High School Student on the Film:
"It answers questions but calls on people to ask more questions!"
March 12, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
These are the words of a high school student who saw the rough cut of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! The only questions she was asked were, "What stood out to you?" and "Why should people be in the theater on March 16 / 17 for the premiere?"
Before I saw the film I had learned about the lynchings during Jim Crow and before that, and I used to think, these people were fucked up. They took slaves, they killed Black people, they were fucked up. It was always about the individual. Like, some people didn't do that, and some people did. It was never about, like, all the things that made that OK. That's what society was comfortable with. So I was always angry, I thought, how could you think that was ok? How could you see that and not say anything? I had all these questions about lynchings, and all these things I never understood. I never questioned the entire environment they were in. The way people interacted with each other and saw each other. People's environment affects them so much, causing things to be normalized, things that should never be normal. So I never took into account the whole context. It's like people's ideas are manufactured in a way that's telling them how to respond to this or that thing. So in the film, he's talking about the lynchings. And you can see the little white kids smiling. And they're going to the lynchings and people are hacking off the body parts of the Black people, and the white people are having a picnic! Those things I didn't know, they spoke to the state of the environment people were living in. And suddenly I wasn't mad at all those individual people. I wasn't mad at the little boy who laughed, or the little boy playing with the fire that was burning a man alive. I was just angry about the whole system that made that seem OK. The laws that made that seem right. What people had been led to believe. People's vision of worth. It was so mind-blowing to me because I understood something on a whole different level.
And what he said about not just taking revenge. It just answered so many questions I didn't know I had. Doubts in my head. Or refuting other people's arguments. Why this can't be about doing wrong against those who wronged you. It's not about raping the rapist or killing the white people, it's not about that. That's what I feel like a lot of Black nationalists are about, and I don't get on board with that at all. It's the relations that people have with each other, that's what causes them to be so… cruel. Which became so much clearer to me. It isn't about revenge at all. Revenge doesn't, it doesn't take into account the situations that make people the way they are. Like, if somebody does a horrible thing. It doesn't question the bigger system, the bigger problems. It doesn't address that people are born on different levels, people have had horrible lives, and some people have had privileged lives. People didn't choose that. Revenge doesn't address what makes that OK to begin with. If you just get revenge, you're not getting at the root of the problem. You're not getting at the relations, the whole environment, the causes, the motivations, that made it happen. You just get that it happened. That's a very narrow form of justice, whatever justice is. People should be questioning the situations that make all that possible. Or they're not addressing all these deep inequalities, the effects of privilege, all these things that are the basis for what happens in the world.
Before this film I really didn't realize how many great things people have done, or even understand why people do terrible things. Now I know: people are not done doing great things. This is NOT the best that we can do. People could do so much better than this. It's so, so possible. Revolution… Nothing Less! speaks to me, more than anything else: this new synthesis of communism has to be fought for and put into place.
Hearing the history of how great humans can be, understanding the past communist revolutions, has really set it in stone for me. Before, I would be like, these are ideas on how something could work. It was never solidified in my brain: this could really happen. In some ways, this HAS happened! People are not all bad. It became real. It became different from just another person's ideas on how society could work. This is something that can happen. A revolution. And in the right direction. He's getting into what worked and what didn't. He's not just another guy with some ideas about how society could work. It wasn't like learning from somebody who's just a philosopher. This is real. He could be our leader. It's so possible! I just have to stress that because so many people don't have hope that things can really change. Thinking THIS is all we can do! And he said it in such plain language, that I could understand. Because what a lot of people who have a lot of good things to say do, is use all these terms I don't know, and then I just shut down. Analysis like this, and leadership like this, and saying it like that, so people can understand, is just a testament to how all this is possible.
Before I was like, so where's he at? Where is Bob Avakian? And he talks about why it's important to protect the leadership. It's the same reason why you avoid… avoiding "premature decisive encounters." He says, don't create situations where the revolution can be crushed. He talked about Huey. He puts it a lot more eloquently than I do, but he basically said the system doesn't want leaders like Huey around, doesn't want people around who have a lot of the right ideas and are actually mobilizing people. The system will kill them, which can crush a movement, or demoralize it. That's terrible. We need to have him alive! We need to be able to pick his mind, and to have him be our leader, and not only have him be our leader, but to expand on the most thorough, and… I'm trying to say… the new something you can put into action! It's the most advanced thinking we have! Having him alive is worth not knowing where he's at. And also we need to have BA EVERYWHERE, not just where he's at, only relating to people in the place where he is! We need to connect people to him, and everyone should know who he is. So okay. maybe people should not actually know where he's at. He should be safe. Things like that just checked off so many boxes in my head. This is serious.
Revolution defies a lot of people's beliefs. They think people are lazy, or they don't care, or people are too comfortable. People's views of human achievement are so low. So, so low. Like he's talking about the human nature argument. Like all these bad things people do are justified because that's just what humans do! But people are so molded to believe these things that they can't imagine a revolution. They speak the words of their oppressor. They become different people. They can't get past what they've been told. It makes them unwilling to move, or even hope, even hope that a better world is possible. So you gotta come with the best argument, a real case for it, with the real history, having the analysis, having the evidence, that revolution IS possible! That's what he does in REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!
Like when he was talking about rap and music videos. He called it a "poisonous package of individualism, religion, and misogyny." He talked about people wearing huge chains with crucifixes on them, and rap videos that have religious references side by side along with degrading women, all along with this message of "getting mine" and "me first." So he talks about how it's all three, it's a package. Young men growing up today come with this package. It was kind of crazy to me, because I never connected them in that way. I was like, oh, I got the individualism. Young men grow up believing that if they try hard enough, they could be a millionaire. Not just the hope, but there's such a huge value on material things. And women are just part of that. There's so much misogyny in the rap scene, it's all that you hear. Seeing they're connected, and they're essential for young men to be the way that they are. So many people, so many youth, come with that package, and I never thought it was all connected. It was cool that he could connect them all. And then it all connects to the lack of young people in the struggle. The lack of youth voice, a lot of apathy, in young people. We need those people! We need people who haven't settled in, who haven't had decades of indoctrination by this system, and they're all being held back by this whole package. From every angle. Having those people be a part of the solution is critical! You can attack that package, and see even better how all this is possible. The package is what THEY want you to believe. When I say "they" I mean the media, the church, the government, the people who produce all this propaganda. I mean the system. It's bigger than rap videos, it's propaganda, that fuels the religion, fuels the government, fuels the misogyny. This country, with the religion, it's ridiculous. It comes from everywhere. You can't escape it. You know what I'm saying? You're so pressured to believe one thing, without evidence. It's in the media, it's in the laws, it's everywhere. The people that own everything, the only people who benefit from this whole system, are the people who benefit from all the young people believing in this package. They benefit so much more because people believe that package, and so they reinforce it for a lot of people to believe. Most people, which is kinda scary. But it's so unnecessary! It's so crazy. Like, so many people are caught in the trap of religion that they believe anything those people tell them. People are so fucked over in so many ways by that package right now. Not only women with misogyny, not only the planet with individualism, and not only, like, the unwillingness to do something about it, or to believe in something even though there's evidence because of religion, all of the shit that comes along with religion, and what that causes for women, and what that causes people to believe, and when he says there's a package he's right. There's so much in that package, it's so much to challenge people on, and question people on, and enlighten them on. There's just so much work to do. A lot of work more people need to be doing.
I think that it's really important for people to be there [at the premiere] because not only all the questions they have, and all the beliefs they have that need to be challenged, but like, later on, there needs to be more people around that are talking about these things. More people who are informed, and understand what BA is talking about, and give historical references to things and challenge each other, and debate. That's a great thing! Having a lot of people there, and bringing people with a lot of different outlooks is so important. People will leave with a lot more answers, and a lot more of the right questions. They should be there to talk to other people who care about the world, about making this revolution. About whatever comes up that they hear that they need to debate out. It's so crucial. That's why I know I'm going to be there. People will be inspired.
I love this film. You know? I love this speech, and the way he, like, breaks it down. If it even causes someone to question what he's talking about, and having people there to speak to it, that's so much more beneficial than even just researching it on your own. This will help you not only be more politically conscious, but it pulls out the right questions. But not just that. It answers questions but it calls on people to ask more questions! You SHOULD be questioning what makes your society the way it is! To be less quick to trust what somebody says to them. It's incredibly important.
You can't wait for the revolution to come. You shouldn't wait. It also speaks to you not being passive about knowing the world can be a lot better, and doing nothing, knowing there's a place and people that you could be helping. It's crazy to me. It sounds horrible. Like, if you know, if you've watched the speech, I'm not saying people are horrible, but I'm saying if you know the system can be better, and you understand, but you just go back about your daily life, it's… appalling. It's appalling! I couldn't imagine ever being the same, knowing what I know. I can't imagine anybody finding out what's really going on and then not doing anything about it! You can't. Your life will be changed. Even understanding the things that make your life the way it is. If you know, really know, about American imperialism, if you know about the state of the world that is crying out for your help, only at the expense of you being a comfortable American person, like if you know that? And understand that? And go back to your life as it was? No way. You'll be stuck with something at the end of this premiere. The movement needs you. Like if you give a rat's ass about what the fuck is going on in the world, and you see this, you would be taking it up and getting with a revolutionary party that needs you, and is trying to make all the shit that's going on in your life, shit that you hate, make it non-existent! Trying to liberate all of the rest of the seven billion people on the planet! Not only is it ultimately important, but you should feel the drive and the fire and the anger inside yourself to be a part of this revolution. Because of what you know now, now that you've seen this film. To be a part of changing the entire world!
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