On Bob Avakian’s Memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond

When You Come in from the Streets... a Book You NEED—and Are Gonna WANT—to Read

by Lenny Wolff

| revcom.us


In these times of marching, and sometimes fighting, in the streets day after day... in these days of questioning and talking and debating, thinking new thoughts and meeting new friends, and wondering about the chances for a whole new world... I strongly recommend the memoir of the revolutionary leader and thinker Bob Avakian (BA), From Ike to Mao and Beyond.

First, it’s a fun read—fun as you start out with Bob Avakian in childhood and high school, and fun even after he takes up the very serious life of a political fighter and then a revolutionary. Through all the peaks and valleys, the high times and heartbreaks and sacrifices from the 1950s up to the early 2000s, you come to know this person—and as part of that you really see the truth of the observation that BA has never lost his deep connection to the masses... or his sense of humor.

It’s a deep read. Deep in the sense of covering the 360 degrees of life, and how you confront the big questions of “what really matters,” “what is my life going to mean,” personal relationships, and all the rest of those heavy complicated questions that keep you up at night. Deep in the sense of the humanity he reveals. And deep in the sense of the heaviness of the issues he’s taken on, and the way he’s done that. You get to know this leader as a person.

Finally, right now, it’s a must read. Maybe you’re out there in this truly beautiful uprising in which millions of people are raising their heads, asking questions and getting involved. Well, BA lets you know how HE went through all that in a different time. What compelled him to “get involved”? Who influenced him, and how? And what did he do with those influences? Go with him in the days when he becomes a revolutionary and then watch how he approaches people, works with them, struggles with them.

Along the way, you’re gonna learn a whole lot about what actually happened in the 1960s... as well as what led to them. Want to know what he learned by going to an integrated high school in the 1950s—and how that shaped this leader? To be in the Bay Area as a young man with its vibrant arts scene of the time? Want to know what it was like to struggle with soldiers over the war in Vietnam? To work with the Black Panther Party?

Then be at BA’s side and share his thinking as he fights to forge a vanguard out of that whole wave of struggle that was the 1960s. Why did he struggle with the Weather Underground over strategy—and what happened? What did he learn about the possibility of a whole new society on his trips to revolutionary China when Mao was alive... and why did he feel compelled to struggle with the Chinese revolutionaries?

Learn about the repression he faced—how he approached that, and how he worked with others to fight it, and how he also approached and handled the personal costs and sacrifices that entailed. See and think about how he confronts the terrible reactionary decades of the ’80s and ’90s, when the inspiring first wave of revolutions, especially in China, had been clearly defeated and most people lost hope. Begin to learn about what has been forged as the new communism through this whole process.

Find out, in short, who BA is and what went into making him the most important political thinker and leader on the planet today.

Really—can you afford NOT to read this book, whether for the first time or the fifth? I helped edit the book, I’ve read it any number of times, and I’m enjoying it—and learning as much—right now, as the first time.

Get to know BA

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Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

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