Revolution #268, May 13, 2012
The BAsics Bus Tour:
Next Stop—Atlanta and Beyond
Let’s step back: The situation in the whole world is a horror... this is because of the system of capitalism-imperialism, not because of human nature. It doesn’t have to be this way... a radically different world is possible—where people can come together in common cause, lifting their heads fully and straightening their backs... out from under this system of degradation, exploitation and misery. But bringing that world into being requires a revolution. Such a revolution is possible—and in particular because of Bob Avakian and the work he has done over several decades, summing up the positive and negative experiences of the communist revolution so far, and drawing from a broad range of human experience—there really is a viable vision and strategy for a radically new, and much better, society and world, and there is the crucial leadership that is needed to carry forward the struggle toward that goal. And not only is such a revolution possible, but we ARE BUILDING a movement for this revolution which provides a way to begin working on that now.
But way too few people have even heard about this! This bus tour is one key part of changing this on a grand scale and it can make a very big impact now—bringing it directly to people in all the ways described here, and pulling together a national movement to do so.
The BAsics Bus Tour is getting ready to hit the road in the South. Next week volunteers from Los Angeles to New York will stream into Atlanta. They will be traveling there on the money donated for this tour all across the country. Some will be taking greetings that were created and signed in the communities they’re coming in from. They’ll be representing something much bigger than themselves. As one volunteer put it: “This is a great opportunity to expand and widen the movement for revolution, as well as to let many more people know about BA and the revolution...the fact that this vision was brought to them and that they know that there are people who really WANT TO DEDICATE THEIR LIVES to change the world, that already makes a difference in the political atmosphere of the country.”
This crew will bring word of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism he’s brought forward, the strategy for revolution he’s developed, the leadership that he’s providing to the movement for revolution. The focal point of this tour is BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian—a book of quotations and short essays that concentrates over 30 years of BA’s work on everything that stands between humanity and its emancipation. This work can introduce people to “the basics” of understanding and changing the world and give them the foundation from which to act on the world and learn more. The tour will be getting out hundreds of copies of BAsics itself, and tens of thousands of palm cards and posters drawing from this work, letting people know about it and getting into all kinds of discussions off of it.
The volunteers are going into a situation where things have been very suppressed, but where there have been intense stirrings of resistance, especially through the movement against the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The volunteers aim to create a big scene, stirring up debate and controversy about something people have never been allowed to consider and, as they do, to draw people forward and link them to a national movement. And all this—which will be reported on in near real-time—will be part of affecting the political terrain around the country, reacting back on and changing what people think is possible.
Think of the situation this tour is heading into... a region where the memory of public lynchings is still quite vivid in many people’s minds and where modern-day lynchings are backed up by local authorities... where Civil War memorials are found all over, memorializing a system of slavery and those who fought to defend it... a region where some of the harshest anti-immigration measures have been put into place, legalizing racial profiling and instilling terror in the lives of immigrants who have come here for survival for themselves and their families, packed into trailer parks and doing backbreaking work in the orchards and factories... a region where there have been hundreds of incidents of attacks on abortion clinics including arson, firebombings and even the murder of providers. And now in Georgia, with the passage of a fascist woman-hating law that makes abortion illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with no exception for rape or incest, the situation is even more dire.
This is a region where the dominant culture is way beyond stultifying. As Bob Avakian says, “The ‘Bible Belt’ in the U.S. is also the Lynching Belt.” The highway billboards are just one way this is brought home: Marine recruitment, anti-abortion ads, pictures of women displayed as objects to be bought and sold with their legs splayed open advertising innumerable strip clubs, all kinds of messages about God and your salvation, declaring “homosexuality is an abomination,” and huge Confederate flags looming large on highways, in truck stops and on bumper stickers.
It is right in the midst of all this that the BAsics Bus Tour is aiming to break things open.
The tour will begin in Atlanta, nerve center of the region. Over the course of a few days, going out to neighborhoods all over the metro area, the volunteers will reach thousands of people. They’ll be bringing materials explaining the revolution, they’ll be talking about the different ways that people can get into standing up against this system, and they’ll be giving people all kinds of ways to contribute to this movement and get organized into it. They’ll be showing BA’s talk on revolution in the open air or in restaurants or anywhere people gather... getting out copies of BAsics, of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) and of Revolution newspaper... and distributing thousands of posters and palm cards that people themselves can distribute. Already people in Atlanta have stepped forward to feed and house the volunteers, and this itself will be spreading and strengthening the movement. Every day the volunteers will be in the streets, every evening they’ll be in people’s houses or in community centers, getting into deeper discussions about BA and this movement for revolution. Through this they not only spread revolution, but also develop the teamwork to head out over the region.
The next 10 days will be wild! Think of it... a bus pulls up with gigantic banners: “You can’t change the world if you don’t know the BAsics”—in Spanish and English... a crew of people pile out—all different colors and nationalities, of different ages, from different backgrounds and with different life experiences—but they’ve all got energy, they’re serious and angry, and yet so joyful. They put out displays with pictures of people from all around the world, and with all kinds of BAsics quotations exposing the horrors of the world as it is, talking about a revolution—for real, introducing people to Bob Avakian: the leadership we have for the revolution we need.
Imagine... this bus rolling into a part of town where immigrants live or to the day-labor corners, playing over the loudspeakers, in Spanish and English, Bob Avakian answering: “Why do people come here from all over the world?... Because you have fucked up the rest of the world even worse than what you have done in this country. You have made it impossible for many to live in their own countries as part of gaining your riches and power.” Making people laugh with recognition at the always unsaid reality about why people are forced to come to the U.S. in the first place, and then are criminalized and terrorized. The crew on this tour will leave palm cards with this quote all over town—planting a different pole and stating very clearly who has right on its side. They’ll get together with some of these immigrants for discussions in private, having screenings of the Revolution talk... and they’ll get together with all the different kinds of professionals who have also stood up against these draconian laws and sought to provide different kinds of aid to the people who have been most under the gun.
Or imagine a crew of volunteers coming into the cafeteria of a community college, sitting at a table, and sparking a discussion of the quote that begins, “Look at all these beautiful children who are female in the world...” BAsics 1:10 Or think about the impact of the poster with Avakian’s “Three Strikes” quote going into neighborhoods... from basketball courts to barbershops and beauty parlors to churches and community centers. Imagine the impact of posting up around towns copies of this very powerful three strikes poster (Revolution #266, April 22, 2012) which connects up the history of lynching, Jim Crow terror and now the New Jim Crow... all of which is felt palpably in this region.
These volunteers will march through the center of towns with big banners, selling copies of Revolution and creating an electrifying scene. They’ll park the bus out front of the underground music clubs that you can find dotted throughout the area... pull together a group of punk youth for a debate... going late into the night on the need for leadership and the character and content of Avakian’s leadership in particular. They’ll go out to the early morning soup lines and talk with the homeless, and those who risk arrest to feed them, about this revolution, playing for people Avakian’s answer to why there is no right to eat under this system... the need and potential for a revolution that can make this possible, and how they can be involved today in this movement for revolution.
Volunteers will be invited into people’s homes—to break bread, stay the night, and learn about people’s bitter experiences under this system... and learn from their hopes and aspirations; they’ll speak to the questions that come up from people when they actually begin to let themselves hope that despite what they’ve been told, this is not the best of all possible worlds.
Volunteers will talk with store owners about carrying Revolution newspaper regularly, leaving behind distribution centers... talk with record stores about carrying and playing “All Played Out”—the spoken word piece from Avakian, with music by William Parker, and raise funds as they do.
Think of the impact of public speaking events at community centers that talk about how people have been lied to about communism, and how, on the basis of standing on the advances of that experience, as well as learning from shortcomings, Avakian has forged a new synthesis of communism so that we can take it further and do even better next time. The volunteers will make announcements in churches and raise funds wherever they go—from all different strata.
The volunteers have on-the-spot speak-outs in the ghettos where most public housing is boarded up and many people live in desperate poverty. Imagine these speak-outs opening up with Avakian’s exposure of the history of lynching in this country where he makes the comparison between the Klan of old and the police today. They’ll provide a space for people to break the fear and silence at the day-in-and-day-out crimes of this system perpetrated against a whole generation of youth. And they’ll hook people up with the movement to stop mass incarceration and talk about ways people can fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution.
One special goal that you can be part of is raising funds for THIS week: 20,000 palm cards distributed with the quote from Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:13: “No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that.”
These will be gotten out wherever the tour goes and it will be one key way we’ll be aiming to involve people—leaving behind stacks which people can get out in all different ways. Seeing these starting to pop up all over the place is a way of fighting the power and connecting up the criminalization of a whole generation of Black and Latino youth to the youth all around the world who find themselves in the same situation. And it provides backing to others who feel this way but are told they’re the only ones. It begins to make known the presence of this revolution and the movement to project BA’s voice... into every corner of society. This is a meaningful form of involvement, and we want to make this a big deal on this tour.
Through all this, the volunteers will be selling hundreds of copies of BAsics and copies of Avakian’s talk, Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About... leaving in people’s hands the answers to the most essential questions about revolution and human emancipation... they’ll find ways to involve people on the spot and in longer term ways in the mass fundraising campaign, BA Everywhere... Imagine the Difference It Could Make!... they’ll be aiming to leave behind people organized, in entry level ways, to be part of the movement for revolution... they’ll be selling subscriptions to Revolution newspaper—a lifeline where people can get the deepest analysis about what’s happening in the world and stay plugged-in to what’s happening in the movement for revolution. These volunteers will also be letting people know about what people are doing to stand up against the mass incarceration of millions of Black and Latino people—the “new Jim Crow”—as well as the movement to put an end to pornography and patriarchy... and they will give the people ways to be part of these initiatives as well.
And imagine... all across the country, thousands of people tuned in to all this. Thousands of people who have contributed to make all this possible amplifying the impact this tour is having—from Harlem, Oakland, LA, Chicago, Houston and more... Reading the blog posts about what this tour is doing and learning... sharing the videos that will be regularly posted—testimonials from the volunteers, interviews with people they’re meeting, responses to being introduced to what Avakian is saying. Imagine all across the country, people gathering in living rooms in housing projects and middle class homes to talk about what this tour is learning, what they’re tapping into... and to raise funds for the next leg of the tour so this can go even further—coming together in house parties to be part of kicking this tour off when it leaves Atlanta on May 18, sending video messages and statements of support from all across the country to the people the tour will be meeting, and having those messages responded to while the tour is on the road.
This is a serious tour heading into a serious situation, so people should also be pledging support and be ready to head down to join the tour if people get fucked with... ready to mobilize even more support for the ability of this tour to spread this revolutionary message.
Go all out this week—call everyone you know, talk with them about contributing, talk with them about ways they can help and ask for a statement of support... get word of this out on the Net... talk with all those you know who live in this region who can help in different ways—with financial contributions, food, housing, other forms of support. Talk with someone at Revolution Books about your ideas or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This will not happen without you—without your hopes, your aspirations, your support, your energy and creativity riding on this BAsics Bus Tour, being a part of making it happen.
Look at all these beautiful children who are female in the world. And in addition to all the other outrages which I have referred to, in terms of children throughout the slums and shantytowns of the Third World, in addition to all the horrors that will be heaped on them—the actual living in garbage and human waste in the hundreds of millions as their fate, laid out before them, yes, even before they are born—there is, on top of this, for those children who are born female, the horror of everything that this will bring simply because they are female in a world of male domination. And this is true not only in the Third World. In “modern” countries like the U.S. as well, the statistics barely capture it: the millions who will be raped; the millions more who will be routinely demeaned, deceived, degraded, and all too often brutalized by those who are supposed to be their most intimate lovers; the way in which so many women will be shamed, hounded and harassed if they seek to exercise reproductive rights through abortion, or even birth control; the many who will be forced into prostitution and pornography; and all those who—if they do not have that particular fate, and even if they achieve some success in this “new world” where supposedly there are no barriers for women—will be surrounded on every side, and insulted at every moment, by a society and a culture which degrades women, on the streets, in the schools and workplaces, in the home, on a daily basis and in countless ways.
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