Revolutionary Communist Party (US)
|Join the party!|
|Opiates for the masses|
The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP) is a Maoist political party in the United States originally formed in 1975, which in recent years has mutated into a batshit ultra-left cult of personality centered around a guru status of party chairman Bob Avakian.
The RCP was founded in 1975 from the Bay Area Revolutionary Union (BARU). BARU coalesced from remnants of the Revolutionary Youth Movement II faction of SDS after a split, and a split faction of Venceremos, a Maoist group from Stanford University. The other faction of the Venceremos split went on to become the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). Venceremos was also the incubator for a certain serial bomber who is suspected of bombing his wife and nearly killing her during Earth First! protests in northern California in 1990. Gotta hand it to those SLA loons, though. They walked the talk of their wingnut rhetoric and died for it. RCP adopted an approach of trying to recruit darker-skinned cannon fodder to die for their wingnut rhetoric. That accounts for the hip-hop gangsta style of their rhetoric described below.
During the 1960s, Bob Avakian had been a more typical New Left activist, involved with the Peace and Freedom Party and the Black Panther Party. By the end of the 1960s he was part of a tendency in the New Left with a hard-Maoist line, collectively known as the New Communist Movement. Within Students for a Democratic Society, this tendency made up the Revolutionary Youth Movement II faction, opposed to the other two main factions, Weatherman which favored immediate violent revolution, and the Progressive Labor Party, a Maoist splinter from the Communist Party USA. RYM II and the New Communist Movement viewed a China-style revolution as an imperative, opposed to the electoralism of such Old Left groups as CPUSA, but also opposed both Weatherman's immediate-revolution line (It could kill you!) and Progressive Labor's more purist interpretation of Maoist doctrine. RYM II and the New Communist Movement would soon split into several new groups and parties over changes in China's stance towards the west in the early 1970s. The Revolutionary Union was one of the two major ones (they still loved Mao), the other being the October League which later became the American Communist Workers Movement (Marxist-Leninist).
The death of Mao in 1976 soon led to the RCP splitting in two during the late 70s, the Bob Avakian-led faction viewing the new government of China as revisionist, the other faction continuing to support China. This split cost the RCP about 40% of its membership, who left to form the Revolutionary Workers Headquarters. The remnants of the latter group are today known as the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, which itself has split into two factions. A more recent split from the RCP, distraught at the party's degeneration into Bob Avakian-guruism, is the Kasama Project. (See a pattern?)
After the split, the RCP abandoned its early activities in labor union work, and under Bob Avakian's leadership turned into an awful unintentional self-parody. RCP tried to present a face that they figured would make them edgy and trendy in various youth subcultures. RCP followers slipped RCP rhetoric into indy rock zines. The RCP also established a nontrivial relationship with Rage Against The Machine, with RATM performing at RCP front functions and adopting some RCP rhetoric in their lyrics. RATM's lead guitarist Tom Morello adopted the RCP's love for the Shining Path guerilla movement in Peru. RCP saw the promise of dark-skinned cannon fodder in the hip hop and gangsta subcultures. They sang the praises of the "L. A. Rebellion," claiming that the defendants in the Reginald Denny case were martyrs and that Denny brought about his own beating by saying something racist to the assailants. They also started to adopt fake ghetto slang.
 Yo, Be Down For The Whole Thing!
For the next two decades the RCP was infamous for showing up at protests and trying to provoke the police, and for literature written in a patronizing faux-Ebonics with compulsive overuse of exclamation points. Sentences frequently began with Yo! and ended with "no matter what it takes!" America was always spelled AmeriKKKa. Whatever they were against was usually glossed over as being "up against all this shit". Serious Marxist theorists considered RCP literature with its puerile slogans to be a bad joke. When the mostly white RCP members wheat pasted black neighborhoods with their third grade level faux-Ebonics flyers, it went beyond a bad joke to offensive.
Internationally, the RCP formed alliances with Maoist guerrilla movements in Peru and Nepal. Their attempt at promoting Peru's Shining Path movement to U.S. progressives included a creepy film showing obviously brainwashed Shining Path recruits marching with rifles and singing songs like "We Follow the Shining Path". If it was supposed to convince U.S. progressives that Shining Path was the cutting edge of anti-imperialism it failed miserably. It gave one more the impression of Shining Path being potentially another Pol Pot situation. More recently they have turned critical of both the Nepal and Peru Maoists, Nepal for abandoning the revolution in favor of parliamentary democracy after they forced the monarchy out, and Peru for...who knows? Probably for not subjecting themselves to the superior leadership of Chairman Bob's New Synthesis.
Besides their juvenile flyers, they issue an annual manifesto. It always tries to advance a simplistic slogan as the reason why you should join the RCP, such as "This is not the best of all possible worlds! A better world is possible!". Their solution is always found in the list of slogans at the bottom of their manifesto: "Our ideology is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism! Our leader is Chairman Bob Avakian!"
 Since 2000
The RCP recently underwent a stylistic makeover. In the early 2000s they rewrote their party program and - finally - abandoned their longstanding homophobia in which they had held for years that homosexuality was a product of the decadence of capitalism and would disappear once the socialist revolution occurred. Their newspaper, formerly the Revolutionary Worker with a heavy third-world-proletarian look to it, became Revolution, with a slightly hip-hop, slightly arty-French look. That style was short-lived, and has since been replaced with a neon eye candy style, italic all caps lettering and all, intended to grab the eye in much the same way as Westboro Baptist Church's signs do. The content remains as dumb as ever.
Any hope that the new program would herald an improvement over the party's reputation for fake-Ebonics and dumb sloganeering was dashed when the change turned out to be for the worse. The RCP is now all about Bob Avakian, all the time. Or as they now like to call their guru, "BA". "Spread BA everywhere!" "Get into BA!" "Get to know BA!" Their current activities include promoting the book BAsics, a collection of excerpts from BA's writings complete with chapter and verse notation.
If you go to a demonstration for any timely left-wing cause in a major urban area, you take the smallish risk that RCP will be there, looking to recruit you, get your contact information, sell you their literature, or take your gas money. If they try to talk to you don't be afraid to avoid them or, failing that, politely GTFO of that conversation.
 Notable accomplishments
Proving once again the stopped clock effect, Joey Johnson, a member of the RCP's youth brigade, burned a flag at a 1984 protest and took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he won in the Texas v. Johnson case, and all state and federal flag desecration laws were overturned in 1989 as unconstitutional infringements on freedom of speech.
They have accomplished absolutely nothing before or since including Bob's "New Synthesis" (ask at your peril).
 Obligatory parody
- YO! DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE! FIGHT THE POWER!
- IF YOU'RE DISSING THE SISTERS, YOU AIN'T FIGHTING THE POWER!
- FREE CHAIRMAN GONZALO, NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES!
- YO! AMERIKKKA MUST BE DESTROYED!
- NO NAZIS! NO KKK! NO FASCIST USA!
- WOMEN ARE NOT INCUBATORS! FETUSES ARE NOT BABIES! ABORTION IS NOT MURDER!
- BURN THE AMERIKKKAN FLAG, NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES!
- REVOLUTION IN THE '80S. GO FOR IT!
- FUCK THIS SHIT, NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES!
- DARE TO STRUGGLE DARE TO WIN, FOLLOW BOB AVAKIAN!
- GET TO KNOW BA! GET INTO BA! BA IS YOUR FRIEND! FOLLOW BA OFF A CLIFF! GRAPE KOOL-AID BAaaaaaby!
Marx and Mao are probably both rolling over in their graves at this travesty.
 See also
- Revolutionary Communist Party (UK), an identically-named British organisation active during the 1980s.
- Official RCP, USA website
- Another official RCP, USA page
- The Judean People's Front
- The People's Front of Judea
- Kasama Project - this one has some actual intelligence
- Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism Online - skip the Enver Hoxha material and follow instead the links about the New Communist Movement, for all kinds of history and scanned rare publications. The origins of what eventually became the RCP can be found in the "Red Papers".