[Marxism] Maoist use paper to make revolutionaries

Pieinsky pieinsky at igc.org
Wed Apr 28 10:22:22 MDT 2004

Well, once upon a time, the RCP had developed a fairly signficant base in
basic industries among key section of the industrial proletariat.  I worked
in auto myself up in the Detroit area.  There were significant more or less
RCP-led dissident caucuses in auto, steel, postal workers, and a number of
others, and a National Workers Organization was launched at a big convention
in Chicago in 1977 with several thousand attendees bringing together these
forces.  The RCP was the central force in some major actions that shook the
West Virginia coalfields in the later 1970s, where I lived and was active
for a brief period.  Some of this history is in Max Elbaum's book, although
inexplicably he omits the West Virginia stuff.  All of this was basically
exploded when Bob Avakian took over (although I initially stuck with his
faction against the faction called "The Revolutionary Workers HQ" that,
after various mergers and splits, became today's "Freedom Road" -- because I
didn't care for the new leadership in China which they like the OL
supported).  The pivotal event was May Day 1980, when Avakian ordered
basically all the working class cadre to come out as open communists and do
really out there things in their places of employment to promote this event
which was supposed to galvanize the masses and initiate a decade of
revolutionary struggle.  It didn't.  Many cadre lost their jobs as a
consequence.  In West Virginia, where it was highly dangerous because of the
Klan and the coal companies, they had to hightail it out of there fast.
Nothing remains.  Many folks became disillusioned and left the RCP (and, in
many cases, the movement).  I blame Avakian for fucking up a lot of good
stuff.  Of course, there were ambient social factors as well, which Elbaum
goes into.

When I look at the "Revolutionary Worker" today, there is a nary a word
about actually existing working class or trade union struggles.  I don't see
*any* evidence that the RCP is doing any organizing work whatsover among any
strata of the proletariat.  I checked out the "draft programme" and don't
see anything in there either, except for some vague lipservice to the

Theory is important.  But communist, or any kind, of consciousness emerges
out of a conjuction of ideas with social practice.  Usually, I think people
first have some kind of cognitive dissonance with the System and its
defining ideologies like around the war or racism and then look around for
answers.  Maybe they'll open to a communist explanation.  But that can't be
force-fed.  They'll pay closer attention (maybe) to people who have already
won their confidence and respect in the course of common struggles.  And
this seems especially necessary to me in a country that has been so drenched
with anti-communist propaganda.

Lenin's "What Is To Be Done?", with its emphasis on a newspaper as a nostrum
for "economism" was the result of a particular moment in the history of the
Russian Social Democratic movement.  The Bolsheviks certainly didn't shirk
from actual organizing work among the workers on behalf of their
"day-to-day" needs, along with advancing the longer-range interests of the

I still haven't found a good political "home" for myself after all these
years.  But my advice to you: Stay away from the RCP.  It's a cult.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Rosa RL" <rosarl65 at yahoo.com>
To: "Pieinsky" <pieinsky at igc.org>; "Activists and scholars in Marxist
tradition" <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 11:21 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Maoist use paper to make revolutionaries

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