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(en) USA: This October 22, the RCP follows the anarchists by ernesto

From Ernesto Aguilar <may19x@yahoo.com>
Date Thu, 21 Oct 2004 20:34:09 +0200 (CEST)

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>From the Anarchist People of Color website: http://www.illegalvoices.org
With October 22 just around the corner, the thoughts
of many anarchists turn where they do this time of
year: to the RCP. But this October 22, important
developments demonstrate the growth and strength of
anarchist ideas, even to an organization sworn against
those concepts.

If you live in a large, urban area and attended a
protest, you've probably seen at least one or two RCP
members. You're likely to see more by week's end. The
RCP, public pretensions aside, established the October
22 anti-police brutality event almost ten years ago,
and they've done so with some success. Around October
22, the curious dance between anarchists and the
Revolutionary Communist Party, USA becomes all the
more pronounced. Anarchists and said Maoist group have
often found themselves on the same road; how
anarchists should deal with the group is a subject of
continuous debate. Both present occasionally similar
rhetoric, and anarchists are sought as recruits for
its work (probably not a bad idea, since Mao himself
was an anarchist as one point). If you know them,
you've probably picked on the constant references to
its leader, Bob Avakian, and members' pushing of the
party paper, but a funny thing happened on the way to
the great leap forward.

Since the release of Greg Lewis' http://www.illegalvoices.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17&Itemid=29
"Mythology of the White-Led 'Vanguard': A Critical Look at the
Revolutionary Communist Party, USA" the RCP has
changed its tune in a number of ways. Today's RCP
seems to eschew old positions on things like
homosexuality, acknowledges human rights violations in
Maoist China, and puts a new focus on open debate.
Such changes make some of us wistful for the bad old
days. I fondly recall an RCP member telling me Peru's
Shining Path/Sendero Luminoso (a group the party
supported) never killed civilians; or a four-hour
argument I once had with an RCP member on the
reeducation of gays, and comparisons the party made of
homosexuality to prositution and drug use. That
member, quite bravely, held the party line. I, and
likely half the people they spoke with, scratched
their heads.

Today, Lewis notes some of the changes in RCP tactics
in his Our Culture, Our Resistance interview. And the
new RCP approach is something for which anarchists can
certainly take credit, as well as learn from.

Essentially, the new RCP approach seems to involve
speaking first to shared progressive values
(revolutionary change, "change the world," for
example), then emphasizing the need for open
discussion (including acknowledging they may not have
all the answers), and finally affirming the receiver's
importance to the discussion. For anarchists, these
components sound familiar. They should. Since the 1999
World Trade Organization protests, an ongoing movement
of people's assemblies, consultas, social forums and
more have brought decentralized principles to the
forefront of radical organizing. These strategies are
inherently anti-authoritarian, focusing on direct
democracy and collective decisionmaking. Such an
approach is a far cry from what was long-criticized as
RCP dogmatism and secrecy; no doubt standing on the
sidelines of every major social movement for the last
25 years has prompted a shift in language. However,
it's unlikely its core ideological principles have

Whether you decide to engage in such dialogues is your
own decision. Anarchists who tend to support coalition
work with the RCP, in my experience, most frequently
fall back on the issue as a question of being overly
theoretical or "getting something done." The problem
is that anarchists, in truth, need to consider what we
are seeking, as having those discussions is necessary.
Simply moving from one "something" to the next does
not build a new world. For people of color, this
question should be even more urgent.

Another issue to be clear on is that such dialogues
aren't, in fact, dialogues; democratic centralism
requires that members defend the party's positions.
Ask a member what criticisms they have of of the party
program. Ask about how democratic centralism in the
party works. See if you get a response.

As a vanguardist grouping, it's doubtful the RCP will
be able to cope longterm with the political shifts of
today; the party itself has been in decline since is
1970s' heyday, and a new nod to anti-authoritarian
organizing models (despite criticizing them)
http://rwor.org/a/v19/910-19/919/anar1.htm is as
much a sign of its desperation as our victories. As
one observer put it, "clearly the RCP has also been at
a loss as to how to really build a growing and
developing revolutionary movement in this country."
The crisis within the RCP is one lots of groups
struggle with, and something anarchists must consider
as our movement grows.

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