NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Revolutionary Communist Party USA has announced a “Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America,” and members say they are planning for a “revolution” against capitalism, with violence if necessary.
The “present capitalist-imperialist system” should be replaced with a “radically new economic system,” they say.
Carl Dix, a founding member and spokesman, believes that the federal government bailouts, under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, are just one instance where they propped up what he calls the “capitalist class.” His party is “building a revolution” and under the proposed constitution all “natural resources [would] be collectively owned,” with the goal of a “classless, communist world,” he said.
“We have to move to a point where people can work in common for the common good and get back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings. … The competitiveness and the looking out for No. 1 that’s promoted in this society – that kind of thinking has to be broken,” he said after the “constitution” was announced this week.
The RCP, founded in 1975 with roots in the New Left of the 1960s and 1970s era, has active chapters in at least 15 population centers and publishes “Revolution,” a biweekly newspaper and website. RCP leaders believe “elections are not the arena where decisions are made about the future direction of the society” and do not participate.
However, they have facilitated numerous activist organizations, including Refuse and Resist and the October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality. They also have demonstrated their willingness to engage in violent confrontation, most notably with their support for and involvement in the Los Angeles riots of 1992, in which more than 50 people were killed and 4,000 were injured.
“The revolutionary people will have to meet and defeat attempts at violent suppression,” said Dix. “When you look at this government. … it’s not going to act non-violently to maintain its position. So it would be wrong for the movement for revolution to say that it’s going to be non-violent, because that would be saying to them, ‘You can come and crush us.’”
The party’s leader, Bob Avakian, has faced multiple charges for confrontations with police, and he applied for refugee status in France, claiming political persecution, but was rejected. To place the legal standing of the organization’s activities in further doubt, Dix, who served jail time for refusing orders to serve in Vietnam, would not divulge member numbers. His fear is that such “information would be very helpful for the government to come at us.”
He would say, though, that he believes his movement is gathering momentum and bringing “forward a determined core of fighters for this revolution.” On Oct. 29, Dix participated in a public discussion with Cornell West, a prominent socialist professor of Princeton University, and the sellout 650-plus crowd at the Harlem Stage gave him optimism.
His organization unabashedly seeks to refine the “revolutionary societies like China … like the Soviet Union before it.”
“They accomplished a lot of good things there, and we uphold that, but we also saw that there was a tendency to marginalize and attempt to silence opponents. … That’s something that Bob Avakian, the leader of the [RCP], has strenuously brought forward as a different approach.”
The RCP also titled their constitution with “North America,” as opposed to the United States, to make clear that it is “not bound by the current borders.” The group is open to returning parts of the country to Mexico, providing autonomy for parts of the indigenous population and even allowing an “independent African American republic in the south eastern United States.”
Gary Odom, national field director with the Constitution Party of the United States, knows the RCP well and describes them as “outlandish” and “hysterical,” even within the socialist movement.
“The RCP has been around for a long time,” he says, and while he believes the two parties that “pretty much control this country” are “totally corrupt,” he hopes that people don’t give up on the ballot box.
“There are people who talk about bullets instead of ballots, but that would be a bad thing for this country, for sure,” he said.