Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)

Avakian clamping down on more realistic RCPers

First Published: The Call, Vol. 9, No. 17, April 28, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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It appears that Bob Avakian and his band, describing themselves as the “Revolutionary Communist Party,” have gone too far this time for even a significant section of their own membership to swallow.

“Button Day,” in case you didn’t hear about it, was March 27. Avakian had directed his followers to sell 30,000 buttons on that day. The buttons hailed the RCP’s upcoming effort to “turn Washington upside down” and start the, American revolution on May 1st. They were also meant to be new paraphernalia in Avakian’s self-glorification campaign that has already included numerous posters, leaflets, billboards and newspaper advertisements. According to the RCP’s newspaper, the Revolutionary Worker (RW), the buttons were supposed to be worn in defense of Avakian, “the most consistent, determined and far-sighted revolutionary leader in the country today.”

However, only 10,000 buttons were reportedly sold. The RW, in its April 4 issue, discusses why the RCP was only able to achieve such a small percentage of its goal.

The problem, according to the RW, is not that the masses of workers aren’t just dying to take up Bob Avakian’s defense or take up the bright red banner of the RCP. Instead, the article argues, the problem is with the “backward” members of the RCP itself who refused to sell the buttons enthusiastically enough. The RW says there are those inside the RCP who “grasp and uphold Chairman Bob Avakian’s revolutionary line, including May Day, and... there are those who don’t.” The ones who do sell hundreds of buttons an hour, the ones who don’t apparently have difficulty selling one or two.

From the RW article itself, as well as from other indications, it seems that many RCPers no longer go along fully with Avakian’s idea of how to make a revolution. They are tired of endlessly putting up posters on freeway underpasses and construction walls proclaiming Avakian to be the “most dangerous man in America,” and the greatest revolutionary of our time. They are tired of antics like Button Day, or this week’s “Red Flag-International Day” (where 50,000 red flags are supposed to be waved at the designated hour while people all over the country sing the Internationale in unison).

According to the RW, these RCPers have the audacity to refuse to put up giant portraits of Avakian in their factories. And they have even gone so far as to give speeches in the Black community about police repression without mentioning Avakian’s campaign! And—crime of all crimes—these backward counter-revolutionaries have even dared to question the whole May Day campaign as “unrealistic, idealistic, and all sorts of other nonsense.”

If all this sounds a little like something you saw on television last week called “Guyana Tragedy,” it should. Like Jim Jones, Avakian has tried to use the rhetoric of fighting oppression to rally around him a fanatical sect totally devoted to his gospel. And for those who question Reverend Avakian, ample supplies of kool-aid are being readied. The RW threatens that the RCP will “ride over the bullshit and sabotage” of the “backward counter-revolutionaries” in their ranks, drowning them out in a “surging tide.” Menacingly, the RW observed, “We will not emerge on the other side of May 1st with every aspect of the Party intact as it is now.”

Avakian is drunk with his dream that “May 1st will be a major step in revolution here and around the world.” In fact, his thinking and the RCP’s politics have nothing in common with the genuine ideas of communism or the realities of making revolution. To Avakian, revolution is not made through organizing, educating, struggling side-by-side with the masses and learning from them, but rather through “daring acts” by self-proclaimed leaders who hope to “shock” the “backward fool” workers into following their lead.

The workers are too smart to be taken in by Avakian, and few have rallied around his campaign. Now that some people inside the RCP are recognizing this fact, Avakian is lashing out at them, desperately trying to keep his band together.