Revolution #272, June 17, 2012

A Journal of Communist Theory and Polemic

New Issue Appearing
Mid-June 2012

From the Introduction to Issue No. 2:

Since the inaugural issue of Demarcations, the world has witnessed renewed upsurge, with mass social movements in Egypt and elsewhere capturing the imagination of and stirring defiance among broad sections of people who find the present order intolerable. This fresh wind of resistance and revolt has also been felt in the rebellions in London, in the Occupy and other youth and protest movements, while revolutionary struggles and resistance continue in various parts of the Third World.

Puncturing people’s belief in the permanent necessity of existing conditions, this renewal of upsurge has also brought fundamental questions to the fore: Of revolution—what is it? Of leadership—is it needed, and of what type? Of the state (and its armies and police)—should it be confronted, and can it be confronted? And what it means for the masses to make history. Most of all, the decisive question getting posed is what social change and what future are desirable and possible—and what constitutes freedom and emancipation.

Some of these crucial questions, posed by the Egypt upsurge and the Occupy movements, are actually addressed in the polemic against the political philosophy of Alain Badiou that appeared in the first issue of Demarcations: “Alain Badiou’s ‘Politics of Emancipation’: A Communism Locked Within the Confines of the Bourgeois World.” That polemic takes on new relevance in light of recent developments in the world, and we encourage readers to (re)engage with and respond to it. We also call readers’ attention to Bob Avakian’s statements on the Egypt uprising (“Egypt 2011: Millions Have Heroically Stood Up... The Future Remains to Be Written,” Revolution #224 online, February 11, 2011) and the Occupy movements (“A Reflection on the ‘Occupy’ Movement: An Inspiring Beginning... and the Need to Go Further,” Revolution #250, November 15, 2011).

What is achingly missing in these new crucibles of struggle is a vision of a radically different society, and how to get there—which focuses up the question of communist leadership. The fact is, a viable and liberatory alternative to this world of horrors—and the kind of leadership needed to bring a new world into being—is concentrated in Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. This new synthesis needs to be much more widely known, engaged, and taken up.

Table of Contents

Introducing Issue No. 2

KJA: “Scientifically Comprehending, Firmly Upholding And Going Beyond Maoism for a New Stage of Communism—Polemical Reflections on ‘What Is Maoism?’ An Essay by Bernard D’Mello”
A wide-ranging response to the article “What Is Maoism?” that appeared in the Economic and Political Weekly from India. D’Mello’s article articulates and concentrates a major line in the world today, principally in the form of reconfiguring communism as bourgeois democracy.

Bob Avakian: “The Cultural Revolution in China...Art and Culture...Dissent and Ferment...and Carrying Forward the Revolution Toward Communism”
A provocative historical and conceptual overview of what “the Cultural Revolution was seeking to address, and was addressing,” while also identifying certain problems in conception and approach. The interview is a kind of laboratory of the new synthesis: providing scientific understanding and appreciation of the Cultural Revolution, the high point of the first stage of communist revolution, and indicating ways in which the next stage of communist revolution can go further and do better. This originally appeared in Revolution newspaper.

Raymond Lotta: “Vilifying Communism and Accommodating Imperialism, The Sham and Shame of Slavoj Žižek’s ‘Honest Pessimism’”
Raymond Lotta’s sharp polemic against Slavoj Žižek’s “fusillade of distortion of the historical experience of revolution and socialism in the 20th century, accompanied by an egregiously uninformed and unprincipled attack on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism.” Slavoj Žižek is an influential public intellectual who is perceived and presented as one of the most radical theorists on communism itself. Lotta begins and ends his piece with a challenge to Žižek to publicly debate these issues. This polemic originally appeared in January 2012 in Revolution newspaper.

“The Current Debate on the Socialist State System”—A Reply by the RCP, USA
An answer to an article by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [Naxalbari]. This response, from 2006 and appearing publicly for the first time, addresses some critical issues of epistemology and political theory that demarcate the new synthesis of communism from other lines within the broader international communist movement.


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