I remember back in 2000 in LA for the DNC, when I first had the misfortune of running into these hacks, just what a joke the "flag on a flag" flag was that they waved around incessantly. For those who haven't seen it, I tried to find a picture online but the closest I could come was the image below (the flag on a banner, I suppose). Just picture it being waved around on a flag.
Lately I've been seeing these printed stencil on a poster images of RCP cult leader Bob Avakian floating around here and there. These aren't actual stencils, of course, printed on glossy paper such as they are. But they are printed to look like stencils, as if they have street cred. But in fact they rolled off some printing press somewhere. I think in many ways those posters and the "flag on a flag" really sums up the RCP. Something disconnected. A facsimile. And endlessly self-referential, for sure.
The flag on a banner! Attached to a bayonet so you know
it's all militant and shit! Watch out! They may cut you!
it's all militant and shit! Watch out! They may cut you!
Just read their newspaper. I checked out their account of the May 29th immigrant march. You can't make this shit up:
At the same time, the agitation that this system can't solve the problems of humanity but the revolution CAN, was captivating for many others. Some people took up the chant started by the communists, "No tenemos que vivir así. Otro mundo es posible" ("We don't have to live this way. Another world is possible"), especially when the anti-immigrant reactionaries came out. And those who were more revolutionary-minded were drawn to the banner that said, "No hay un problema de inmigración, sí hay un problema del capitalismo, la revolución es la solución" ("There is no immigration problem, there is a capitalism problem, revolution is the solution") and the Message and Call from the RCP, USA: "The Revolution We Need… The Leadership We Have." Several college students spoke to the great disparities in the world and how resources exist which could meet the needs of the people, but are instead being used for profit while masses of people are forced to try to find ways to survive. After the rally, several people who were seriously looking for a way out of all this got together to watch Bob Avakian's talk, Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, and stayed up talking into the night about historic questions of changing the world. (emphasis mine)I mean, seriously? If you hadn't seen their pathetic little cadre with your own eyes you'd almost believe the people were rallying behind the RCP's bold representation of a flag on a flag. Fortunately, they were not. You'll note the unbearably long paragraphs (and revolutionary enthusiasm!) of the RCP writer -- a hallmark that derives from emulation of their leader, known for his endless, record-breaking even, sentences. What Castro is to the speech, Avakian is to the sentence. Consider this bit I took from a randomly selected article:
To briefly summarize this, the point is that you can conceive of the political structures and the way that they relate to the larger society in the U.S. as something of a pyramid: at the top you have the ruling class forces, which, speaking in broad strokes and for general purposes, are divided on the one hand into the Republican Party and on the other hand the Democratic Party, and what these parties represent in terms of "conservatism" and "liberalism" (about which I'll have more to say a little bit later); and then, continuing the metaphor of the pyramid, you have lines extending (or angling) from the top of the pyramid, where the ruling class sits with its two basic wings, down to the social bases that these different wings of the bourgeoisie at the top of the pyramid seek to appeal to—on the one side the "right," and on the other side the "left," in the terms that are utilized commonly in the framework of bourgeois politics. (emphasis mine)I've been known to use a semi-colon in my day, but reading Avakian reminds me more than ever of the importance of Kurt Vonnegut's legendary caution against semi-colons: "Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college." Please, Bob, break that shit up!
Anyhow, the response from our series has been very good, with people noting articles and analysis on the RCP that we had forgotten over the years or that we neglected to link to for one reason or another. One comrade out there reminded us of the wonderful essay, "The World Can't Wake", a blistering attack on the RCP's front group during their anti-war organizing phase, World Can't Wait. I remember enjoying that piece when it came out. There's also "What you should know about the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP)" hosted at Infoshop, which has a lot of links and a recommended reading list that includes Daniel Cohn-Bendit's "Obsolete Communism" -- definitely a good read on the topic of authoritarian communists (even if Cohn-Bendit has disappointed us all more than a bit since May 1968).
But my favorite submission of all came from our abiding comrade in Tucson, Dan Todd, who sent along a poster he and John Zerzan distributed some years ago in the Bay, under their Anti-Authoritarians Anonymous monicker. Folks will remember Dan from his presentation at Beer & Revolution last January.
Perhaps there are others out there who have a copy of his collection of posters, "Cold Fury: Advertisements for Anarchy 1982-2010". Those who do will recognize the trademark Situationist-influenced style. Not included in his collection, I seem to remember it appearing in Zerzan's "Elements of Refusal", if memory serves, the RCP gets a mention, although it isn't the focus of the piece. However, the points made are universal and inform just how long the backward RCP has been mucking around the left, lurking and attaching itself like a lamprey to genuine peoples movements everywhere.
Anyhow, as (perhaps) the last in our series on the Revolutionary Communist Party, and as a prelude to a fond farewell (soon, I hope), I present it below.