From a member of the National Revolution Tour
February 1, 2021 | revcom.us
There was an article in the New York Times on Monday, January 25, “How Liberals Rehearsed for Trump’s Power Grab.” While reading the article I was struck again and again by the stark differences between how “the left” (as it refers to in this article), and how Bob Avakian (BA) in his statement “A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity” approach the current situation we face, the role of truth, and the capacity of people to face reality. I thought it was worth doing some compare and contrast of the two approaches because we are in times of very high stakes and these questions of approach and method matter a great deal in how we can act to change the world. The quotes from BA are from this New Year’s Statement.
The article reports that hours after the attempted coup in Washington, DC, on January 6, more than 900 people, “a coalition of union officials, civil rights lawyers and campaign strategists” joined a video call. The article states, “The meeting was no lucky feat of emergency organizing, nor was the highly disciplined and united front that emerged from it.” According to the New York Times, the video call included a presentation by a “liberal messaging guru” (What the hell is that?) urging “against calling the attack a ‘coup,’ warning that the word could make Mr. Trump sound far stronger than he was.”
Remember that just hours before, inspired and mobilized by the President of the U.S., a fascist mob of hundreds, many of whom were armed with poles, mace, and zip ties, ready for action, had smashed their way into the U.S. Capitol, calling out “hang Mike Pence” and “Where’s Nancy?” And what was the extent of the response from this coalition of “progressive” organizations and people—connected to or carrying forward the strategy of the Democratic Party—to these historic and earthshaking events? Don’t use the word “coup” because of the effect it would have in making “Trump sound far stronger than he was.”
Whether it was a coup attempt or not, wasn’t the criteria. The criteria was “what will people think.” This coalition connected to the Democratic Party are among the very people who are outraged, and righteously so, at the fascist forces, at all levels, who promote anti-scientific, baseless claims about COVID or the “stolen” election “because a lot of people believe it,” but they proceed to say whatever will have the effect they want rather than tell the actual truth.
This same coalition also called off a major public mobilization initially called for the day after the election to oppose Trump/support Biden. Why? They were afraid such a mobilization might “‘inadvertently turn the tide of media momentum’ by depicting a defeated president as a fearsome adversary.” The assumption by this coalition is that somehow through repeating their “narrative,” they would be able to determine whether Trump was actually a “fearsome adversary.” This fascist, white supremacist, misogynist, xenophobe is commanding the fealty of tens of millions of people in this country, not to mention the mob of thousands in DC on January 6, with enablers and supporters up and down the ranks of the Republican Party, but these organizers had the notion that they could determine his strength by choosing the right words to reflect the “narrative” they wished were true and by calling people out of the streets.
How is this approach different from the “alternate facts” of the fascists, regardless of their intent? Compare this to what Bob Avakian says about what we face in his Statement: “The unavoidable truth is that this country, the much-proclaimed ‘Shining City on a Hill,’ is full of fascists!—in the government at all levels and in large parts of the society as a whole.” Again, BA is putting the reality of the situation before people to confront and by understanding it, be part of changing it.
Even at the spontaneous celebrations when Biden was declared the winner of the election, people were “urged to take a tone of celebration and triumph,” with no hint that this fascist movement, reflected in the fact that 74 million people voted for Trump, might continue to be a problem. It was a righteous victory which was rightly celebrated, but the organizers’ goal was to make sure these celebrations made “Mr. Trump’s actions look impotent.” But people need to know the truth, and BA tells people the truth, not telling people what makes them comfortable: “The reality has to be confronted, that as expressed through the election, nearly half this country has passionately, aggressively and belligerently embraced what is represented by ‘Trumpism.’”
This “progressive” coalition connected to the Democratic Party had come together before the election with an aim to identify ways that Trump could seek to “win” or steal the election beyond the ballot box and map out a strategy through legal channels and procedures to prevent that. In addition to nixing any street protests as being “provocative” to the fascists, they also deemed that even the reformist demands of “Defund the Police” and “Abolish ICE” were unacceptable and needed to be “supplanted by a more studied vocabulary, developed through nightly opinion research and message testing.” Don’t talk about what the millions in the streets were outraged by in the beautiful uprising last summer. Forget about digging into what the source of the unending murder of Black and Brown people by the police is. Never mind why immigrants are put into cages under this system (under both the Republicans and Democrats as we know all too well). They make no political critique, there is no struggling with people about whether their demands would actually bring about the justice they so urgently want, no “democratic process” here. Just make sure the messaging doesn’t upset anyone, based on good marketing methods and focus groups.
Compare this to what BA calls out in the Statement: “This fascism is deeply rooted, in the underlying dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system that rules in this country and in the whole history of this country, from its founding in slavery and genocide.” People need to face that fascism was spawned from the very nature of the system in this country, not something that Trump is solely responsible for and that will be gone as he leaves office.
People broadly do have a deep sense that this fight against fascism isn’t over even if Biden won the election. The fascist politicians continue to follow Trump as the impeachment trial begins to take shape, and Trump himself continues to threaten, bully, and organize any who waver. The thugs are still in the streets, all the stronger because people did not broadly take up the call by Refuse Fascism to build a mass, nonviolent, sustained movement to demand that the fascist Trump/Pence regime must go! But these “progressive” organizers are working very hard to keep any discussion, any demands, any dreams within the confines of “what is.”
This is not just a matter of individuals being kept in a political and ideological straitjacket. It has much further ramifications. BA states: “And to the degree that things are maintained within the limits of this system, this will actually have the effect of furthering the horrors for humanity that are built into this system, while also reinforcing and giving further impetus to the underlying economic—and the social and political—forces that will strengthen the fascism that has already shown great strength in this country (and a number of others).”
Revolutionary communists often hear from people in the movements that the Times article is talking about, that we have a “hidden agenda.” But who is creating a “narrative” that suits their needs rather than telling people the truth? Who is downplaying the actual strength of the fascists because it helps make the people they seek to keep passive feel better? Who are the people making decisions to cancel the outpourings of people in the face of the fascist threat of stealing the election?
Let’s look at what is actually true and what is illustrated even in just this article compared to what BA is putting before people in this New Year’s Statement. BA, and the revolutionary communists who follow him, are constantly calling on people to be critical thinkers, gather evidence for your conclusions, fight to be consistently scientific in your method and approach to understanding problems and solutions, and put the big questions of the revolution before people so that collectively we can work on solving them.
BA, and the revolutionary communists who follow him, insist on telling people the truth even if it is not what people want to hear, struggling with them to act on their convictions and principles and dig more deeply into the analysis of BA while they are doing that. All of this so that by understanding what problems we are up against we can all act in ways that are consistent with the radically better world we want to bring into being.
As BA says here: “A profoundly different polarization must be brought about, in line with the potential for a radically different and better world, representing the actual interests of the masses of people and ultimately all of humanity. A radically different approach to understanding, and acting on, the relations and problems of society must be taken up—a thoroughly and consistently scientific method and approach.”
Be part of fighting for that different polarization he is talking about. Get into this Statement, spread it, talk with others about it, and continue to dig more deeply into the works of BA and find out more about the leader we have in BA, find out why BA is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.