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Posted at 6:24 PM on Saturday, June 10, 2006 by David Horowitz
Cornel West's favorite Communist

Some people think I've been unfair to Cornel West in treating him as an over-praised and over-paid airhead. I always try to see the other side in disagreements like this, so here' my problem with this one. Back in the Sixties, I knew a Berkeley radical named Bob Avakian. Avakian was the son of a judge who made a name for himself, while embarrassing his dad, by climbing a flagpole during the Vietnam protets and pulling down an American flag. This radical stuff in those days. Avakian was a Maoist whom I confronted once over an editorial he had written about an island the Ussuri River which both China and Russia were claiming. His editorial appeared in the Black Panther newspaper and I thought supporting these territorial claims was a disservice to the left (I was still a radical then). I would have had the same attitude if he had supported the Russians. What I discovered was that Avakian had basically copied the editorial from Peking Review and was himself ignorant of the historical background to the Sino-Soviet dispute. I left depressed about the shallowness of the movement of which I was still unhappily a part.

Bob Avakian went on to found the Revolutionary Communist Party and become a Mao impersonator himself, having his minions refer to him as "Chairman Bob." He also got himself an arrest warrant by leading a violent demonstration against a visit by Mao's successor Deng Hsiao Ping whom Chairman Bob regarded as a revoltuonary sell-out. Avakian fled the country and for the last thirty odd years (I confess I haven't kept count) has lived in which he self-aggrandizingly calls "political exile" in France.

David Horowitz is the founder of The David Horowitz Freedom Center and author of the new book, One Party Classroom.

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