The Fraud of Rev Com: Why the Revolutionary Communist Party is Neither Revolutionary nor Communist

The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) is an embarrassment. It shows no respect for the actual people who make up the working class. Their party chair, Bob Avakian, is less interested in the needs of the working class and more interested in creating a personality cult around himself. The RCP’s cultish behavior has been well documented since Avakian became the party chair in 1979, but what is most repulsive about this group is their invasive and disrespectful behavior which humiliates the left and risks turning socialism into a marginalized idea once again.

What is the RCP?

The Revolutionary Communist Party can trace it’s roots to the split of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1969. Multiple activists from California created a group called Bay Area Revolutionary Union (BARU). This was a collective of SDS members from Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley who were posing as challengers to the non Maoist wing of the SDS at their convention.

Once the SDS collapsed many members found themselves joining BARU, leading to the organization’s development of a national structure outside of the bay area. BARU officially became the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1975, and by 1979 one of their pluckiest and loudest members became the party chair. That member’s name was Bob Avakian.

Bob Avakian was one of many alumni of the New Left movement along with people like Noam Chomsky or Angela Davis. Unlike Davis or Chomsky, instead of dedicating his life to the development of theories and programs that would answer the material needs of the working class, Avakian became dedicated to developing a cult of personality around himself.

The requirements for party membership all revolve around his theories and accepting his leadership without question. Everything on the RCP website that is about their platform revolves around his name, his work, and his identity as the party leader.

On their About Us page they make their dedication to Avakian quite clear;

There is an actual plan for a radically different—and radically better—society, on the road to wiping out all exploitation and oppression, and emancipating humanity. There is a strategy to draw forward the millions and millions needed to make that happen. There is the leadership, in Bob Avakian (BA), the architect of the new communism and the leader of the revolution.

Immediately they make it clear that they are not interested in hearing the working class’ current material needs but rather are more interested in selling a doctrine, more specifically they are selling the doctrine of Bob Avakian. The purpose of socialism is democracy, and democracy is about allowing the working class to choose its leaders, it’s priorities, and it’s platform. Because the RCP has it set in stone that Avakian is their “chosen” leader, they have no avenue to allow growth for a mass movement, so they must invade spaces to tell the working class why Avakian should be their leader.

Avakian argues for what he calls “New Communism,” and the entire RCP program can be summarized in one statement, that capitalism and the US government, “must be overthrown, not voted out.” However, “New Communism” is nothing more than a regurgitation of Maoist Marxist Leninism. According to the RCP, post Stalin Russia and Post Mao China were the ends of socialist states in the world. There is virtually no difference in the jargon or rhetoric of Avakian’s work and that of the most hardline Stalinists, “New Communism” is nothing more than “Old Stalinism.”

All the information I gathered on the RCP I gathered from personal experience and from researching their website. A webpage is the most forward facing instrument of any organization in the 21st century and it should be presentable and useful to both an organization’s members and to the public. The RCP webpage, revcom.us, is unnavigable and literally painful to read because of it’s poor layout. The text is often too small to read and the layout of the pages are just plain sloppy. Articles, text, and graphics are almost always off center and the website overall just looks plain cheap. It looks like a self made website from the late 90s or early 2000s, and in all likelihood no one has probably bothered to develop their website since that time. After all, the RCP is less interested in meeting the working class where they are at and is more interested in demanding members adhere to the party line with Avakian as their leader.

Webpages are the primary source of information people use when researching what organizations to join and if you are not showing an interest in making your own webpage presentable and navigable, you are clearly not interested in meeting the masses where they are at in order to build them into a mass movement.

Unlike most other socialist organizations, the RCP is one that is lucky enough to have their own book stores, with two locations! They have one in New York another in Berkeley, and the Revolution Book Stores are a confusing piece of the RCP puzzle.

Store front rental in Berkeley and New York is by no means cheap, so I am wondering where the profit from their stores go. Their shoddy and impossible to look at website makes it pretty evident that funds are not being directed towards developing the organizational infrastructure. These funds are definitely not going toward mutual aid projects either. The RCP explicitly rejects anything it considers charity, including the “anarchistic” idea of mutual aid.

According to their atrocious website they are currently raising funds for their ongoing “Revolution Tour” claiming they will be using the money to send their “Revolution Club” around the country to participate in direct actions. None of the actual actions they will participate in are listed on the website and at no point is their any detail on how the money raised will be actually be used. They do not even mention what they hope to accomplish by sending their members on this so-called “tour.” Based on the behavior that I have witnessed, they will probably just be invading other peoples events. ( I will explain this later in the article.)

What is even more appalling is that the RCP is clearly aware of the criticisms against them. This is an actual quote from their FAQ page:

Who are you to say what the masses of people need?

Answer: We are people who represent, on a scientific basis, the fundamental interests of the masses of humanity, the great majority of the 7 billion people on this planet; who understand what the problem and the solution is to the situation that faces the masses of humanity; and who have taken on the responsibility of leading people to fight to bring about, through revolution, the solution that is urgently needed.

This is just gibberish. It means nothing. It is by no means an explanation for their top down behavior nor does it explain anything about their actual program. It is all flighty words with no substance and it in no way answers the actual question. The worst part is that they actually go out of their way to justify their cultish method of operating.

This all manifests in a technique of agitation that embarrasses the left, it leads to them invading and co-opting the events of other organizations, even if that event is about honoring a victim of the police state.

What does the RCP do?

RCP members like to invade and co-opt other organizations events, including trade unions, anti police organizations, and even Black Lives Matter.

The behavior of the RCP at events hosted by other organizations demonstrates their lack of respect and integrity, and further demonstrates that the organization is in no way interested in actually helping the working class. The fraud that is the RCP can be summed up with a single sentence, “Revolution is not an end, it is a means to an end.”

Every event or march that the RCP shows up for they scream the same thing, “This government cannot be voted out, it must be overthrown!” It is all well and good to call for an end to the American imperialist state, but one cannot act like revolution by itself is a pallet cleanser. So many leftists are quick to scream, “REVOLUTION NOW!” with no actual ideas in hand for a program that would come after the fact. This usually leads to them copping out and settling on an older, outdated doctrine, such as Stalinism or Maoism. This is the case with the RCP.

Socialists have the obligation to not only work towards overthrowing capitalism but to build alternatives at the same time. The RCP never bothers to do this but instead uses newer language to regurgitate old talking points. They like to think they are offering alternatives however there is nothing in Avakian’s work that cannot be found in the works of Stalin or Mao. There is nothing original about Avakian or his so called theories.

In 2010 Bob Avakian released the “Constitution for a New Republic in North America” which is not so much a constitution for a socialist republic but is a regurgitation of tired, over used, ultra left talking points. The Preamble of this so called constitution alone is nothing more than a run on sentence of gibberish that has leftist buzzwords sprinkled throughout.

The New Socialist Republic in North America could only have been brought into being as a result of heroic, self-sacrificing struggle carried out by millions and millions of people who had been forced to live under a system of exploitation and oppression in the former United States of America; who could no longer tolerate the continual outrages and injustices perpetrated by the system of capitalism-imperialism and the structures and institutions of power and repression which enforced all this with violence and brutality as well as lies and deception; who refused to any longer accept that…

The opening sentence goes on like that for 5 more lines and the rest of the preamble is 7 pages long. The RCP think that revolution apparently can be achieved with long winded, inaccessible babbling.

What is even more disgusting is that the RCP will bring this garbage platform everywhere without ever being invited to do so. They have invaded multiple events organized by multiple other groups including Anti Police Terror Project and Black Lives Matter chapters. They have even gone out of their way to disrupt an event organized by the surviving relatives of Stephon Clark.

At an event marking the anniversary of Clark’s death, his family co-hosted and invited Al Sharpton to come and speak. The RCP made haste to travel from the bay area to Sacramento (there is no RCP chapter in Sacramento) and disrupt the event with cries of “Don’t believe Sharpton!” And “Electoral bourgeois bullshit!” showing no respect for the wishes of the Clark family.

Say whatever you want about Al Sharpton, it will not change the fact that he was the invited guest of the Clark family and since they are the victims who have to live with what happened to Stephon, their wishes should always be honored and respected first and foremost! Disrupting their event because you do not like their speaker of choice is the exact opposite of respecting the wishes of the family.

The RCP’s tendency to invade and co-opt other people’s events is an insult to the working class and embarrasses the name of socialism. Their approach makes the left look invasive, hostile, and inconsiderate, and it is even more so when they behave like this at explicitly anti racist events.

In Sacramento 2018, back when Jeff Sessions was still the Attorney General, an event was organized outside of the Sawyer Hotel in order to disrupt his visit. The event was organized by multiple unions and immigrant rights groups. In attendance was the immigrant solidarity collective known as Nor Cal Resist and immigrant SEUI members, as well as the Democratic Socialists of America, Answer Coalition, and liberal groups such as Save DACA and Indivisible.

Without any invitation, or hesitation, the RCP showed up with a series of banners, loud speakers, and chants, as well as multiple members ready to take the stage and speak on their megaphone about the need to overthrow the government. Despite the intimidating police presence defending Jeff Sessions, at no point did anyone in RCP take time to consider that using such inflammatory rhetoric could be putting the lives of undocumented or black attendees of the event at risk. When police presence is so large, as it was at this event, attendees must take into consideration what will happen if the situation escalates. Who will the cops take out their aggression on? More likely than not it is going to be any black or brown person they can get their hands on. To ignore that reality is to ignore the reality that non-white members of the working class face an extra degree of oppression and risk. To ignore that is to ignore the status of the 21st century working class.

The RCP has already been warned about this behavior. Bay area chapters of the Anti Police Terror Project have already banned the RCP from attending their events for constantly attempting to co-opt them as they did at the Jeff Session’s direct action in Sacramento and at Clark family’s event.

Black Lives Matter Sacramento have also had to deal with the insistent brattiness of RCP members. On the one year anniversary of Stephon Clark’s death, just hours after they had insulted the Clark family, they attempted to co-opt an event that had been organized by BLM Sacramento.

They showed up marching and yelling, banners and all, even with someone banging on the drums as if the eight of them present were about to march into battle. They were screaming about overthrowing the presidency. It took at least five of the organizers from BLM Sacramento to talk the RCP down and make them realize that this was about honoring and respecting Stephon Clark, and that making it about anything else would be a direct insult to a murdered man and his family.

But their deescalation was all for not because that did not stop the RCP from continuing to chant and scream. They even attempted to chant over the members of BLM who were leading the march, screaming about revolution nonstop instead of screaming the name of Stephon Clark. Clearly they were not there to honor the 22 year old who had been murdered by the Sacramento Police Department. They were only there to advance their own agenda, even if it meant disrespecting the members of BLM Sacramento and the Clark family.

To scream revolution without listening to the working class is to insult the working class. All the RCP does is scream “revolution” like a baby begging for its bottle without any consideration for the status and needs of the working class as they are now.

Why are they so invasive?

The RCP is so disrespectful and invasive for one simple reason, they are incapable of rallying people on their own. The RCP is dependent on using front organizations in order to make them more palatable to people who are hesitant to trust self identified Marxist-Leninists and Maoists outright.

The RCP also operates front organizations in order to maintain a larger public relations presence and to ease recruitment. The current and most notable of their front organizations is Refuse Fascism. Refuse Fascism is the front organization for their anti Trump platform. While it sells itself as a “coalition” the majority of it’s leaders and members are simply senior RCP members.

The RCP has no chance to gain legitimate attention without operating a front organization like Refuse Fascism. Their doctrine and program is unappealing to the modern working class and lacks in nuance because it is an outdated rehashing of state socialist theories from the previous century. This is why they resort to invasive tactics. They will not get attention unless they steal attention for themselves, and the RCP has demonstrated they will do so even if it means insulting people like the family of Stephon Clark or the immigrants who face the risk of deportation and state violence.

The more one looks into the alleged doctrine of the RCP on their hideous website, one can see that their is no way they can gain public attention without being invasive. What their doctrine also represents is their adamant hypocrisy.

Their website features the guiding principles of their chapters, what they call “Revolution Clubs.” The first principle of their chapters is clearly an attempt to exonerate themselves of accusations of personality cultism. “We base ourselves on and strive to represent the highest interests of humanity: revolution and communism. We do not tolerate using the revolution for personal gain.”

This completely counters their statement that self proclaims Avakian as the leader of their movement while also intentionally ignoring the self serving rhetoric of his doctrine and the actual actions of RCP members. If they do not believe in using revolution for “personal gain” why do they invade and disrupt other organizations events?

Another blatant lie can be seen in principle number five of the Revolution clubs. “We search for and fight for the truth no matter how unpopular, even as we listen to and learn from the observations, insights and criticisms of others.” This is just 100% false. According to one of the past organizers of Black Lives Matter Sacramento, when one of them approached an RCP member asking them to refrain from their behavior and honor the name of Stephon Clark, the RCP member responded by saying “You guys are just as bad as Trump and the rest of the fascists.”

If we allow organizations like this to exist unchallenged then the name of socialism is at risk of becoming a marginalized voice once again. Socialism has gained momentum in the last decade, we are gaining attention at a speed not seen since the turn of the 20th Century. Membership in socialist organizations such as the DSA has exploded and socialists are infiltrating elected offices on both the local and federal levels. In short, we are winning, and if we want to continue to win we cannot let intentionally sectarian organizations like the RCP to exist unchallenged. There is a time and place to agitate and insist on revolution, and the RCP has demonstrated that they have no concept of when and where that is actually appropriate. They have shown that they are not interested in developing an applicable socialist program for the contemporary working class. When you wave the red flag you have a duty to represent socialism in the best of ways, to forsake that is to forsake the cause of the working class.

1. https://revcom.us/a/129/New_Synthesis_Speech-en.html

2. https://revcom.us

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Dreamers Are Worth More Than Dollars

A consistent defense that capitalist liberals and conservatives like to go to when defending DACA and Dreamer’s is how much surplus value Dreamers generate.  Of course, they don’t actually use the words “surplus value.”  What happens is nearsighted liberal mouth pieces like Joy Ann Reid go on twitter tangents about how much money Dreamers pump into the economy, or about how many start their own businesses, or how many of them have ‘served their country’ by helping us to invade others.

The point is, too many people are using the revenue generated by immigrants and their labor as justification for keeping them in their country.  Or they perptuate this onesided self-serving dialoque of how immigrants already make America great without acknowledging the reality of our treatment of immigrants up to this very day.  In fact these people will talk about DACA and Dreamers as if they are all Mexican or Spanisgh speaking immigrants.  This is an act of racism because not all Dreamers are from Spanish speaking countries and this adds to the already staggering list of ways we ignore our Asian and Pacific born Immigrants.  Accessibilty to information for those who speak Spanish is more attainable than for those who speak Cantonese or Mandarin and even then the resources are not explicitly made available.  

In any case, the dialoque that people take when defending immigrants based on the work they do is classist, and classism is a form of racism for it is the the politics of the class struggle that intersects all other struggles.  Patriarchy, racism, xenophobia all have their roots in the capitalist system.  To ignore class is to ignore the disporpotional fact that most of the poor are people of color and immigrants, especially when one considers how undocumented immigrants cannot collect welfare benefits.  This is only perpetuated when we say crap like “Immigrants Make America Great” or “Immigrants pay such and such in taxes” or “Immigrants make up blah blah blah percent of this industry.”  The biggest issue with this capitalist notion that an immigrant is only as good as the surplus revenue they generate is that it reinforces the racist idea of Nationalism, one which liberals claim to be against but their fetishization of Immigrants making America great with their labor and capital only reinforces the idea of Nationalism.  Borders mean nothing except to the powers that be that draw them.  Immigration should be as simple as moving to a new apartment down the street, a matter of choice in a time of peace rather than a forced choice in a time of displacing crisis.  The only reason it isn’t is because crisises are easier to capitalize on than anything else.

So my point is that you are not any less nationalist, and therefore not less racist, than the people screaming for DACA to be repealed and Dreamers to be deported if you only measure the worth of immigrants by the amount of money they generate or labor they provide.  Because borders are artificial constructs in of themselves, deportation should not even be a punishment, or even exist as a concept.  The very act of deporting anyone is an act of racist Nationalism, are we so unsure of ourselves that we can’t handle a few criminals?  And even then, why not work on creating a society without criminals instead of just shoving people we label as such into other countries?  Can this other country handle crime better than us? Is so how can America be so great if we are so quick to kick out people we don’t value?  More to the point, why is there any kind of person we don’t value?

The intentions of the people defending DACA based on their generation of surplus value are good, but good intentions under capitalism is still capitalism.  Joy Ann Reid and her contemproaries should be ashamed of themselves for reducing the suffering of these families to that of dollars and cents.  The ones who refer to the Dreamers who are veterans also have good inentions but ignore how most people enlist out of a lack of options, however my tangent about the realities of class and soldiers is for another day.

In summary, no one deserves to be deported.  No one who makes a point of crossing a border should be kicked out just for crossing a border because we as a planet should not even have borders in the first place.  A person is not just their job or the money they generate, and liberals who want to do right for immigrants should realize that.  Stop making yourselves feel better by perpetuating the racist dialoque of the “Model Immigrant.”  Stop emphasizing peoples worth by the money they generate.  No human is illegal, and no human deserves to face the dehumanizing process of being kicked out of a country, period.

Donald Trump is is Sad because NBC won’t let him objectify women on their network anymore when he came out as a racist #PoorDonald

The reason is “hard” to be a conservative republican is because we are moving on to a new era where the public is intolerant of intolerance, especially of hate towards people who make up the majority of the work force and are more and more integrated into our national melting pot everyday.  Brand, once again, sums up Trump perfectly.

Oh and he forgets to mention that his clothing line was made in China.  Mexicans aren’t taking our manufacturing jobs Donald, the people in power like you are sending them away to increase your own profit margin.

I kind of hope he wins the nomination, I want to see a Sanders vs Trump election because I cannot think of a more accurate portrayal of the American political divide.

SANDERS IN 2016!

Dear Fellow Progressives, Remember It’s Not About You

The chains of hatred are always present where there is disenfranchisement.  Whether it is perceived or real, there are always seeds of bigotry in places where the people have a long history of subjectification for the use of those in power.  

Despite being oppressed by the same forces, the people in these groups play into the game of oppression by division.  There is homophobia in the inter cities of Los Angeles’s to a point it can only be described as an epidemic.  In the gay community there is frequent misogyny.  The same white men who are used to keep the status quo blame their fellow victims for perceived advantages in their existence within other oppressed groups, when instead they should be blaming the very people manipulating them into doing their bidding.  There are women who blame all men instead of the few who are fucking things up for everyone, and within all of these groups there are negative attitudes towards women and transpeople even within groups of women themselves.

We always like to believe these people are the minorities misrepresenting the majority of the people within their group, who even if they demonstrate ignorance will usually demonstrate tolerance.

I have always considered myself “intolerant of intolerance,” and as such I brought on a sense of self confidence thanks to the fact I would not let racist, sexist, or homophobic actions be tolerated in my presence.  In other words, I felt like I confirmed myself as a good person because of my reactions to external stimuli.

This was a mistake.  Instead of looking within myself, instead of finding the roots and causes of my own sexism, racism, or generally intolerant ideas.  While I have always considered myself a progressive, as you can see from the general tone of this essay, I had confirmed this identity through confirmation of my reaction and the reactions of others of intolerant acts.  Again, this is a mistake.  We cannot make any real progress so long as we don’t channel and navigate the hate and negativity within ourselves.  The reason I sought confirmation from the external in these situations was because I failed to do exactly as I mention above, I had not navigated and answered the questions of my own negative thoughts.

I have had racist, sexist, and even homophobic thoughts in my past.  But I felt as long as I had people around me, seeing me resist intolerance with intolerance, congratulating me on being so adamant, I felt confirmed that I was in-fact the opposite of the person I had just humiliated and established as a good human being.

The error in this is not only seeking my confirmation of my self from the external instead from the internal, but it also prevents any true progress from being made to unite all oppressed peoples against this seemingly invisible enemy that tricks us into division.  It is simple to see that keeping the people divided amongst themselves allows the rich and powerful to go to the bank with minimal interference.  But the falsehood of establishing confirmed identities always prevents any true progress.  

It is all well and good to be vocal about feminism, gay rights, or the new Jim Crow and anti immigration use of our prison system.  It is important to be vocal about inequality, but when you do it for the sake of establishing yourself with the identity of someone who stands against inequality, you are robbing us all of true progress.  To remove the hypocrisy of this we must remove the idea of the self from the equation of inequality.  When you attempt to act against inequality for the sake of the valor you are benefiting from the inequality as the oppressors are.  

Do not do things for the sake of establishing an identity as a rebel or as a tolerant being, just be a tolerant being.  It’s okay to be vocal and stand up to acts of hatred but don’t do so for selfish means, and only do it when it will actually accomplish quenching the hatred.  We cannot begot the hate with our own hatred of hatred itself.  My hatred of hatred did nothing to stop hatred itself but only inflated my own ego of being someone who stands against hatred.  I shouldn’t add the needs of my own identity to a place where the issue is not fixing my identity as a white straight male but the fact that my fellow beings are suffering, being robbed of something that is a privilege to me but instead should be no one’s privilege but the right of every single human being.  I am writing this with the hope that I will hold myself accountable by not holding myself to anything at all.  I will not do things to establish my identity as a white man who stands against hatred.  I will simply stand against hatred and will always welcome a dialogue and perspective from those most effected by these issues with the hopes I can come to an understanding with myself and my own hurtful and hateful thoughts and actions.

This must be the goal of everyone who has this privilege, do not buy into our masters game and use the privilege you do have blame those who have no privilege for the few things your privilege lacks.  Dialogue and an absence of hatred and attempts to abandon prejudice coming into these dialogues is the start, but where we cannot abandon our prejudices we must at least acknowledge them and ask ourselves how do we transcend these conditionings.  That is the beginning, that is where we finally stop seeking confirmation from the external and find our answers internally.  It is only here, when we navigate the negativity from within us can we find answers to the negativity outside of us that effect all of us as a whole, and not just individually.

That is the ultimate goal, that is the ultimate message of these words.  While epidemics of hatred are more inclusive than the acts of hatred themselves plague our society, blinding us to the intersectionality of all our oppression, we cannot forget we perpetuate this oppression when we use the oppression to create our own identity.  We are literally doing exactly that, exactly what the enemy does, we are USING OPPRESSION for our own means.  Do the right thing because it’s the right thing, if you know and are comfortable with who you are you don’t need the confirmation of self that comes from acting progressively.  Just be, channel the negativity within ourselves, answer your own questions before stomping out answers for others, and then and only then can we as a planet of beings make any kind of progress as a whole.