A Burning Question for the Revolution—and a Call to Our Readers

January 13, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Life for the vast majority of humans on this earth presents itself as an endless horror. People in this country and all over the world dream of being free of this madness and suffering and they resist in thousands of different ways. But at the same time, they are told, from all directions, and constantly, that the world we live in is the best of all possible worlds and to make revolution will only bring something worse—that the best humans can do is try to make it a little better.

A Call to Our Readers

This winter, Revolution will publish a special issue which will boldly project the truth of what was accomplished in the first socialist revolutions, refuting the lies that spew out constantly about communism, and speak to how we can do better in the next stage of communist revolution. Beginning now, volunteer to be a part of making this special Set the Record Straight issue one which is sharp and biting, an issue which speaks to people's real questions and challenges their thinking. Producing this issue will be a collective effort, drawing on the contributions of our readers. There will be substantive articles, including a major article by Raymond Lotta, an advocate of Bob Avakian's new synthesis—but this will be published together with short articles, pictures, artwork and graphics. There is a place for you in this project…let's hear from you about what people think…let's hear from you about your ideas for the issue…join in doing research and writing. And we would especially like to hear from our readers in the prisons with their thoughts on the first stage of communist revolution and ideas for this important special issue.

To volunteer: write to strs.revcom@gmail.com or to RCP Publications, PO Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654 ATTN: STRS issue.

But the reality is that the world we live in is not the best of all possible worlds. Another, radically different and far better world is possible. A communist world. The first great steps towards this world were taken in the socialist revolutions in the 1900s—in the Soviet Union from 1917 until the defeat of that revolution in 1956, and in China from 1949 until the defeat of socialism in 1976. Before these revolutions were turned back people began to build societies free of exploitation that would truly provide for the needs of people. They worked to break tradition's chains and overcome centuries of oppression and oppressive divisions among the people, between those who do intellectual work and those who are locked out of that, between women and men, between different nationalities. For instance, did you know that, in the 1920s, when Black people were being lynched in the U.S., in the Soviet Union (formerly known as the "prison house of nations") pathbreaking efforts were being made to overcome inequality among nationalities—economically, politically, and culturally?

While these revolutions held power, they inspired hundreds of millions around the world, including in this country. But once the revolutions were betrayed, it gave the reactionaries a free hand to pour out endless, unchallenged distortions. From a thousand different directions, what actually happened in these societies has been and is under constant attack. Just in the last few months, two new books were published—with great fanfare and promotion—that are full of lies about what happened during the Great Leap Forward of 1958-60 in China. And these books are only the latest in a long line of articles, books, and media commentary vilifying socialism and communism.

We need to understand that while there are increasing crises, upheavals and revolts going on around the world today, people do not see, because of the big lie against communism, that there is a way to get beyond the horror and suffering of the world they live in.

Now is the time to refute the lies and set the record straight about what was achieved in the first stage of communist revolution. Now is the time to challenge the paralyzing common wisdom about communism and raise people's sights to the possibility of a far better future for humanity. Not only can we make revolution again, but because of the work of Bob Avakian in deeply summing up this experience and developing an inspiring vision of a new stage of communism, the emancipation of all humanity, we can do much better. People need to know this.

In April, Raymond Lotta, political economist, writer for Revolution, and advocate for Bob Avakian's new synthesis of communism, will be debating Slavoj Žižek, philosopher and cultural theorist. So now, as the debate approaches, it is an especially important time to crack open the fight for the truth all over the place.

This winter, Revolution will publish a special issue which will boldly project the truth of what was accomplished in these socialist revolutions, call out the lies that have become the "accepted verdict" on communism in today's world, and speak to the real shortcomings of those first heroic revolutions and how we can do better in the next stage of communist revolution. At a time of continuing wars being waged in large parts of the planet, of millions struggling to live under the crushing weight of capitalism-imperialism, and an environmental emergency which threatens the very existence of life itself—and importantly, at a time of stirrings of resistance and questioning, this is a history that people need to know about. Knowing the truth that another world is possible has everything to do with lifting people's sights and with their fighting to bring a better world into being. It is critical to building the movement for revolution.

When this issue hits the streets—and goes up on the web—let's find the ways to sharply and broadly challenge large numbers of people with the truth. And let's especially hit the campuses with this issue, stirring up debate and controversy! Students and other intellectuals, and broad swaths of society, should be struggled with to join the debate over communism—its past and its future—in a whole new way.

"[O]ne of the most important focuses [of the struggle in the realm of ideas] at this time is the struggle to confront and combat the constant attacks of the experience of socialist countries, and in particular the dictatorship of the proletariat, and especially the whole concept of totalitarianism; and at the same time, while doing that, to confront and critically examine the actual experience of socialist countries and the dictatorship of the proletariat, drawing the fullest lessons from this experience—mainly and overwhelmingly the positive lessons, but also facing squarely and digging deeply into the very real shortcomings and errors."

Bob Avakian, from Dictatorship and Democracy, 
and the Socialist Transition to Communism


Send us your comments.

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