QUESTION: RIM, AVAKIAN, RCP

Matt D. afn02065 at afn.org
Thu May 9 16:40:14 MDT 1996


Scott McLemee wrote:

>          A question about RIM and such for those on the list who are up on
>          it.

Well, I certainly don't have "the latest information" since I've only engaged
the RCP from the perspective of the anti-Avakian polemic for some time
now.  I used to be in their youth section (the "Youth Brigade" (!)) so I hope
you won't mind a few comments.

>          Lately the  RCP  has especially been pushing the notion that  Bob
>          Avakian is a Major Leader and Thinker.  This is not as such a new
>          thing:  anyone who  ever  saw BULLETS, the "little gray book"  of
>          Chairman Bob's pity Thoughts, knows that RCP  has quite the  cult
>          of personality around  the ever-youthful Avakian  (whose official
>          portrait  seems  not  to  have  been  updated  in  a  decade  and
>          counting).

About the portrait: It was explained to me as part of a strategy of establishing
what I guess you could call -- if you'll allow a little cynicism -- the RCP
"brand
name", that is, it functioned as sort of a "trademark" for the Revolutionary
Worker (the newspaper), the Revolution Books stores, etc.

I have to admit, I got sort of a kick out of _Bullets_.  What can I say?  I was
young.

>          Now, the question.  Is this an effort to lift Chairman Bob to the
>          level  of  Gonzalo,  given  that  G  is  not  available  to  lend
>          leadership to  the  worldwide  Maoist  movement  at  the  present
>          moment?  Do ex-RCPers on  the  list  have  any thoughts on  this?

The RCP leadership is scrambling.  Their screw-up on the issue of the
"peace talks" hoax has cost them dearly with their bases.  That their re-
sponse to this has not been public and severe self-criticism gives you an
idea of just how "Maoist" this organization really is.  I doubt they imagine
they can really elevate Avakian to the level of Gonzalo, but hypocritical
adulation is, I'm afraid, the only method they have any real experience with.

Then again, maybe they really are deluded.  When we went to a Peru
support event back in the day, where a person whom I think may be
the fellow referred to as "the individual in Sweden" spoke, our wrap-up
of the event included lots of stuff along the lines of how the revolution
in Peru was an example of the importance of leadership, and how we
all needed to recommit ourselves to the leadership of our Party, and in
particular the great Chairman Bob Avakian, blah, blah, blah.  Since we
were a bunch of punk kids with bad attitudes, most of us in the RCYB
didn't really take it too terribly seriously, though in the interests of pre-
senting a unified face I, at least, would have repeated that line without
hesitation if you had asked me about it then.

What "leadership" Avakian provides from France is beyond me.  Indeed,
the contrast between (1) the sincere, hardworking, and generally dirt-poor
folks in the local party struggling just to get by in their own lives, and
then also devoting incredible energy to the bookstore, to selling the paper,
to doing solidarity work among the most oppressed sections of the masses,
and to giving a lesson in applied MLM to a snot-nosed would-be revo-
lutionary like myself and (2) Chairman Avakian, who as best I could tell was
probably supping al fresco in some Paris cafe, having one of his lackeys run
down to the post office box to pick up the most recent check from
the Party or his parents, was a constant source of tension in my relation-
ship with the RCP crew.

-- Matt D.



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