What you should know about the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP)

The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP, USA), known originally as the Revolutionary Union, is a Maoist communist party formed in 1975 in the United States. The group has few members at this time and is considered by many to be a relic of the Old Left. The organization's main activities include publishing the Revolution newspaper (formerly the Revolutionary Worker), publishing books, running front groups and promoting the writings of their main leader, Bob Avakian.

Anti-WCW pamphlet

World Can't Wait

World Can't Wait was initiated by the RCP in 2005. It's primary activity is organizing periodic anti-Bush protests, suggesting that the RCP seeks to exploit the widespread anti-Bush sentiment for their own interests. It appears that World Can't Wait is being used by the RCP to raise money from liberals who aren't aware of the group's ties to the RCP. For example, World Can't Wait established a new office on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC earlier this year. The group has also been running full page ads in the New York Times, an expensive for of outreach that is beyond the means of small groups such as the RCP. It also appears that the RCP is trying to lure anarchists and other radicals to World Can't Wait protests in hopes that incidents will happen that will generate press about the protests.

Front Groups

The RCP has a long history of running front groups to allow the organization to have influence in various social movements. Many Marxist-Leninist organizations use front groups, which allow them to further the interests of the parent organization in other organizations, coalitions and movements.

Marxist-Leninist organizations such as the RCP and WWP who operate front groups don't hide their sponsorship of these groups very well, but the front group is effective because most working people don't bother to learn about who is responsible for the front group. The easiest method to determine if a new group is a front group for an existing Marxist-Leninist organization is to observe who functions as the prominent spokesperson for the new group. Since the front group is supposed to be a platform for the interests of the parent group, leaders of the parent group will usually play spokesperson roles in the front group. Front groups are designed to give these leaders prominence in movements in a way that hides their association with the parent group.

Another method of determining if a group is a front group is to look at the organizational structure of the group. Are there any board members that are known members of the front group? Does the front group use the same address at the parent organization? Does the front group use the address of another known front group? Which groups are endorsing the front groups call for actions? If the list starts off with the names of people associated with the parent group and it lists other front groups, the new group is likely to be a front group. One of the easiest methods to determine an association--which the Marxist-Leninist groups are being more careful about--is to find out where the front group's website domain is registered. Lastly, one can also determine an association between groups by looking at links on websites.

WCW domain registration
Domain registration (as of October 8, 2006) showing ownership of the World Can't Wait web domain by C. Clark Kissinger, a long time RCP activist and organizer.

See the OpenWiki for more information on the RCP.

Known RCP Front Groups

  • Refuse Fascism (NEW 2016-2017)
  • World Can't Wait
  • Not In Our Name
  • Refuse and Resist
  • No Business As Usual
  • La Resistencia
  • October 22 Coalition Against Police Brutality
  • Comm. to Suport the Revolution in Peru

Prominent RCP Members

  • Bob Avakian - main leader and figurehead
  • C. Clark Kissinger
  • Sunsara Taylor
  • Carl Dix

Anarchist Criticisms of the RCP

Anarchists have been critical of the RCP over the years, for the same reasons that anarchists oppose all other leftover authoritarian groups, sects and parties. Anarchists criticize these groups for their authoritarianism, both in the goals they seek to achieve through the seizure of state power and in how they are organized as organizations. The RCP like other authoritarian groups is organized in a hierarchical structure. Decisions are made by a central or coordinating committee. There is little to no democracy or transparency in the organization. The decision-making process is often secretive which allows a few people to run the organization.

Anarchists have criticized the RCP for its emphasis on leader worship, or being a personality cult, in the case of the RCP that leader is Bob Avakian. Anarchists have criticzed the RCP for its reliance on tokenism of people of color to give the organization the appearance of diversity and working class authenticity. Anarchists have critcized the RCP for its use of front groups to intervene in social movements. The RCP does have a better reputation than other authoritarian sects when it comes to coalition work.

Anarchists and some leftist groups criticize the RCP for the hypocrisy of running a reformist political group like World Can't Wait when the RCP is opposed to participation in electoral politics. Common activist criticisms of the RCP can often be found on Indymedia websites.

Anarchist cooperation with the RCP

Despite the hostility between anarchists and the RCP, there are anarchists who work with RCP members and activists in their front groups. Anarchists have participated in protests sponsored by No Business As Usual, Refuse and Resist, Not In Our Name, and most notably, the annual October 22 protests against police brutality. Anarchists also worked with the RCP's youth group, the RCYB, during anti-capitalist campaigns in the early 21st century.

Links

Current RCP publications

Revolutionary Internationalist Movement

  • A World To Win - International publication of the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, (printed in India).

Other Criticism

Further Reading

  • Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Obsolete Communism: The Left-Wing Alternative
  • Murray Bookchin, Listen Marxist!
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