Robert Bruce "Bob" Avakian (born March 7, 1943) is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP), a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist organization founded in 1975. He developed a theoretical framework he and others consider a new stage of communist revolutions, a new synthesis of communism.
Avakian was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Berkeley, California. His father, Spurgeon Avakian, was an Armenian American lawyer, civil rights activist, and judge on the Alameda County, California superior court.
As a young man, Avakian became involved with the Students for a Democratic Society at Berkeley, the Free Speech Movement and the Black Panther Party. In 1968, he wrote articles for the Peace and Freedom Party's publications and in July 1969, he attended the Black Panther conference in Oakland, California. By the time that SDS split into three factions in summer 1969, Avakian was a leading member of the Revolutionary Youth Movement II faction, and was their candidate for National Secretary. Although defeated for the top position by Mark Rudd of the faction soon known as Weatherman, Avakian was elected to the National Interim Committee. During that period, Avakian was a leading member of the Bay Area Revolutionary Union.
In the early 1970s, Avakian served time in jail for desecrating the American flag during a demonstration. He was charged with assaulting a police officer in January 1979 at a demonstration in Washington, D.C. to protest Deng Xiaoping's meeting with Jimmy Carter. After receiving an arrest warrant, Avakian "jumped bail" and fled to France. In 1980, he gave a speech to 200 protestors in downtown Oakland and his police assault charges were dropped a few years later.
In 2005, Avakian published an autobiography called From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist. Avakian has been the Revolutionary Communist Party's central committee chairman and national leader since 1979. In 2016, the Revolutionary Communist Party USA and others helped form the organization Refuse Fascism, which opposes the presidency of Donald Trump.
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