April 20, 2020 | revcom.us
Editors’ Note: These are edited excerpts of reflections from a member of the National Revolution Tour after a group discussion of Bob Avakian’s article Conspiracy Theories, Fascist “Certitude,” Liberal Paralysis, OR A Scientific Approach to Changing the World (Longer Version—The Truth Elaborated)
This became piecemeal rants on themes of call, also trying to reflect on connection of discussion themes on call to the process of OHIO [Ed.: referring to accumulating, advancing and bringing forward forces for revolution through a process], building for revolution, goals of the tour we are fighting for. …
Further complicating the situation and an additional dimension to this problem is the fact that, although they do not share but strongly oppose the “values” and objectives of the fascists, many of the basic masses, who are bitterly oppressed under this system, also are suspicious of and even are inclined to reject science and scientifically-grounded analysis. But this also leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of unfounded “conspiracy theories” and other wrong and harmful ideas, including the notion that nothing people do will make a difference because “it’s all in god’s hands.” [Excerpted from article Conspiracy Theories, Fascist “Certitude,” Liberal Paralysis, OR A Scientific Approach to Changing the World (Longer Version—The Truth Elaborated)]
In the midst of this pandemic, it is infuriating to see masses get played by all manner of nonsense. But it is in fact no less infuriating how much people are, daily and routinely, subjected to the endless outrages of this system while “unable or unwilling” to grab hold of the dynamics and workings of the system that causes all this. And in this piece by BA, he dives into and then draws out of this contradiction, as it is posing itself now, the larger patterns/trends of how people arrive at what they think is true, or what they “believe” which people often use interchangeably, and how they act.
Becoming alternate authority for what? [Ed.: Referring to a discussion of the revolution being an alternate authority among the masses of people. See BA’s discussion of this in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.] “We don’t know what to believe. We know you’re for the people, so we trust you.” This (i.e., what masses have told us) is contradiction. Point is not to make sure no one ever thinks we are trustworthy, but rather that we gotta struggle over the fact that this is not why we should be trusted, looked to, or followed, and it is NOT how you can even tell whether someone or group is “for the people.” How many opportunists and “their mothers” say they are for the people? Non-opportunists say it too.
Isn’t that part of the appeal of Bernie, as BA talks about in the Brooks piece? Bernie is not a crude white supremacist, or fuming with hatred of women and LGBTQ people, nor expresses callous disdain for poor/disabled/immigrant people. But that doesn’t tell you whether what he represents is actually “for the people” (if that is to have any good meaning, from the point of view of humanity/7 billion, and the resolution of the fundamental contradiction of capitalism & stopping of the 5 STOPS.) And even those who are “for the people” in real and deep ways (us, but also those not convinced of revolution & communism but act on convictions to oppose injustice) should not be believed in SPITE of or in OPPOSITION to EVIDENCE and being reality based. This is true when that thinking works out against us, but is especially true when, in the rare circumstances today but even more in the circumstances when the rev is more of a contending authority people look to and follow, and ever more so when there has been a revolution and establishment of new republic, IF ANYTHING GOOD IS GOING TO BE DONE WITH THAT. Consciously BY masses of people not just FOR them. Yes, this will not happen without leadership and struggle, but that is the point of all this, there exists scientific theory and leadership with BA and new communism. But that too can get turned into a conclusion (“our conclusion”) to convince people of.
Resolution #1,1 is communism going to be a science? Is the theory of communism going to be a science, rooting out anti-science, but not just to form a better collection of scientifically arrived at truths? (Even while, such truths about reality as they are arrived at scientifically are not just obligatorily important but are essential to the scientific process, and are part of accumulated solid core of certitude without which humanity cannot fully act to change reality in the interests of humanity, nor learn as much can be learned.) The leadership humanity needs has to be grounded in that, BA’s The New Communism, but it also needs to be that, “the scientific theory and leadership” masses needs to make the revolution they need, and this includes as part of that (paraphrasing BAsics 6:72) continually enabling others one is leading to do essentially that.
Science is not another “dogma”—another untested and unproved “set of beliefs”—it is the opposite of that. Conclusions based on the application of the scientific method are obviously important, but science is not just some “collection of conclusions,” and still less is it a set of “precepts” which are not drawn from reality and are out of keeping with reality, or which once reflected reality but have become frozen and “ossified” and no longer correspond to a changing reality. Science is above all and most essentially a method. Conspiracy Theories, Fascist “Certitude,” Liberal Paralysis, OR A Scientific Approach to Changing the World (Longer Version—The Truth Elaborated)
ADDITIONAL: …. How BA has modeled the debate over reform vs. revolution in the recent slew of pieces, takes on conclusions and how to arrive at them (mainly through posing the right questions to evaluate positions by, then going to evidence/reality, not all with the same “per se” focus on methodology). … We need to bring forward masses of people into ranks of the revolution…. Is there a positive role for struggle in bringing forward rev forces, and do people have a role to play in understanding the importance of struggling over science en masse? Are they going to get into this piece from BA (and his leadership overall) just cause we need them to “fix their thinking” or to “let them in on problems of rev, to work with people on understanding and changing the world consciously and in a process,” where learning about parts of reality with people shouldn’t feel like such a walled off stage regardless of focus at any given time…. We are carrying out struggle over how to arrive at conclusions while we are probing reality with people (and struggling for that to be what people ARE part of doing). Not everyone is going to stick even if we get it right, but we have to solve revolving door…. Coronavirus has hit, and how this system has dealt with it reveals once again how this system (how this mode of production) addresses all social problems, how people’s ability to deal with such outbreaks are limited by the same modus operandi that cannot stop 5 Stops but perpetrates and perpetuates them continuously.
1. From the Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (January 1, 2016):
The new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, on the basis of 40 years of revolutionary work, represents a qualitative advance in the scientific approach to making revolution and emancipating humanity. It provides the foundation and point of departure for a new stage of communist revolution that is urgently needed in the world today.
Where there is oppression, there will be resistance—the masses of people will continually rise up against their conditions of oppression and those who enforce this oppression. But, without the necessary scientific theory and leadership, the struggle of the oppressed will be contained, and remain confined, within the system which is the source of oppression, and the horrors to which the masses are subjected will go on, and on. The new synthesis and the leadership of Bob Avakian represents and embodies the scientific understanding and approach the masses of the oppressed need to make the revolution they need—a revolution whose ultimate goal is a communist world—to emancipate themselves and ultimately humanity as a whole.
As Bob Avakian himself has emphasized, the new synthesis:
represents and embodies a qualitative resolution of a critical contradiction that has existed within communism in its development up to this point, between its fundamentally scientific method and approach, and aspects of communism which have run counter to this.
What is most fundamental and essential in the new synthesis is the further development and synthesis of communism as a scientific method and approach, and the more consistent application of this scientific method and approach to reality in general and in particular the revolutionary struggle to overturn and uproot all systems and relations of exploitation and oppression and advance to a communist world. This method and approach underlies and informs all the core elements and essential components of this new synthesis.
As with all scientific approaches to understanding and transforming reality, communism must continue to develop, and it has undergone a qualitative development with the new synthesis, which is a leap beyond, and in some important ways a rupture with, what has gone before. Recognizing this is the essential dividing line today between genuine revolutionary communists and those who may profess to be for communism and revolution, but who in fact are not. Just as, in 1975, being a communist meant being a follower of Mao and the path that he had forged, so today being a communist means following Bob Avakian and the new path that he has forged. [back]
2. There is a great deal of misunderstanding and confusion about the question of communist leadership, confusion which is bound up to a large degree with misconceptions about—and in some ways opposition to—the principles and objectives of communist revolution itself. Leadership—and in particular communist leadership—is, as I have been speaking to, concentrated in line. This does not simply mean line as theoretical abstractions, although such abstractions, especially insofar as they do correctly reflect reality and its motion and development, are extremely important. But in an all-around sense, it is a matter of leadership as expressed in the ability to continually make essentially correct theoretical abstractions; to formulate, to wield, and to lead others to take up and act on—and to themselves take initiative in wielding—the outlook and method, and the strategy, program, and policies, necessary to radically transform the world through revolution toward the final aim of communism; and through this process to continually enable others one is leading to themselves increasingly develop their ability to do all this. This is the essence of communist leadership.
Bob Avakian, BAsics 6:7 [back]