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Editors' note: The following is an excerpt from the new work by Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM. In addition to excerpts already posted on, we will be running further excerpts from time to time on both and in Revolution newspaper. These excerpts should serve as encouragement and inspiration for people to get into the work as a whole, which is available as a book from Insight Press. An updated pre-publication PDF of this major work—now including the appendices—is available here.

This excerpt comes from the section titled "IV. The Leadership We Need."

Excerpt 1 from the section:
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the “Art” of Leadership

Another experience I want to touch on here, which also holds important lessons in terms of method and approach, is the experience with Nepal, where, unfortunately, at another critical juncture (the coming together and concentration of a lot of contradictions), the leadership of the Party there went off the revolutionary road. I referred to this earlier in talking about how the argument was made to them: You comrades face a lot of great necessity, but you should not impose unnecessary necessity on yourself. And here, once again, the question was posed: With a revolution that, in an overall sense, you consider to be part of the same revolution in the world that you’re a part of—even if it has its own particularity, as the revolution in every country does—what do you do when you can see that this revolution is going off track and will plunge over a cliff if it keeps going the way it’s going? As people should know, we wrote many letters to the Party in Nepal, sharply raising criticisms of the line they were pursuing after a certain point.71 Now, when we first started recognizing this, around 2005–2006, we didn’t come out in Revolution newspaper and say: “The revolution in Nepal is not being led in accordance with the new synthesis of communism, therefore it’s no good.” No! That’s not what we did at all. We raised, in letters that were not at the time made public: Here is our understanding of the actual contradictions you’re dealing with, and here is why we think you’re dealing with them in the wrong way. If you give up on the goal of overthrowing the present regime, and instead try to go on the parliamentary road of electing yourself into a position of running the government under the present system, and with the present state still in power and in effect, you are going to be swallowed up by that system, and all the gains of the revolution that you’ve achieved so far—waging people’s war in the countryside, establishing revolutionary political power in parts of the countryside, carrying out some land reform, lifting certain burdens of oppression from women—all that’s going to be given up, and the revolution will end up being abandoned and defeated.

What were the conditions and contradictions they were confronting? At that point, besides the people’s war they were waging in the countryside, there was a big upsurge in the cities, in particular the capital, Kathmandu. The country was being ruled by a monarchy, and there was a mass movement that got to the point of demanding the abolition, the overthrow, of the monarchy. Now, it was correct that they couldn’t stand aside from that movement, and act aloof, as if, “Oh, we’re off over here doing our people’s war, and that struggle in the capital doesn’t mean anything, that’s just a bunch of bourgeois reformist stuff.” It was correct for them to take part in and fight to lead that upsurge in the capital in a revolutionary direction. But in the process of it, they came to accept, more and more, the terms that were being set by that movement, as it was. To go back to what Leibel Bergman raised in regard to Zhou Enlai, the question is not “Why would the Nepalese comrades want to go revisionist?” It’s not that they “wanted” to go revisionist. There were certain shortcomings in their understanding of things all along, and there were some in the leadership who were more and more openly arguing for a bourgeois-democratic orientation, but mainly they were on the road of revolution and making important advances on that road. But they ran up against certain new obstacles and contradictions—they came up against the prospect of not just fighting more limited battles in the countryside against outposts of the police and sections of the Nepalese army, but actually having to fight the backbone of the Nepalese army. Behind that was India threatening to intervene to put things down if the revolution got too far, and the U.S. and other imperialists were looming in the picture, as well as China, which pretended to be supportive in some ways, but if the Nepalese Party continued on the revolutionary road, would turn against it. These were very real things that they had to deal with.

In this context, we waged several years of struggle, very concretely. And every time they raised to us, “You don’t understand, this is what we’re up against,” we did not say, “It doesn’t matter, you’re violating basic principle.” We very seriously dug into what they raised to us, the conditions they were pointing to when they said, “We have to do this because this is what we’re up against.” We did not dismiss any of that out of hand. We went into all of it, to evaluate it as thoroughly as we could. We even questioned: Well, maybe in this situation they do have to do this. But we always arrived at the conclusion that, no matter how difficult it would be to remain on the correct road, if they went on the road they were increasingly taking—the road of accommodation with the existing system and state power—they would give up the whole thing. There was certainly no guarantee of victory—they might get defeated if they persevered on the road of revolution, and that would constitute a serious setback, not just in that country but for the revolution in the world as a whole—but it would be much worse to throw away the revolution by taking the road of revisionism and betraying the masses of people who were willing to sacrifice to fight for this revolution, because they had come to see it in their interests.

Here again we see the difference between dialectical materialism and determinism in the name of materialism, where you analyze the conditions before you, but you don’t look at the larger picture and the deeper underlying dynamics and contradictions. For example, on the one side, it’s true that, had they continued on the road of revolution, there would have been a real possibility of powerful forces—India, perhaps China, maybe even the U.S. or other imperialists—intervening more directly against them. But it also would have raised the banner of revolution and communism powerfully in the world and set off a lot of contradictions, or sharpened a lot of contradictions, including in countries like India. And if they’d been able to hold out for a while, things could have gotten very sharp in India, in terms of exposure of the Indian government for its role in opposing the revolutionary struggle in Nepal. Once again you come to a juncture like this and you don’t know in advance, you can’t say, how all this might turn out; but if you just look at what’s immediately before you and the difficulties you’re up against right then, and you don’t grasp the potential to transform necessity into freedom and set off a whole chain of events which might get contradictions going in a whole different way, in your more immediate circumstances and more broadly in the world as well, then you’re going to take the road of revisionism because it seems to be more “realistic.”

In relation to this situation, in assessing our responsibilities and recognizing the need to struggle sharply, we understood that the point is not to act like a “petty critic” finding fault with and poking at every little thing you don’t agree with. It’s so ironic, you hear certain opportunists saying, “The RCP, they just denounced what was happening in Nepal on the basis of a misreading of a few Marxist works, like the Critique of the Gotha Programme72 and The State and Revolution.73” This from people who never carried out any scientific analysis of the actual concrete conditions facing the revolution in Nepal, but were just trying to jump on a bandwagon to say, “Well, we can still call ourselves Maoists even while we’re betraying everything we’re supposed to have been about.”

At every stage, every key juncture, we were very assiduously, very systematically, digging into things. Even far into this process, when it had become more and more clear that the Nepalese comrades were going completely onto a trajectory leading to disaster, there were a few times when there would be a little spark of something that raised the possibility that maybe they were trying to get back on the right road, and each time we would jump at that and try to figure out if there were something there that could and should be united with and encouraged. This was our approach even for some time after we had published our letters openly, which put the whole struggle out to the world—for several years after that, whenever there was any kind of a spark, we would look very seriously into it. Why? Because this was not some kind of contest to determine who was the “better Marxist.” The reason we didn’t go along with what they were doing in Nepal was not out of any considerations like that. The orientation with which we proceeded, and what we were doing our best to analyze—and this is what I want to really drive home—is this: What is actually going to advance the revolution that the masses of people need, and what is going to take it over a cliff? Once again, it’s a question of applying science to the question of for whom and for what. This is what it means to be a strategic commander of the revolution.

71. These letters were openly published in 2009. See Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, “On Developments in Nepal and the Stakes for the Communist Movement: Letters to the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, 2005–2008 (With a Reply from the CPN[M], 2006),” January 29, 2009. Available at [back]

72. Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, 1875. [back]

73. V.I. Lenin, The State and Revolution, 1917. [back]



Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

Materialism vs. Idealism
Dialectical Materialism
Through Which Mode of Production
The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism
The New Synthesis of Communism
The Basis for Revolution
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense
Self and a “Consumerist” Approach to Ideas
What Is Your Life Going to Be About?—Raising People’s Sights

Part II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism:
            A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation

The “4 Alls”
Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right
Socialism as an Economic System and a Political System—And a Transition to Communism
Abundance, Revolution, and the Advance to Communism—A Dialectical Materialist Understanding
The Importance of the “Parachute Point”—Even Now, and Even More With An Actual Revolution
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
   Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core
Emancipators of Humanity

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

One Overall Strategic Approach
Hastening While Awaiting
Forces For Revolution
Separation of the Communist Movement from the Labor Movement, Driving Forces for Revolution
National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution
The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women
The United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat
Youth, Students and the Intelligentsia
Struggling Against Petit Bourgeois Modes of Thinking, While Maintaining the Correct Strategic Orientation
The “Two Maximizings”
The “5 Stops”
The Two Mainstays
Returning to "On the Possibility of Revolution"
Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism
Internationalism and an International Dimension
Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way
Popularizing the Strategy
Fundamental Orientation

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

The Decisive Role of Leadership
A Leading Core of Intellectuals—and the Contradictions Bound Up with This
Another Kind of “Pyramid”
The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
The Need for Communists to Be Communists
A Fundamentally Antagonistic Relation—and the Crucial Implications of That
Strengthening the Party—Qualitatively as well as Quantitatively
Forms of Revolutionary Organization, and the “Ohio”
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the “Art” of Leadership
Working Back from “On the Possibility”—
   Another Application of “Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core”

Appendix 1:
The New Synthesis of Communism:
Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach,
and Core Elements—An Outline
by Bob Avakian

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion


Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author