|Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA|
|Assumed office |
|Preceded by||Position Established|
Robert Bruce Avakian
7 March 1943
|Political party||Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (1975—present)|
|Peace and Freedom Party (1960s)|
|Part of a series on|
the United States
Robert Bruce "Bob" Avakian (born March 7, 1943) is a political activist who has been the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP) since 1975. Serving as the party's Chairman, Avakian developed the organization's official ideology, a theoretical framework rooted in Maoism, called "the New Synthesis" or the "New Communism." Coming out of the New Left, Avakian has written several books over four decades, including an autobiography.
Avakian was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Berkeley, California. His father, Spurgeon Avakian, was an Armenian American lawyer, civil rights activist, and judge on the Alameda County, California superior court.
As a young man, Avakian became involved with the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Berkeley, the Free Speech Movement and the Black Panther Party. In 1968, he wrote articles for the Peace and Freedom Party's publications and in July 1969, he spoke at the Black Panther conference in Oakland, California. By the time that SDS split into three factions in summer 1969, Avakian was a leading member of the Revolutionary Youth Movement II faction, and was their candidate for National Secretary. Although defeated for the top position by Mark Rudd of the faction soon known as the Weather Underground, Avakian was elected to the National Interim Committee. During that period, Avakian was a leading member of the Bay Area Revolutionary Union.
In the early 1970s, Avakian served a prison sentence for desecrating the American flag during a demonstration. He was charged with assaulting a police officer in January 1979 at a demonstration in Washington, D.C. to protest Deng Xiaoping's meeting with Jimmy Carter. After receiving an arrest warrant, Avakian "jumped bail" and fled to France. In 1980, he gave a speech to 200 protestors in downtown Oakland and his police assault charges were dropped a few years later.
In 2005, Avakian published an autobiography called From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist. Avakian has been the Revolutionary Communist Party's central committee chairman and national leader since 1979. In 2016, the Revolutionary Communist Party USA and others helped form the organization Refuse Fascism, which calls for the removal of the Trump administration.
In August 2020, Avakian released a statement about the rise of fascism in America, calling on supporters to use "every appropriate means of non-violent action" to remove Trump, including voting for Joe Biden for President of the United States, while continuing to organize for revolution.
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Avakian is considered a controversial figure, who the RCP acknowledges is both "loved and hated." Avakian is viewed by supporters as a revolutionary leader whose body of work has advanced communist theory and represents a "pathway to human emancipation" from the capitalist system. Avakian is also criticized by detractors for an alleged "cult of personality" around him by the RCP, statements which the party has denied as "lies and slander."
In popular culture
- The Loss in China and the Revolutionary Legacy of Mao Tse-tung (1979)
- Mao Tse-tung’s Immortal Contributions (1979)
- For a Harvest of Dragons (1983)
- A Horrible End, or an End to the Horror? (1984)
- Bullets: From the Writings, Speeches, and Interviews of Bob Avakian (1985)
- Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That? (1986)
- Phony Communism is Dead—Long Live Real Communism (1992)
- Preaching from a Pulpit of Bones: We Need Morality But Not Traditional Morality (1999)
- Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy (2005)
- From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist: A Memoir (2005)
- Away with All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World (2008)
- Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy (2008)
- BAsics, from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian (2011)
- What Humanity Needs: Revolution and the New Synthesis of Communism (2012)
- Constitution, Law, and Rights in Capitalist Society and in the Future Socialist Society (2015)
- The New Communism: The Science, the Strategy, the Leadership for an Actual Revolution, and a Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation (2016)
- Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism (2019)
- Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About (2003)
- Revolution—Nothing Less! (2012)
- Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian (2015)
- The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible (2017)
- Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution (2018)
- Avakian, Bob (2005). From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist. Insight Press. ISBN 9780976023623.
- "A more in-depth introduction to BA's new synthesis of communism". revcom.us. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- Oppenheimer, Mark (January 27, 2008). "Free Bob Avakian!". Boston Globe.
- Baum, Richard (2010). China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom (1st ed.). University of Washington Press. p. 241. ISBN 9780295800219.
- DelVecchio, Rick (February 2, 2002). "'Sparky' Avakian -- racism-fighting judge". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Werkmen, Dirk (March 10, 1968). "Freedom: The Birth of a Party, 1968". Independent Star News. p. 5.
- Benson, George S. (March 28, 1972). "Looking Ahead". The Evening Independent. p. 11.
- Sale, Kirkpatrick (1974). SDS. New York: Vintage Books. pp. 412, 521, 566, 576, 592. ISBN 0394719654.
- Baker, Ross S. (November 22, 1970). "A History of The Weathermen". Express and News.
- Avakian, "Bob Avakian Speaks on the Mao Tsetung Defendants' Railroad and the Historic Battles Ahead", Introduction and pp. 18--21.
- Athan G. Theoharis, "FBI Surveillance: Past and Present", Cornell Law Review, Vol. 69 (April 1984); and Peter Erlinder with Doug Cassel, “Bazooka Justice: The Case of the Mao Tse Tung Defendants – Overreaction Or Foreshadowing?”, Public Eye, Vol. II, No. 3&4 (1980), pp. 40--43.
- "Scores arrested, Injured In May Day Violence". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. UPI. May 2, 1980.
- Jacobs, Ron (February 2005). "A Life of Revolution in a Country of Reaction". CounterPunch. Archived from the original on February 10, 2005.
- DelVecchio, Rick (April 29, 2005). "Berkeley: Memoir follows author's road to communism". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Unknown (December 6, 1979). "Communists get year sentence for disruption". The Daily Tar Heel. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. p. 2.
- Montgomery, Blake (September 7, 2017). "Here's Everything You Need To Know About The Antifa Network That's Trying To Solidify A Nazi-Punching Movement". BuzzFeed. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
- "Statement by Bob Avakian on the immediate situation and the upcoming elections". us3.campaign-archive.com. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
- DelVecchio, Rick (April 29, 2005). "Berkeley: Memoir follows author's road to communism". SFGate. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
- "Praise and Reviews". Insight-press.com. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
- "REVCOM Archives". Retrieved April 17, 2019.
- Weir (2007). "Maoism". In Weir, Robert (ed.). Class in America: H-P. Greenwood. p. 492. ISBN 978-0313337192. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
- "Stop the Lies and Slanders: Bob Avakian and the RCP Are the Exact Opposite of a "Cult"!". Revcom.us. Retrieved April 17, 2019.