Excerpt from SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism, and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic—A Visionary and Concrete Application of the New Synthesis
December 5, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
In the early part of 2015, over a number of days, Revolution conducted a wide-ranging interview with Ardea Skybreak. A scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an advocate of the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, Skybreak is the author of, among other works, The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, and Of Primeval Steps and Future Leaps: An Essay on the Emergence of Human Beings, the Source of Women’s Oppression, and the Road to Emancipation. This interview was first published online at www.revcom.us.
This excerpt from the interview discusses how the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America is an application of the new synthesis brought forward by Bob Avakian. (The topic of "What is New in the New Synthesis?" is discussed in another excerpt from this interview with Ardea Skybreak, posted November 16, 2015).
AS Continues: And there are also the very important theoretical advances brought forward by the new synthesis in relation to how to start building a new society, on the correct basis and with the right methods and approaches. Here too there are a lot of ways you could go horribly off-track with all this, so it is very important to grapple, even now, with what would constitute those correct vs. incorrect approaches. There are so many things you’d have to move quickly to restructure, and some that would take more time. Of course you should have a planned economy, and you should bring into play ways of restructuring the economy so it’s not geared for private profit (the way it is under capitalism) and instead it’s more geared to meet the material needs of the people broadly in society. But this can’t be approached narrowly or simplistically or with narrow reductionist objectives. There are many complex contradictions involved in precisely how to do that, as everybody in the past has discovered. Whom you involve, where you put your priorities, what the overall feel of life in the society will be like, and so on. The methods of the new synthesis allow you not only to recognize the core aspects of what’s wrong with capitalist economies and to contrast that with the core features of a socialist planned economy that you should work to institute right away—the new synthesis also shows you how to do that in such a way as to bring along broader and broader sections of the people to willingly and consciously participate and contribute to that great societal restructuring.
Just to use one example, there’s some really radical thinking in that Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America about how to constitute civil society after the seizure of power. How do you restructure not just the economic institutions and the planning, and so on, but how do you establish and apply the rule of law? And a very radical thing, relative to past experience, is that the new synthesis' breakthroughs epistemologically and philosophically have led Bob Avakian to argue that a new socialist society should not have an official ideology. And that the communist party should seek to lead primarily politically and ideologically, in other words primarily through political and ideological orientation and guidance and struggle—more in that way than by trying to “tightly control” every single institution of society, as seems to have been too much the case in past socialist societies. This is very important, and it’s a good example of how the new synthesis has managed to internalize some of the positives of past socialist experience while also analyzing and breaking with some of the past rigidity in the approach to leading a new society. Certain critical institutions, like the armed forces for instance, would still be led by the Party, but at the same time they would be accountable to the Constitution, and it would be a violation of this Constitution, and the basic principles it embodies, for the armed forces to act against the rights of the people that are set forth in that Constitution. There would be civil institutions, and the role of the Party would remain somewhat separate from that. The new synthesis puts forward a lot of such very, very concrete and very new thinking in terms of how to approach building the new society, looking ahead to how you would structure things: the rule of law, the role of elections, contrasting elections in the current society and the future society, and speaking to the role elections should play in the overall process of the new society—these are all very concrete questions that are being deeply examined, and re-examined, on the basis of the new synthesis. How you protect people’s rights, while also keeping the society moving in the general direction in which it needs to go to meet the needs of humanity, to advance toward communism. How you deal with the question of the international contributions to the revolution and how that relates to the domestic situation.
So there are many, many complex questions that this new theoretical framework actually gives you a leg up on, a good starting point, to try to very concretely deal with the challenges of building a new society, in such a way that most people would want to live in it and that it keeps going forward toward the goal of communism. So here I have to put in another plug for this Constitution for the NSR, because I don’t know how much people realize what this actually represents, how radical this is! In other words, it’s kinda giving us a blueprint for what to start doing “the day after.” Sometimes I think, Oh, it’d be great to get to the seizure of power and actually have a socialist revolution and actually start building a new society. And then I often think, Oh boy, the day after the seizure of power—what do you do? That’s pretty complex, running a whole society, right? [laughs] But this Constitution, if people look through it, just even look at the headings and topics it covers, it actually gives you such a detailed, concrete framework...it’s a concrete application of the new synthesis to what the new society would look like. It really gives you a sense of where you could start, what you would start to work on transforming, and why. And I think that this Constitution for the NSR can be a very inspiring thing right now, today, as it can give people more of a sense of what the new society would actually look like. I think most people would actually find their place, with some genuine ease of mind, in this kind of society. I think that most people, if they really look into it, would say, “You know, I don’t know about everything in here, but I think I could live in this kind of new society. I think it would deal with a whole lot of the terrible abuses of this current society overnight, and that there would be enough room for some differences and for working things out that aren’t all figured out yet, and for moving things in a direction that would benefit the vast majority of people.” So this Constitution for the NSR is a very inspiring document, which is a direct result, a direct application, of Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism.
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