Bob Avakian

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Bob Avakian

Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
Assumed office
Preceded byPosition Established
Personal details
Robert Bruce Avakian

(1943-03-07) 7 March 1943 (age 77)
Washington D.C.
Political partyRevolutionary Communist Party, USA (1975—present)
Other political
Peace and Freedom Party (1960s)

Robert Bruce "Bob" Avakian (born March 7, 1943)[1] 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."[2] Coming out of the New Left,[3] Avakian has written several books over four decades, including an autobiography.

Early life[edit]

Avakian was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Berkeley, California.[1] His father, Spurgeon Avakian, was an Armenian American lawyer, civil rights activist, and judge on the Alameda County, California superior court.[1][4][5]

Political activities[edit]

As a young man, Avakian became involved with the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Berkeley, the Free Speech Movement[4] and the Black Panther Party.[3] In 1968, he wrote articles for the Peace and Freedom Party's publications[6] and in July 1969, he spoke at the Black Panther conference in Oakland, California.[7] 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.[8] During that period, Avakian was a leading member of the Bay Area Revolutionary Union.[9]

In the early 1970s, Avakian served a prison sentence for desecrating the American flag during a demonstration.[4] 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.[3][10][11] After receiving an arrest warrant, Avakian "jumped bail" and fled to France.[4] In 1980, he gave a speech to 200 protestors in downtown Oakland[12] and his police assault charges were dropped a few years later.[1][3]

In 2005, Avakian published an autobiography called From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist.[1][13][14] Avakian has been the Revolutionary Communist Party's central committee chairman and national leader since 1979.[12][15] In 2016, the Revolutionary Communist Party USA and others helped form the organization Refuse Fascism, which calls for the removal of the Trump administration.[16]

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.[17]


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.[18][19] Avakian is also criticized by detractors for an alleged "cult of personality" around him by the RCP,[20][21] statements which the party has denied as "lies and slander."[22]

In popular culture[edit]

Avakian is portrayed by James LeGros in the 1995 Mario Van Peebles film Panther.

Selected bibliography[edit]




  1. ^ a b c d e Avakian, Bob (2005). From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist. Insight Press. ISBN 9780976023623.
  2. ^ "A more in-depth introduction to BA's new synthesis of communism". Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Oppenheimer, Mark (January 27, 2008). "Free Bob Avakian!". Boston Globe.
  4. ^ a b c d Baum, Richard (2010). China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom (1st ed.). University of Washington Press. p. 241. ISBN 9780295800219.
  5. ^ DelVecchio, Rick (February 2, 2002). "'Sparky' Avakian -- racism-fighting judge". San Francisco Chronicle.
  6. ^ Werkmen, Dirk (March 10, 1968). "Freedom: The Birth of a Party, 1968". Independent Star News. p. 5.
  7. ^ Benson, George S. (March 28, 1972). "Looking Ahead". The Evening Independent. p. 11.
  8. ^ Sale, Kirkpatrick (1974). SDS. New York: Vintage Books. pp. 412, 521, 566, 576, 592. ISBN 0394719654.
  9. ^ Baker, Ross S. (November 22, 1970). "A History of The Weathermen". Express and News.
  10. ^ Avakian, "Bob Avakian Speaks on the Mao Tsetung Defendants' Railroad and the Historic Battles Ahead", Introduction and pp. 18--21.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ a b "Scores arrested, Injured In May Day Violence". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. UPI. May 2, 1980.
  13. ^ Jacobs, Ron (February 2005). "A Life of Revolution in a Country of Reaction". CounterPunch. Archived from the original on February 10, 2005.
  14. ^ DelVecchio, Rick (April 29, 2005). "Berkeley: Memoir follows author's road to communism". San Francisco Chronicle.
  15. ^ Unknown (December 6, 1979). "Communists get year sentence for disruption". The Daily Tar Heel. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. p. 2.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Statement by Bob Avakian on the immediate situation and the upcoming elections". Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  18. ^ DelVecchio, Rick (April 29, 2005). "Berkeley: Memoir follows author's road to communism". SFGate. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  19. ^ "Praise and Reviews". Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  20. ^ "REVCOM Archives". Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  21. ^ Weir (2007). "Maoism". In Weir, Robert (ed.). Class in America: H-P. Greenwood. p. 492. ISBN 978-0313337192. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  22. ^ "Stop the Lies and Slanders: Bob Avakian and the RCP Are the Exact Opposite of a "Cult"!". Retrieved April 17, 2019.

External links[edit]