Digging in, Deep and Wide, in an Immigrant Community

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

We did a showing of the film of the talk by Bob Avakian (BA), THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible, in a Caribbean immigrant community in Brooklyn. This was the third showing in this community, building off the two previous showings and work done to spread word about the film at a nearby college.

There was intense and serious discussion and struggle after the showing, with people wrestling with what BA said in the film. Everybody’s comments reflected a deep feeling that we are confronting a large and dangerous problem, and diverse views on why this is happening and what to do about it.

The discussion was kicked off by an older college student who said, “I agree with everything he had to say.” She felt Trump does pose a great danger, and the Democrats are no answer. She felt people needed to be educated to the real situation and that the film could bring that out to them. She added that the root cause of all the misery whites had brought to the Caribbean was greed for money and land. And that the spread of disease had played a role in the devastation of the indigenous people.

Then she raised her reservations about the possibility of really changing things. She felt people were too scared of communism to embrace BA’s solution. She said religion helped to anchor Americans and Americanized immigrants into the status quo, citing statements by evangelicals that “God had put 45 [referring to Donald Trump] there for a reason.” To her, this made building a third party and aiming for change through the ballot box a more practical approach.

Others agreed with her about the danger Trump posed and the need to educate people to this danger. And no one felt that the Democrats could be relied on to do this. Several of them went off in different directions off of this.

An older person felt that Trump being in the White House represented not only rolling back everything Obama had done, but bringing back repressive policies targeting Black people going all the way back to the 1950s and earlier. “Is it fascism? I don’t know what else to call it.” He dropped some serious history, citing how the New Deal policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s had Jim Crow segregation policies built into them. He compared the way liberals are dealing with Trump to the way England had appeased Hitler. “If Trump isn’t stopped, he’ll go as far as he can.” He pointed out that Trump’s constituency IS those lynch mobs BA spoke of in the film.

A friend who had come with him was doubtful that we could do anything about this. “How you gonna change consciousness among the oppressed? How do they learn who the real enemy is and stop fighting each other, and how do we mobilize them to fight?”

We brought the discussion back to the way BA speaks in the film to the urgency of acting to drive the regime out, focusing on the all-around attack on immigrants. The older college student made two points: first, that Trump has spoken of targeting birthright citizenship in order to keep the country white; and second, she recounted ICE coming into a hospital in Atlanta where people from St. Croix were being treated for injuries and illnesses in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. ICE demanded that these people, who were hooked up to IVs and in desperate need of treatment, present their papers to show that they were “legitimately” in the U.S. She also told of a Mexican man who died after suffering a heart attack because he was refused treatment because he didn’t have his papers.

The older guy felt the DACA recipients were being targeted because they were educated and serving as articulate spokespeople for the cause of the immigrants.

The college student took things back to the need to act, stressing that the action had to be through the ballot box because while people were open to voting for a socialist (she meant Bernie Sanders), they weren’t ready to get behind a communist and into revolution. She also raised that Trump, while dangerous, was on the way out; that he’d be gone by the end of the year, either because of Mueller’s investigation or by the mobilization around gun control being spearheaded by the kids in Florida. And again, that what was needed was building an anti-capitalist third party for the election in 2020.

This sparked off an exchange over differences. We posed whether Trump, who said he wouldn’t accept the results of the 2016 election if he lost, would pack up and leave because Mueller’s investigation went badly for him or the elections in 2018 didn’t go his way. One guy said we can’t even be sure about there being another election—and that Trump has threatened to nuke North Korea, and if he does, we don’t know what will happen.

Another person put out her view that society was already going against capitalism and what it does to the planet. She noted that business owners and professors have formed groups like one called something like the Conscious Capitalist Group, which focuses on limiting the damage done to the environment.

The older guy asked what Farrakhan had to say about Trump. He was surprised to hear that Farrakhan has said he could make a deal with Trump and had argued that Black people shouldn’t criticize Trump. He was very interested in reading the articles that have been run in revcom.us on this.

A member of the Revolution Club read this quote from BA:

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

The Club member spoke of the impact that the youth and people on the bottom of society acting can have on the thinking of people broadly in society. And we wound things up speaking to what BA said in the film about what fascism is and what this regime has already done. Off of this, we returned to BA’s argument in the film of what’s needed to deal with this reality. We told people about the video clips of the Question and Answer session from the filmed talk, where BA digs into some of the same things that came up in this discussion. And we called on people to be part of the campaign to get this film known about, seen, and talked about—quickly—by tens of thousands and more people, how key this is to changing what people know and do.

People began to talk about others they could show the film to and about influential people and important institutions that needed to be approached to show the film. We talked about how to follow up on these ideas. And people got material from the Revolution Books table to get more into BA and the revolutionary movement he leads, including BA’s book THE NEW COMMUNISM; HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution from the Central Committee of the RCP; DVDs of the BA talk on fascism and the Question and Answer session; DVDs of REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian; and Revolution newspaper.




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