This year, a powerful beginning was made in the mass campaign to raise big money to get Bob Avakian’s vision and works into every corner of society... Imagine in 2013, this truly reaching everywhere...
As we wrote in kicking off this campaign: “Imagine the difference it could make to the whole social atmosphere and culture of this whole country if thousands, hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions more were actively being made aware of the works and vision for a whole new society and world brought forward by BA. Some people would passionately agree, some people would passionately disagree, some people would for now simply feel the need to get better informed in order to understand it better. But people throughout society would be debating and wrangling over truly ‘big’ questions about the nature of the present system (capitalism-imperialism), a concrete and worked out vision of an alternative way of organizing society which really would benefit the vast majority of people (as put forward in the recently published Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), a document that embodies the new synthesis of revolution and communism that BA has brought forward).”
In the last year, the BA Everywhere campaign has involved thousands of people across the country in a multitude of ways, reaching into the urban ghettos and barrios coast to coast, the deep South, college campuses, inside the prison walls and beyond. Imagine in 2013 taking this deeper and further, radically changing what people think is tolerable about the world today and possible for a whole new, better world... cohering a national movement on a mission to introduce people to real revolution, the new synthesis of communism and the revolutionary leadership who’s brought this forward.
The world is a horror for the majority of people—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. 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. 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 BA! BA Everywhere is aimed at changing this on a grand scale—pulling together a nationwide movement to raise big funds to bring BA’s voice and vision directly to millions of people.
BA has continued to speak to the most essential questions of revolution and breaking questions of international significance, for example, “A Reflection on the ‘Occupy’ Movement: An Inspiring Beginning…and the Need To Go Further” and “Egypt 2011: Millions Have Heroically Stood Up... The Future Remains To Be Written.” In spring 2011, he came out with a spoken word piece, “All Played Out,” and William Parker wrote and recorded the music for it.
In May 2012, What Humanity Needs: Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism, An Interview with Bob Avakian, was released—an extraordinarily wide-ranging exploration, in response to questions from a younger generation revolutionary, of key questions from many different angles, from the most world-historical to the personal.
In early fall 2012, Avakian was interviewed by Cornel West for the public radio program Smiley & West, which is syndicated to hundreds of public radio stations across the country. Promoting this on Twitter, Dr. West wrote: “Check out my dialogue with my dear brother, Bob Avakian. He never sold out. Never caved in. Never gave up.”
Just a couple weeks before the presidential election, an audio clip from a recent talk by Avakian was released at revcom.us: “Let’s Be Real Here: As Bad As Bush Was, In Many Ways Obama Is Worse...”
"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."
With the BAsics Bus Tour in Atlanta, Georgia in 2012
BAsics Bus Tours have brought this campaign to those who catch the most hell every day under this system. Going through California, from Atlanta to Sanford, FL (where Trayvon Martin was killed), and through the urban hellholes of NYC and outlying areas... multi-national, multi-generational volunteers piled into brightly decorated RVs to bring revolution and BA’s voice directly to the people through spreading BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, street corner showings of BA’s talk Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About, blasting “All Played Out” and more. We have found a deep resonance with BA’s voice, a depth of bitterness and outrage at what this system subjects people to, and joyful inspiration about the potential for a radically different way sparked by hearing BA’s voice. The video The BAsics Bus Tour, Atlanta to Sanford, FL... and Beyond captures all this powerfully and—along with the website promoting BA Everywhere and the Bus Tour (revcom.us/baeverywhere)—has allowed a national movement to be part of the efforts on the ground. Across the country, people gave direct contributions and participated in fundraising projects to get the volunteers on the ground and the bus on the road.
Imagine if the funds of the required magnitude were raised to not only continue the BAsics Bus Tours but to promote this nationally—spreading the website and videos... amplifying the connection being made between the volunteers on the ground, the most oppressed sections of society and the revolutionary leadership they have in BA, and the ways in which some people, in small numbers now, but growing, are stepping up as emancipators of humanity.
The BAsics bus
“When I got into [BAsics] last night, it was like I could not put it down because I was like, wow. I never even thought that it could be this way... He’s opening our understanding to the way it is, where other people are afraid to speak because it’ll put their life on the line, and this man put his life on the line for everybody to know the truth. And he just told it just how it is. How can we make that change if we don’t know the basics?”
—Virginia, Sanford, FL
“Just imagine a room full of sweaty, mosquito-bitten…social scientists trying to change the world—that’s what we went through in this BAsics Bus Tour. On the road 24/7 with this movement for revolution and with what Bob Avakian is all about, and it’s just been mind-blowing to see the potential that exists out in the world... When people see the seriousness of this, when they see that it’s not just another person telling you how fucked up the world is, but we have a strategy for making a revolution, and when we link that up with people, we see their potential—people want leadership.”
—Young Latino BAsics Bus Tour volunteer
Over 2.4 million people are imprisoned in this country, over half of them Black and Latino—cast off, degraded and demeaned, systematically stripped of their rights and their humanity. In the midst of this, a growing number of prisoners have taken up BAsics as a lifeline. Prisoners have been passing BAsics and other works by BA hand to hand, holding discussion groups, writing to Revolution newspaper and deeply engaging BA’s work, wrangling with the biggest questions of making revolution, and speaking out about the need to emancipate all humanity.
Imagine if much bigger funds were raised to not only fill all the requests from prisoners that come in for BAsics and other works, but to spread the word throughout the prison population and society. If the voices from those inside and the impact of BA’s work on them were reverberating throughout society.
“Upon receiving BAsics and becoming totally engrossed in the talks and writing of Bob Avakian, my cellmate, a 21-year-old first termer, inquired about the book... I allowed him to read a chapter for later discussions... now we conduct discussion seminars on the yard for all who are interested. The number of prisoners attending grows steadily and I have even been called into the Captain’s office and asked to control the size of the crowds. I now have a waiting list of prisoners waiting to read BAsics.”
—from a California prisoner
William Parker playing his Blueprint for a Cultural Revolution, original and
improvised music accompanying readings from BAsics, as a benefit for
the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund, September 2011.
“I want to urge everybody out there to get their hands on this book [BAsics] and to help get it into the hands of others, not just prisoners, but into the hands of youth who are in danger of becoming prisoners themselves... Help them unlock their potential and give them a sense of purpose that doesn’t involve killing each other. Give them an alternative to the criminal lifestyle that doesn’t involve conforming to this horrid system. That is what they need, that is what they ache for. They want to rebel, they just have to be introduced to the correct way to do so. Put them on the path to becoming communists...”
—from a California prisoner
One of the incredible things about the new synthesis of communism that BA has developed is that it’s been concretized in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). This is a sweeping and concrete vision and program, providing an inspiring and living sense of the functioning and governance of a socialist state and society with the goal of communism. When people confront all the innumerable and staggering horrors of the world as it stands, they need to know there is a whole other way the world could be, a positive vision of emancipation, of people coming together in a revolutionary society to solve the problems that exist in the world as part of a base area for world revolution... this is concentrated in this Constitution.
This year, debates were held at Brown University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the New School in NYC. This Constitution was taken out in the midst of those fighting the power, and facing down state repression across the country—getting in deeply with people who were raising their heads and fighting for a better world.
Imagine if 2013 saw many organized and informal debates on campuses across the country of the U.S. Constitution—a slaveholders’ vision of freedom—and the RCP’s Constitution for a New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). If literally millions encountered this Constitution, breaking open debate and cracking the painful sense of permanence to the horrors of the world, which are in fact completely unnecessary.
“Let’s imagine if we had a whole different art and culture. Come on, enough of this ‘bitches and ho’s’ and SWAT teams kicking down doors. Enough of this ‘get low’ bullshit. And how come it’s always the women that have to get low? We already have a situation where the masses of women and the masses of people are pushed down and held down low enough already. It’s time for us to get up and get on up.
“Imagine if we had a society where there was culture—yes it was lively and full of creativity and energy and yes rhythm and excitement, but at the same time, instead of degrading people, lifted us up. Imagine if it gave us a vision and a reality of what it means to make a whole different society and a whole different kind of world...”
—Excerpt from BAsics 2:8
We need a revolution to make the full vision in BAsics 2:8 real, but we won’t make a revolution if this isn’t being fostered today. BA Everywhere has pulsed with the participation of student poets and rappers to professional musicians... from the parks and street corners to the theaters and jazz clubs.
Imagine in 2013 BA Everywhere open mics fostering a “culture of revolt against this revolting culture,” theatrical readings of letters from prisoners engaging BA’s voice and the BA film project going to a major new level including new ways of documenting the special connection between Avakian and the voices of those cast on the bottom of society engaging the biggest questions of the revolution. Imagine the people inspired... and Imagine the new kinds of culture and cultural scenes that begin to emerge modeling and projecting a different way to think, feel and be.
“I hope he gets number one Amazon.com. We need to get this kind of word, this kind of conversation out—it needs to be disseminated, it needs to be in the mainstream more. We got to stop thinking that this kind of stuff just belongs at the very, very fringe of society...”
—Erin Aubry Kaplan, journalist and author
“What impressed me about Bob’s work was an openness and a non-doctrinaire attitude. He always talks about a firm center and elasticity, and the fact that he talks about how revolutionaries have to have a poetic spirit. So I think freeing imagination is one reason we go into music, poetry, dance or whatever, and I really feel that the way he approaches things leaves a lot of things open for all kinds of possible syntheses and things to happen that you can’t maybe pinpoint, but if we have a situation where people’s imaginations can be unleashed, lord knows how things can evolve and come into being.”
—Matthew Shipp, musician and
participant in April 11
On stage at “On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics:
A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World,” April 11, 2011.
At the center of this has been the work to produce the film about an event held in spring 2011: “On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World.” $25,000 was raised to produce this film through an online funding campaign involving the contributions of hundreds. Artists across the country were part of benefits to raise funds. The film makers have interviewed artists and others who took part in the event, including Cornel West, pianist Matthew Shipp, poet and playwright reg e. gaines, and many others. A script has been developed and the film will be released in 2013. Stay tuned for more on this, including a call for cultural events nationally timed with the film’s release.
The vibrant backbone of all this has been the grassroots movements begun to spread BA’s work throughout society, and raise funds to do so. Thousands have participated in the distribution of quote cards as a basic form of participation in BA Everywhere, and as a form of ideological defiance... planting a radically different pole in society, and doing so in ways that allow people to step into this from wherever they are. Through this, BA’s work has been linked up with people fighting the power in the aftermath of police shootings in Anaheim, Houston, Cleveland, New York and more... BAsics and quotes from BAsics were distributed at music festivals, college campuses, librarian conferences and more... families of victims of police murder have marched with a BA Everywhere contingent in the annual Bud Billiken Day parade through the South Side of Chicago. Last spring, graduating high school students wore buttons with BAsics 1:13 on their graduation gowns. People across the country have sent in their responses to these quotes—engaging BA’s work and through this, engaging each other.
Many thousands have watched BA video clips online, including from the Revolution talk at youtube.com/revolutiontalk on a whole range of burning questions, bringing clarity, heart and humor on the problem behind all this, and the solution.
Imagine all this on an even greater scale, when a mix of people from different walks of life come TOGETHER to wrangle deeply over these things and relate them to their own experiences, in all different kinds of places and all different kinds of scenes. Imagine the movement to spread the BAsics quote of the month further and farther—connecting people across the country, breaking the isolation and impacting millions from the underground. Imagine the connections made when people with more means match funds collected from efforts in a housing project... the unity that gets forged and the walls broken down. Imagine this on an even greater scale, as this takes place in the midst of—and providing a framework and context for—all the efforts being launched to fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution, whether against mass incarceration or against pornography and patriarchy or other outrages and other sites of resistance that the movement for revolution will relate to. A whole ensemble of things—a whole creative, compelling mix of the different elements of this campaign, and a whole package of fighting for a different and far better world—will come through to people.
High school students wearing BAsics 1:13 buttons at graduation, spring 2012.
Support for the BAsics Bus Tour, Harlem, NYC, July 2012.
BAsics Bus Tour volunteers marching with people
in Brooklyn, NYC, July 2012.
Fundraising—if it’s done right—does two things. It raises the money that is badly needed to make a huge difference; and it brings people together—in this case to engage with BA, and what he represents and the whole process of changing the world. And the fact is that there are many, many people who may not agree with everything BA stands for, or who feel that they themselves need to learn more about this, but who also understand very deeply how important it would be, what a difference it would make, to have this voice and vision being projected, and engaged and debated, by people in every part of society. Imagine in 2013 more new and creative ways of coming together to raise funds... dinner parties, car washes, bake sales, basketball tournaments and larger contributions by those with greater means.
THIS—effecting a radical and fundamental change in the social and political “atmosphere” of this whole country by projecting the whole BA vision and framework into all corners of society where it does not yet exist, or is still too little known, and getting all sorts of people to engage and wrestle with it—is what this massive fundraising campaign is all about. You can love and agree with most of what BA has to say, or you can disagree with a lot of it, or you can just feel like you don’t know enough yet to be sure one way or another, even as you find yourself drawn in and attracted by different elements... but if you are a decent, thinking person, a person with a conscience, someone who just can’t go along with the notion that it’s acceptable for great social injustices to repeatedly be tolerated or swept under the rug, then this campaign is for you.
Because if we succeed with this—if we collectively raise enough money to make it concretely possible to project the whole BA vision and project into all corners of society and to introduce him and what he is bringing forward to millions who are not yet familiar with his works and vision; if the framework he is bringing forward and advocating for becomes increasingly debated and wrangled over by thousands and by millions of people from all walks of life; if, together, we manage to accomplish this, this will actually make a very big difference. The whole social and political culture will “breathe” more freely, people will wrangle passionately over “big questions” concerning the direction of society (like knowing that much of the future of humanity hangs in the balance) and the times will once again resonate with big dreams for fundamental change and the emancipation of humanity.
What’s been brought forward so far—through the energy and determination of all those who’ve participated, the generosity of those who have contributed in all kinds of ways, and the people on the ground who’ve stepped up to be part of this... all this is the embodiment of what BA himself has said is represented in the new synthesis of communism that he has developed: “hope and daring on a solid, scientific foundation.”
This is only the beginning. This has to truly reach into every corner of society. Imagine in 2013, taking what’s been learned, involving all those that have been met and inspired thus far... and accomplishing the goals of this campaign—projecting this voice... making this person a point of reference for all of society... making a HUGE difference!
To do this, we need your ideas, input and financial support.
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