The Workers Dreadnought

For International Socialism

Bob Avakian’s “New Synthesis”: A Critique, Part 4

with 19 comments

I would like to thank TB for the image.

In the last few posts (Part 1, 2, and 3) I have addressed the philosophical aspects of the new synthesis and the political implications on the international situation. Indeed, I demonstrate that either Avakian has either repackaged theoretical insights put forward by earlier Marxists and claimed this as his own theoretical contributions, and at other times has actually put forward what I think is in fact an erroneous line (this is something that can be most clearly seen in the case of post 3 regarding the international situation). In this post I will deal with another political dimension that the new synthesis attempts to address, the problem of democracy and dictatorship. This topic of course has been something that Avakian has dedicated a large section of his theoretical work to, and I do not have the time to address all of it here, and as with all of my previous posts will focus solely on what Lenny Wolff, in his talk on behalf of the RCP,USA and Avakian, tells us to be the main points. However, I will likely re-read and hope to dedicate a future post to K. Venu’s The Philosophical Problem of Revolution and his article in AWTW, Avakian’s response to the Venu article and Avakian’s Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That?

Summing Up The Past

The basic problem that Avakian is trying to grapple with here is how to sum up the historical experiences in the USSR and in the People’s Republic of China, especially taking into consideration “the conceptions, assumptions, methods, and approaches of the great leaders who led those revolutions.” This needless to say is incredibly important work because it is only by summing up the experiences of the past, and the methods utilised, can we avoid the mistakes of the path and delineate a new path forward. And I completely agree with Avakian when he writes,

To be clear: we are talking about changes from and ruptures with much of the approach in the societies that up to now could be said to have been genuinely socialist and genuinely revolutionary but which nonetheless had significant shortcomings. This is not, as someone humorously put it, “run the good plays, don’t run the bad plays”—this is a whole different approach, founded on the breakthroughs in communist world outlook and epistemology that I touched on earlier; a way to correctly answer the question “at what cost” and a way to lead things in a different way, and to a higher level.

The fundamental questions at the heart of this, Wolff writes are, “In short—how does the socialist state maintain itself as a power in transition to a world communist society without states—and not become an end in itself? How does it continue to advance—and not get turned back to capitalism?” I agree with Wolff that these are fundamental problems that exist at the heart of contemporary Maoism. Indeed, I further agree with Wolff that despite the successes of communists in the USSR and China, that  “you can’t just leave it at that. Necessary as it is, it’s not enough to just stand firm and defend—and cherish—those achievements in the face of the endless barrage of slander and distortion. It’s not enough just to go deeply into where those revolutions were starting from, and the relentless and unspeakably vicious forces they were up against.” I also completely agree with Wolff that, “we still have to interrogate what was done, analyze the shortcomings in both practice and theory, and truly prepare ourselves—and the masses—to do better the next time.” Indeed, this is something that I think is sorely lacking in the communist movement today, especially in regards to the experiences in China, and the fact that despite the advent of the Cultural Revolution that China was still lead onto the capitalist road (and I do not think that this can be sufficiently explained by the coup narrative that has become mainstay in Maoist circles). As I have repeatedly asked before, where is our “Class Struggles in China”? However, I must admit that when I read Wolff and Avakian alike, I do not find either of them producing the kind of intellectual and theoretical work that is actually necessary. Rather, what I find is a much more general account of the GPCR, which remains almost the same as the one that Avakian put forward in the 1970’s, and does not really take into account some of the deeper problems of the GPCR like the need for a “new class analysis”.

As part of answering this central question Avakian has argued, Wolff tells us, that “it’s been necessary to make a more thorough rupture with bourgeois-democratic influences and the whole conception of “classless democracy” within the communist movement.” This has meant that one has to understand the class basis of democracy, and understand that the USA does not actually enjoy a democracy but rather, is capitalist-imperialist and has political structures that reproduce that capitalism-imperialism, and that there cannot be a “democracy for all” as the political structures must side with the exploiting classes. Thus far, Avakian has not provided any new insights and nor does he claim to have. However, what Wolff tells us next is actually quite significant, especially in the context of the debate that has been going in the international communist movement (ICM) regarding the situation in Nepal, and the claim that the Nepalese Maoists make that they can use the bourgeois state to push forward the struggle for new democracy. He says that,

To begin with, you cannot use instruments of capitalist dictatorship—the armies, prisons, courts, and bureaucracy which this system has developed and shaped to reinforce and extend exploitation and imperialism—you cannot use those very same things to abolish exploitation, uproot oppression, and defend against imperialists. And you cannot use the tools of bourgeois democracy that have been designed, first, to settle disputes among the exploiters and, second, to atomize, bamboozle, and render passive the masses of people, as a means to mobilize and unleash people to consciously understand and transform the whole world. While it is true, as Lenin put it, that socialism is a million times more democratic for the masses of people, socialism is not and cannot be an extension of bourgeois democracy (which is founded on exploitation) to the exploited.

I largely agree with what is being said here, however, think that we need to be more specific at the same time. I think the question is what does it mean to make use of these political structures? Indeed, if Avakian is arguing, for example, that we cannot use the courts to demonstrate the true nature of this bourgeois system in the case of police repression then I must disagree with him. However, if Wolff and he mean that the courts themselves cannot actually bring forward socialism, i.e. you cannot sue for socialism, that he is indeed correct. Indeed, I think that in the case of the Nepalese Maoists the more difficult question is whether the State can be temporarily used to demonstrate the limits of bourgeois right to the masses thus demonstrating the need for a revolutionary takeover, especially in a context in which the urban infrastructure of the party has been destroyed and there is a strategic equilibrium that is incapable of actually going onto a strategic advance because of the balance of forces in the given situation? As a correlative to this I would be really interested to read a summation of the RCP,USA’s own attempts to run an anti-candidate to educate the masses about revolutionary politics, and the need for a real revolutionary alternative to the faux democracy that we currently have.

What communist can disagree with Wolff and Avakian that we need to get rid of the “4 Alls” (“the abolition of antagonistic divisions between people and the relations, institutions, and ideas that grow out of and reinforce those divisions”), and even more agree that these are not divisions that can be simply be gotten rid off, and that the social relations, ideas etc will continue to persist after the revolution has occurred. Indeed, I partially agree with Wolff when he says, “So it’s not so easy as “well, we just change the economic relations, and the rest falls into place”—and to the extent communists have thought or still think like that, it does a lot of damage. Every arena of society will have to be transformed and revolutionized, over a much longer period of time than anticipated by Marx or Lenin.” Where I disagree with him is that it will take longer than what was anticipated by Marx or Lenin because I do not recall at any point Marx or Engels suggesting how long such a transition would take, but I am willing to be corrected about this. Thus, Wolff and Avakian call for a new kind of democracy that involved the initiatives and and the mass mobilization of the people. Wolff writes,

That has to mean mobilizing—and unleashing—people, leading them and learning from them, to overcome the inequalities and the social relations of the old society, all of which undermine the advance toward a new form of society. It means equipping ever broader masses of people with the theoretical tools to critically analyze society and to evaluate whether and how concretely it is moving in the direction of communism, and what needs to be done to go as far as possible in that direction at any given time.

Indeed, the reason that I have spent so much time agreeing with Wolff and Avakian, despite some caveats, is not because I have adopted the new synthesis but rather because thus far I seen nothing original or particularly innovative about any of this. However, it is true that this is in direct contravention to the idea that some have in which the dictatorship of the proletariat would more closely resemble a form of welfare state in which the masses’ economic demands are simply met, whilst sustaining the traditional division of labour, or the kind of State that was led by Stalin which saw the linchpin for social progress to be the “productive forces”. However, Avakian further argues that the masses need to be led in this direction, and that they will not arrive at such a situation spontaneously, as Wolff says,

The answer is, they CAN. But not spontaneously and not without leadership. People cannot take conscious initiative to change the world if they don’t know how it works. That takes science. And because things have been set up in such a way to lock masses out of working with ideas, they need to get that science from people who have had the opportunity to get into it. Again, they need leadership … Because of all that, you will still need an institutionalized leading role for the proletarian party in the socialist state, so long as there are antagonistic classes and the soil out of which class antagonisms can grow. (Once those classes are abolished, there will then no longer be a need for institutionalized leadership, or for a state altogether.)

Indeed, there is little to disagree here with because it closely resembles an orthodox Maoist position. However, the question that I do have is actually about the nature of this leadership because in the case of the GPCR the way that the Cultural Revolution Small Group operated in specific cases demonstrates a level of autonomy that the masses had from this institutionalised leadership, but in other cases (like for example Shanghai) they played a much more clear role? Also, I wonder about how Avakian would deal with the problem that has often been identified in regards to Mao’s role during the GPCR in which he was both the “leader” of the Red Guards AND the “leader” alike, and this dual role often resulted in him taking positions that could often be contradictory? These are questions that Avakian tries to solve with his contribution, “the solid core with a lot of elasticity”, but which I think does not tread any new ground.

The Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity

I must admit that I have a very difficult time with this section, not because I do not understand it, but rather I cannot see how this differs from particular experiences that one can point to like the Cultural Revolution. Indeed, Avakian and Wolff  consistently note that this conception was put to practice during the GPCR, but promise us that the new synthesis is

something on a far greater scale, with different elements and dynamics to it. And let’s frankly come to grips with this: after ten years of the Cultural Revolution in China—the best of the previous conception of socialism—most people did not really understand the stakes of that last battle. Well, the different character and greater dimension of ferment in the new synthesis is one big part of the answer to how to do better next time.

Rather, what seems to have changed is the terms that are being use to explain something quite old and the absolutisation of these old principles. However, ironically this absolutisation of these principle is then particularised at another moment, say in the case of war, in the same manner as they were in much of communist history (for example, the 1920 ban on factions which was meant to be in response to a particular situation, and was subsequently universalised). Thus, let us try to better understand and see whether agree whether the new synthesis actually provides a different character and greater dimension than was allowed within the context of other movements, like the GPCR. So what is the solid core? The solid core is

not identical to the Party and it’s not identical to the proletariat, in some kind of monolithic way. At any given time the solid core represents a minority—in the first phases of socialist society, it’s those firmly committed to the whole objective of getting to communism; and then you’ve got various gradations of people, from different classes and strata, grouping themselves in relation to that.

The solid core is effectively a group of people who are committed to the “whole objective of communism” i.e. the revolutionary core. Thus, at times it can be be identical with more of fewer layers of people who constitute the revolutionary pole. Thus, for example in the case of the Cultural Revolution, Mao and his allies were the solid core. Or in the case of the case of the RCP,USA, Avakian’s faction was the solid core in a party that supposedly was lapsing into revisionism. This of course is predicated on a non-sociological assumption that some communists have that the proletariat is the same as the revolutionary core, and argues that there are varying relationships to the objective of communism by individuals (as I mentioned above). This non-sociological analysis of the proletariat is something that a number of theorists have been arguing for since the 1970’s including Badiou and Ranciere. This solid core will then relate to the other layers of society elastically.

The solid core will set the terms and the framework. But within that, it’s going to unleash and allow the maximum possible elasticity at any given time while still maintaining power—and maintaining it as a power that is going to communism, advancing toward the achievement of the “4 alls,” and together with the whole world struggle. Now there’s going to be constraints on the solid core at any time in doing that, including what kinds of threats you’re facing from imperialism. Sometimes you’ll be able to open up pretty wide, and sometimes you may have to pull in the reins; but strategically, overall, you’re mainly going to be trying to encourage and work with the elasticity, trying to learn from it and trying to figure out how you lead things so that it all becomes a motive force that is actually contributing—even if not so directly or immediately, in the short run—but overall contributing to where you want to go. And it’s going to be challenging and complex and full of risk figuring this out.

What I find odd here is that this is something that has been constantly practiced during the history of communism, but then has been limited under the auspices of extraordinary circumstances like “threats from imperialism”. Indeed, what I find odd is that Avakian never deals with the problem of why this happened and how it can be avoided, thus negatively reflecting on his claim to actually have summed up the experiences of the past, but rather simply repeats in essence what has been the practice of the communist movement and then axiomatises it as a principle, which then can be subsequently suspended if and when needed. The problem that I see with this ‘state of exception’ clause, which Avakian still allows for, is that has been repeatedly used by people like Stalin to turn the USSR into the politically and socially stifled place that most critical revolutionaries would not describe as communism proper (I know that there is a tendency in the Maoist movement towards a romanticised version of the Stalin period, which we must rupture from, but that means that there needs to a proper summation of that period and consciousness-raising in the revolutionary movement about it and is something I mentioned at the opening of this paper). Additionally, there seems to be a theoretical problem in this entire idea which Lenin identifies i.e. that at times a group outside of the recognised solid core is the one that actually runs ahead, and constitutes a new revolutionary solid core, and how should one relate to them? Indeed, they may actually have very different ideas about where society should go which is also informed by a new revolutionary objective truth, which may be at odds with the institutionalised former solid core’s version of the objective truth, and could then result in the “closing of the reins”. This is something I will return to throughout the rest of this section.

This idea of a “solid core with a lot of elasticity” can be more clearly seen in relation to the problem of state ideology. Avakian differs from the socialist states of the past, Wolff argues, because he recognises that despite the people’s support for a given revolution that the party remains a voluntary association, and that the majority of the people would continue to have differing relationships to communism.

It’s not the second coming, where everyone gets saved and “sees the light”—thank god! It’s a socialist society. You can lead people to do a lot of new things, a lot of important and emancipatory things, and set off a whole process in which people change society and themselves in a positive direction… but it can’t be done as if everyone has suddenly not only understood, but begun to adhere to and apply the communist method, stand, and viewpoint. And if you try to lead as if that is the case, you (a) are not going to be acting in correspondence to what is true, and (b) are going to, as a result, dam up and distort the whole process through which people come to know the truth and you will give rise to a phony, stifling, or chilled atmosphere.

There has to be a leading ideology—and the difference in socialist society is that we’ll openly express it, rather than mask it the way the capitalists do—but the people who aren’t sure they agree with it should feel free to say so and the people who don’t agree should definitely say so and it should get debated out.

Thus, Avakian argues for retaining and sustaining of a lively debate in which the communist party would spark a series of initiatives of key objectives and try to mobilise the masses around them, whilst still maintaining a leading ideology (which should be the same as or similar to the objective truth that Avakian continues to believe in). Avakian is modest enough to recognise that this was the case in the early years of the USSR, and in China. I must add a caveat here as I think we need to be more specific than Avakian is about China because we cannot say that this lively debate was allowed at all times during the life of Mao, and often became a poor parody of the kind of consciousness-raising project that is truly needed. Where Avakian thinks that he has made a real contribution is in regards to the relationship to spontaneity from below. He argues that spontaneity from below has largely been underemphasised or constricted in China and the USSR alike, where the process and goals of socialist transformation are clearly demarcated by the party and all deviations from it were considered dangerous and stifled. Indeed, Wolff argues that

you actually need intellectual ferment to understand the world. Ferment, debate, experimentation—intellectual “air”—gives you a window into all of what’s churning beneath society’s surface at any given time, and the possible roads to resolution and advance opened up by that churn; it helps you see where you may be proceeding wrongly, or one-sidedly. Without this, the dialectic between the Party and the masses—between leaders and led—would tend to be too “one-way”; the critical and creative spirit would grow blunt, on both ends.

First of all, I cannot, and neither can any of you (unless your perhaps a Hoxhaite), but agree with this and Avakian because this has been the lived experience of the communist movement in numerous times and places. Avakian of course is forced to admit, despite the fact that it seemingly contradicts his earlier claim that this has been underemphasized during the GPCR, that this actually did take place during the GPCR. second of all, I thinks that there is a problem with this however, which demonstrates a tension within Avakian’s concept of “the solid core with a lot of elasticity”, the elasticity of objective truth. On one hand the solid core is supposed to posses, according to Avakian’s radical epistemology, objective truth, not relative truth, and a deep conviction in the goal of communism. But on the other hand the civil society and other non-party political elements may actually be able to demonstrate where the solid core’s objective truth is wrong and teach the solid core something. This would mean to suggest that one actually does not posses absolute objective truth, and that the radical epistemology that Avakian has developed overlooks the necessary caveats that other Marxist theorists had to add to their own conceptions of objective truth. Indeed, this is why I think Mao’s idea of ‘mass line’ which neither absolutises objective truth as Avakian does, nor relativises it as postmodernists do, but rather partializes truth in the way that Althusser’s notion of science operates, is more correct. In Avakian’s conception of the “solid core with a lot of elasticity”, the revolutionary masses would be asked to be asked to participate in revolutionary initiatives and debate, but always whilst knowing that thy are not part of the solid core. This I believe would actually result in the kind of constriction that Althusser warns us about. Also, one must ask the correlated question as to whether the relationship of solid core to the masses would not simply reproduce the same tensions that we have seen historically in which the cadres of the solid core can actually stop listening to the masses because they are not part of the solid core?

This is then closely related to the fact that Avakian does not believe that a socialist society would have several political parties involved in this revolutionary process, and consistently describes the dictatorship of the proletariat as being based around the ideology of THE party or more narrowly, THE solid core. This of course means that Avakian is fundamentally unwilling to rupture with the experience of the USSR and China, and still advocates the single-party state. One could even go further and say that Avakian identifies a state in which a small cabal, the solid core, in effect runs the state. As Wolff says in regards to having an official state ideology, “Now, as I said, the Party does have to lead in socialist society, and the Party itself has to be unified around communist ideology, which enables it to lead people to correctly understand and transform reality.” Now I am not sure whether I actually agree with this reassertion of THE party. I think it is less and less likely in the current context that there will be a singular communist party that will actually lead the revolution on its own. Even in the case of the Bolsheviks this was not the case and the majority of people will actually belong to other organisations (Left SR’s or Mensheviks or anarchists) or no organisations at all, and the revolution will be a temporary congealment of these various trends around one political goal. Indeed, this concept lies at the heart of the United Front, which whilst being ostensibly lead by the Communist Party, allows the Communist Party to organise with other important political elements that remain outside of the Communist Party due to ideological and political differences. Avakian deals partially with this problem, for example, in the realm of ideology, but stills assumes that there is THE communist party which is leading the entire process. This I think has to actually be placed into question, not only historically, but also in the current conjuncture in which there are a multiplicity of communist organisations which agree to the broad contours of revolutionary Marxism, but may be ideologically committed to Left Communism or Trotskyism or a multiplicity of other tendencies. I definitely do not think we can return to the period of the early Russian revolution in which other parties were banned or repressed, or hollowed out in the case of China, or simply slaughtered in the case of Vietnam. And we need to think more carefully than I can do here about strengthening this concept even further. The idea of multi-party socialism that the Nepalese comrades have put forward, for example, can be interpreted to assume the existence of a new democratic constitution which provides some legal limits to the ideology of other parties i.e. anti-capitalism, anti-feudalism, anti-imperialism etc, but then allows for a number of parties to exist within this political realm that compete for the political loyalties of the masses. This tension regarding the singular nature of the party is present when Wolff argues that

part of this model the ideas of: contested elections where key issues facing the state are vigorously debated out with real stakes; a constitution (including the constraints that it puts on the Party); an expanded view of individual rights; the existence of civil society, with associations that are independent of the government; and a whole new way of tackling the contradiction between mental and manual labor, including a different view on the role of intellectuals—all of which I can only mention here, but would be eager to go into during the question period.

First of all, the similarities between Avakian’s own conception and that of the Nepalese conception of multi-party socialism are striking. However, where the differences lies is that it becomes clear that when Avakian means “contested elections”, he does not mean multi-party contest elections, but rather a much more limited electoral franchise which is limited to “issues” which can be voted on. The question of elections for heads of state is actually left out, and I think is telling. The solid core itself remains unelected, and hypothetically is even unelected by the party as the party itself is not identical to the solid core. Second of all, I am not sure how this radically differs from the experience in the USSR in the early years of the revolution where trade unions were allowed to be independent of the party, or even the active distribution of non-Bolshevik newspapers produced by other political groups, or the contestation of elections for different local level bodies. What Avakian simply seems to be doing is reasserting this limited experience, with a whole series of caveats, and once again claiming that it is something that he has pioneered.

Indeed, it becomes clear that Avakian’s “new synthesis” does not really offer a substantially new notion of democracy and dictatorship than what has experienced and theorised before before, rather all he does is absolutise the principles that Lenin and Mao advocated for but were unable to implement because of the on-the-ground realities like the misinterpretation of these principles by cadres etc. However, this absolutisation is simultaneously undercut by the capacity to suspend the elasticity principle in special cases. In effect Avakian has made the same gesture that many many others before him have made, including Stalin. The only difference remains that whereas Stalin was able to demonstrate his commitment to these principles, and their suspension, Avakian has yet to be tested. And indeed, Avakian’s idea of solid core has a troubling authoritarian potentiality in-built. Additionally, one cannot point to a proper summation of the historical experience of communism in the USSR and China (although I think Charles Bettelheim does much of the work regarding the USSR). Furthermore, unfortunately by claiming this as being an innovation of Avakian’s, the RCP,USA simply obscures the history of the communist even further for its own members and does not allow for a fuller appreciation of the historical experience of socialism around the world, and more dangerously in part assumes/adopts a bourgeois caricatured version of the past from which the RCP,USA has “ruptured” from. Finally this conception of the “solid core with a lot of elasticity” demonstrates a tension in Avakian’s radical epistemology as Avakian’s objective truth would be rendered simply a partial truth if he admits that criticisms and lessons from below may need the solid core to augment their idea of truth (hence rendering it not the objective truth) and/or result in the formation of a new solid core which may not overlap with the former solid core.

In the next post in the series I will finish this post series with a discussion of the strategic implications of the new synthesis on making revolution.

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Written by theworkersdreadnought

09/04/2012 at 17:07

Posted in Maoist Philosophy

19 Responses

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  1. Look, Marx did not lead a revolution, but yet you have no problem talking about Marxism. Many of Marx’s insights were derived, as he says, from French revolutionary politics, ie blanqui, saint simon etc, his philosophy from German idealism, hegel, feuerbach etc, and English economics, smith, ricardo etc. Marxism is itself a new synthesis of previous thought and movements. So, I dont see the difference with Avakian. He has synthesised the experience of the whole of the ICM, and the theoretical contributions into a new synthesis, like Marx did. Instead of engaging with this, or appreciating, promoting and publicizing this, instead these articles knock Avakian’s immense contributions. Marx spent a decade in the British library working on the science of revolution. Avakian likewise has spent decades working on the new synthesis for the benefit of the oppressed masses, and all artices like this can do is knock it. Avakian must be considered a new Marx, and among the different groups and theories, only Avakian can claim that. Also, a revolution in the US is much harder than a revolution in Nepal or peru, because it is at the very heart of imperialism, facing far more intense repression than in nepal or peru. It is important for people everywhere to take up the new synthesis, because only the new synthesis can lead us to a successful revolution. the rebellion of canadian comrades against the new synthesis is based on small minded parochialism. imagine avakian everywhere, what a difference that would make! i urge people to support this:
    http://revcom.us/a/265/265BAeverywhere-en.html
    to take Avakian to the masses. for peope who are unsure about avakian’s importance, they should read this: http://rwor.org/a/159/BA_Appreciation-en.html
    these articles wil give another side to these biased articles.
    furthermore, these articles are based on metaphysics and idealism, and not proper materialist dialectics.

    John

    10/04/2012 at 15:07

  2. the first line of Avakian’s spoken word masterpeice was ‘ we must broadly unite, to carry out the fight, to resist the crimes of this system’. it is because of this line of thinking that i can see that part of the broad unity must include those who do not accept the ‘new synthesis’ and the leadership of Chairman Bob Avakian. let us not forget the real enemy of imperialism and as Avakian says ‘ broadly unite to carry out the fight’. we can fight together against a common enemy. this includes many who may not even be marxists at all, but even religious people such as cornel west, progressive bourgeois philosophers such as bill martin and zizek and badiou. the solid core in this case are the rcp cadre, and the elasticity is precisely ‘ to broadly unite, to carry out the fight’. there is no problem in having a broad unity even with an anti avakianist like yourself, and together through unity we can try and wrestle with people, to bring them to communism and the new synthesis.

    Robert

    11/04/2012 at 02:57

    • Hi Robert,
      Thank you for your message and welcome to the blog. I really hope that you will continue to write on the blog as you are the only Avakianist thus far who has responded to these posts with any sense of what the “solid core w/ a lot of elasticity” would look like in practice i.e. trying to broadly unite with me in a struggle against and capitalism andimperialism, rather then simply calling me names.. I was wondering however, that in the context of the Cultural Revolution that has taken place in the RCP,USA in the last few years whether the solid core is actually much actually smaller than the “RCP cadres” and is actually more identitcal to Avakian and his tightest/closest circle? I was also wondering what this broad unity would mean for the attempts to re-found the RIM?

      WD

      theworkersdreadnought

      11/04/2012 at 11:02

  3. the cultural revolution in the rcp usa was to get rid of revisionists led by Mike Ely to overthrow Avakian and take the RCP USA in a revisionist cpusa type direction. The core of the leadership, such as Carl Dix and Raymond Lotta, those truly inspiring revolutionary leaders, as well as Li Onesto, resisted Mike Ely’s Kruschev and Deng Xiaoping tendencies. the solid core of the rcp usa is much better without revisionists and opportunists like Mike Ely, and the solid core is growing in leaps and bounds. The party is much stronger without the revisionists.

    Robert

    11/04/2012 at 18:14

    • Dear Robert,
      I do not mean to unnecessarily pry, and I apologise if it is, but it seems to me that there seems to be some disparity between your claim that the Cultural Revolution in the RCP(USA) was to get rid of revisionists LED by Mike Ely and the date at which I understand the CR started and when Ely left the RCP,USA (from very much the outside it seems like he only left after 2-3 years of the CR having started). Indeed, it seems to me that Ely became a target only much later, whether this was justified or not is something that I do not have an opinion about, and that the CR in the party was against a larger host of people inside the party who were opposed to the new synthesis and Ely was one member of this. Are there any plans to release more information about the events that surrounded the CR?

      theworkersdreadnought

      11/04/2012 at 18:26

  4. to bring up another point that these articles have not touched upon, and that is the draft program of the RCP USA which gives a clear strategy to getting to Communism. I dont know of any other party in the US that has a similar program, or even a program at all. the draft program is a road to the bright proleterian future. what disagreements do you have with this draft program?
    http://revcom.us/margorp/progtoc-e.htm

    Robert

    11/04/2012 at 18:21

    • Hi Robert,
      The reasons that I did not address the draft programme are 1) I am staying within the confines of the speech given by Wolff about the new synthesis; 2) its a draft programme, which a decade on has not been formally adopted, despite the fact that there must have been some collective decision to accept the Manifesto which thus renders it an ambiguous status; 3) seems to have been superseded by the recently adopted Manifesto and 4) its been a very long time since I read it. Perhaps you could clarify its relationship to the manifesto? Also, why has it not been formally adopted? The fact that it remains a draft seems to suggest that there are disagreements within the RCP,USA about its content.

      theworkersdreadnought

      11/04/2012 at 18:43

  5. whether or not the rcp usa core is small, which it isn’t, although we do not like to disclose our numbers, does not make a difference regarding the rightness of ‘ a solid core with a lot of elasticity’. this groundbreaking concept can be and should be taken up by all communists as the basis for their party work. comrades from tkp ml and sarbedaran have found this useful to their own practice. this article suggests that there is an ‘authoritarian potential’ in this concept, but does not say how. there is nothing authoritarian about the rcp usa, it is a disciplined revolutionary party.

    Robert

    13/04/2012 at 00:24

    • Dear Robert,
      I was not talking about the size of the RCP,USA, rather, I was addressing Avakian and Wolff’s argument that the “solid core” is not the same thing as the party. Indeed, it seems to me that you think that the party is the solid core, which may be at odds with Avakian and Wolff, and thus was wondering whether it was the post-CR party that is identical with the solid core, or was the pre-CR party similarly a solid core. The authoritarian impetus I see is the argument that the solid core is not identical with the party, but rather a pole that is centred on an individual. I was wondering whether you could speak to the supposed split within Sarbedaran to form pro-Avakian and anti-Avakian tendencies, and what is the influence is on the TKP ML because I have read several recent statements and cannot see the influence? Is there a pro-Avakian tendency within the TKP ML?

      theworkersdreadnought

      13/04/2012 at 07:14

  6. sometimes the solid core is an individual, such as Mao in the GPCR, or a faction that upholds the revolutionary line in a party that is dominated by revisionists. Avakian is the solid core of of the rcp usa, as well as the party who are solidly behind his revolutionary leadership.but if the party became revisionist, such as the nepalese one, or what Mike E tried to do in the rcp, then the solid revolutionary core is most necessary. Mao and the gang were the solid core of the GPCR, just as Bob Avakian is the solid core of the rcp usa. likewise, mike ely is the solid core of the revisionist Kasama project. etc
    not privy to inside knowledge of the tkp ml or sarbedaran, only know that many of their comrades recognize the huge importance of Bob Avakian for a successful communist revolution.

    Robert

    13/04/2012 at 17:24

  7. also, everybody upholds something, knowingly or unknowingly. some people uphold ron paul, others obama, some lady gaga or kurt cobain, others badiou or zizek. all these people are and represent political lines. therefore, what is the problem with upholding Bob Avakian who represents revolution? it is good that people know about Avakian and uphold him as this promotes revolution.

    Robert

    13/04/2012 at 17:27

  8. [...] synthesis” as summarised by Lenny Wolff (readers can read the earlier posts here: 1, 2, 3 and 4). In this last post I will discuss probably the most important aspect of the “new [...]

  9. Flks, there are indeed people other than Badiou and Zizek. It’s not like The WD is dripping with Badiou and Zizek to begin with. Are these the only red scholars who Avakian knows?

    And what of criticism and self criticism and bombard-the-headquarters type ideas? Do you people have NO problem with ANYTHING Avakian has ever wrote.

    Chuck Finale

    14/04/2012 at 04:45

    • It seems to me that they don’t. To way too many RCPers, Avakian is like Jesus, but better because he’s real! Complete with quotes presented as scripture. I’ll never understand why some people wish to turn themselves into mythical heroes. Nor will I understand why some people turn those heroes into gods or holy prophets.

      Aaron Reichow

      20/08/2012 at 17:45

  10. [...] in a series of posts dedicated to the ‘new synthesis’ (available here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Com. Surendra Rupasinghe has decided to respond with an article defending Avakian’s [...]

  11. [...] The Workers Dreadnought.  See also Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. JMP of MLM Mayhem! has published his own critique here.] Bob Avakian, Chairperson of [...]

  12. workersdreadnought,I appreciate your efforts greatly,but I feel you need to elaborate on the critique of Comrade Stalin.Today forces like Kasama or Mike Ely virtually relegate him to a non-Leninist,while Bettleheim’s evaluation reflects the New Left trend.True there were gross errors but remember it was Comrade Mao who defended Stalin as being 70% correct.Without the help of Soviet Russia Socialist China would never have come about.Can we ever forget Stalin’s contribution in World War 2 and his defence of the 1st Socialist Society.During the G.P.C.R.sufficient debate did not exist and Mao’s personality cult was over eulogized but introducion of factions or a multi-party system may well have destroyed the base and superstructure of a Socialist Society.In that light Avakian is much more progressive over forces like Kasama etc.I think it isimportant to respect the contribution sof Grover Furr on Stalin and also the writings of Joseph Ball.Infact we need to attack Avakian as not defending Comrades like Lenin,Stalin and Mao sufficiently.

    Harsh Thakor

    30/04/2012 at 05:59

  13. Infact in the evaluation of Bob Avakian I would go the inverse.I feel Avakian failed to defend Comrades like Lenin,Stalin and Mao sufficiently.He was harshly critical of the C.C.P.’s foreign policy in Mao’s era claiming that Mao collaborated with Nixon and attributed the theory of 3 worlds to Mao,which is actually a Dengist concept.I praise Avakian’s defence of the Gang of 4 and his ‘immortal contribution of Comrade Mao,which is a much better evalution thn what groups like Kasama have made.I also admire his views on dissent within a Socialist Society and his defending the concept of the vanguard party.THe concept of factions and one-party sytem is most ecclectical and is actually a ‘new left’concept.The great strides the U.S.S.R and China made would not have been possible without the leadership of the vanguard party.True there were gross errors in the Stalinst purges and excessec in the G.P.C.R.However these were the 1st Socialist experiments.

    What destroyed R.I.M.was the very distortion of the ideology of Lenin and Mao and the villification of Stalin.We can never forget Stalin’s role in wining the world war and defending the 1st Socialist Society.We have to defend the Leninist concept of the vanguard party toothand nail which is what made the C.P.I.(Maoist) build such a powerful movement.In this light we must always learn from Comradeslike the late Shanmughtsan and Harbhajan Sohi.I remember Joseph Ball’s cooment taht leave books of Althusser or Alan Badiou for vaction reading.

    Harsh Thakor

    30/04/2012 at 12:59

  14. Sorry,for a very minor error in my last comment.In para 1 by mistake i wrote “the concept of factions and one party sytem is most ecclectical’.I correct it stating the concept of factions and multi-party system is most ecclectical and is actually a ‘new left concept.”I wrongly wrote one party instead of multi-party.Please bear with my error.

    I reccomend readers to read some of the writings of Joseph Ball on multi-party system and Grover Furr’s writings on Stalin.This year is also the 25th death anniversary of George Thomson,a master dialetician.

    Harsh Thakor

    30/04/2012 at 14:29


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