Stalin! FARK! Avakian! Mao! Rage! Muzak!

Uncle Joe was quite a guy, and it’s little wonder that he continues to inspire Youth — especially as gaiety was the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union. Of course, I trust no one, not even myself. Further, gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs. And unfortunately, history shows that there are no invincible armies, while education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed. Put simply, everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach. Speaking of which, the Stalinist League of Australia has reached the shores of Fark, and is there striking Terror into the assembled ranks of nerds, goths, fat people, oldies, geeks and capitalists. This will no doubt gladden the heart of the League (latterly also known as the Soviet Left Faction). As for me, I believe in one thing only, the power of human will.

Another believer in human will is Bob Avakian, the reclusive leader of the largest Maoist sect in the U$A, the Revolutionary Communist Party. He’s been profiled in The Boston Globe by a capitalist running-dog named Mark Oppenheimer (Free Bob Avakian!, January 28, 2008):

IT WAS HARD to miss, splashed recently across a full page of The New York Review of Books: an advertisement featuring the boldface words, “Dangerous times demand courageous voices. Bob Avakian is such a voice.”

Wrapped around those words, Talmud-page-style, were, to the left, a short essay about the importance of Avakian’s “compelling approach to Marxism” and, to the right, a list of dozens of signatories, including academic superstars like Cornel West, performers like Rickie Lee Jones and Chuck D., and activists like Cindy Sheehan.

Some of the signatories were regulars on left-wing petitions, but even for people often associated with radical causes, signing a pro-Avakian ad seemed bizarre. Did they not know what he stands for – or did they just not care?

Avakian is the chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, a tiny Maoist organization whose most visible activity is running several branches of a store called Revolution Books. (There’s a branch on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge.) Through the bookstores, the party’s website and newspaper, and his prolific pamphleteering, Avakian has advanced his views: Mao Zedong’s China was “wondrous,” according to Avakian’s autobiography, and, despite the show trials, mass purges, and other acts of tyranny that Avakian acknowledges, Joseph Stalin had “an overall positive historical role.”

[Et cetera. As an aside, see also Scott McLemee‘s brilliant blog. On Avakian, RCP, Nightmares of History and The World Can’t Wait, see The World Can’t Wake.]

Locally, the remnants of the Maoists Down Under are assembled at the little red website Last Superpower. From there they lob ideological grenades at what they term the fake Left. In their own words: “This site was established by leftwingers who support the war in Iraq. We called it “Last Superpower” because we believe that US imperialism is weaker than it has ever been before and is no longer the almighty superpower it makes itself out to be. This is a place for people who want to discuss what it really means to be progressive and left-wing in the 21st century – and where we can go from here.”

The real Left, on the other hand, consists of (other) private school boys turned revolutionaries turned functionaries. Like, say, Jim Bacon. Thus, on the one hand:

Vale comrade Jim Bacon
The Age
Albert Langer, Michael Hyde* and Kerry Miller
July 2, 2004

Jim Bacon was not just a student activist at Monash University. He was a leader of the Young Communist League and the Worker Student Alliance, and remained a revolutionary when he moved on to the labour movement. He was a disciplined Marxist-Leninist until he withdrew honourably from the Red Eureka Movement in the late 1970s.

Like many others, he was no theoretician, and his commitment to revolutionary communism waned during the decades between high tides. But Jim never repudiated his original stand and remained on the side of the oppressed against oppressors…

[*See also Sushi Das, ‘ASIO files full of Hyde and seek’, The Age, September 23, 2005: “FOR years he thought he was just being paranoid. Now he knows the truth. A few months ago, after a freedom-of-information request, author Michael Hyde finally got all 13 files ASIO had kept on him between 1967 and 1974.”]

While on the other:

The selling-out of Tasmania
The Age
Richard Flanagan
July 22, 2004

Among the many bewildering responses to former Tasmanian premier Jim Bacon’s passing, few came more bizarre than that of Albert Langer and his colleagues (“Vale comrade Jim Bacon”, on this page on July 2) presenting Bacon as ever “on the side of the oppressed against the oppressors”. Unfortunately, history tells a less uplifting tale.

Under Bacon, Tasmania was given away to the rich at the expense of the poor… clearfelling of globally unique native forest accelerated… forests disappeared, rivers began drying up, thousands of protected native animals were killed with 1080, and Gunns shares increased in value by more than 700 per cent.

Then there is Bacon’s record on democracy. In 1997 Bacon drove the deal with the Liberals under which Tasmania’s highly democratic electoral system was fundamentally altered to reduce minority representation, which had resulted in the Greens twice having the balance of power. The result was an enfeebled parliament.

Bacon had no tolerance of dissenting opinions, making no secret of his fury with those who differed from his point of view, no matter how small the difference.

Hailed as a champion of the arts, Bacon famously attacked Tasmanian artists and writers who spoke out against his policies as “cultural fascists” (a term coined by Stalin), signalling clearly to his bureaucracy who was and wasn’t going to be part of Bacon’s much-trumpeted New Tasmania.

[…]

None of this, though, was to interfere with the myth of the great leader being woven around the man whose nickname was the Emperor. Jim Bacon began as a Maoist and ended up a mini-Mao, his funeral replete with oversize imagery, overwrought testimonies and apparatchiki falling over each other to prostrate themselves…

Fucking Maoists. On which point: Rage Against the Machine done gone toured Australia, spreading the revolutionary Gospel and pocketing approximately $3 million in the process. Huh! / Yeah, we’re comin’ back then with another bombtrack / Think ya know what it’s all about / Huh! / Hey yo, so check this out / Yeah! / Know your enemy! / Come on!

THE Big Day Out series of youth concerts is a massive event—more than 40 bands are appearing on one of seven stages in each of the six cities (Sydney, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Auckland) hosting the event—and organisers will earn roughly $30m in ticket sales alone. But the event is just as important for the sponsors, as they are able to interact with their customers while they are having fun, and their brands are associated with something all concert-goers love—music.

Concert festivals are growing in popularity, with more than a dozen being held around the country. Livid, Splendour in the Grass, Good Vibrations and Field Day are just some that have emerged in the past few years. But it was the Big Day Out that set the standard and now, 12 [sic] years after its first event, sponsors are lining up to get on board.

According to Adam Zammit, principal of Peer Group Media, which has the commercial rights to several festivals including the Big Day Out, about 55% of the crowd is aged between 18–24, 30% is aged 25–32 and 15% is aged 16–18. “This group is hard to reach and there are not a lot of events like this,” Zammit says. [Marketers have] so much desire for brands to get down and dirty and often their only chance to do this is in the retail environment. “The beauty of these experiences is that they are interactive and [can’t be replicated] elsewhere. It is also unusual because the brands are giving something back. “It is at the beginning of the year so [attendees] return to school and uni talking about the event and are generally seen as opinion leaders by their peers,” Zammit says.

Whether they want to supply refreshing water, a place to chill out or the opportunity to go backstage, sponsors are spending up big to interact with this hard-to-reach youth demographic. Morph Monitors account manager Lauren Prince says when targeting this extremely mobile, highly independent decision-making generation, licensing is becoming critical. “Marketers are borrowing the equity of a license—it’s what gets these consumers to look at their brands,” Prince says…

Eat the shit up kids!

See also : U2’s Manager Calls For Mandatory Disconnects For Music Downloaders, Slashdot, January 29, 2008 | Silicon Valley’s hippy values ‘killing music industry’, Owen Gibson, The Guardian, January 29, 2008 | Axis of Justice

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2021 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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16 Responses to Stalin! FARK! Avakian! Mao! Rage! Muzak!

  1. Soviet Left Faction says:

    Andy, what do you know about me? What does Fight Dem Back and the other anaRchists think of me and the SLA?

  2. Soviet Man says:

    @ndy,

    Let me make a serious reply.

    The point to make on pro-Stalin positions is this:

    In the Australian context, of the current socialist groups, the CPA is the only group which continues to embrace an uncompromising ‘pro-Moscow and pro-Stalin’ position.

    The CL and the CPA-ML have on occasion acknowledged pro-Stalin perspectives and would not outwardly be critical of the USSR, but our support for Stalin is more muted and we adopt a view that a *completely honest assessment* must be made when considering his legacy.

    Stalin’s legacy is one of great extremes. Of immense political and human failure, of immense criminal acts, and some of the most appalling human rights abuses ever committed.

    However, Stalin too, presided over socialist construction on a scale and at a pace never seen before. It is undeniable that there were immense scientific, industrial, technological and human advancements made in the USSR during Stalin’s watch.

    Today we stand in 2008, with Communists in ruling coalitions in countries as diverse as Brazil, Uruguay, Moldova, South Africa, Northern Korea, Italy, Laos, Vietnam, China, Cuba, Syria, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Most of these communists are avowedly pro-Stalin and reject many of the conclusions the trotskyist movement has arrived at.

    The world must assess Stalin in a way that recognises his successes and failures.

  3. Soviet Left Faction says:

    I totally agree with you comrade[.]

  4. @ndy says:

    North Korea eh? Hmmm…

  5. Adam says:

    “Most of these communists are avowedly pro-Stalin and reject many of the conclusions the trotskyist movement has arrived at.” while i’m willing to admit that the trots often have their heads up their uni student arses conclusions like being responsible for 20 million … TWENTY MOTHER FUCKING MILLION … um … 20 million dead people through either callous indifference or murder is … well as mr mackey would say … Um slaughter’s bad mmmkay?

  6. Soviet Left Faction says:

    Who is responsible for 20 million dead?

    Are you talking about the 20 million Soviets killed back in the Second World War? That was Hitler’s fault. He started the Second World War. Stalin didn’t want any war nor did Australia.

    The SWW was a imperialist inter capitalist war between world powers. America only joined in because its interests were under attack by Hitler’s Germany.

  7. @ndy says:

    BTW Adam, FYI, ‘Soviet Left Faction’ = ‘Peter Watson’.

    Say no more.

  8. Jon says:

    The article by Mark Oppenheimer, “Free Bob Avakian!” Boston Globe [January 27, 2008], is a distortion that attempts to belittle and discredit Bob Avakian and the Engage Committee (go to http://www.engagewithbobavakian.org to read their statement). He also trivializes the very real dangers of the current political situation. I encourage readers to read Avakian’s work for themselves. He deals in depth with the questions and contradictions bound up with revolution and the socialist transition to communism – is revolution possible, what that revolution needs to be about, questions of democracy and dictatorship, and the relationship between human emancipation and breaking free of [the] mental shackles of religion. He also deals in profound ways with the questions and contradictions bound up with leadership and how to unleash the conscious initiative of people themselves. Whether you agree with all his views or not, anyone who is genuinely concerned about the current, brutally oppressive state of the world and desirous of a better, liberating world, needs to check out his work.

    Go to http://www.bobavakian.net or here.

  9. @ndy says:

    Thanks Jon,

    One thing I don’t understand is why Bob thinks Bob (aka the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA) is a target for repression, here and now. Further, for those who care, wouldn’t such energies be better utilised in defence of those currently facing repression in the US? Further, according to Oppenheimer:

    In 1979 Avakian was arrested at a demonstration against Deng Xiaoping’s visit to the White House; charged with assaulting a police officer, he fled the United States for France. His autobiography contains a picture of a bearded Avakian, wearing a Che-like beret, gazing solemnly at the camera, the caption reading: “[t]he author in exile, in front of the Wall of Communards in Paris, 1981.” And so he remains in exile, a man persecuted in his own land. Except he isn’t. All charges against Bob Avakian were dropped in 1982, as he admits in his book. But the chairman is still on the run, even if nobody is chasing him.

    Is this incorrect?

    No gods, no masters,

    @ndy.

  10. [Peter Watson] says:

    The answer is this. If comrade bob does go back to the evil united states, then he will be sent to that cmap in Cuba.

    Ha Andy, why are you so pist off at me.

  11. Soviet Left Faction says:

    I spelled camp wrong.

  12. @ndy says:

    I’m of the opinion that that’s probably the least of your problems Peter.

  13. [Peter has left the building.]

  14. Adam says:

    yeah i’m well aware of it being peter … i hadn’t read this thing for a fortnight then the first thing i saw by soviet left faction … got a dozen words in and i realized it was his new name

  15. Reenvisioning Socialism says:

    Avakian is speaking to some really crucial questions facing humanity, and folks should not let bad-mouthing from MSM (or anyone else) keep them from checking it out. (I.e., that means actually reading/listening and commenting on the content!)

    The experience of socialist revolution so far has been marked by pathbreaking advances (does the elimination of hunger and illiteracy among hundreds of millions of people in both Russia and China matter? What about the participation of tens of millions of the formerly oppressed in titanic political struggles over the direction of society, as in the Cultural Revolution in China?) And yes, there have also been shortcomings, even grievous ones, in the context of these revolutions facing TREMENDOUS obstacles, including large-scale invasions by the imperialists, nuclear threats, and so on.

    People who are serious about getting humanity out of this living nightmare have to deeply evaluate all of this in as scientific a way as possible, in order to further chart the path to revolution. This is what Avakian has done. Check it out, then say what you think!

    For those of you reading this who are in the U.S., a great opportunity for this is coming up — around the country there will be major presentations of Avakian’s New Synthesis (the deeper understanding he has developed about the nature of revolution, socialism and communism) followed by what should be wild discussion. The New York Event is announced below:

    Sunday, March 9th – 4:00 p.m.
    Revolution Books presents:
    “Re-envisioning Revolution and Communism:
    WHAT IS BOB AVAKIAN’S NEW SYNTHESIS?”

    Presentation Followed By Discussion.

    Agonizing about the direction of society? The world? Think communism is dead, but hope that another world is possible? You need to hear this. Presentation followed by discussion of how Bob Avakian has re-envisioned socialism which is both visionary and viable. How he has tackled a whole realm of questions, including how a new revolutionary power could maintain power and maintain it as a power worth keeping.

    St. Paul & St. Andrew Church
    Corner of West 86th St & West End Ave
    1 train to 86th Street, walk 1 block west to West End Ave
    $10 sliding scale
    Further info: 212-691-3345
    http://www.revolutionbooksnyc.org

    http://www.bobavakian.net

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