By Bob Avakian
Revolutionary Worker #1145, April 7, 2002, posted at http://rwor.org
"Uniting With All Who Can Be United, in the U.S. and Throughout the World" is an excerpt from a tape-recorded talk by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the RCP,USA, in the aftermath of September 11 and in the context of the war launched by the U.S. government, focused initially against Afghanistan.RW 1143 featured major excerpts of this talk in the special magazine section-- "The New Situation and the Great Challenges." The magazine is available online at rwor.org and at Revolution Books stores and outlets.
In the battle against the heightening repression and in the overall struggle against the imperialist juggernaut, both the importance and the acute contradictoriness within our "two 90/10s" orientation stand out very sharply. As put forth in our Party's Draft Programme , the "two 90/10s" refers to the strategic orientation of seeking "to win over the `90 percent,' whose fundamental interests ultimately lie with the proletarian revolution, against the `10 percent'--the ruling class and its die-hard supporters-- within the U.S. while doing this in unity with the `90 percent' internationally , the great majority of the people of the world who suffer exploitation and oppression under the domination of imperialism and its allies and puppets."
To win people to apply this orientation, and maintain it through all the twists and turns, will of course be a struggle -- and this will be true not only in the broader movement but within the ranks of our Party as well. I have seen some reports concerning discussions within the Party, for example, where it has been raised: "How can we really carry out our two 90/10s orientation when we see that in this situation so many people are waving flags or supporting the government?" Or the question is directly raised: "Does this show that our two 90/10s orientation is not correct, or at least that we're not going to be able to carry it out?" Well, it's good these questions are being raised, but it's important to emphasize that, if you go back and read how this is characterized in the Draft Programme , it never presents this--and it would be wrong to present it --as if this is a straight-line, linear process and at every point you're going to have 90 percent of the people with you or that 90 percent can be very easily mobilized around your banner. On the contrary, it is recognized, and emphasized, that this is an acutely contradictory process because, considering things just within the U.S. itself, there are ways in which many people, significant forces in society, are spontaneously and in the short run pulled in the wrong direction; and, as pointed out in the Draft Programme , there is the very acute contradiction between maintaining a bedrock position and activity based on proletarian internationalism and still seeking to unite the broadest number possible and strategically maintaining an orientation of uniting with the 90 percent in the U.S. itself. So what these events are bringing out is precisely the profound correctness and farsightedness of what's said in the Draft Programme about the two 90/10s. To quote the Draft Programme again:
"It must be recognized that there are significant contradictions involved in these `two 90/10s'--contradictions which at times can become quite acute. In a country like the U.S., the requirements of upholding and applying proletarian internationalism and acting in accordance with the interests of the `90 percent' of the world's people can, in a number of circumstances, bring the class-conscious proletariat into conflict with the more narrow interests of segments of society, particularly the more privileged strata.
"In order to correctly handle these contradictions--and the often acute `tensions' involved--the proletarian vanguard must at all times keep uppermost the fundamental interests of the proletariat and masses of people worldwide and at the same time persevere, from a strategic standpoint, in its work to win over the broadest number from all strata among the people."
In fact, to build the most powerful movement of opposition, and to link this with and make it serve strategic revolutionary objectives, it is crucial to grasp firmly that at any given time the alignment may be vastly different than 90 percent of the people on our side. This applies on various levels. In terms of our fundamental program of proletarian revolution, it is clearly not going to be the case that 90 percent of the people (or anything close to that) will be in agreement with this, or even have a stance of friendly neutrality toward it, before a revolutionary situation emerges. Even at "crunch time"-- even when the objective basis and the need is acutely posed for the masses to rise up and make revolution-- it is unlikely to be the case that 90 percent will be with this right from the start--even then many middle forces will have to be won to the revolutionary camp through the course of actually carrying out the revolutionary seizure of power. This is something that is spoken to and emphasized in our Party's Draft Programme , and it will be important to continually go back to that and reground people in that, especially the advanced revolutionary-minded people at every point, in order to be able to most effectively struggle to bring into being a more favorable alignment, through the course of the whole process preceding a revolutionary situation as well as at the point where that situation does emerge.
And, on the level of building the broader movement of resistance, this also applies: at any given point, the alignment may be such that far fewer than 90 percent of the people are standing with--or have a stance of "friendly neutrality" toward-- that movement, and it will be crucial to continue building that movement in a way that "stick[s] to basic principle and still build[s] the broadest united front, keeping in the forefront what it will take to actually stop the whole juggernaut of war and repression vs. getting caught up in sectarian or even simply more narrow and limited interests." (from an internal party document)
Once again, this involves taking up the big challenge of changing the whole political terms and the political terrain, realigning things in society as a whole, achieving a repolarization that is more favorable for the movement of resistance, and doing this in a way that is consistent with and contributes to realizing the fundamental revolutionary interests of the masses of people, not just in the U.S. but worldwide. Here, once more, is the crucial point concerning the need to correctly handle the often very acute--and right now very acute--contradiction between maintaining proletarian internationalism, and at the same time uniting all who can be united within the U.S. itself.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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