Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Spartacist League

RCP Deep-Ended

First Published: Workers Vanguard No. 255, May 2, 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) of would-be cult leader Bob Avakian seems to have gone over the edge. It has proclaimed its upcoming May Day demonstration to be virtually the opening shot of the American proletarian revolution and is furiously “building” the action in the cynical tradition of Stalinist martyr-making, sacrificing any hope of influence in the working class to the publicity which it hopes will compensate for its lack of mass support. With Avakian along with other RCP comrades arrested for spectacular stunts (including particularly an indefensible pistol-packing attack on the Chinese embassy in Washington, the raising of a red flag over the Alamo, an attempt to storm a Chicago unemployment office, a confrontation last Tuesday at the Oakland City Council which became a police riot, as well as numerous invasions of factories and high schools), the RCP’s “strategy” would appear to be to get the rest of its membership to consummate unity with their chairman–behind bars.

Last week the RCP’s strategy of confrontation assumed tragic dimensions when RCP supporter Damian Garcia was stabbed to death and two others injured in a melee at Pico Gardens housing project in Boyle Heights, California near Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times (23 April) reported the RCPers had been “trying to generate support” for their May Day action when “a confrontation occurred that escalated from the use of water hoses into fights in which the stabbings occurred.” The RCP’s Revolutionary Worker (25 April), however, claimed Garcia was “singled out consciously and deliberately targeted for murder” as “retaliation for what happened at the Alamo.”

“What happened at the Alamo” was only one of numerous incidents where the RCP tried to pursue its self-appointed mission to single-handedly raise the red flag over America. Of the many reports that have reached us of East Coast and Midwest plants where the RCP invaded the workplace and provoked fistfights with the workers, two are particularly worthy of comment. A couple of weeks ago, at the Ford assembly plant in Mahwah, New Jersey, the RCP staged a rally in the parking lot, then proceeded to enter the plant with their red flags to demand that the workers walk off the line. After lengthy arguments, finally some 10-15 reactionary workers drove the RCP off with pipes, sticks and other factory debris. Chased out of the plant and past the gate, the RCP supporters continued to bait workers, challenging them to come outside the gate if they really wanted to fight and promising to return in force the next day When they did they were stopped at the gate by cops and company guards. The next week the RCP returned with a larger contingent and provoked another fistfight. If nobody was killed in this incident, it was not for want of the RCP trying.

More recently, at a Chicago-area U.S. Steel plant at South Works, the RCP invaded the factory to lower the American flag and raise a red flag in honor of its May Day rally. The logical culmination of this policy came about a week later, when five RCP supporters actually quit their jobs at South Works so they could spend all their time “building” the demonstration, thereby sacrificing some 30 years seniority in the steel industry. There could be no clearer indication that the RCP has no perspective for the day when the advanced workers, supported by the masses of their class, will raise the red flag over their factories as an assertion of power–the power of the united proletariat, acting as a class for itself, to collectively own the means of production and administer its own state power. With no confidence in that perspective, the Avakian cull abandons any possibility of a base among the workers in favor of maximum visibility for its “May Day Brigades.”

The spectacle of RCP-supported trade unionists abandoning the workers for the greater glory of Bob Avakian recalls nothing so much as the misguided people, mainly blacks, who left their livelihoods to follow demagogue Jim Jones into the wilderness– at the eventual cost of their lives. The RCP members, many of whom now wear bullets around their necks in imitation of their leader, are the cannon fodder for the megalomaniacal ego of Avakian. Every issue of the Revolutionary Worker features the voluminous speeches of Chairman Avakian along with numerous photos suitable for framing. And the “May Day Brigades” are presently his proudest creation.

“Class Struggle Rages Over Button Day” proclaimed a recent front-page headline (4 April) in the Revolutionary Worker.

March 27 was button day nationwide. From the Revolutionary Communist Party and the National May Day Committee, the call went out to wear a May Day button that day, to wear it in defense of Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the RCP and, as the leaflet said, the most consistent, determined and far-sighted revolutionary leader in the country today...

Where Bob Avakian’s name or picture was brought out in some places, it sharpened up the revolutionary stakes involved in Button Day, and sales shot up...

For the RCP the proof that Avakian is “the most consistent, determined and far-sighted revolutionary leader” is the fact that he is facing up to 241 years in jail tor his provocative stunts. We leave it to our readers to imagine what the RCP has in mind for its more expendable, rank-and-file supporters. The RCP’s silence on what exactly it intends to do with its “May Day Brigades’” on May Day only increases our apprehension.

The RCP’s catastrophism is perhaps a response to the present foretaste of deep depression and imperialist world war inducing a foreshortening of historical perspective. But it is dangerous. The “theory” of exemplary violence by a vanguard of heroes was for the Weathermen and others a rationale for terrorism; now it is the RCP’s justification for self-inflicted martyrdom. But whatever the rationale, the result is to feed the anti-communism of the more backward workers while sowing confusion among the more conscious elements. This “strategy” is politically catastrophic for the struggle to root the communist vanguard in the proletariat and physically catastrophic for the adventurist leftists.

Those who defend the left, including the nutty Avakianites, against capitalist state repression do not look with pleasure on the deliberate creation of martyrs. And we resent the RCP’s provocative confrontationism, which can only isolate and discredit the revolutionary red banner, our flag, and the celebration of May Day, our holiday.