leaders of this revolution. I agree with this emphasis. This is fundamental to there being a revolution. Those at the very base of society must play a leading role. It is an important part of objective reality. It can only get manifested through the Party—through our entire team being deeply rooted in this understanding in how BA approaches this. It is materialist and it is scientific. It is full of confidence and deep understanding of how the vanguard has to play its role for this latent revolutionary potential of the masses, from the base of society and from the middle strata as well to be unleashed and led. 

If we are not acting on this, then what ARE we doing?

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