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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: RCP Publications; Original edition (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898510104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898510102
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,355,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Revolution's BAsics With Bob Avakian

By Herb Boyd

One doesn't need a B.A. or a bachelor's degree to understand or to grasp the essential meaning of the lessons delivered in Bob Avakian's latest book, BAsics.

As in most of his books and columns in Revolution— the Revolutionary Communist Party's paper from which much of BAsics is derived— the writing is clear, the analogies simply conceived to breakdown complex issues, and the content absolutely relevant.

In the opening chapter on how a worldwide system of exploitation and oppression is created, Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, offers one word: slavery.

" There would be no United States as we know it today without slavery," he writes. " That is a simple and basic truth." And this basic truth, which is given expansive annotation, is a recurring theme in the book and forges the foundation of his political thought, particularly his ideas on the remedies for capitalism and imperialism.

If it weren't for the often brutal exploitation of Black workers, Avakian contends, " There wouldn t even be a U.S. imperialism today."

That global imperialism, he continues, is at the core of U.S. world domination and the reason for the suffering of so many people. But if things are so terrible in America why are so many clamoring to get in, is a question he raises and answers. Because you have f---ed up the rest " of the world even worse than what you have done in this country," he concludes.

For the most part the book is a compilation of capsules, brief paragraphs that deal with a considerable number of social, political, and cultural issues. In his chapter, "Making Revolution," many of the questions raised by those who believe such a task much too daunting, if not impossible, Avakian is at his best, dispatching each concern in a rational and passionate way.

Any revolutionary struggle in the U.S. will have to include all of the various nationalities, which he perceives as pivotal. " But you're also never going to make revolution in this country without a vanguard that bases itself on a scientific approach to these questions— and to every other decisive question— a vanguard in which everybody contributes and struggles with each other on the basis of striving to grasp that scientific approach..." he asserts.

Later in the book he returns to this proposition, providing a more explicit example, using an analogy from basketball. On a basketball team there are the stars, the Carmelo Anthonys, who want the ball in crunch time when the game is on the line. " These are the ones who not only soar to great heights themselves but in so doing raise the level of their team as a whole," he writes. " Why shouldn't the advanced forces of proletarian revolution those who have the most profound interest in this revolution and the most profound desire for revolution why shouldn t they be capable of this kind of greatness?"

Avakian and his comrades certainly express this profound desire for revolution and have been no less than resolute and determined to see that day when capitalism, racism, and imperialism have been cast to the dustbin of history.

BAsics, in short, is a fundamental primer on revolution and into the imaginative and gifted political mind of Bob Avakian...

(This review first appeared on the website of Black Star News.)

--Herb Boyd, Black Star News

...I am heartened to see that the social idealism that I once considered and still consider quintessentially American lives on in full force through people like Bob Avakin. For him, hope is not just a campaign phrase, and never will be. --Erin Aubry Kaplan, journalist and author

The great revolutions of the last century have themselves become, in the minds of most people, the best arguments against communist revolution. How can that be overcome? I'm honestly not sure it can. But one thing I know is that without the profoundly new work that Bob Avakian is doing, it never will. And without that work being in the mix of the debate in this world, it never will be. --David Zeiger, filmmaker

About the Author

Bob Avakian has dedicated his life since the 1960's to the cause of revolution and communism. While providing practical leadership to the revolutionary movement as Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, he has deeply studied and summed up the world historical experience of the communist revolution and the socialist societies it has brought into being---the great achievements and the serious problems and errors---and has studied many other fields of human experience and knowledge. He has advanced the science of communism and made decisive breakthroughs in the theory, method, and strategy of revolution and the final goal of communism throughout the world.

Cornel West describes Avakian as someone who "is a long distance runner in the freedom struggle against imperialism, racism and capitalism" in his comment about Avakian's memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond, My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist.


More About the Author

Bob Avakian has dedicated his life since the 1960's to the cause of revolution and communism. While providing practical leadership to the revolutionary movement as Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, he has deeply studied and summed up the world historical experience of the communist revolution and the socialist societies it has brought into being---the great achievements and the serious problems and errors---and has studied many other fields of human experience and knowledge. He has advanced the science of communism and made decisive breakthroughs in the theory, method, and strategy of revolution and the final goal of communism throughout the world.

Cornel West describes Avakian as someone who "is a long distance runner in the freedom struggle against imperialism, racism and capitalism" in his comment about Avakian's memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond, My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bob Avakian does a wonderful job of summing up the problems with the current state of society, and of explaining the need for a communist revolution. I only dislike the fact that not many people read these types of works (but that has nothing to do with the book). Great read!!
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Student on February 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is incredible. It concentrates the deep philosophical wranglings of Bob Avakian, and is both a wonderful quick reference for those who have engaged with Avakian's work heavily and an excellent gateway for the beginner. When you read this book, you can really see that building an alternative world is possible. This is the new red book for a new world. When you look around at the state of the world today and see the horrors that capitalism has wrought, you can either stand in the way of change, look the other way and just try to get by, or be a part of the change. Get this book, read this book, and change this world!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Fougerousse on August 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reformers will not understand this book; revolutionaries will. The author explains and gives examples to show how capitalism is the root cause of most of humanity's social, moral, political, and economic problems and how, engaging conflict as a core dynamic, it works against the common interests of society. But the author's failure to offer specific programs, organization plans, leadership designs, and strategies for managing a change from capitalism to socialism ranks this book in a category of general outline, rather than a serious blueprint for directing massive resources, programs, and people in a revolutionary movement. Important questions arise about the transition from capitalism to socialism. How would living wages, health care, housing, nutritional food, and education for America's poverty-stricken and unemployed be provided during the transition period? How would the country's industrial base be rebuilt? How long would it take? How would the new leadership be selected and organized? What committees, goals, and strategies would be formed for rapid redevelopment? A dynamic movement requires dynamic planning to mobilize vast resources and personnel quickly before popular support falters. The devil is always in the detail.

Though lacking specifics, the book offers a powerful message for change under the theme that capitalism cannot be reformed; it must be replaced. The author takes the reader on a journey through capitalism's history offering solid evidence to show that reformers hoping to manage capitalism by instituting controls and tweaking its regulations have in fact perpetuated and enhanced it through compromise.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Johnnie on February 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
It was only when I went to college that I realized most of what I was taught was not the way life is; and I didn't believe some immutable "human nature" was responsible. I struggled to make sense of the world. I searched for some unifying theory or principle to explain why things were this way, and what shaped and motivated peoples' actions and lives.
It wasn't until I found Marxism and materialism, as concentrated in Avakian's talks and writings, that I began to understand the material basis for wars and unspeakable acts, why women were in a subordinate position all over the world, and why rich people were so different from my parents, aunts and uncles. This understanding gave me a sense of control over my life as well as a responsibility to try and act on what I knew.
Avakian's book elucidates and brings into sharp focus the material and dialectal nature of society and how we can arrive at "a whole new - and far better - world," as he states in Chapter 2, #2:

"Marx said about the future world, the world of communism, that
it will seem ridiculous and outrageous for one part of society to
privately own the land, and everything that goes along with that,
as it now seems for one human being to own another.

Communism means that we have reached the point where the very idea
that the way society should advance is for a few to benefit and then to
proclaim that to be in the general interest of society, where that idea will
seem so ridiculous and outrageous that in a certain sense, to put it simply,
it couldn't get a hearing."

If you're looking to just understand the world, or want to change it, you need to read BAsics.
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1 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gardening Fool on February 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Yes, Marx was a fine young rich lad who knew nothjing at all about collectivist farmers, or how women grow wheat on their own little farms as Cossack maidens and wives. I am sure Lenin was kind to his own grandchildren.

So, if I read this book, will I understand, finally, Stalin, and the massacre of the Ukrainian Cossacks and their families and their horses--their horses?

Surely there is a bit of a connection between Marx, Lenin, and wonderful Papa Josef.

Is it in this book?
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