Fundraising Dinners for BA Everywhere:
“If you care about the horrific state of the world, if you yearn for humanity to be free, you are in the right place.”
March 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
This is the text of a talk that was given at the BA Everywhere fundraising dinners around the country on the weekend of March 18-20.
Welcome. If you care about the horrific state of the world, if you yearn for humanity to be free, you are in the right place. Today we are going to kick off the BA Everywhere campaign for 2016. Dinners like this are happening in cities all over the country. People like us are coming together to break bread and build community for the thing that matters most of all—giving people the opportunity to be a part of making the leadership of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism that he has brought forward—the scientific approach to the revolution we need—known everywhere. For this is a way out of the madness and brutal oppression and exploitation that has plagued humanity for millennia. BA Everywhere is a mass campaign to involve hundreds and thousands of people working together to raise the big money necessary to make this revolutionary science and the leadership of Bob Avakian known so that everywhere people are questioning why the world is the horror it is, everywhere they are raising their heads and fighting back, so they know about, discuss, debate, get into, and can take this up and transform themselves and the world.
To begin, we are going to give you a brief experience of Bob Avakian himself in this short film: BA Through the Years.
“We can change the whole world together with people all over the world.” This is a bedrock understanding of the revolutionary potential of the masses of people that Bob Avakian has been working on all these years. And, he has kept at it, making breakthroughs in the revolutionary theory the masses of people need to make the revolution they need. Today we have a monumental work—a new talk, published online, available here in prepublication form, titled: The Science, the Strategy, the Leadership for an Actual Revolution, and a Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation, soon to be published as a book. One of the most important projects that the BA Everywhere campaign will be raising funds for, beginning this evening, is for the promotion of this book, which holds the potential to rear a new generation of revolutionaries here and around the world. This work is, if you will, a synthesis of the new synthesis, a sweeping course in the problem humanity faces and the solution, through revolution for, as the title says—a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.
We are going to read two short excerpts from the book.
Reading # 1: From the Introduction
In reading reports on work in various areas over the recent period, and looking at our website (revcom.us) in particular, I think of the comment by people in Baltimore, when people went out to them with revolution—and it’s a comment you hear quite frequently when you go out to masses of people, taking the revolution to them. They sharply posed the question: “Will you be here? We’ve seen people come here, we’ve seen groups come and go and talk a lot of talk. But is this serious? Will you be here?” This is a very important question and poses a very direct challenge for us. We have to meet this with the answer “yes” in the immediate sense, but also in the most profound and all-around sense. We have to be here, now—and we have to be here for the whole thing. Whether any particular individual is there at a given time, that’s not the question that’s really at stake; it’s whether or not the movement for revolution and, above all, the Party, the leadership that people need to get out of this nightmare, is going to be there, in an overall and fundamental sense, because when you get down to it, ultimately the people really do have nothing if they don’t have a party based on the science that can lead them to emancipate themselves and emancipate all of humanity. This is true whether, at any given time, the people know it or not.
And I was thinking about something even heavier when reading about the work being done in Baltimore: the comment of a woman, one of the basic masses in Baltimore, who said, “I am getting worried”—when people were bringing the revolution to her—”I’m getting worried.” Now, you might say, why was she getting worried? She explained:
“Because I am beginning to hope.” Now, think about what that means for the masses of people, that they are afraid to hope. Afraid to hope that maybe the world doesn’t have to be this way, that maybe there is a way out of this. Afraid to hope, because their hopes have been dashed so many times. Now, we know there’s a ruling class out there. We know how, along with the vicious repression they carry out, they maneuver and manipulate whenever the people rise up. We have seen it already again in Baltimore, for example: Oh, all of a sudden there’s a crime wave, they say; and they insist that they have to come down even heavier with the police and that they need the federal authorities to come in and help out the police, because the masses are running wild, and the police can’t go out and kill them with impunity, right now.
So, all this is why people say, “I’m getting worried.” They are afraid to hope. And if we don’t intend to meet the responsibilities that we have, if we don’t intend to follow through when we go to people and say there is a way out of this, we should get up and leave right now. Because the masses of people do not need anyone else who comes along, fly-by-night, and leaves them to the miserable conditions they will be subjected to, and the even worse horrors of this system coming down on them. We have to mean it when we say we’re serious about revolution.
This brings us to the question of for whom and for what are we doing what we’re doing. This is not about any individuals, including ourselves. This is one of the first things you have to come to grips with—that this is not about any individual, but is about something much bigger. Look, many people do come to revolution out of their own direct experiences, what this system has done to them, even though they don’t understand It’s a system—or even if they have heard this word “system,” they don’t really know what that system is. But a lot of people do come to this out of their own direct individual experience—they don’t immediately understand that it’s part of a larger picture of what’s happening to literally millions and even billions of people around the world. This is the understanding we have to bring to them. But, first of all, we have to understand: for whom and for what? This is for the emancipation of humanity. This is for the masses of oppressed humanity who desperately need this revolution. It’s not about anything else—and It’s certainly not about ourselves; it’s not about our egos, it’s not about whether we look good or don’t look good, or any of these kinds of questions that should be completely out of the picture.
Reading # 2: From the section of BA’s Talk on the Cultural Revolution within the RCP
Now, here, let me speak to the question: Why was I doing the work I was doing? Once again, we’re back to for whom and for what. I wasn’t doing this work for myself. When I was young, in middle school and then even more so in high school, my life got changed in a very major way by coming into contact with people that I hadn’t really known that much before, in particular Black people. I started learning about their situation and how that relates to what goes on in this society as a whole. I was drawn to the culture—not just the music and the art overall, but the whole way of going through the world—of the Black people who became my friends, and the world they introduced me to. And I came to the point of recognizing: these are my people. Now, I knew they had a different life experience than I did. But these are my people—I don’t see a separation—it’s not like there are some other people “over there” who are going through all this and somehow that’s removed from me. These are my people. And then I began to recognize more deeply what people were being put through, the oppression they were constantly subjected to, the horrors of daily life as well as the bigger ways in which the system came down on them. And as I went further through life and began to approach the question of what needs to be done about this, and was introduced to taking up a scientific approach to this, I realized that my people were more than this. I realized that my people were Chicanos and other Latinos and other oppressed people in the U.S.; they were people in Vietnam and China; they were women...they were the oppressed and exploited of the world...and through some struggle, and having to cast off some wrong thinking, I have learned that they are LGBT people as well.
These are my people, the oppressed and exploited people of the world. They are suffering terribly, and something has to be done about this. So it is necessary to dig in and systematically take up the science that can show the way to put an end to all this, and bring something much better into being. You have to persevere and keep struggling to go forward in this way. And when you run into new problems or setbacks, you have to go more deeply into this, rather than putting it aside and giving up.
“My people .... Suffering terribly ... something has to be done ... So it is necessary to dig in and systematically take up the science that can show the way to put an end to all this, and bring something much better into being.”
This, BA has done—digging into and taking up the science of revolution first developed by Marx and continuing through Lenin and Mao—working with it, applying it to the problem of how we can get beyond all the miseries of the centuries of oppression. Working on this problem led BA to further develop this theory, now having made a breakthrough in the science of revolution that is to guide us in the struggle to really get to a world that has overcome all forms of exploitation and oppression. This is a very big deal, for this country, more, for the whole world.
This is why today, 40+ years after the first communist revolutions were defeated, and when there is a crying need for fundamental change, for a new stage of communism, we can say without hesitation that BA is the Marx of our time. This is why BA must really be everywhere.
We just saw and heard a taste of the person that BA is. Not only is he the foremost theorist of revolution in the world today, he is a rare and precious leader who has a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the people who are the most oppressed in this society, who has an incredible ability to “break down” the complexity of the world, to bring science and the science of revolution to the people.
Working from this scientific foundation, he has forged a strategy for an actual revolution in an advanced, modern imperialist country. This opens up possibility previously thought impossible.
More, he has mapped out a vibrant and viable plan for what a new socialist society would actually look like: a far better society—one that is collectively working to overcome all forms of oppression and exploitation. The blueprint is here in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which he authored and which was adopted by the Central Committee of the RCP. There really is the way forward to a world and society that gets beyond what is today.
What Bob Avakian has done is new. Radically new. While BA builds on the work of the great revolutionary leaders like Marx, Lenin, and Mao and has deeply summed up and synthesized the pathbreaking positive as well as the negative lessons from the first socialist revolutions of the 20th century, the new synthesis breaks with conventional thinking even within the communist movement itself. This is why the Central Committee of the RCP, USA passed Six Resolutions that set forth the foundational and historic quality of BA’s leadership and the new synthesis of communism and the content of its work of preparing for revolution.
Today these resolutions mark the dividing line between real communism and revisionism—which means revising the revolution out of the science of revolution. Revisionism is theory which pretends to be communism, but actually stands in the way of the further advance of revolution and communism. This dividing line runs through the whole world and it runs through our Party itself, which is waging a Cultural Revolution within its own ranks to fully make the new synthesis of communism what it proceeds from, applies, and carries forward in the world. This is not a timeless struggle—it needs to be won—everyone who dreams, who wants to support or to work for revolution for real emancipation, needs to join this struggle and take up and promote BA and what he has brought forward. This can make all the difference in the world, and for the future of the world.
One of the biggest ways that all of us can be a part of this is working together to solve a really big problem. It is still the case that far, far too few people even know about BA, about the scientific work he has done, or about the fact that there is a radically different way that the world could be and the scientific theory and leadership to actually make revolution and build a different kind of society. We here today can be the start of a new wave of people working to rally even more people to CHANGE THAT—spreading this work and leadership and raising the big sums of money needed to make it known everywhere.
The first of the Six Resolutions I just spoke of says:
Where there is oppression, there will be resistance—the masses of people will continually rise up against their conditions of oppression and those who enforce this oppression. But, without the necessary scientific theory and leadership, the struggle of the oppressed will be contained, and remain confined, within the system which is the source of oppression, and the horrors to which the masses are subjected will go on, and on.
Humanity is suffering from a terrible disease—the plague of capitalism-imperialism and all the misery and forms of oppression that this inflicts on people every day—literally causing the death and stunted lives of millions of children around the world and right here in the U.S.—think about Flint, Michigan, and all the other cities and towns which knowingly have allowed lead pipes and paint to poison our kids. If you know that this is the cure, or if you are just learning that someone has developed such a cure, wouldn’t you want everyone to know about it and to check it out? And if you found it to be what it says it is—the real deal—to then devote every ounce of your energy to seeing that the people know about and take up this cure?
BA has said in the new book I spoke of:
There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole: everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.
That is what has brought us together here today: to envision what it would mean for these ideas and this understanding of what it will take to radically change the world for real. This is what the BA Everywhere campaign is about. Now we need to take this to a whole other level of reach and impact.
This is where you, where we all, come in. In all the work and struggle we do—whether at home, school, work, or in the streets—in the great movements against mass incarceration and police terror, or against the degradation of women and the fight for the right to abortion so that women can control their own bodies and lives, or the fight to save the environment, or the struggle against the demonization and deportation of immigrants; and the courageous struggles to stop the U.S. wars of aggression—in every battle people should hear about and have the opportunity to discover and engage with what BA is all about. As people fight the power they can at the same time be raising funds to spread real total revolution through the work of BA, and they can be engaging the work themselves and with others fighting the power—struggling and learning and then taking what they’ve learned so that the fights we wage today contribute to finally getting free.
With BA Everywhere we can and need to break people’s sights out of the killing confines of struggling so hard for the most minimal reforms only to see them snatched back by the system, if they are even achieved. We can open minds beyond being forced to choose between “the lesser of two evils.” We can strive for much more than the illusion of safe space in a world of growing danger.
Imagine the difference if a new generation of young people around the globe actually had real hope in the future—hope and daring rooted in a scientific understanding of the potential for revolution that exists in the sharp situation we face—in the very contradictions of the system itself. Think about the difference in the whole atmosphere if people were thinking not about how I can get “mine” at the expense of everyone else, but instead were inspired with a morality of the “whole world comes first” and being a fighter for the emancipation of humanity—two of the cornerstones of the vision and work of BA.
This means having the people and the money to spread BAsics in the hoods and on the campuses. It means the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTON—NOTHING LESS!; the film of the Dialogue between BA and Cornel West, Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; the film of BA’s talk in 2003 which we saw a clip from today—Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About; as well as the film of the cultural event celebrating the publication of BAsics—Stepping Into the Future, need to be seen by tens and hundreds of thousands of people. With money and people, short trailers, YouTubes, and promotion could be created and big audiences developed.
There is so much that could be done to promote the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America and the collection of writings that BA has done on the law: on the campuses, among lawyers, everyday people. Symposiums, debates, op-eds—really when you think about it, there is nothing more relevant to giving people a concrete vision of how to radically change the world. What’s missing? People and money. We here are the road to raising the funds and bringing forward even more people.
Right now the RCP, Revolution Books stores, and the Revolution Clubs are leading study classes in Bob Avakian’s new work, The Science, the Strategy, the Leadership for an Actual Revolution, and a Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation. If you are serious about getting into this new work, join a group. All of us should be raising funds together with the BA Everywhere campaign to make the publication of the book a big deal.
One of the most important organizations for making the work of Bob Avakian known and engaged on a whole other level is The Bob Avakian Institute. This is a nonprofit institute organized for educational purposes. Its mission is to preserve, project, and promote the works and vision of Bob Avakian with the aim of reaching the broadest possible audience. Hundreds of thousands of dollars need to be raised to enable this institute to do its work, to begin to get the kind of societal impact that is actually shaking up the terms of debate in cultural, academic, and activist circles.
So, who should be a part of the BA Everywhere campaign? Should you—if you are just finding out about BA and if you are not sure you fully agree, or if you can’t answer all the objections that family and friends may raise? Earlier, I read a quote from BA’s new work where he spoke of among whom and where the new synthesis of communism needs to be engaged. He said:
Everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.
If you are at this dinner today and if you feel that others need to hear what you’ve experienced today, you can and need to be a part of BA Everywhere. Yes, there’s going to be and there really needs to be a big ideological struggle in society about this new synthesis—because this is so radically different than how people have been taught to think about the world. Yet, just because this is a struggle does not mean that many people can’t be won to be involved in this campaign—and be won to see the importance of BA being known, discussed, and debated. Why? Because the questions raised by what’s concentrated in BA Everywhere are questions that a tremendous number of people have, but yet are not a part of what is discussed and debated throughout society. These questions of “whither humanity,” such as: what is the problem, what is the solution, what is going on in the world, why is it going on, does it have to go on, if there’s a solution to it, what is the solution, how do we bring about that solution—all these big questions are very much at the heart of what the new synthesis of communism and the leadership of BA is all about, and people can be won to see the importance of being a part of raising the funds so that these questions are out there in society through the work of BA having major impact, even as they are figuring out what they agree and/or disagree with.
When you leave here today... pick up copies of one or more of the films if you don’t already have them. Watch them and invite over friends and family or people you work with. This will be the start of a movement of house parties/film showings to raise funds and engage with BA on the weekend of April 22 through 24.
Everything I have been speaking about needs to be organized. The BA Everywhere Committee here is meeting soon. (Click here to find a meeting near you.) Come to the meeting and get involved.
In conclusion, what this is all about is humanity at long last getting free.
Before we end the formal program and have a chance to hang out and talk, we want to leave you with one more taste of BA full out, in a segment from the film, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! called “Resisting the Brainwash—A Radical Revolt Against A Revolting Culture.” Right there, the title tells you one more reason why BA needs to be everywhere. Let’s watch. Thank you.
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