While walking past Revolution Books in Capitol Hill, I saw a poster advertising a talk on "Bob Avakian's New Synthesis." The New Synthesis sounds intriguing, but in a tired way. It bills itself as Socialism without the tyranny - the Holy Grail of Socialist thinkers in the wake of the horrors of 20th century Communism.
I was taken aback when I got to the end of the ad and saw that "Bob Avakian will not be in attendance at this event." Well, why the hell not? I did some digging and discovered by way of The Boston Globe's Mark Oppenheimer that Avakian is not in attendance at any event. Avakian and his admirers continue to use the pretext of a 1979 arrest to perpetuate the notion that the Maoist thinker is a man on the run. In truth, all charges were dropped against Avakian in 1982. That doesn't stop his Revolutionary Communist Party from using his obscurity to groom an Avakian cult. In that respect, the "New Synthesis" seems little different than the failed states that precede it.
Oppenheimer sums up the subterfuge beautifully:
There is a fine line between paranoia and narcissism, and some people live on both sides of it.