Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour:
10 Days in Chicago "...a real beginning"
by Sunsara Taylor
October 24, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
“Seriously?” the young woman's eyes grew wide, “You are traveling the whole country... for a year? That's amazing.” She had listened intently as the Revolution Club marched up to the protest against police brutality and got into why only a revolution could put an end to all the outrages and horrors caused by this system—the murder after murder by police, the violence and rape against women, the venomous attacks on immigrants, the wars for empire, and the destruction of the environment. But it was when she heard the scope and sheer audacity of what the Get Into the Revolution Organizing Tour is aiming to do—traveling the entire country and recruiting and organizing thousands of new people into this revolution in order to get ready for the time when millions can be led to overthrow the whole system—that she really tuned in and wanted to learn more. The same point lit up the face of a young brother from the ghetto on the South Side of Chicago. “It’s true,” he responded, “you can't make revolution in one city.”
The Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour has hit the streets of Chicago. Everywhere we go, we are boldly projecting the reality that “America was NEVER great! We need to overthrow—not vote for—this system!” That an actual revolution will put an end to the horrors billions on our planet are forced to live through. And YOU have a role to play in this revolution RIGHT NOW.
Yes, We Mean an Actual Revolution, and We Have a Strategy
A lot of people nod their heads when they hear the word revolution, at least in the neighborhoods of the oppressed and out in the protests against police murder. But, when we get into what we really mean by this—the complete overthrow of this system, the dismantling of its ruling structures and institutions, the defeat of its military and police forces and the construction of a radically new society and revolutionary new state power in transition to a communist world—this is both attractive and sobering. On the one side, many people have a deep sense that a few reforms are not going to bring about the change that is needed. On the other side, it is hard for them to imagine ever having enough strength to defeat this system for real.
It has been crucial, from the very beginning, to make clear that we have a strategy for winning—and to begin bringing this alive from the start. This is why it has been so moving to people to learn that we are not just talking to them at that moment, but traveling and bringing forward the thousands that can influence millions—and be trained to lead millions in the all-out fight for power when the conditions for that ripen.
In the Hardest Streets of Chicago
One afternoon, out in the South Side of Chicago, the Club planned to drive around in a van with a sound-system for an hour or so announcing that the revolutionaries would be out on a busy corner at a certain time. They had barely made it one block through the hood before they saw police fucking with two Black youth. The Club jumped out and posted up, standing in disciplined formation watching and ensuring that the rights of these youth were not illegally violated. The pigs didn't like this attention and backed off.
Read the entire HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution HERE
The youth were relieved, inspired and intrigued. The revolutionaries challenged them to get into the revolution. The youth made clear that they supported what the revolutionaries were doing, but said bluntly they didn't know what it would mean to join the revolution and, “What do you want us to do, get in your van right now?” The Club posed back that the essence of the question was not whether they get in the van literally that minute, but whether they relate to the revolution. Later we summed up that we should've just said, “Yeah, why the fuck not? What could you possibly be doing right now that is more important than getting into the fight to end not only your own oppression but all oppression?”
Since then, we have taken this sharper approach with several others to good effect, winning them to step in—even if only in beginning ways—right on the spot. Last night, for example, a young man who had been running with us for a little while told us, “I really have to do some deep thinking about whether or not I am going to join the Revolution Club. I don't want to do it unless I am sure.” “That's right,” we replied, “You better think very deeply about this—but you better do it fast and you better make the right decision. Honestly, what could possibly be more important for you to do right now than to do the work necessary to get into the revolution that can end oppression and exploitation for all the seven billion people on the planet?” We stayed silent as the seconds stretched out and he thought. “I can't think of anything,” he finally responded, so we walked down the street and sat down at a McDonald’s. Late in the evening, he remarked, “You've really changed my thinking. Now I'm thinking about the whole world, not just about money and myself.”
Getting back to our first afternoon out in the South Side, in just the next two hours, the Revolution Club had to post up two more times because they kept running into Black people being jacked up by cops. Every time, everyone around felt the power of this revolutionary authority.
Stop Killing Each Other—And Start Fighting the Real Enemy and Making Revolution!
It is noteworthy that almost everyone in the neighborhoods, when they first see us, assume we are out there to “stop the violence.” When the Club finally set up on the corner with their banners and bullhorn, a big group of high school women walked by and swarmed them. “Let us say something, let us say something!” they cried out, grabbing for the mic. When asked what they wanted to say, they exclaimed, “Stop the violence! Stop the violence!”
Bob Avakian, "A better world is possible," from his talk REVOLUTION: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About. As part of this clip, BA talks about how guards at the Corcoran prison in California forced prisoners to fight like gladiators.
It’s obviously a positive thing that many of the youth in these neighborhoods want to stop the violence. We talked to one group of young friends who have been to five funerals in recent months. But it has taken work to differentiate ourselves from the “stop the violence” movement. We do want our people to stop killing each other and we have to get into this deeply and sharply with people, but we know this can only happen if—and only will serve something greater if—it is part of joining the fight to put an end to this system. The video from Bob Avakian's 2003 speech where he challenges the youth to recognize that they are being played when they are out “regulating their corner” has connected very deeply. Over and over young people have remarked, “He is speaking exactly about us and what we need to do.”
One young guy, as he began to really understand that this is what we were fighting for, told us he thought the biggest thing that would get other youth like him out of the gang mentality was a sense of larger purpose. He was inspired—and thought others could be inspired as well—by being part of something as liberating as revolution.
Agitating, Contending, and Raising People’s Sights
An older guy who had stopped by and been pretty friendly when we first set up had started drinking and this time when he approached us he was highly argumentative. He was angry at white people and “foreigners who don't even speak English.” We posed back, very sharply, “Do you have any idea why people come here from other countries?” We agitated about the wars and domination, the coups and death squads, the exploitation and immiseration that the U.S. and other imperialist powers inflict on other countries and how all this makes their homelands unlivable. Then, people flee their homes desperately and some of them come here, only to be worked almost like slaves in the fields and kitchens and meat-packing and day-labor, many of them without rights, living in the shadows, hunted and then torn from their families by large-scale deportations.
A woman from further away on the corner drew closer, nodding her head vigorously. The drinking fellow stayed confrontational but careened his argument in a different direction, “Exactly!” he insisted, “and this is Native American land anyway!” A young guy from the neighborhood who had come out to stand with the revolutionaries clearly hadn't known all this and was visibly moved by our agitation. Then, he stepped in to redirect the older man's anger. Referring to his last statement about the Native Americans, he said, “You are right, you could make a difference if you went around and told people that.” He had a good style, allowing the older man to save face while struggling to bring out the best in him.
A young woman who had also come out to join up noticed the sign we had with us that said “Women are NOT bitches, hos, punching bags, sex objects or breeders! Women are full human beings.” I asked why she liked it, and she said that women almost never get called by their names and are disrespected a lot. I united with this, but didn't leave it there, building on her points but agitating as well about how in this culture pimping—the brutal enslavement and sale of women—is celebrated and joked about, how everyone knows what it means when men rank women by a number as if their only value is to be demeaned as a sex object, how degrading it is that men get together and brag about what they got away with doing to women's bodies, how women are beaten and insulted, how they are raped and groped, and how they are shamed if they have sex or if they enjoy sex or if they don't want to have a baby.
It was important that she liked the slogan, but it was not enough to leave it at that. The agitation—the content and the conviction in it—had a real impact on her, and again was an expression of our morality and revolutionary authority. When I looked up, I noticed that another woman had drawn close through this from further down the street.
The First Ten Days... Intense and Rich with Lessons
In the ten intense days we have been here in Chicago, we've spoken to an assembly of Black high school students filled with very large numbers who have already spent time incarcerated… We've reached out to hundreds at the Cook County Courthouse who are caught up in the criminal injustice system... We've spent time spreading revolution and engaging in deep discussion with students at University of Chicago… We've been out in the war-torn streets of South Shore and Englewood… We've spoken at an open mic… We've sat down with people and begun working to recruit them into the Revolution Club (discussing the first quote in each chapter of BAsics and the Points of Attention for the Revolution), and much more.
We helped lead a defiant protest in the streets on the October 22nd National Day of Protest to STOP Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. Noche Diaz, one of the members of this National Tour, was brutally arrested along with three others. Not only did we not let this stop us from continuing to march and make our resistance powerfully heard, we have plans to use this outrageous police assault to mobilize even more people to find out about this Tour and join with it, and to insist that all the charges against our people be dropped.
In everything we are doing, we are basing ourselves on the scientific understanding and approach of the pamphlet “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution.” We are getting into it with people, mobilizing people to spread it, and organizing people to act on it.
At the same time, it has been necessary—and remains necessary—for everyone who is already part of the Club and the movement for revolution to continue to deepen their scientific understanding of why it is that only a communist revolution can resolve the problems facing humanity. Not just “breaking this down for others,” but firmly grasping ourselves why this system can't be reformed in a fundamental and scientific way. This is gone into very deeply in Bob Avakian's THE NEW COMMUNISM, as well as in articles like “How This System Works – And Why It Must Be Overthrown,” and needs to be wrestled with much more deeply and in an ongoing way.
Get Into the Revolution Rally October 29
This Saturday, October 29, we will bring together people from around the city to stand with this revolution and to make a big leap forward—from wherever each of them are at—in their level of involvement in, understanding of, and partisanship to this revolution. The rally is on the theme “America was NEVER great! We need to overthrow, not vote for, this system!”
While reaching out to all sections of people, we are putting special attention to bringing forward youth from the hardest streets of Chicago. Rallying them to stop fighting and killing each other, and to instead stand together as they get into and take up the fight against the real enemy, the fight to make a revolution and bring about a whole better world. Going into this, this Thursday night, we are holding a Get Into the Revolution Organizing Event at University of Chicago. We'll have more to say about the campuses soon.
Again, we are just at the beginning stages of this Tour. We are still learning, the shoots of new revolutionary organization and forces we have begun to bring forward are quite small and still quite fragile, and we don't yet know nearly enough about what it will take to sustain them and qualitatively expand them. But we have begun, and it is a real beginning. Expect to hear much more from us in the days and weeks and months to come.
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