Nine Letters by Mike Ely

Mike Ely has published an important document, Nine Letters to Our Comrades, that criticizes the direction of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and the “new synthesis” of communist theory put forward by its chairman, Bob Avakian. Ely was a founding member of the RCP in 1975, a long-time supporter of the party, and a former editor of its Revolution newspaper. The document, along with Ely’s writings on revolutionary history and journalism on contemporary working-class struggles, can be found at the link. The contributors to Good Morning, Revolution may have further comments on Ely’s Nine Letters in the future, but this is just a notice to all who pass through our site.

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10 responses to “Nine Letters by Mike Ely

  1. yes, theres papers are very critical of RCP. I have yet to see any RCP supporters really offer any good responses to it!

  2. It seems to me that the likes of Red Heretic and company are besides themselves, with little criticism than vulgar attacks.

  3. Well I think that there has been some debate around the suggestion that there is a secret line in the RCP(USA) which resulted in a line shift, which would be effectively misleading the masses about the basic line of the RCP(USA). Of course, ME has not provided the necessary documentation to back this claim due to his adherence to a principled restraint. This has resulted in the RCP(USA) supporters that due to the lack of citation of documentation that this amounts to an unprincipled distortion of RCP(USA) line and practice. Unfortunately, I do not think that this can be resolved without either party releasing the documentation necessary to (dis)prove such an accusation.

    Having said that, I think that there has been little substantive commentary by any RCP(USA) supporter or member publicly. It could be possible that there is such a response in the works. However, we too should be cautious about over-estimating the value of the net and thus I would like to hear what people have been discussing in meetings, coffee shops, informal gatherings etc. in relation to these documents. I do not think that they are perfect and feel that numerous areas of criticism were neglected. But thus far I have been disappointed by the debate around the documents. I hope that in the coming weeks that the debate will become more substantive and an actual desire to discuss the problems facing the revolutionary left in the USA can be discussed candidly.

  4. That does seem what Red Heretic has been saying on RevLeft….basically implying that Mike Ely is using the “insider” concept of the RCP to promote an unprincipled untrue criticism. The question has to immediately become for them, why are these documents ringing so true for many people who have experienced the RCP and the RCYB up close. Of course no one is going to release such and such documents proving one thing or another.

    But I think I am taking on faith what Mike Ely is saying because of the mere fact with my experiences in the RCYB, a lot of these things did actually come to question, and our practice did result to this turn to Lin Piaoist profession of BA.

    I also think on some level the criticisms of BA’s new synthesis is spot on. There is a lot of meat here in the Mike Ely letters that don’t have necessarily be cut off on questions of rumor or speculation. Bob Avakian is definately putting forward a line, and that line needs to come into question, and in my opinion rejected.

  5. sorry…maybe I am not calling it faith, more or less logical inductive conclusion.

  6. People should focus on the argument that Ely is making and see if it matches their experiences and the kinds of arguments that Avakian has been making publicly in the party press. I think that that there is enough evidence in the party press to make the case for Ely’s assessment and summation of the “new synthesis” .

  7. I personally believe that one doesn’t have to be affiliated with the RCP or their Youth Brigade or Revolution Club, in order to be critical of their practices and lines or to agree with what Ely and Co are putting forth. Some of these letters could have been written by Joe Smoe and it doesn’t take away from the fact that they are spot on!

  8. BobAvakianFacts

    There is no diversity of leftist groups and ideologies, just the RCP and people who live under a rock, and have never heard of Bob Avakian.

    When the Chinese Revolution occurred, Mao said “the Chinese people, 1 quarter of humanity has stood up.” Mao went on to say that humanity would stand up two more quarters, when Bob Avakian learned to walk.

    The John Birch Society no longer exists. It ended a few months ago when one of their leaders read two sentences from Bob Avakian’s memoir.

    The only reason revolution hasn’t happened in the US yet, is because Bob Avakian just can’t get in the mood.

    God doesn’t exist. He existed for a while, but then Bob Avakian wrote “Away with all Gods”, and so it was.

    The Los Angeles Riots had nothing to do with the Rodney King beating. They were actually caused by rumors that Bob Avakian was coming back to the U.S. to speak, but the tickets were already sold out.

    The reason Bob Avakian is always quoting Richard Pryor, is because Pryor stole his material from Bob Avakian in the 1970s, but Avakian agreed to let it slide because he’s such a swell guy, and can deliver it sooo much better.

    The RCP still feels it wrong for men to sexual feelings for other men. They make an exception however, for Bob Avakian, because who can resist!

    The name “World Can’t Wait” was invented by Bob Avakian’s lovers, after several attempts to keep from having an orgasm when he simply enters the room.

    In 1968 at a protest at Berkeley, Bob Avakian was in a crowd that was sprayed with fire hoses. Bob Avakian told the crowd, “have no fear!” And he quickly knocked down all the police and firemen, by unzipping his pants and peeing in their direction.

  9. Me and comrades on this blog have not allowed sectarian vulgar comments and comments from crazies (MIMi) etc. We usually don’t appreciate these posts because they degrade all conversation and they persue a line that is harmful in engaging ideas and content of those ideas.

    However I have decided to allow the previous comment on our site to display a certain Sectarian Cretanism that some have. Specifically when it comes to discussion of the RCP, people tend to forget they are a revolutionary organization in the US, with a line, and the way to get around it is to attack some frivilousness around the Bob Avakian Cult of Personality.

    Of course I have joked about Bob Avakian myself, ridiculed the RCP to others (as I have done with other organizations), it is good to have a sense of humor and perspective of things. However there are two pervading tendencies when it comes to producing serious criticism. There are two ways this Cult of Personality argument can be persued, in a principled critical way that produces real argument or in the way of the Bourgeois iconoclasts and infantile behavior of certain individuals who say they are “Revolutionary.” Their method is nothing more than philistine chauvinism.

    The commentor who posts as “BobAvakianFacts” has such a method, and always has.

  10. It is so refreshing and relieving to have someone like Mike Ely come out and offer criticism of the RCP’s methods and approaches to supposedly creating revolution in the U.S. I know there have been many, but Ely is coherent, logical, and comes from a place of experience in his criticisms.

    I once was involved with the YB and was quickly disillusioned with the leadership within the P. I found that criticisms were either immediately stifled, commonly with outright demonstrations of anger, or were dealt with in a very pedantic and patronizing way. It was like our leaders would say to a well thought out, honest inquiry or criticism, “Yes, and if you could understand it like I can understand it then you might not have these questions.” or “Well you obviously need more study in this area.” And holy crap, of course we all need more study in any area because there is endless amounts to know in this universe but that doesn’t come anywhere close to appropriately dealing with honestly placed criticisms or questions!!!

    Anyway, if we are to be true communists we need to have the type of organization that really does not only respond to criticism and questioning but REVELS in taking on these moments with passion because that is the whole point: that we can create a world where everyone equally has a place in the construction of society.

    I would hope that anyone dedicated to actually creating revolution would absolutely love questioning and critique in order to promote a correct worldview and help to create individuals who will also be capable of leading, one day.

    There was also this crazy thought that was pervasive that was like, “There is Bob and only one Bob and all there will ever be is Bob” Religiously, this was the chant. It was kinda frightening and, realizing that a lot of the leadership really saw shit this way was such a dismaying experience. I am absolutely positive that there are a multitude of people in the world who have the same or better levels of charisma, experience, and ability as a leader as Bob does. My goodness…

    That’s all— it’s not heavy but I just wanted to be a regular person who weighed in on why the RCP wasn’t able to retain a dedicated revolutionary like myself. Thanks!

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