The Revolution Club, Bay Area, Shaking Up UC Berkeley: Jumping into Kaepernick Shitstorm, DIS-Respecting the Flag
September 2, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
School is starting, and the Revolution Club in the Bay Area headed out to "Calapalooza," a University of California at Berkeley campus-wide event where all the student organizations host booths and thousands of students are out, getting connected and involved. The Revolution Club was responding to the call at revcom.us: Sit down for Their Nasty-full Anthem! And Don’t Do the Pledge of Malfeasance to Being a Fascist Robot Either!
Sit with Kaepernick UCB 8-31-16
Into the middle of Calapalooza was the Revolution Club, challenging students to get organized now for an actual revolution, to overthrow the whole system, at the soonest possible time. An American flag was on the ground with one person sitting on it. On one side of the flag were visuals from revcom.us: the graphic upholding Colin Kaepernick's bold move in refusing to stand for the national anthem; the centerfold: Land of the Thief, Home of the Slave; a graphic with two quotes from Bob Avakian on internationalism; the sign: "America was NEVER great! We need to overthrow the system!" On the other side was a whiteboard that read: “I support Colin Kaepernick because...”
This bold move was much needed! Students came over to express shades of opinion on Kaepernick, and fundamentally on the U.S. empire. They came over to question the action: Why are you doing that? The whole scene got under people's skin. Over the course of hours, students would come over and passionately argue, storm off, and then come back, unable to stay away. Some students sat on the flag and talked about all kinds of important questions facing humanity, and the nature and role of U.S. capitalism-imperialism in the world. Consistently, students were challenged to confront the real history and actual role of the U.S. in the world, to dig seriously and scientifically into the root of the problem, and use all their critical thinking to engage the with solution: the New Communism.
If you were there, you would have seen people, mainly students, of a vast variety of nationalities, genders, and ages engrossed in back-and-forth with the revolutionaries: from violently angry, to supportive but defensive, to enthusiastically friendly. You would have seen a lot of curiosity and critical thinking. If you stuck around for a while, you would have seen...
Answers to "#ISupportKaepernick Because..." at University of California, Berkeley, August 31. Photo: Special to revcom.us.
- Several different groups of students gathered, some sitting on the flag, some writing on the whiteboard, most in deep discussion with others.
- Students for Trump periodically cruising over yelling this or that "Love it or leave it" nonsense, posturing in threatening ways, but wandering off when challenged to come over and make an argument.
- One of several students arguing for social democracy, a peaceful transition to a society with more benefits, maybe using the internet to create public opinion and some huge majority, without overthrow and changing the mode of production.
- A revolutionary challenging one of many students who claimed that while America isn't perfect, the core values it was founded on are still correct, and basically the good outweighs the bad. The revolutionaries pointed out the real core values of this nation: slavery, genocide, and war! Additionally, on method: to say "the good outweighs the bad" is the same as saying all these atrocities are not that bad after all.
- One of several people, some who had served in the military, claiming that this is THEIR flag, of the greatest country in a world of messed up countries—being confronted with the fact that the U.S. is the most violent, oppressive country in the world, the one that spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined.
- Students sitting on the flag in hot debate with other students challenging them, defending the action and Kaepernick, mainly on two grounds; either because that is the most American thing to do, and exercising free speech, or that the particular expressions of free speech that expose what is wrong with America are justified. Kaepernick was compared to the civil rights movement by some and to Trump by others ("disrespectful").
- Occasionally, one person making a beeline for the demonstration, full of fire and allegiance to that rag, getting right up in the faces of the revolutionaries, and the revolutionaries and students standing strong and telling the truth about this criminal system.
- A revolutionary challenging one of many students who have been kept in the dark about the first wave of communist revolution. One student said that in the Cultural Revolution in China, they killed intellectuals. One revolutionary said that is just bullshit, not true; you've been lied to, here's some of what really happened. And at the same time, here is what Bob Avakian has to say about the shortcomings in their view of intellectuals, and here's how he's developed a method, strategy, and plan for socialism that actually resolves the division between mental and manual labor, and brings intellectuals into the revolution while giving them "room to breathe."
- Debate about Black people in the military, and whether or not desecrating the flag is disrespecting them. One revolutionary said, “Black people in this country are on both sides of the gun.” If you look at what is being said under #VeteransforKaepernick you see things like, "When I take off my uniform, I'm just Black in America," the terror and daily threat that really means, and why.
- A lot of interest expressed and connections made on the basis of digging deeper into the New Communism developed by Bob Avakian.
- One of many discussions about "violence." Several students raised, "I don't want a violent revolution." They were challenged on their method, and invited to investigate the New Communism: You can't start with what makes you comfortable, or what you would like the reality to be; you have to start with what it is. It's a fucking violent system we live in! What will it take to put an end to it?
- The occasional student arguing that neoliberalism is the root of the problem, and being challenged with the reality of the dynamics and contradictions of imperialism.
- Revolutionaries inviting all these students to dig deeper into this question and others, by coming to Revolution Books; people should know the cultural, political, and intellectual center of a movement for revolution is in their backyards! As well as the next event: featuring Joey Johnson, notorious flag-burner and revolutionary communist, speaking at a film screening of Disturbing the Universe, about William Kunstler and the original flag-burning Supreme Court case, Texas v. Johnson.
- The occasional student who would cheer and shout, "Yeah! Fuck that flag!" and then get yelled at by someone else.
- All students being confronted with the fact that the world is a horror, the only solution is nothing less than revolution, and that there is a New Communism and a world-class revolutionary leadership that provides a new hope for humanity, a new era in human history, and that should be a subject of great debate and investigation on campuses everywhere.
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