February 8, 2021 | revcom.us
Editors’ note: The following are lightly edited transcripts of comments by Andy Zee on the February 4 episode of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show. Watch the episode, which premiered the second season of the show, here.
We begin our second season with the New Year’s Statement from Bob Avakian, titled:
A NEW YEAR, THE URGENT NEED FOR A RADICALLY NEW WORLD—
FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF ALL HUMANITY
Bob Avakian’s (BA’s) New Year’s Statement is a blast – not just a breath – of fresh bracing air in a suffocating moment in history. Hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people are choking and gasping for air – from COVID, from the destruction of the atmosphere, from fires and floods and poisoned water, and, even more from the vile bile of ruling classes around the world who demonize and torment the masses of humanity worldwide with their rule and their boastful endless insistence that this is best and really the only way the world could be.
BA’s statement is a salvo for a new year against all of this – inviting and fighting for you, for millions of people, to see how and why a radically new world is possible.
Precisely because the hour is late for the survival of the earth and life on it, because fascism and reactionary regimes are rearing their heads everywhere with all the brutality, death, destruction, oppression and repression of this system weighing heavy on peoples’ lives and spirits… you should take the time, and take in, the whole of BA’s statement: A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity.
Bob Avakian pulls the lens back and doesn’t pull punches. BA says that even as it is a very good thing that the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime was defeated in the election, the opposition between the fascist Republican Party and the Democrats will not only continue, but as he says in the statement: It
does not represent the fundamental divisions in society and the world, nor the fundamental interests of the masses of people, in this country and in the world as a whole. Nor can the profound problems confronting humanity be solved—in fact, they can only get worse—within the confines of this murderously oppressive and exploitative system and the chaos and destruction it will continue to unleash on a massive scale, so long as it continues to dominate the world.
But that is not all. He goes on to warn, to awaken us to the reality that:
The electoral defeat of the Trump/Pence regime only “buys some time”—both in relation to the imminent danger posed by the fascism this regime represents, and more fundamentally in terms of the potentially existential crisis humanity is increasingly facing as a consequence of being bound to the dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism.
What is this system of capitalism/imperialism? These words are being bandied about these days, even by politicians. But what is capitalism, what is imperialism? Why do we need to know what they are and how they work? Do they describe a system that is broken, or is this system working the only way it can, causing horrific suffering of literally billions of people? Is capitalism the only way society can be organized? Is humanity capable of rising above the dog-eat-dog world we have? What does an economic system have to do with systemic oppression of Black people, people of color, women, LGBTQ people, countries and people around the world? And what is the way to understand this? What is the way out of the madness that we say Bob Avakian has developed? Do you, does humanity, have to stay ignorant of the way the world works – subject to rantings of demagogues and the empty promises of so-called reformers who claim they can fix what is beyond repair?
Over the coming weeks and months, we will be digging into this and breaking it down on The RNL Show. And, we will be providing you, our audience, with on-line Zoom into the Revolution forums of different kinds, some for learning about and getting introduced to the statement, to BA and the work he has done, and others that are four-week participatory seminars to engage the statement with others. A young member of the “Get Organized for an Actual Revolution Tour” will be speaking about this later in our program.
A moment ago I quoted Bob Avakian saying in his New Year’s statement:
The electoral defeat of the Trump/Pence regime only “buys some time”—both in relation to the imminent danger posed by the fascism this regime represents, and more fundamentally in terms of the potentially existential crisis humanity is increasingly facing as a consequence of being bound to the dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism.”
More questions leap to mind: What underlying changes in the world and the U.S. gave rise to the Trump/Pence regime’s fascism? What really drives this virulent fascist movement that denies the very concept of truth? What economic, political and social changes gave rise to and fuels the Christian fascist movement in this country and religious fundamentalist fascism around the world? BA quotes the Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts who wrote that there really are two countries, sharing one border. Really, will honeyed words calling for unity overcome the great divides in this country? And, how deep are those divides and why?
That’s some heavy shit. BA says, we’ve only bought “some time” with the election of Biden. That’s a serious forecast. That’s not something to gloss over, but something we need to understand – the import and implication is tremendous. In his statement, BA goes into what’s behind it with substance and science. He brings evidence. He brings analysis to the evidence, and most of all he brings to us the method and approach by which he arrived at these conclusions so that all of us – whether we are experienced working with theory or we have never been exposed or grappled with it before – can understand and take up a scientific way to know and then on that basis, change the world.
To understand why we are confronted with the situation we are, it is necessary not merely to respond to—and in effect be whipped around by what is happening on the surface at any given time, but to dig beneath the surface, to discover the underlying mainsprings and causes of things, and arrive at an understanding of the fundamental problem and actual solution.
We should not be scared of, or dismissive of SCIENCE. What we should be scared of is NOT knowing how the society and world we live and suffer under actually works. We should be concerned about how and why bullshit is everywhere – most sharply revealed in the millions believing that some mysterious secret forces are conspiring against white Christian people and that Trump won the election by landslide as their God ordained he would.
We should be concerned too by the poisonous notion that comes from people who come from a better place that opposes injustice, a way of thinking about the different kinds of oppression – a mode of thinking that runs through progressive movements, that only what you experience yourself is true – at least for you. That someone like you, or someone who is oppressed in one way or another, “organically” possesses an understanding of the cause and solution to oppression – even their own. Understanding the world this way leaves us blind to the real causes and the solution to the monumental problems humanity faces.
This is completely different from and opposed to a scientific method and approach to understanding, as BA says, “the underlying mainsprings and causes of things, [to] arrive at an understanding of the fundamental problem and actual solution.”
In his New Year’s Statement, BA brings alive the dynamics of how the world has changed in relation to the oppression of Black people, to the position and heightening of the oppression of women here and internationally, to the changes to where and how our food is grown and distributed, and what all of this has to do with the rise of political forms of religious fundamentalism that are fueling theocratic fascist movements around world which deny the science of climate change, contributing to the death of the planet we live on. These driving forces are not going to be cured by small changes to the system we live under, any more than a deadly cancer will be cured only by eating right, much less with a Band-Aid.
Most of all Bob Avakian brings in this statement and in his work overall a way out of the madness we face. He doesn’t just call for A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity; he opens the door to this new world, and how we can get there through a great liberating struggle, building a movement today that is preparing for the time we can make an actual revolution for that radically new world.
What guides this and the new society that is concentrated in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America that BA authored is the new communism. This new communism opens up the road to human emancipation. On the foundation of a more scientific method and approach to society and revolution, the new communism:
firmly rejects any approaches that amount to applying and justifying the bankrupt and extremely harmful notion that “the ends justify the means,” and that “truth” is just an “instrument” of desired objectives, rather than what it actually is: a correct reflection of objective reality.
BA has said:
This is not a revolution for revenge—the goal is not for exploited and oppressed humanity to have a chance to become exploiters and oppressors themselves—it is a communist revolution whose goal is nothing less than putting an end to all relations of exploitation and oppression, and all the degradation and destruction bound up with this, throughout the world. (From Why We Need an Actual Revolution and How We Can Really Make Revolution)
BA’s New Year’s Statement is an invitation and a call to struggle, not only against the powers that be but with each other over what is the problem and what is the solution. A struggle that necessarily involves how people think – fighting for an objective scientific method and approach – which means not how I wish things to be, but how they are actually are, and on that basis how they really could be changed to bring about a world where all people could flourish.
Yes, the Trump/Pence regime is gone from the pinnacle of presidential power. A sigh of relief is understandably felt by all, but relief is not the same as hope and struggle on a scientific basis for a future where all of humanity could flourish and live in a sustainable harmony with the earth…
A sigh of relief that leads to a retreat into an oblivious individualism – of “my life, my family, my problems and people” – such an approach will lead the return to a world that will only result in the relentless workings of the capitalist system accelerating the growth of fascism and the ravaging of people and the environment.
There is no shelter from the storm for the seven billion people on the planet. There is no hoping that the dark forces of white supremacy, patriarchy and the vicious xenophobia that fuels the theocratic conspiracy-addled forces of Trump fascism will go quietly into the night. They will not.
There is not just the future of Trumpism replaced by the killing confines of Democratic Party politics as usual with its promises and brocades of lofty words covering up and excusing the continuation of the grinding oppression of this system. There IS a third, far better future; and there is a road forward – a hard but liberating road to that future. There is extraordinary leadership for the struggle for that future in Bob Avakian. And there is a force that is beginning to gather to make that real – a movement that needs you and is inviting you to get into BA’s Statement for the New Year.
A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity. This is not just a dream. It is a dream that really could be. With that, once again, welcome to Revolution, Nothing Less!