Week Two of the Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour—
Lessons, Transformations, Challenges
by Sunsara Taylor
October 31, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Noche Diaz, October 29
There was no denying the power of the revolutionaries on stage on October 29 for the Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Campaign and Tour rally in Chicago. Noche Diaz convened the rally, welcoming and giving confidence to everyone in attendance that they were in the right place if they yearned for a better world. The Revolution Club marched and chanted, attracting the attention of passersby and giving notice that they were fighting for revolution to emancipate the billions of people whose interests they represent. A member of the Chicago Revolution Club spoke about Noche, how deeply he is loved by the people but viciously hated by the enemy. She exposed the two arrests he had already suffered in the last week, read the statements of support that had come in from Chuck D., Dr. Cornel West, and Edward Asner, and called on everyone to stand with him when he defies the University of Chicago ban on him this Tuesday.
Carl Dix called out the ongoing genocide and crimes being carried out by the U.S. government up at Standing Rock in North Dakota, challenged people to see how this—and many other outrages—are rooted in the nature of capitalism-imperialism, and exposed the sham and harm of U.S. elections. He spoke deeply about the kind of person and the kind of leader we have in Bob Avakian and the importance of everyone taking up the scientific approach he has forged. This speech gave everyone a deep sense of the urgent need for revolution, as well as the basis for it and the tremendous strengths we have in our leader, Bob Avakian, and the strategy and approach he has forged.
Then, the Revolution Club stepped to the stage to read the full statement, “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution.” This was powerful. The Club had stayed up late into the night rehearsing this reading the night before, but it was much more than rehearsing. They were wrestling with the meaning of the statement, each paragraph and almost each sentence. As individuals, but above all as a collectivity, they were getting inside the meaning and the dialectics of it, internalizing the strategy and approach captured in it in a much deeper way. On stage, the totally audacious and deeply scientific nature of this statement came alive, as did the real feeling of a collective force dedicated to carrying it out.
The culmination of the rally was the induction of the Chicago Revolution Club as official members of this Club and leaders of the masses in revolution. Leaders of the national tour spoke about what it means to take up the responsibility to join the Revolution Club, to consciously study and apply the science of revolution that has been advanced by Bob Avakian, and to fight to advance this revolution in the world. They recognized the transformations and forging that has gone on with members of the Revolution Club here in Chicago and the importance of them being upheld publicly and looked to by masses for leadership. They called on new people to rise to the challenge of joining the Club officially and on members of the Club to advance to joining the Party. Then, the members were presented with official Revolution Club Member patches to sew onto their RevClub T-shirt, and they stepped forward to become official, recognized members of the Revolution Club. Everyone present erupted in applause.
A Shortfall in Turnout—A Challenge to Solve
Read the entire HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution HERE
But, just as the power of the content and collective strength of those on stage was undeniable, so was the fact that the turnout was far less than what we had aimed for. Despite a lot of receptivity and interest in the neighborhoods among the masses, very few new people showed up for this rally. This matters because, as stated in “HOW WE CAN WIN,” making advances in this now has everything to do with hastening—and having a real chance to win in—a future revolutionary situation.
In THE NEW COMMUNISM, Bob Avakian writes of accumulating new forces and then wielding them to have an even greater impact, on that basis accumulating even more forces and impacting on an even higher level, and again and again. This is a dynamic we have not yet mastered and which we must urgently put ourselves to. At the same time, the potential for this is palpable every time we go out. We are working to make a deeper analysis of this, and—on that foundation—to identify the pathways to build on the beginnings we have made. There is a lot we are still working to sift through, correctly understand, and build on.
Every time we’d been out with revolution into the neighborhoods of the most oppressed, we had connected powerfully with people, inspired and drawn many to checking out and beginning to engage the revolution. At least five times, the Revolution Club had posted up to observe police when they were fucking with youths and others in the neighborhood. Every time, this made a very big impression on friend and foe alike.
The last time, the revolutionaries were engaging deeply with a group of masses on a corner when pigs rolled up to assess the scene and test out the revolutionaries. The Revolution Club got in disciplined formation and the scene grew tense as folks from the neighborhood watched. A member of the Revolution Club pulled out a bullhorn and let loose: “These pigs want to know if we are going to talk to them, but we don’t talk to live animals! These pigs roll into these neighborhoods. They shoot and beat and murder our youth. They enforce the system of oppression.” But she wasn’t just fearless, she was disdainful. Reconsidering her statement that “no one should talk to live animals,” she added, “Except maybe horses, they’re kind of cute.”Everyone on the corner fell out laughing. Then they began lining up alongside or directly behind the revolutionaries.
The agitator continued, “We are the Revolution Club and we are getting organized to make revolution and to overthrow their whole system and bring into being a new system and new world into being.” The pigs tried to flip the situation by insisting that the revolutionaries “aren’t from the neighborhood.” A Black man who had recently buried his teenage son who was killed in gang violence would have none of it. “What are you talking about?” he answered back. Gesturing to an older white revcom, he said, “This is my step dad!” Again, the masses erupted in defiant laughter. When the pigs finally left, a woman went up to the revcom on the bullhorn and gave her a huge hug. Then, she proceeded to hug every single person wearing the “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” T-shirt. The whole experience was one of joy and defiance.
This is just one taste. There were many other engagements to sift through. Folks were drawn to and inspired by our agitation about the full liberation of women, bringing alive the nightmare inflicted by this system on immigrants, by the vision of a nationwide revolution organizing tour. People opened up to us about many things, including the feelings of revenge—feelings some were fighting to resist but which still filled their hearts—over loved ones who had been lost in gang violence on the streets and we struggled over this. By the day of the rally, posters for the rally were up all over several neighborhoods—including many that had been put up by people from the neighborhood who had taken stacks.
A relatively small, but significant, group of people we had met had begun to go through the process of becoming an official member of the Revolution Club. Yet, there is still a pattern of people hanging back, not fully joining in or following through.
It’s worth noting that, despite the fact that we hadn’t yet broken through on accumulating and organizing new forces into the revolution, the enemy was clearly worried about—and trying to prevent—this potential. Twice in less than a week we’d been assaulted and arrested; once when we had a permit to be in the streets but were still walking on the sidewalk, and once when we were peacefully on our way out of a campus building after making an announcement. Plus, four members of the NYC Revolution Club were arrested in this same period and the police were a clear and watchful presence throughout our rally on the 29th.
One thing we are fighting to master more fully is how to take on these attacks from the enemy in a way that rallies even more forces to step forward into the revolution, both on the level of new people themselves deeply engaging and get involved with this revolution and spreading it, as well as on the level of fighting for the right of the revolutionaries to function unassailed.
Other things we’ve summed up are that, especially in the beginning, we weren’t enough bringing alive the full scope of the revolution and why it is needed, and on that basis waging sharp enough ideological struggle to get into this revolution. There is almost certainly more we need to learn and sharpen up in our approach to this still. Also, we have summed up that we are still under-utilizing the “HOW WE CAN WIN” pamphlet, both in our work to recruit people and in the broadest projection of this revolution from the very start. The rehearsed, collective reading of this pamphlet is something we want to do more of—on street corners, in schools, and in other formats.
While we are still in the process of fully synthesizing our first couple of weeks on this year-long tour, a few things can be said at this point: We have a real beginning, we are getting a more scientific understanding of the terrain and the work it will take to make the necessary breakthroughs and of what we have yet to learn and struggle through, and it matters a great deal that we have a stronger, more scientific, and more dedicated core of people going to work on this problem together.
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