Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Maoism Rots Your Brain

RCP Goes Nuts

First Published: Young Spartacus, #71, March 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Bob Avakian’s Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) has gone stark raving mad, driven insane by the intrigues of Peking’s Forbidden Palace and the dismal vision of their own bleak future. When it was announced that Chinese deputy premier and number one “capitalist roader” Teng Hsiao p’ing would visit the inner sanctums of Yankee imperialism, the RCP let loose.

They formed the “Committee for a Fitting Welcome” and soon on college campuses across the country members of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade (RCYB – youth group of the RCP) could be seen yelling incoherently at no one in particular and distributing literature which raved, “Death to Teng!”

Proclaiming in big, bold letters, “We must storm the heavens and make a revolution,” the RCP’s language has taken on an increasingly hallucinatory quality. As for Teng, the Avakianites can’t think of enough names to call him. In their various publications they’ve hurled the kind of epithets a rabid adolescent might use: “half-pint Napoleon,” “rat-faced renegade,” “diabolical creature,” “demon,” “snake,” “pimp,” “maggot,” and believe it or not, “fascist dwarf.”

“Dream the Dream”

That what’s left of the RCP is plunging into cloud-cuckooland was predictable. New Leftist worshipers of the Cultural Revolution – identifying strongly with the Red Guard youth – the RCP has watched their every illusion in “people’s China” explode.

The forerunner of the RCP, the Revolutionary Union, was formed in 1969 based on a series of myths: China’s role as a beacon for all the “Third World;” China’s “self-reliance” and hostility to U.S. imperialism as against the USSR’s policy of detente; and Mao’s infallible leadership resulting in happy peasant egalitarianism and unending victories against “capitalist-roading” bureaucrats. What happens when even the most faithful Maoist comes up against China’s support to reactionary despots from Pinochet to the shah of Iran, the purge of the “gang of four,” the reinstatement of Teng and a diplomatic alliance with the United States? Either you swallow it all like Klonsky’s Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) [CPML], or you go splat.

Not that they did not try to keep the faith. The RCP’s support to the “gang of four” and China’s ever more open collusion with U.S. imperialism should not give them the opportunity to pose as left-wing critics of Chinese foreign policy now. They were with Mao every step of the way-from the welcoming of Nixon in Peking at the height of the 1972 Christmas bombing of Hanoi to China’s support to the 1975 South African/CIA-backed invasion of Angola. Carter /Teng have simply consolidated the alliance forged by Nixon/Mao.

But after the purge of the “gang” and the loss of the China franchise to their arch rivals in the CPML, objective reality intervened with a vengeance. Even after a wrenching split over the China question took out over a third of the Avakianites’ membership, “mum” was the word. It was the Spartacist League’s Workers Vanguard (27 January 1978) which blew the “RCP Splits!” story open and published documents exposing the Avakianites’ “secret” position that they were siding with the “gang.” Since then, things have gone from bad to worse, for the dwindling band of RCPers as they try one gimmick after another hoping to stop the downward spiral.

Off the Deep End: The Anti-Teng Campaign

The fireworks began on January 24 when five RCP beserkers staged a self-proclaimed “righteous raid” on China’s liaison office in Washington, D.C. While one of them courted suicide by wildly brandishing a gun, the others pelted the windows with metal fishing weights, splashed the walls with white paint, tossed an effigy of Teng onto the steps and scattered leaflets here and there. The “Embassy Five” were soon arrested by Secret Service agents after a brief auto chase.

The RCP’s raid was indefensible from a proletarian perspective. The assault took place before the Chinese invasion of Vietnam silenced a storm of attacks from the right on Carter’s establishing diplomatic relations with “red” China. Simply feeding into this right-wing backlash, the RCPers’ frenzied attack was an act more worthy of the Kuomintang than ostensible “revolutionary communists.”

The 2-16 February issue of the Revolutionary Worker (new, “mass” paper of the RCP), however, brimmed with childish glee in reporting that their adventure at the mission:

“..... caused an international incident. ... A State Dept. spokesman said ’We are taking additional security measures to deal with the problem.’ Considering the righteous hatred of all genuine revolutionaries for this treasonous dog [Teng], they’re certainly going to need it.”

While juvenile fantasy may lead the RCP to believe that five of their members “trashing” the Chinese mission left the ruling class shaking in its boots, nothing could be further from the truth.

The January 24th “raid” was only the opening act of the saga that placed the RCP fleetingly before the “masses” as their antics made headlines in major bourgeois dailies in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Washington. The highpoint (for the RCP) came on January 29 when several hundred RCPers marched on the White House.

The cops were not quaking in their boots, but they were certainly shaking their riot batons as they viciously attacked the demonstrators. Some 78 protesters were jailed and $10,000 bonds were imposed on most of them. The initial charges of rioting (a misdemeanor) were later jumped to a felony charge of assault on a police officer.

For most organizations the mass arrest of their members (including the “Chair” himself, Avakian) would not be a cause for joy. But the Revolutionary Worker hailed the incident as not only a “victory” but proof positive of their “revolutionary” credentials. The Chicago Tribune’s (30 January) reporter, however, was so confused by the activity surrounding Teng’s visit that he mistook the RCP’s “Committee for a Fitting Welcome” as part of the right-wing pro-Taiwan groups whose actions took place the same day.

Off in their own world, the RCP has opted for the ultimate gimmick – direct confrontation with the forces of the bourgeois state. If the RCP were a black group (highly unlikely given their support to racist anti-busing forces in Louisville and Boston), a lot of them would be dead by now. Nonetheless, it is no crime to defend yourself against a cop riot, and, unlike the case of the Embassy Five, we defend the 78 demonstrators arrested outside the White House.

In Houston the RCP tried to stage another one of their confrontationist adventures. But the anti-Teng crusade was taken up by the likes of right-wing neanderthal Meldrim Thomson, chairman of the “National Conservative Caucus.” While Thomson spouted about the “communist sympathizers” in the State Department, the Houston cops simply arrested the local Avakianites in toto before the RCP could fight with the cold warriors over who got to picket Teng’s hotel first.

According to the “logic” of the RCP these days, the more the police persecute you, the more “heavens” you’ve “stormed.” So, similar scenes were played in Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago and the Bay Area.

When 20 RCP supporters occupied the offices of the U.S. Attorney General in Chicago on February 6 the obligatory scuffle ensued and they were evicted from the building. The RCP had been demanding that a telegram be read over the phone to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. On a par with the paranoid delirium in all of their propaganda, the telegram contained this gem:

“You [U.S. Attorney Earl Silbert] Cringe, like a bloodsucking vampire to a Cross, from the RCP saying to us all that there is a way out, summing up the lessons of what went down in China.”

At the U.C. Berkeley campus 20 RCYBers wearing berets and red jackets and carrying three-foot long sticks marched through two large lecture halls. In response the campus administration Has threatened to expel student members of the RCYB and has revoked their rights as a campus organization. With the political acumen of a demented eight-year-old, the March issue of the RCYB’s press gloats: “As far as we’re concerned, we are very thankful to the administration for ’lowering the boom’ on the brigade chapters. We wish more would do the same.”

American Red Guardists Go Crazy

A number of former pro-China Stalinists have faced a wretched homelessness akin to the RCP’s. The ex-Krushchevite, ex-New Left, ex-Maoist Guardian, like the RCP, has reacted to events that smashed their world view in the most infantile fashion. Thus the Guardian (28 February) babbles pathetically, a portrait of petty-bourgeois despair and confusion:

“All socialist countries make mistakes .... The great socialist countries ... make great mistakes from time to time.
“China is a great socialist country ....
“China’s invasion of Vietnam was a great mistake ....
“Vietnam, too, is a great socialist country....
“Although our views on the situation are still developing, we think Vietnam made a great mistake in invading Kampuchea.”

While the Guardian, a purely literary Tendency, reacts to the discrediting of its Stalinist/Third World nationalist heroes with know-nothing despair, the activists of the RCP whip themselves into a petty-bourgeois frenzy.

Another U.S. Stalinist organization, Progressive Labor Party (PL), broke with China in 1971 after the Maoist bureaucracy “betrayed” the Cultural Revolution and sent the Red Guards packing to the countryside. The disintegration of the RCP is in some ways reminiscent of the evolution of PL, but whereas PL counterposed the Red Guards to the entire Chinese bureaucracy, the RCP completely identified these Chinese youth with the Mao faction.

Furthermore, PL has always had a core of older trade union cadres trained in the Communist Party who thus have some grasp of the realities of American society and politics. Originating from the RYM II faction of SDS in the 1960’s the RCP has no such links to the U.S. working class. If anything, the Avakianites have regressed to the “old days” when little more than “off the pig” rhetoric was required to prove revolutionary fervor – no matter how bad the programmatic line. PL has become largely irrelevant and veers between cretinous reformism and ultra-left adventurism as a consequence of its inability to go beyond its break with Mao’s China to a break with Stalinism and go over to revolutionary Trotskyism: the RCP, However, clings tenaciously to the Mao myth no matter what.

Mao is the true cult-figure of the RCP – “workers leader” Avakian (Hawaiian shirt and all) basks in the reflected glory of the “Great Helmsman.” The myths of 1960’s-style Maoism have now been ripped away and ten years after Mao ordered Lin Piao’s army to suppress the Red Guards the Chinese bureaucrats have finally driven their American analogues to the brink of utter lunacy.