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June 20, 2006

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Avakiana

Snippets of Avakian's "Revolution" video are being posted up on YouTube:

http://youtube.com/results?search=bob+avakian&search_type=search_videos&search=Search

srogouski

So now the right has taken to publishing the home addresses of most likely apolitical NY Times Travel photographers.

http://antiprotester.blogspot.com/2006/07/linda-j-spillers-great-ny-times.html

Can I use the word fascism now? Pretty please?

On the other hand, the ISO has the Minutemen so intimdated at Hillary Clinton's office that I'd be interested to see what it's going to be like at their NY Times protest on July 10th.

It's amazing what these morons look like when you finally see them in person.

http://rogouski.com/gallery/anti-immigrant-1/4_G

Interestingly enough, I make no effort to hide who I am online, and I rarely get harassed personally.

(finding wood to knock)

I did get harassed when LGF and Lileks published one of my photos at a WCW event but that pretty much stayed at the level of spamming my gallery comments page. When I shut down the script, it stopped.

But I think part of it is that the fascists tend to attack people they think are likely to back down. Liberal Democrats tend to give them a lot of ammunition in that area and there was a refreshing lack of American flags or pretense of American nationalism at the ISO counterprotest.

It got as funny as one of the Freepers repeatedly calling members of the ISO "commies". That would be a bit like going to the gay pride parade and calling people "homos" but they never seemed to get it.

Point is though that bullies only attack people they think won't fight back (like illegam immigrants).

(and I think there's a Star Trek episode about that)

friend of a friend

Well, it looks like the fight is coming straight into Mexico: and it's not just a matter of the border, but the social system we share with Mexico no matter how much that is denied by the politicians who made it that way.

film suggestion

the 1975 Maoist film "Breaking With Old Ideas" can be downloaded here using a bittorrent client:

http://www.demonoid.com/files/details/335055/

here are some invitation codes for Demonoid (once you have an account you can generate more codes):

n6d2725m0l
i38ehosrk7h
jn4yo2df5bre

here's the description of the film:

"It is a great irony that one of the most thought-provoking films of the Cultural Revolution is still banned in China as a "poisonous weed." Yet, perhaps it is precisely because this film does provoke so much thought--at a time when China is dealing with massive inequality and a freewheeling money-can-get-you-anything economy--that people might want to revisit it.

Breaking with Old Ideas (juelie, ??) is shot in a socialist-realist style that can be endearing now because it seems so dated, but the storyline is as powerful as ever. For a glimpse at the golden age of Cultural Revolution filmmaking you should check this film out."

on the YouTube express

This film could be chopped up and posted on YouTube. It's a banned film that was the product of a political movement. It's certainly not "owned" by anyone.

Avakian's Revolution speeches are getting systematically posted. There an hour or two up now. It can put up longer films in excerpt... but that will guarantee it an infinitely larger distribution than it has now.

Good looking out on the BitTorrent file.

Non Serviam

Someone cue up Queen, cuz another one's bit the dust:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/05/business/05cnd-lay.html?hp&ex=1152158400&en=fcf8a0645303801b&ei=5094&partner=homepage

Who wants to bet he took a bite of his government issue cyanide pill?

film suggestion

Breaking with Old Ideas (part 1 of 15) now up on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F1b3I3k8Vk

the rest is on the way:

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=breakingwitholdideas

spread the word!

celticfire

I just finished an email interview with Roxanne-Dunbar-Ortiz, a veteran activist and scholar, the author of Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975, and Red Dirt: Growing up Okie, for anyone interested.

http://celticfire.blogspot.com/2006/07/interview-with-roxanne-dunbar-ortiz-by.html

Breaking with old ideas

That movie is a trip. It seems like someone is posting up the whole thing in 8 minute snippets.

For all those critics of the "cult of personality," I wonder what they'd make of this movie. Lot's of Mao adoration, but he never makes an appearance. "Mao" means the working people in power and respected. "Communist Party" ends up meaning a bourgeois society.

That's kind of how it went.

Food for thought.

Thanks to the person posting this video. (One thing I couldn't help notice was how few people had viewed it so far, while any video that came up with two teenage girls acting the fool with a home camera had thousands of viewers almost instantly! Creepy.)

Non Serviam

In response to "Breaking with . . ."

First, I distance from a simple "cult of personality" from the personality cult. The former applies in all facets of public life, as a matter of bourgeois individualism ("individuals make history" vs. the correct formulation, "the masses make history"). Personality cults, on the other hand, are a distinct phenomenon of revolutions in decline.

To examine personality cult in the manner "Breaking" puts up a false dichotomy between a party and its leader; e.g., that party leadership are always for personality cults and parties always against them.

A more careful examination reveals that it is actually the bureaucratic party machinery, rather than its intellectual leadership, that embraces the personality cult. Lenin, Mao, and Ho Chi Minh all advised against such tendencies, because they understood their role as political and ideological leaders, who had to actually be read in order to be understood. It is those who lacked the exercise of such leadership who embraced personality cultism the most.

Thus we have the phenomenon of Stalin having essentially pickled Lenin's corpse, against Lenin's own wishes -- because it is easier to create a narrow Socialism of One Country by extoling the Socialism of One Corpse rather than Lenin's works. Thus we have Lin Piao taking on the projects of Selected Quotations, etc. -- all of which have been easy for Deng, et al., to appropriate rhetoric rather than the actual rigidity of Mao's analysis.

nick

i think the treatment of Mao in "Breaking with Old Ideas" is important to take up and understand. Because it deals with crucial issues about how revolutions are made and defended.

In many ways, it is hard for the revolutonary forces to win in the college described in the movie. They make major headway, they create a model opposed to bourgeois education, they struggle with backward forces (among both the students and professors) to win them over and create 'socialist new things."

But at the same time, you can see (in the course of the movie) that this college doesn't "exist in a bubble" -- that it isinfluenced by (and its fate is ultimately decided by) larger forces and struggles in society -- including fundamentally the major two line struggle happening for the very control of the revolutonary party and state.

On one level, having this revolutionary college (as a real and material forcein the world) and countless other "socialist new things" -- these were a powerful factor during the Cultural revolution pushing forward the revolution, and providing a material base for the revolutoinary communist forces (at all levels in society and the party).

But again -- ultimately -- the issue of "what line wins out" was tied to many factors (including who controls the army and state power) not just on "what the masses in THIS institution do or want."

There is a point in this film, where the struggle has gotten very intense, and where the revolutionary forces look like they are about to be defeated (in this worker college) and where powerful forces are about to impose the very line and approach they have been fighting. And (here I am giving away a key plot element, so forgive me) a message arrives with support from Mao, encouraging them, and calling on all forces to support them, their line and not the reactionaries.

It is a turning point, where (for this stage of the battle at least) the revolutoinary line looks like it will win.

And i have heard some say: this is terrible. Why can't the masses win without mao? Why after all this struggle is the intervention of mao portrayed as so important, and even decisive? Why not just eulogize the "struggle from below" and "let the masses be the heros."

This view is what is expressed in this thread by complaints about "cult of personality."

AndI have to say, the complaint (and the labeling of this as "cultish") both completely miss the point.

The point is "without state power, all is illusion." Without a revolutionary communist force leading at the center of a socialist state (and leading a vanguard party network of revolutionaries with a communist line) -- it is impossible to defend or secure the victories and revoluctionary of the masses at the base (even under socialism!)

And the film shows these events this way (not because it wants to impose some semi-religious "cult of Mao") but because this is how the class struggle ACTUALLY WORKED -- this is how the battle raged. Over and over the masses (inspired by and led by Mao and the genuine communists) would fight their way to "socialist new things" -- and often they woulde be defeated and suppressed by counterrevolutionaries in the party and state authority. And over and over (in china) Mao would intervene, make it a major issue, take a stand. He went into the countryside and said "people's communes are fine" -- and threw his support (with all that this meant!) behind the great movement of the fifties. He put out "my own great character poster" in support of rebel youth -- to launch the Great proletarian cultural revoltuoin. At every point there was struggle over summation -- and there was a complex back and forth between the struggle 'at the center' and the struggle at every other point in society.

The idea that this movie should "just show the struggle of the masses" (and not show the crucial role of Mao and the vanguard forces) is not materialist, it is idealist. It is not real, it is a "political truth" of invented (and semi-anarchist) mythology, that doesn't acdtually correspond to how revoluton is made. It degrades (and denies) the crucial role of key leaders, vanguard parties,and the state itself.

I encourage everyone to re-watch "breaking with old ideas" with that in mind -- and I encourage everyone who disagrees with me to lay out their thinking boldly so we can all engage.

nick

also:

I have seen some one \here denounce "the great man theory of history."

and in a previous post of this thread someone made this dicotomy:
"individuals make history" vs. the correct formulation, "the masses make history."

These views (looking at it this way) is populism not marxism.

Marxism does not have some mechanical and simplistic opposition to "the great man theory of history" and marxism certainly understands that individuals can play a decisive role in shaping events (and history).

We make history, but we can't make it any way we want. (now THAT is marxism!)

And so on the stage created by the materialist base -- parties, movements, innovators and (yes!) great leaders play their role. And it can make all the difference in the world.

In a fundamental sense, the masses are the makers of history -- this is our mass line view. Certianly nothing can be done (in our epoch) without the masses, and the specific nature of communist revolution requires that the masses be CONSCIOUSLY involved in a radically unprecedented way in affairs of state (starting now, even before the revolution).

but again, the idea that this means that there is no role for individuals just goes against all the lessons of history. It has often been said (and I think it's true) that if Lenin had died in 1915, not only would there not have been a Russian revolution, and not only might the revolutionary communist movement have been extinguished for a generation or more(!) -- but people might never have known that there was an opening for communist revolution in Russia! It was something that he was virtually alone in seeing, and fighting for (including within his own party).

So while the masses made that revolution, lets appreciate too the decisive role of leadership and line. Because without such leadership (of a communist line) the MASSES CAN'T MAKE HISTORY.

That is both materialism and dialectics.

Non Serviam

You may have made a presentation for an anarchist convinced that there is no need for leadership. Unfortunately, I'm not that anarchist (or an anarchist, period).

The leadership of the party of the vanguard type is necessary and vital. Paraphrasing Gramsci: the army that loses its generals is wiped out.

The personality cult is not leadership, however. It is a bastard child of bourgeois great-man leadership where it meets an only halfway-communist understanding of the idea of "the masses" (e.g., understanding that the masses make history, but only as pairs of arms that engage physically and must be made to learn by rote).

It is not just the vanguard party that accomplishes revolution, takes state power, and builds socialism; that is formulation of Trotskyites (and, to a lesser degree, certain anarchist collectives). Nor is it just the masses acting on their own, as your strawman would have it.

In all things, it is the vanguard that is in touch with the masses, that knows the enemy, and works in relation to those forces (fighting the enemy, building high and broad unity with the masses), that actually accomplishes something in whatever phase the revolution may be in.

To wit, this is why the Leninist model of the revolutionary is called "cadre" -- a military term for that group of officers that instructs the less-experienced and lower ranking, to the point that they may become officers. We could all just easily act on our own -- and just as easily be wiped out. Or we can sit back and let masses make history -- and let them make bad history, as they are led by vascillators toward their self-negation.

It is when there is a high unity -- not the surface unity of owning a book and repeating its slogans, but understanding the book and summing it up in the slogan -- that the strength of the masses and vision of the vanguard become fully realized.

Mao had built that sort of unity with the masses, which is why the affection shown for him (documented in BwOI) is genuine. Lin Piao, Deng Xiaopeng did not -- and it was they who embraced the personality cult the most, in order to tap into the most surface elements of Mao while leading the Chinese masses into a period of vascillation and self-negation.

nick

I was not addressing anardchists.
And i was not making a general remark about "cult of personality."

And my remark was not "about you."

My remark was about the response some people have to "Breaking with Old Ideas" which shows the relationship of masses and leaders in a correct, materialist and communist way. (Not only in the relationship between the masses and Mao, but in the relationship of the masses and their local leaders -- like the remarkable Principal Luong who gives a wonderful idea of what a communist should be like.)

You talks about a view of the masses that says "halfway-communist understanding of the idea of "the masses" (e.g., understanding that the masses make history, but only as pairs of arms that engage physically and must be made to learn by rote)."

Did anyone here put forward anything like that? No. You made it up.

So you replied without talking about the arguments i made, and you invented arguments that weren't made. (snores.) It gets tiresome.

So lets get materialist:

Sometimes individual leaders (not just "leaderrship in general) are crucial. Sometimes they (and not their parties as a whole or even their party collectivity as a whole) concentrate a way forward.

This was certainly true with Mao in the mid 60s, just as it was true of Lenin in 1917.

It is not an invention or a mood or some kind of trick to put forward Mao at that moment. It was a real necessity -- to ponit out that HE (and in some ways, he alone) was fighting for something crucial (and in the case of China, in direct opposition to what most of the rest of his party and its leadership were fighting for).

Mao said correcdtly that there are two kinds of "cult ofpersonality." One promotes slavishness and blind obediance -- and is a deeply reactionary and anti-communist thing. (And this was the way Mao was treated by those of the Lin Biao school who said "memorize his quotes even if you don't understand them.")

But there is another kind of "cult of personality" -- without a hint of slavishness -- that promotes a crucial leadership in a way deeply marked by a correct, true, materialist assessment of that person, and that moment, and the issues being struggled over.

In other words, sometimes this is what is necessary for the revolutionary movement to unite around a correct line, to deepen that line and advance.

I get the feeling from your response, that you have not seen "Breaking with old ideas" -- so you are talking without investigation (and that this, in part, explains why your reply is so superficial and uninformed.)

So I make the suggestion: watch the video, grapple with how it portrays the complex class struggle under socialism, and how the role of leaders (including Luong, but especially Mao) are dealt with.

(And need I point out that Mao is far from the FOCUS of this movie, his role is brief-if-decisive, and it mainly zooms in on the masses and their local leadership, and the living tapestry of class struggle. It is a film of both revolutionary realism and revolutionary romanticism.

film suggestion

Breaking With Old Ideas is now on YouTube in its entirety! There are 15 parts in all.

Here's the main link to bookmark and pass around:

http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=breakingwitholdideas

Last I checked, the BitTorrent file is still alive, so follow the Demonoid link to get a downloadable copy:

http://www.demonoid.com/files/details/335055/

the burningman

All comments related to the merits of Bob Avakian are being moved to the thread dedicated to this discussion:

http://burning.typepad.com/burningman/2006/02/the_party_line_.html#comment-19410818

Please do not turn every thread on this site into whatever you think its all about. Moving comments is a pain with this inferior software, so please don't make me do it.

-------

In Breaking With Old Ideas, we can see the revolutionary use of the cult of personality related to Mao in practice. We can see what inspires SOME to uphold it. We can also see that Mao died and, well, that was about it for socialism in China.

To me, this is hardly an argument for promoting that same methodology in a completely non-feudal country where the politics of adoration are the meat of the political right, religious fundamentalists and other blatantly authoritarian movements.

If fact, the prominence of the cult of personality in this film pretty much innoculates a lot of folks from seeing beyond it. They'll watch the movie for twenty minutes and go "oh, Mao is supposed to be for the people, and the people are supposed to be for Mao. He's the good king..."

The distinction between leading lines, holding the political center, and ultimately reactionary means of engaging power such as the politics of adoration is really hard for some folks to grasp. They insist it can't be done, and then feel the need to re-define anyone else who CAN see the difference because "it can't be done" even while people are plainly doing it.

Frustrating I know...

But take it up on the thread:

http://burning.typepad.com/burningman/2006/02/the_party_line_.html#comment-19410818

Non Serviam

>>Did anyone here put forward anything like that? No. You made it up.<<

No one *here* put it forward -- but this is certainly what has been put forward in those nations where personality cult has taken hold.

The masses make history in the post-Mao PRC, post-Ho Vietnam, Cuba since the Granma generation got killed off in various locales, and North Korea almost from its beginnings. There are, in fact, various attempts to recapitulate the old slogans; the leadership of those nations never cease to tell the masses that they make history.

The question is, where are they making history and for what ends? In sweatshops, cane fields, and at least in North Korea in abject poverty. They make history as a matter of self-negation, in favor of corrupt parties and petty leadership.

Are leaders crucial? Undoubtedly. But why? For their politics -- after all, it is "politics in command" and not "politicians in command." There are times when individual leaders become indispensible. These moments should be treated as a period when these individuals are called to assume greater responsibilities -- not simply greater charismatic power.

As for the film "BwOI" I've managed to get through the better part of the first episode before getting work put on my lap. Wage slavery grants me a high-speed connection (lacking at home), but still manages to alienate me from my time. . .

the burningman

The Bush agenda has taken a big crack: They've pulled back from the public rejection of the Geneva Accords. This covers Gitmo and "other" facilities, and all prisoners.

nick

a brief discussion of method:

Person A says "x"

Person B replies "x would means that the people are only treated only as pairs of arms that engage physically and must be made to learn by rote."

Person A says: "This is not remotely what I or anyone advocated, and it is exactly the opposite of what I say and mean."

Person B replies: "Yeah, but someone else said something similar to x, in some other country and time, and this is what they meant. So I feel comfortably accusing you of believing, saying and doing what I claim they believed, said or did."

This is the method behind serviam's remark above: "No one *here* put it forward -- but this is certainly what has been put forward in those nations where personality cult has taken hold"

I think everyone reading this can see how such argument is methodologically wrong -- and is a method of argumentation that AVOIDS dealing with actual arguments of other people -- because their arguments are treated merely as standins for pre-existing "arguments" from other times and places.

(This has been, in particular, the method of Trotskyists, who often treats Maoism as "merely" a varient of "Stalinism" -- and then, following wrong and mechanical reasoning, they proceed to argue against what they claim stalin said and did, without ever dealing with what seventy years of Maoist revolution has brought forward (including the ways it radically critiqued and broke from the approaches of Stalin.)

Serviam's remark on "cult of personality" is also (and not surprisingly, given the method) historically and factually wrong. In fact, the promotion of Mao Tsetung Thought in china was part of a profound, deep and world stirring BREAK with the "theory of productive forces" (that did treat the masses of people and communists as "jimmy higginses" whose best contribution was nose-to-the-grind-stone as either "organizers" or production workers.) In fact, the promotion of Mao was integral to a fight for the leading position of Mao's LINE -- which was to continue the revolutin within the revolution, and which was about raising the conscious activism of people, their knowledge of cardinal affairs, and it had as a central thesis training everyone to grasp the particular IN LIGHT OF THE FINAL GOAL (and the world revolution).

In other words, the real, actual historical experience of socialism (and in particular of Maoist china) included as its principal aspect the exact opposite of what serviam claims.

This is an example of something refered to elsewhere in this thread: where people (who think and say they are very "left") in fact treat the most crude and uninformed anti-communist histories of the last century as if they are (in fact) true.

It is helpful both to point it out when it appears, and also to study the REAL history of these previous events to be equiped to identify and counter bourgeois misinformation (regardless of what guise it appears in) and also to be able to make bold critical assessments on these previous experiences (but on a CORRECT and revolutionary communist basis)

a comment

Three major new talks by Bob Avakian now online -- at http://bobavakian.net

(the title of the talks, and their sections, kinda speak for themselves!)

Time to download, listen, share and bootleg.

I propose: Let's send out emails letting people know they are out. And post on all listserves/etc. that they are available.

Why We're In The Situation We're In Today ... And What To Do About It: A Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution

* Part 1 – 120 minutes / 57 meg (mp3)
* Part 2 – 77 minutes / 36 meg (mp3)
* Part 3 – 125 minutes / 59 meg (mp3)

Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy

* Part 1 – 70 minutes / 33 meg (mp3)
* Part 2 – 101 minutes / 48 meg (mp3)
* Part 3 – 50 minutes / 23 meg (mp3)

Communism: A Whole New World And The Emancipation of All Humanity – Not "The Last Shall Be First, And the First Shall Be Last"

* Part 1 – 126 minutes / 59 meg (mp3)
* Part 2 – 75 minutes / 35 meg (mp3)

the burningman

True enough, Nick. True enough.

The one caveat I'd add is that there has been a history of self-criticism in aspect within the ICM. So people say we don't "intend" for this or that to happen, but don't dig into the underlying method that gives rise to it.

One example of this is treating a political vanguard as the alpha and omega. As if political parties can, by virtue of their ostensibly correct line, stand in for the conscious activity of the people.

I don't think you have, by and large, been an advocate for that method... but it's certainly out there and it comes up when poked quick enough.

nick

many things "come up when poked."

People were trained to think "The Party is always right" -- which is obvously a problematic way of thinking particularly when sharp struggles over road and revisionism emerge. And (methodologically) is a wrong way of thinking ALL THE TIME -- since it is scientifically untrue, and promotes an idealist-religious epistemology not a scientific-materialist one.

But the mechanical method i'm talking about (method of argumentation) has been apparent on these threads. Look at how it was argued "Identifying fascist danger and fighting those drives by the most powerful sections of the ruling class have meant -- in the 1930s, seventy years ago -- that the old communist movement alligned in rightist ways with their own ruling classes. Therefore to do so now will mean, sooner or later, uniting with the U.S. imperialists, and particularly becoming footsoldiers of the imperialist Democratic Party."

This is a false logic, an undialectical logic. It does not even bother to analyze particularity of historical experience, and it actually denies the role of line (and of the conscious subjective factor)... things are predetermined, politics flows from apriori principles (that came from where?) and so on.

Also let me get real:

In a world that FUCKING SCREAMS for vanguard parties. That needs them. That demands them. That has frighteningly FEW OF THEM. Where the very idea of a vanguard party is treated as something to be rejected, feared, suspected, denied, repudiated, mocked.... In a world where people need to actively and fearless join and build and promote the vanguard forces that exist, and throw their lives and energies and hopes into that...

In such a world...

I find it worse than odd, that every mention of the word "party" gets remarks like the ones you made here (and which you constantly make).

You write "One example of this is treating a political vanguard as the alpha and omega. As if political parties can, by virtue of their ostensibly correct line, stand in for the conscious activity of the people."

Is that true?

Well, I'm not sure what the first sentence means. Or what an example of that would be. I'm not sure if you would consider the first half of my post here to be such an example.

Is it true that there have been cases where revolutionaries (organized in various ways) tried to substitute themselves for "the conscious activity of the people"?

Yes, it is true.And it is worth fighting against that (not just pointing out that it happened).

But what are we to draw from that?

Not that "the conscious activity of the people" is important, but the vanguard party is not.

In fact, with vanguard parties (with a correct line on precisely this point among others) it is not really possible to have "the conscious activity of the people" on the historical and practical scale needed!

When we point to the importance of the "conscious activity of the people" (and I want to note that BA's new synthesis does this in a way that is truly new, unique, literally pathbreaking/worldmaking and a leap beyond anything put forward before -- including by mao!) -- when we point to this (and more, when we grapple with what this requires)....

Then that brings us to new challenges in forging and developing vanguard forces. It points to tremendous challenges (and ruptures!) that communist forces need to make -- in order to truly create and lead that "conscious activity."

That is a part of what BA's new synthesis around "solid core with a lot of elasticity" is concentrated and developing.

Let me put it this way:

When someone says "vanguard" the answer is not to say "yeah, dude, but what about the conscious activity of the people."

in fact, what we need to grapple with is how such "conscious activity of the people" comes into being, what it really needs to consist of, and what we need to do to make it possible.

If you grapple with that, in a communist way (not in a way that worships and overestimates spontaneity, including the spontaneous consciousnessof the masses), then it precisely brings you to a sense of the preciousness of the vanguard forces, the importance of building them, and (more!) the burning importance (now) of bringing BA's new synthesis centerstage (both among the masses, and among the vanguard communist forces).

nick

sorry, one paragraph said exactly the opposite of what I intended:

In fact, with vanguard parties (with a correct line on precisely this point among others) it is not really possible to have "the conscious activity of the people" on the historical and practical scale needed!

it should say "without vanguard parties" (!) But you already guessed that, right?

repeater

"When we point to the importance of the "conscious activity of the people" (and I want to note that BA's new synthesis does this in a way that is truly new, unique, literally pathbreaking/worldmaking and a leap beyond anything put forward before -- including by mao!) -- when we point to this (and more, when we grapple with what this requires)...."

Okay, here you're going to have to back this statement up. What is "the new synthesis"? To me it seems as if it is neither new (in a historical sense, though perhaps new to the RCP), nor is it synthesized (that is, raised to the level of theory).

You can't just drop a claim like this and expect it to be taken as truth. Again, what is "the new synthesis"?

nick

Repeater wrote: "ou can't just drop a claim like this and expect it to be taken as truth. Again, what is "the new synthesis"?"

The claim repeater refers to is that "A's new synthesis does this in a way that is truly new, unique, literally pathbreaking/worldmaking and a leap beyond anything put forward before -- including by mao!"

And, on one level, repeater is right -- certainly one can't simply assert something (especially something major) and "expect it to be taken as truth."

that wouldn't be scientific, would it?

On another level, however, tremendous amounts of material are available (material upon which this "claim" is based.)

So, I made this claim (or rather referred to a larger ongoing discussion) above -- IN LIGHT OF all that material and discussion. And there is nothing wrong with that. Since (rather obviously) And obviously, every time you make an assertion (or refer to a conclusion) in life, you can't haul in all the documentary material available and present it (not every time at least.) (I.e. if I say humans evolved from fish, I can "drop" make such a controversial-but-true "claim" without feeling compelled to literally dig into all the evidence at each time.

Now, repeater adds" What is the new synthesis?"

Which is also a valid and in fact important question.

Obviously, the place to go for this is to Avakian's works (which is where this new synthesis has been made, and elaborated, and worked through over twenty five years -- especially since Conquer the World) -- and then in rather remarkable new ways in the works written over the last four years.


I don't want to pretend to capulize this -- in a few words. I think that cuts out the actual richness and profundity of what is being put forward.

But here is my observation: Avakian is calling for a break (a rupture) with previous communist thinking about communism (what is is, how we get there).

He is doing this by standing on the shoulders of the great achievements of previous communist thought and revolutions. I.e. this is a development of MLM, and takes place on the basis of boldly upholding (while critically summing up) the rich experience of previous revolutions.

And it centers on struggling through how to actually make a transition to a radically new society -- how to "expand the we" that rules society, how to put the cardinal questions of society and that transition before the masses of people and ACTUALLY TRANSFORM the society toward the abolition of the 4 alls.

In particular, it incorporates a radical new view of how to engage in that struggle (among the masses, and over ideas) both within the revolutionary movement and then within the future socialisst society -- so that the assertion of leadership (the necessary leadership of the revolution, the necessary dictatorship of the transition period) does NOT mean the stifling of thought, the greying of society, the depoliticzation of the people, the emergence of uncritical religious thinking, the inability of the revolution to appreciate and absorb new thinking (including even by its critics).

This has philosophical implications (concentrated in the "Epistemology" talk) which are a departure (a rupture) from previous communist thinking (and especially with instrumentalism, "political truth," "class truth," and "truth as an organizing principle") -- i.e. a real deepening of the SCIENTIFIC nature of communist thinking (even beyond what Marx, Lenin and Mao represented!)

And it has some profound implications for how the whole process of revolutin is conceived (concentrated in the phrase "solid core with a lot of elasticity").

And it has more profound implications for how the revolution is prepared, organized and waged (which is elaborated in connection with the concept of "enriched What is to be Donism" -- and also the rather remarkable approach of "central tast as create public opinion, seize power -- prepare minds and organize forces for revolution" (which, if you grasp it, stands in some stark contrast and rupture with how communists historically have seen the process of revolution).

I don't intend these remarks (as I said) as a "characterization" of these theoretical developments -- but as a way of "pointing you toward" the places where BA himself digs into this.

When you read his talks and writings, you can see that it is emerging as a single, densely interwoven body of work -- where a theme is raised (in CTW, for example) and then returned to, and grappled with, and dug into, and fought through in many places and from many sides.

And as part of that, there are related points of development (which on the basis of a long and fierce defense of the revolutionary heart of marxism, also points toward the need with some important ruptures and new development):

including on democracy/dictatorship in class society, internationalism/nationalism, the question of "international united front," understanding revolution as a world process, the spiral/conjunctural nature of crisis in modern capitalism/imperialism, and more (which i won't/cant all list here).

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