"On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the founding of our Party, and looking ahead to the publication of the new Programme of our Party, I have been thinking a great deal about what Mao called 'the successors to the revolution'--the new generation of revolutionaries who are bringing new daring and vitality to our mission of overthrowing this blood-soaked system and making the greatest contribution possible to the world revolutionary struggle. I have been reading a lot about these revolutionary youth who have been actively engaged in crucial arenas of mass rebellion and protest--among the broader ranks of activists of their generation, mobilizing against the World Trade Organization and the IMF and World Bank, and recently in the outpourings at the Republican and Democratic conventions; in the fight against police brutality; in the battle to prevent the execution of Mumia; opposing the escalating war against immigrants; taking on the attacks on the right to abortion; and on many other key battlefronts--bringing our ideology of MLM and our plan for proletarian revolution into the midst of these upsurges, and at the same time linking up with and taking this to the basic masses and helping to unleash them in revolutionary struggle. I have felt great enthusiasm in learning about the work these revolutionary youth have been doing, about the struggles they have been involved in, of all different kinds: out there on the streets against the enemy; then eagerly talking and wrangling through the night about all the big questions -- wrestling with and debating about how the struggle must be waged and what it must be aimed toward, what kind of society and world is desirable and possible and how to bring this into being; waging struggle with other trends and lines while seeking unity on a principled basis and searching out the ways to unite as broadly as possible...and then getting ready to go back into the streets for the next round of battle! I have studied very carefully the things they have written about these struggles and more generally the urgent questions and criticisms they have raised-- demanding answers to tough problems and insisting that we move the revolution ahead. This is something that has provided a very welcome challenge to me and to the leadership of our Party as a whole--making us feel all the more inspired and determined to do our part to bring closer the day when this monster, U.S. imperialism, will be brought down and a new, revolutionary socialist society will be created on its ashes, bringing into being a powerful base area for the world proletarian revolution. It is in this spirit that I wanted to send this message to this new generation of revolutionaries, who are bringing the best qualities of youth into the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade and into the Party."
As youth, you are the ones who will carry this revolution forward. And right now, there is a crucial role for revolutionaries of your generation:
Joining with the Party--and JOINING THE PARTY ITSELF--becoming a part of the vanguard and working in a higher way for revolution in that context, working and struggling collectively with comrades to grasp and apply the Party's line, with a critical spirit and in a creative way.
At the same time, bringing new life into the vanguard, continuing to challenge "old assumptions" and habits--holding everything up to the light of MLM and against the standard of how does it relate to and contribute to the goal of carrying out the revolutionary overthrow of this system at the earliest possible time, in unity with the revolutionary struggle all over the world.
Becoming leaders of the Party itself as well as leaders of the masses.
Boldly taking the Party's revolutionary line to other youth and to the masses broadly--joining with them in fighting their oppressors, and in the process applying the mass line--learning from them and in turn helping them see more clearly who and what is the cause of this oppression, who are their friends and enemies, not just in the U.S. but worldwide, and how humanity not only must but can make a great leap beyond all this madness.
Broadening the influence and the organized ties of the Party among the masses--strengthening the foundation of the Party among the proletariat and other strata in society--and building the Party itself as well as the RCYB.
Doing all this as preparation for bringing this monster of imperialism DOWN.
There is a great and growing prospect for carrying out this revolutionary work, with the continual emergence--and often eruption--of movements of protest and rebellion against many of the outrages and injustices of this system. There is the opportunity to dive more fully into this developing and broadening stream of opposition to this system and to engage those actively involved in it in comradely struggle about what is the real problem and the real solution to all the outrages people are protesting and rebelling against--drawing them toward our revolutionary position and winning especially the most advanced in these movements to MLM and the MLM vanguard in this country and the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) of which our Party is a part. And there is the challenge of linking our Party and its line and Programme more and more deeply and powerfully with the basic masses--as we say, taking this to the proletariat is "taking it home."
There is the challenge of helping to make crucial leaps forward in building and linking the struggles of oppressed peoples in the U.S. with that of the revolutionary movement of the class-conscious proletariat against all oppression, including national oppression as a key part of that--strengthening the solid core of the broader united front that must be built as a strategic weapon to overthrow this people-destroying system, to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat and move on to revolutionize all of society as part of the world proletarian revolution.
There is the challenge of bringing even much more fully into reality the slogan: break the chains--unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution.
And, in relation to all this, there is the particular mission of bringing to the masses of people, and especially the advanced, our whole revolutionary vision, and an understanding of the material reality that establishes not only the necessity but also the possibility--and the urgency--for this revolution.
Bringing to this generation, your generation, the understanding that the struggle for this revolution is ongoing, all over the world. Bringing all this to the youth, among the proletariat but among broader strata in society as well; and bringing wave after wave of youth forward as a powerful force at the forefront of the revolutionary movement, with the leadership of our Party.
This is the special role and challenge for your generation of revolutionaries.
Rising to these challenges and taking responsibility not just for carrying out the practical revolutionary work and struggle that must be carried out but also for grappling with and finding the answers to the tough questions of theory and of strategy and programme that have to be solved, in dialectical relation to carrying out revolutionary practice, in order to actually make revolution.
This, and nothing less, is the challenge that should be eagerly taken up: With profound hatred for the enemy and its bankrupt, reactionary, outdated and murderous system, and all the horrendous and unnecessary suffering it causes for people all over the world; with profound love for and strategic confidence in the masses of people and their MLM vanguard; with a great sense of optimism for our cause; and with real joy in being able to be part of this world-emancipating mission.
Here I also want to say a word on the unity of youth and "veterans" in the Party and the revolutionary movement. There is no retirement in the revolution! Those of us who have been part of this revolution for many years will continue to do everything we can until our last breath to contribute in every way we can to this great emancipating cause. Hopefully, by the time my generation of revolutionaries passes from the scene, not only will great advances have been made in the proletarian revolution worldwide but even within (what is now) the U.S. itself, the problems and challenges being confronted will be the problems and challenges of a proletariat and its party that is IN POWER and struggling with carrying forward the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat as part of the world proletarian revolution--THESE ARE THE KINDS OF PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES WE REALLY WANT TO HAVE! But, wherever we are at any time in this world-historic revolutionary process, there is always the need and the importance of bringing forward new "successors" to the revolutionary cause--a new generation of revolutionaries...and at some point YOU, who are now the younger generation of revolutionaries, will face THAT challenge! What is required, what will continually give us the greatest strength and enable us to make the greatest advances toward our final aim of communism, at every point along the way, is COMBINING THE STRENGTHS of the veterans and of the new generation of revolutionary communists: combining experience--and impatience...an understanding of the complexities of the revolutionary process--and a daring and determination to master and overcome all obstacles. ALL communists, veterans and younger comrades alike, should strive to embody the combination of these qualities, and as the vanguard we should have an orientation of combining all these positive factors to serve the world-historic revolutionary mission of the proletariat.
In this immediate period, the process of forging the new Party Programme is a key task and plays a crucial role in terms of our ability to hasten and prepare for revolution. The Party's Programme represents our putting forth before the revolutionary people, and ultimately the masses as a whole, our basic goals, strategic plan and methods: the vision of the new society we must be struggling to bring into being, and our understanding of how that can be done--how to fight to bring that vision into reality--and what it will mean for the masses of people, not just in the U.S., but worldwide, for that vision to become reality through their own revolutionary struggle, with the leadership of their MLM vanguard. This Programme will be our overall guide to action, it will provide the basic guidelines in carrying out all the different aspects of revolutionary work and struggle and in unifying them according to one overall strategic plan, in making them all serve our revolutionary goal.
Mao once said: What is work?--work is struggle. And revolutionary work is the most challenging kind of struggle. Why is it necessary--and why it is so uplifting--to rise to these challenges? Again, this goes back to the most basic question of all, our whole point of departure: WHAT ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL NEEDS AND HIGHEST INTERESTS OF THE MASSES, ALL OVER THE WORLD--AND WHAT CAN REALLY MEET THOSE FUNDAMENTAL NEEDS AND HIGHEST INTERESTS--WHAT IS THE ONLY THING THAT CAN DO THAT? What greater thing could anyone do with their life?
Our final goal of communism not only represents freedom from exploitation and oppression, but also opens the way to the expansion of the realm of freedom in a broader, more sweeping historical sense for humanity as a whole. Eliminating the shackles that capitalism and class-divided society place on humanity will make it possible to continually reduce the time and labor that must be spent in merely reproducing the basic material requirements of life for everyone in society, and thereby will make it increasingly possible for all members of society (in every part of the world) to be engaged in all the other spheres of life--of intellectual and cultural as well as physical activity of many different kinds--that give life a broader and fuller meaning. Since I have been, of necessity, spending a great deal of time digging into the Bible lately--in order to more powerfully bring to light what it represents and how it is being used in the service of oppressing the masses of people--let me refer to a well-known saying of Jesus in the Bible: man cannot live by bread alone. Now, this is true. People need things beyond the mere basic material requirements of life. Of course, what the Bible gives them is not what they need--it is what they don't need. But people do need things beyond the basic material requirements of life. People cannot and should not live by bread alone. Yet the fact is that right now, for the great majority of the people in the world, they don't have enough of bread--and all the material requirements of life and health that are symbolized by "bread." And until everyone has enough "bread" in that sense, the other many dimensions of life cannot really and richly be taken up by the great mass of humanity. Only with the overthrow of capitalism-imperialism, and with the establishment of the rule of the proletariat, does it become possible to begin transforming society so that the basic material requirements of life can be provided, in increasing abundance, for the people and, at the same time, the masses of people can increasingly be engaged in and master all the spheres of life's activity that give meaning and richness to human existence. And only with communism will this become fully possible, for all of humanity, for the first time in history.
IN CONCLUSION: I want to go back to a point to which, since the time our Party was founded, I have given great emphasis in my speaking and writing: The day the proletarian revolution succeeds in the U.S., it will be a cause for great joy and celebration not only for the millions and millions of people who are viciously oppressed and exploited in the U.S. itself, and the millions more who are robbed of any higher vision and purpose--of any life worth living--by this brutalizing and deadening system, but also for literally billions of people all over the world. Not long ago I listened to a tape of a speech that Raymond Lotta gave in Canada--in connection with protests against one of these globalization conferences. He did some stinging exposure of imperialism and talked about the revolutionary mission of our Party in the U.S. and the seriousness with which we are taking up the task of preparing for and carrying out proletarian revolution to overthrow U.S. imperialism. Next there was another speaker on globalization, Dr. Sharma, who lives in Canada but whose family is from India and who has been inspired by Maoism, which has a very broad influence in India. And following Raymond Lotta, Dr. Sharma spoke with great excitement. He said, "I can't believe somebody actually talking about making revolution right in the belly of the beast--what a tremendous thing. Go ahead--do it--do it fast!" He went on: "It is no exaggeration to say that probably 95% of the problems of the world would be on their way to being solved when you succeed."
What a great responsibility and a great challenge--what a profound historical opportunity--to actually contribute to making this happen, together with the masses of people and the forces of proletarian revolution throughout the world! As I said in a speech some years ago: To put an end to slavery, in every form, everywhere, once and for all--that is something that, in the past, a slave could only dream of. But we are fortunate enough to live in the world-historic era when millions, and billions, can not only dream this dream, but can be part of making it a reality. That is something a slave, and all those who are determined to put an end to slavery, should gladly live and die for.