Spanning some of the most tumultuous and storied decades of American history, this account of one man's political life touches on what it takes to lead a revolution and how such a leader is made. Bob Avakian, radical activist and communist leader, takes readers into his 1950s, middle-class past with tales of attending an integrated high school, an experience that profoundly altered his worldview. From there, he traces his path into the heady whirl of 1960s Berkeley, where he engaged with revolutionaries of all stripes. Revealing insights gained from politics, music, sports, study, and late-night bull-sessions, this dissection of the experiences that formed and informed Avakian looks back at a galvanizing history, and forward to a possible future of revolutionary change. His story offers a rare picture of what it is like to lead a revolutionary party in the most powerful country in the world.
"If you don't have a poetic spirit-or at least a poetic side- it is very dangerous for you to lead a Marxist movement or be the leader of a socialist state." —Bob Avakian
Bob Avakian (BA) is the architect of a whole new framework of human emancipation, the new synthesis of communism, which is popularly referred to as the "new communism." The goal of the new communism is a total revolution—the most radical revolution in human history that aims at nothing less than overcoming all forms of oppression and exploitation all over the world, a society where humanity could truly flourish. The new synthesis is based on more than 40 years of revolutionary work that BA has done critically analyzing and drawing from past revolutionary experience and theory, and a broad range of human activity and thought. It is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed. It provides the basis—the science, the strategy, and the leadership—for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.
Bob Avakian is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP), which he has led since its formation in 1975. He emerged as a major political figure throughout the upheavals and rebellions of the period of the '60s: awakening to political life in the period of the emerging discontent and ferment among students in the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley; joining and then becoming a leader of the resistance and protests against the Vietnam War; becoming an early and prominent supporter of the Black Liberation struggle where he was closely associated with the Black Panther Party; then playing a critical leading role in the political and ideological struggles of the New Left Movement of the 1960s, which ultimately led to the founding of the RCP. In the decades since the 1960s BA has given decisive leadership to the theoretical as well as strategic and practical dimensions of the revolution, both in the U.S. and internationally.
BA’s extensive body of work includes more than a hundred articles, books, films and audio recordings. His collected works are available through The Bob Avakian Institute, thebobavakianinstitute.org.
The above is excerpted from Bob Avakian (BA)–Official Biography, a publication of The Bob Avakian Institute.
"[These] memories are sharp and clear...compelling as maps for those who demand a better world." —Dr. Juan Gomez-Quinones, author, Mexican American Labor, 1790-1990
"Information about the Black Power struggle and black nationalist organizations that is available nowhere else." —Elemental Magazine
"A learning document that makes for a fascinating read." —Counterpunch.org
"Avakian's new memoir leaves a breathtaking impression...[He] sounds a high, sustained cry for complete social transformation." —San Francisco Chronicle