- Category: Communist Organization
- Created on Sunday, 06 April 2008 09:19
- Written by irisbright
I found out about the 9 Letters by chance--got a flyer at a New Synthesis event. I am not in the RCP but work around it, at the Revolution Books in my city, sell Revolution paper, read Bob Avakian, etc.
I actually read everything on Avakian and the RCP at Kasama when I found out about the 9 Letters 2 or 3 weeks ago! I have read the Letters several times and feel urgently that they barely scratch the surface of what needs to be done to "move forward"--as you yourself implied about them (I think).
Some associates and I decided with some trepidation to bring the letters up to a comrade--someone core to the Party--because I was disturbed by what I read in the letters--mostly because they resonated with me. I have always felt that theoretically, BA's work is not that rigorous in its scholarship (compared to theory in other fields that I have studied in). His stuff is also not on the level of a "Lenin" or "Mao"- or at least I don't think so. I am new to Communist theory generally, and am also afraid to criticize his work in front of cadre.
My comrade reacted very strongly to our questions. We were shocked (now I'm not sure why any more) to find out that they had known about the 9 Letters since they had come out and hadn't told us about it at all. They said that you were a member who, over your time in the P, turned his back on making revolution. It was said that you were not really a Maoist or a sincere party supporter – but suddenly quit the party and attacked it.
It seems like a way to discredit anything an 'apostate' might say. They said you were unprincipled because you were trying to pull people away from the P, the only rev com org in the belly of the beast. They seemed very agitated, didn't answer our questions fully and generally disappointed us in our inquiries--mostly because we know this person to be very dedicated, thorough-going and intellectual.
What if, in the 90's, a closeted RCYB cadre decided to break with the Party over their line on homosexuality--and openly criticized the P over the line, which was terribly wrong? Would this be unprincipled, even if they had struggled over it?
What is unprincipled? The party supporters we are talking to cannot answer this question directly.
I thought the RCP was a really important organization in the US, and I don't want to weaken it per se--but make a stronger organization. I'm quite young and wasn't around when BA made the whole ground-breaking analysis of post-Mao China (and thusly, I am not sufficiently reverent, I suppose).
I have argued (to a brick wall) that the 9 Letters are an important, restrained polemic that needs engagement--at least in group discussion! I feel like I have many issues with BA--his rambling style, self-citations, mysterious absence, the Paper's shrill headlines and goofy posters--but that I need more theoretical study to really deal with BA. Where should I start?
I am also confused about the RCP recent statement that "theory can and should run ahead of practice"... I didn't interpret your polemic as being extremely empiricist (as in, 'we need to touch and feel the results of theory before putting it out there'; this has been said by cadre about your polemic).
Its time Communism were treated as a serious vision of a better world in this country--I want to help make that happen.
No Revolution Without the Youth
I was born after 'Conquer the World' was published, so a summation of the RCP, as some have mentioned on Kasama seems helpful. An expanded discussion over whether the 9 Letters were empiricist or not--as some supportive posters and cadre have suggested seems like it could be productive as well (maybe this stems from the limited nature of the Letters?).
Some analysis of Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade and youth dynamics with the RCP would be great as well. I have had the uneasy feeling that the RCP is a relic or is sort of stultified.
Like describing BA's correct analysis of post-Mao China is enough to get me on board...this, to me, is not vibrancy.
Getting to youth seems like an essential task for revolutionaries, and the RCP's failure in this is huge. I live in a world whose very survival is staked on the End of Capitalism! What does it mean to build a movement where youth feel that being political and having agency is possible and means something, where you don't find yourself trying to 'break down' someone's "incorrect initial reaction" that the RCP is cultish?
I would also just like to say: simply reading another view by revolutionary communists has seriously been a breath of fresh air and has led me to study more seriously. It is like the sun is out: you don't have to be in the RCP to 'qualify' as a communist.