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The crisis in the RCP and revolution in communications

The emerging revolution in communications is accelerating
the crisis in activists groups (like the Revolutionary Communist
Party) which have strong cult features. At the same time,
the communications revolutions will also be of great help
in the process of activists sorting out their errors and
regrouping on a healthier and more solid basis
A former editor of the RCP's newspaper, Mike Ely, maintains a
blog which currently carries a major article ("Nine Letters to
Our Comrades") highly critical of Avakian and the current line of
the RCP. It can be found here:


In recent years the RCP has been in increasing crisis.

The personality cult around Avakian has been used to protect the
RCP from the impact of the crisis of theory--the shock waves
created by the increasingly obvious chasm between what is an
essentially religious view of the goal of the revolutionary
movement (ie: a single party state with the ability to suppress
the voice of its opponents) and the reality that ordinary people
understand quite well (reflected in the popular dictum: "power
corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely").

The cult around Avakian, however, has just been making matters
worse. The more cult-like a group becomes the greater the gulf
between the group and the common sense life experience of
activists in the class struggle.

Mike Ely's blog also illustrates something of the potential of
the emerging revolution in communications. Any political
organization with something to hide will be in increasing
trouble: it is becoming increasingly easy to find the "dirt" (ie:
the self-deception, denial, hypocrisy and opportunism) on any
group that claims to offer a path to the future.

Mike's 9-part articles has collected more than 50 comments,
mostly thoughtful (including two of my own - one of which I have
copied below). And Mike's blog also illustrates a well-organized
format (using the highly regarded WordPress) for posting articles
and comments.

Ben Seattle

Ben Seattle Says:
December 21, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Hi Mike,

A friend here in Seattle emailed me news of your 9 part criticism
of the RCP and I took a look at it.

I think what you are doing is good.

You saw that the RCP had major problems - and you had hopes that
the organization would overcome these problems and become

And you were disappointed.

And now, thanks to the emerging revolution in communications, you
have an opportunity to bring your criticism to people in and
around the RCP and to the left in general.

And your efforts may generate some clarity.

I believe that the RCP itself, as an organization, will
eventually split up or simply collapse. But creating clarity
today - can help to salvage the healthy revolutionary energy and
enthusiasm which still exists among many of the RCP's members and
supporters - so that something positive may emerge from the

The RCP has three principle problems:

(1) a very strong cultish internal life

(2) a well-developed alliance with the left wing of the
imperialist Democratic Party

(3) ideological problems related to Maoism and the historical
debris of the failed revolutions in Russia and China in the last

The first two problems have been described in detail in many
places (see my footnote below). I am a theoretician and my work
has been focused on the third problem and what I call the "crisis
of theory" which I believe has led to the paralysis of the
revolutionary movement.

The essence of this crisis is that we want to see the working
class in power but we are unable to understand or describe how
working class rule will function in a way that makes sense to
ordinary people.

Avakian's "new synthesis" and his empty words about opposing
dogmatism have the aim, in my view, of rescuing the RCP from the
effects of the crisis of theory. As such, it is a doomed effort.
Avakian is unable to confront the crisis of theory. The RCP
cannot be rescued.

What most stands out about the crisis of theory is that, today,
communists in countries like the US, where ordinary people have
the democratic rights of speech and organization, are supposedly
in favor of a society which is ruled by a single organization and
where the working class will not have these fundamental
democratic rights. Such a view is the product of what I call
"Cargo-cult Leninism"  http://struggle.net/Ben/2007/cargo-4-cults.htm

Such a view is not based on materialism but is rather
a religious conception which originates from a failure
to understand the context of many of the harsh and
undemocratic emergency measures which, unfortunately, were
necessary during the period in which Lenin was alive.

All of Avakian's empty talk about the "increasing scope for the
contention of different ideas" and "protection of individual
rights" reflects an attempt to protect his followers from the
shock waves created by the increasingly obvious chasm between
what is an essentially religious view (ie: the goal of a single
party state with the ability to suppress the voice of its
opponents) and the reality that ordinary people understand quite
well and reflected in the popular dictum: "power corrupts and
absolute power corrupts absolutely".

I know you (and your readers) are busy. I have written more about
these, and related, topics in "Marxism-Leninism is anti-Marxist,
anti-Leninist and revisionist" which is part of my own 9 part
series called "Cargo-Cult Leninism vs. Political Transparency"

Ben Seattle

- footnote -

See, for example: the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee's
Statement on "World Can't Wait" at  http://www.seattleaic.org/?p=9
or my own essay "Crying 'Wolf' over Fascism - Hysteria about
'fascism' serves to hide the essential role of the Democratic
Party in the political and economic system of imperialism" at

? 29.Dec.2007 20:03


Well, you got lotsa acronyms here, haven't you. And lots of minutia that really has nothing to do with most of the people who are trying to read this. Hmmmm.