Bob Avakian is the Chairman of the anti-capitalism, Maoist Communist party formed in 1975 within the United States, the Revolutionary Communist Party.
In "From Ike to Mao and Beyond" (2005), Avakian tells the story of a middle-class California boy who moved left during the '60s, first in the Free Speech Movement and Students for a Democratic Society at Berkeley, then with the Black Panther Party, and finally into the far-left Maoism of the party he founded in 1975 the revolutionary Union - later to become the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Origins of the Revolutionary Union
Students for a Democratic Society met in June 1969 in Chicago. By this time, S.D.S. had more than a hundred thousand members, making it the largest leftist organization in the United States. Its politics were anti-imperialist and somewhat Marxist, although anarchist currents existed in the organization, as well. During the convention, three ideological groupings became clear. One was led by the Progressive Labor Party faction and espoused a Maoist philosophy, another was the Weatherman faction, also Maoist, but also a follower of third-world revolutionary nationalism, and the third dominant grouping was Marxist-Leninist. This latter grouping was originally known as Revolutionary Youth Movement 2 (RYM 2). As time progressed, RYM 2 splintered into smaller formations, with one of the largest organizations calling itself the Revolutionary Union (RU).
Arrest and exile
In 1979 Avakian was arrested at a demonstration against Deng Xiaoping's visit to the White House; charged with assaulting a police officer, he fled the United States for France.