Invitation to the Revolution
Plan for New RCP Programme: A Call to the People
Revolutionary Worker #1066, August 13, 2000
No empire has lasted forever. Even the mightiest have fallen: the Roman Caesars and their descendants, the Pharaohs of Egypt, the empire of Alexander the Great, the ruling dynasties throughout thousands of years in China, and more recently the empires of the Spanish, Portuguese and others in the Americas. This will also happen to today's empire-rulers, the imperialists, whose system is rooted in the "modern" form of slavery known as capitalism. They may rule over large parts of the world today-and, like the empires of old, they challenge each other for the top-dog position-but they will be brought down. This will be true of the German, the British, the Japanese, the French, the Russian, and other imperialists. And, even though they like to declare that they are invincible and will forever be "all-powerful," this same fate awaits the mightiest of all world powers today, the U.S. imperialists.
BUT the BIG QUESTION is: WHAT WILL REPLACE THE RULE OF THESE IMPERIALISTS WHEN THEY FALL?
This has everything to do with how these imperialists are brought down-in what way this is achieved and by whom. If, as in the past, empires are overthrown by other empires-if exploiters are brought down to the dust only to have new exploiters arise in their place-then nothing fundamental will change and the masses of people, living under the rule of these imperialists, will not see a new day. BUT that is NOT the only way things can go-that is not the way imperialism will end. There is another road before us-the road of revolutionary struggle to overturn and uproot all imperialists, all systems of exploitation and oppression, to sweep away all their garbage. And that revolutionary struggle will give birth to a new society and a new world without exploitation and oppression.
Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Central Committee of the RCP, USA,
"We have a 'New Millennium'-What We Need is a New World"
January 1, 2000
SUMMER 2000: As the political parties of the U.S. ruling class meet to pick their candidates and discuss their programs, thousands of people will be in the streets to protest against injustice, inequality, poverty, rampant capitalist globalization. But what will it take to solve the problems confronting the people?
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? WHAT IS THE FUTURE?
Are we going to continue to live under this system-controlled by monopoly capitalists who treat everything and everybody as nothing but a means to make money? Are we going to live in a society where the political leaders brag about the high-tech revolution while they wreck the planet with their outmoded system of international exploitation? Where political leaders pose for photos frisking Black youth, and police enforce poverty and national oppression through brutality and murder? Where women are treated like sex objects, burdened with raising the next generation, and subjected to all manner of male domination, abuse, and inequality? Where advances in technology only perpetuate inequality? Where medicine, science, and art are ruled by profit? Where the great creative potential of the people is beaten down and twisted into chains on the people themselves?
There is not a single major problem confronting the people that can be solved by this system and its political representatives.
Think about it: For this system to function, millions in the Third World must starve...millions in the imperialist countries must lose their jobs...while in the richest country of the world, jails and more jails are being built for the oppressed.
How many millions of people, here and all over the world, have suffered and died from the slavery, poverty, racism, male domination, homelessness, disease and war that this ruling class and its "forefathers" have been responsible for?
And all this has come wrapped in words about freedom - "free trade, free market, free enterprise... and free elections."
IF WE LET THIS SAME CLASS OF PEOPLE KEEP ON RUNNING THE WORLD AND ENFORCING THEIR "BUSINESS," WHAT KIND OF CONSEQUENCES WILL THE WORLD'S PEOPLE HAVE TO SUFFER?
Take the problems of capitalist globalization: Can these be solved by reforming this political system? Or will it require an armed revolution to end the sweatshops, the death from hunger of 40,000 kids every day in the third world, the rampant environmental destruction, child labor, and the ruin of whole cultures and economies?
From its very beginnings, capitalism has had a global character. The rise of capitalism in Europe and North America was bound up with the slave trade in Africa and with the plunder of Asia and Latin America. The industrial revolution in England was bound up with and stimulated the extension of world trade.
The workings of capital tend to create a single economic world. Why? Because it is driven by the force of competition to expand, to extend itself, to exploit wage labor on an ever wider and more mechanized basis...in the quest for profit and more profit.
At the end of the 19th century capitalism developed into imperialism and through a process of expansion and integration, imperialism enmeshed the world in a global network of capitalist production and exchange. Over the course of the 20th century, especially after World War 2, capitalism more deeply penetrated the economies and societies of the Third World.
Today, there is a new wave of globalization leading to an even more highly integrated world economy. But this is taking place within the same system of imperialism-with the same economics of exploitation and politics of domination.
And it is the job of the U.S. political system - this bourgeois democracy, and its representatives - to make sure that there is a favorable situation all over the world for U.S. imperialism to expand - by any means necessary, including using their armed forces to impose their will on the countries and peoples of the world. To carry out global investment and expansion, the transnational capitals cannot do without the economic-political-military support and protection of their national imperialist states. This contradiction-between capital which is highly internationalized but which has a national foundation-gives rise to rivalry, to conflict, and to war between the imperialist powers.
The imperialists talk of an economically and technologically "interconnected world." But with all the economic integration and technological advances, this is still a world with deep and basic fault lines. It's a world divided into conflicting classes. A world of contending imperialist capitals. A world split into oppressor and oppressed nations. A world of haves and have-nots. And it cannot be otherwise unless and until this system is overthrown.
WHICH CLASS IN SOCIETY HAS A HISTORIC MISSION-AND A SERIOUS POLITICAL PROGRAM-FOR DOING AWAY WITH ALL THIS EXPLOITATION AND OPPRESSION?
WE NEED TO SERIOUSLY ANALYZE WHAT STRATEGIES FOR CHANGE WILL REALLY EMANCIPATE THE PEOPLE. WE NEED A RADICAL BREAK WITH THE DEAD-END SOLUTIONS OFFERED BY THE RULING CLASS. AND WE NEED REAL SOLUTIONS TO FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS.
WE NEED REVOLUTION-PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION.
The RCP,USA has launched a great project. We are working to produce a new Programme of our Party-and we want to involve the revolutionary masses in helping to produce it.
A Party Programme-a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Programme-is a battle plan for destroying the old and creating the new. It is a kind of road map for how to win the revolution-and a clear statement of what winning in the fullest sense really means. It is a tool for understanding this society, and the world, and for identifying all the forces who will make revolution-proletarian revolution.
As Mao said: "Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution."
Our Programme will be a Programme for revolution in the U.S., and it will be part of the world revolution.
To those who are sick to death of this system...
To the youth who refuse to believe this is the "best of all possible worlds"...
To all who are searching for a better world-even those who are not sure that a proletarian revolution can bring about a solution in the interests of the people...
WE INVITE YOU INTO THE STRUGGLE TO HELP THE PARTY FORGE OUR NEW PROGRAMME.
What kind of revolution do we need, how are we going to make it, and, when the proletariat and masses take power, what are we going to do with it? We believe our Party's current Programme sets a fundamentally correct course for revolution and expresses basic Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (MLM) principles which are crucial to make revolution in the interests of the masses. But there have been great changes in the world, and in U.S. society, in the nearly 20 years since our current Programme was written.
Today, we are working on a new Programme that applies our basic MLM understanding to these changes. And we need a Programme that expresses the current experience of the people living under this system-most of all the youth, who are crucial forces for a successful revolution and key successors to the revolutionary cause of the international proletariat.
WHAT ARE WE ASKING PEOPLE TO DO?
Our Party has asked for the help and involvement of many people in forging our new Party Programme.
We need to better understand the many changes that have taken place in this country in the past two decades-and how these changes are affecting the conditions, the mood, and the struggles of different sections of the people. How are the strivings for change-most of all revolutionary change-being felt and expressed by different sections of the people in this country?
One of the main changes since our previous Programme was written is that U.S. society has become even more parasitic-sucking even more blood from the people of the world. Within the U.S., and worldwide, the gap between rich and poor has grown even greater. Changes like this emphasize all the more the need-and the potential-for proletarian revolution. But it is crucial for us to deepen our understanding and develop our concrete analysis of these changes-and their implication for particular features of the revolutionary struggle. The people need to discuss all this with the Party, bringing their understanding and experience, to help sharpen up our revolutionary Programme.
We need people to discuss with us how this reactionary system can actually be defeated. How can the forces for revolution be mobilized, and how can they overthrow this system?
Our Party understands that to make revolution it takes a big united front under the leadership of the proletariat. The many changes in this country since our last Programme will mean new features, and new forces, for this united front. Our Party needs to investigate more, and learn more deeply, about the diverse problems confronting different sections of the people-and our common problems with this system. We need to discuss with the people how this whole mix can be brought together in revolution, how each section of the masses can be won to see its common interests with a revolution led by the proletariat.
Our Party also understands that revolution in a country like the U.S. means a revolutionary war-a people's war taking the form of armed insurrection in the cities followed by a civil war that goes on to defeat the armed forces of the imperialists and seize power. While such a war cannot be launched in an imperialist country like the U.S. until the conditions are ripe-until there is a revolutionary upsurge and a revolutionary crisis-the people and the Party have to be oriented and prepared to seize such an opportunity whenever it arises. This point, too, is a crucial one which needs to be struggled over broadly as part of revolutionary preparation, including as part of this Programme process.
We need to discuss the new society that will be built after the revolution. After we sweep away this system, how will we rebuild and run society? How will proletarian state power address the specific problems of different sections of the people? And how will the masses be mobilized in a great, continuing, revolutionary struggle to defend the revolution, transform the country and contribute to the advance of revolution the world over?
A great first step will be taken when the masses rise up, smash the armed power of the imperialists, and replace it with the revolutionary power of the masses-the dictatorship of the proletariat and a revolutionary socialist society. As our Chairman has said, "This is already a great change and it opens the door to even greater changes."
Our current Programme outlines a plan for how the Party and the masses-with this new revolutionary power-can begin to solve all kinds of problems that can never be solved under this system. But we need to discuss this program-and we want to get very concrete about this- with many different people who can bring their knowledge, their concerns, and "stretch our minds" together to discuss the society we must fight for, win and build.
As communists, we understand that this socialist society is a process of struggle and transformation-where the people can do away with all oppression through many "cultural revolutions." And, in our work to produce a new Programme, we are involving many, many people in discussing this vision of how we can get to a communist world-where all the oppressive relations between people and all the old oppressive ideas are radically changed.
Our Party has a basic method which it applies to lead everything, including this Programme process. We have MLM, based on the hard-won experience of our class, worldwide; and our Party's basic line is in our Constitution.
Anyone who knows our Party knows we are not going to be shy about arguing for our basic principles when we discuss and forge this Programme. But, as Maoists, one of our basic principles is the mass line. We are combining our revolutionary principles with the masses-seeking their knowledge, their opinions, and their involvement in all aspects of the revolution. We know people have differences with us, but we want to study, investigate, and wrangle together. A good MLM Programme, one that is sturdy and revolutionary, cannot be grown in a hothouse. Already many different people have been involved-the process of struggle and investigation has been exciting and everyone involved is learning.
Our Party Chairman has said that when the revolution is won in the U.S. the masses of people worldwide will dance in the streets with joy. So we invite you to be part of planning that party-to be part of forging a new Programme that will bring that day closer.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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