Revolution #297, March 10, 2013 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

March 16 in NYC, LA, and Chicago and March 17 in SF:

Clear the Day!
Come Together with Others Around the Country
See the Film Premiere of...


March 2, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |



On this planet today, there are no questions that are more important—and no answers that are more thoroughgoing—than what is spoken to in BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! And there is no person more filled with contempt for the powers-that-be and the horrific order they trumpet and enforce—nor more filled with scientific confidence in the potential of masses of people to change all that—than Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

It is no exaggeration to say that if humanity is going to fight its way out of this horrific nightmare and create a world where human beings can rise to their full potential and truly flourish, it will be because of the work and leadership of Bob Avakian. And it will be because people—beginning with YOU—get into this work, get with this leadership, and fight for others to do the same.

Right now:

If you hate the unending insults and crushing horrors heaped on oppressed people everywhere—from mass incarceration to the global epidemic of rape, from the ravages of imperialist wars to the rise of reactionary fundamentalisms, from the destruction of the environment to the putrid, selfish, degrading culture—but you wonder where all this comes from and if it could ever change, YOU NEED TO SEE BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

If you wish revolution were possible but wonder if “people are too messed up, the system is too powerful, and the revolutionary forces are too weak,” YOU NEED TO HEAR BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! so you can find out about how there is a strategy and the necessary leadership to transform this situation, to win a real revolution when the conditions for that emerge, and what people need to do today to hasten and prepare for that time.

If you yearn for some kind of fundamental change but aren’t sure that revolution—especially communist revolution—is desirable or “could work”... if you’ve been bombarded with the LIE that all of this suffering is owing to some unchanging and unchangeable “human nature” and the LIE that the genuine communist revolutions have been failures, YOU NEED TO EXPERIENCE BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! where you will hear why nothing could be further from the truth.

If you have ever dreamed of a better world... even more, if you have never dreamed of a better world—not because you don’t hate the horrors of this world but because you have been deprived of the truth about real revolution and the real alternative—YOU NEED TO BUY YOUR TICKET to BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! to have your sights lifted and your horizons expanded, not with some fairy tale of “utopia” or some unrealistic promise of reforms, but by the vision and plan for a real and viable socialist society that people would actually want to live in and that is on the road to the emancipation of all humanity.

MOST OF ALL: If you refuse to accept that this is the “best of all possible worlds”... if you refuse to keep your head down and let this system deprive you and countless others not only of a decent life but of the tremendous and uplifting role you could play in the fight to radically change everything... if you want THE TRUTH—not the “easy answers” (or, better put, the comfortable lies and rationalizations about how none of this can ever fundamentally change)... if you want your life to be about something that really matters, not for your own personal advancement, but for the emancipation of human beings everywhere across this planet—YOU NEED TO BUY YOUR TICKET to BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

If you care about all this, but “don’t know enough” about BA or “don’t know enough” about communism and revolution, that is not a reason to stay away—that is a REASON for YOU TO BUY YOUR TICKET to BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, so you can come and learn together with others from the deepest answers there are.

So, on March 16 in NYC, LA and Chicago and March 17 in SF:

Again, clear the day. Bring along your closest friends, the ones you talk about serious things with—to come together with hundreds of others in theaters across the country to hear a six and a half hour “daring, substantive, scientific summoning to revolution. 6+ hours that can change how you see the world and what you do with the rest of your life” (as one of the filmmakers put it).

If you are not in a city with one of these premieres, get in a car—even better, fill a car—and get to one; this is not to be missed.

Beginning now, start digging deeper into the works of BA (available at so that you are ready to get the most out of the film and contribute everything you can coming out of it.

Finally, join with others in your area to make sure that word of this film becomes a very big deal throughout society so that the impact of all of this—both the societal impact of these premieres and even more the transformative impact on the hundreds who will gather together to watch the film and then go back into the world to change it—will mark a meaningful leap in the forging of a real movement for revolution. All this can make a world of difference in a world that needs nothing more urgently than to be radically different.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Why Non-Communists (You and I) Should See the Film BA Speaks: Revolution—NOTHING LESS!

February 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


We want to share with our readers some thoughts and comments from someone who saw the rough cut of the film: BA Speaks: REVOLUTION – NOTHING LESS!  


Here's what I have to say. Feel free to use it.

I have just seen the first two hours, of six, of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! It was like plunging into a very blue, very icy pool. I got out shivering, sad, angry, and very worried. About my life and all of our lives.

Two wildly strange things came into my mind during the hours afterward. The first is from John 8:32: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The second is Plato's allegory of the cave, in which Socrates describes a group of people who have been chained to the wall of a cave all their lives, facing the stone. These people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them. The shadows are as close as the prisoners ever get to reality. Socrates tells us that the philosopher is like a prisoner freed from the cave, who can step outside, at last, into the freshness of truth, the real world.

Bob Avakian's analysis breaks apart the small framework in which we are manipulated. He presents the big picture of Western Civilization and Capitalism—and a corrupted and tragic history it is. Mr. Avakian tell us the truth, wakes us to reality. He urges us to notice how the culture, which we breathe like air, really is in business of blinding, numbing, binding, and using us by its entertainments, diversions, and coercions. How frightening to acknowledge how we have become so enthralled by getting and spending. How we are kept fighting each other instead of the grotesque matrix that holds all of us.

So, the first step toward liberty is to know reality. And reality stings us, because we can begin to see how we have been fooled, how we've let ourselves be gulled and manipulated. But there it is. In the beginning is the adult satisfaction of facing reality. This is good in politics, art, and personal life. Real living and real freedom have to start with the real.

Then what? Well, there are four more hours of Bob Avakian live that I haven't seen yet. And I'm terribly interested to see what he thinks can be done, once reality is grasped. I don't have a clue yet. I confess that I'm temperamentally unsuited to "masses." Masses scare me, and the individual, I worry, shrinks into nothing there. I don't know what a "revolution" means, or how it could be accomplished without anarchy. But, as Mr. Avakian says (and I agree with him): the world is not writ in stone; things can be different than they have been; history and the future are not the will of God.

In the end, I'm open to hear and consider. It seems crucial. We'll all benefit by a splash of the clean, cold water of reality.





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

"I hereby recommend this docu/film as a must see"

February 24, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


We received the following blurb about the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!


The down-pressed peoples of the World needs and are crying out for Revolution—Nothing less! Comrade Bob Avakian painstakingly outlines in a simple, clear and forward way, the tactics and strategy of how revolution can be made and maintained within the borders of the United Snakes of America. He speaks with much courage and determination about the serious need for revolution and the crucial importance for it to be fuelled by revolutionary theory and the revolutionary science of Marxism Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, so as to bring about a more humane understanding of society. Comrade leader Bob Avakian and the RCP are definitely leading the political pack in challenging the core of imperialist-capitalist America. His passion and love for the working class and other working peoples are unmeasurable, and must be admired. As a living revolutionary stalwart of the peoples struggle, Comrade Avakian is not about just talk, he has been walking the walk, and organizing among the masses of down-pressed peoples for close to five (5) decades across race and class lines. In BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, Comrade Avakian takes time to hammer out a clear detailed and decisive revolutionary line for making revolution in Imperial United States of America. As a revolutionary active in Caribbean political struggles from the late 1960's, I hereby recommend this docu/film as a must see, for anyone seriously interested in bringing about revolutionary change for the down trodden masses of humanity.


Ready for Liberation
Manager of a Pan African bookstore, Chicago
Feb '13





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Prisoners: Spread the Word about the Premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTIONNOTHING LESS!

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Tell your friends and families about the premieres of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTIONNOTHING LESS! Saturday, March 16, in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles; Sunday, March 17, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Let them know why they need to seize this opportunity to hear the leader of a new stage of communist revolution and be part of bringing a radically different world into being. Encourage them to visit Revolution Books in their area to join with others to build for and attend the premieres. And to go online to to listen to the interviews of BA with Cornel West and with Michael Slate, and buy tickets so they and their friends can go to the premiere nearest to them. Ask them to write you what they learned and what they think. Let us know what you hear back.

Tell the world, through the pages of Revolution, why you think this film is so important, and why everyone who is not fine with this world of horrors should push aside the press of life and survival and spend this important day engaging deeply with BA. Send letters ASAP to Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund, 1321 N. Milwaukee Ave #407, Chicago, IL 60622.





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Drawing Lessons From the Past in the Struggle for the Premieres: Making Revolution a Big Deal on Campus

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader

In 2009, there was a campus speaking tour by Raymond Lotta entitled "Everything You Have Been Told About Communism Is Wrong! Capitalism Is a Failure, Revolution Is the Solution." And at the University of Chicago, this tour actually hit like a storm. This event and the work building up to it gave a glimmer of what it is like when we begin to crack open the atmosphere. This took place especially around the question of "you've been lied to about the real history of revolution and the actual promise of communism... and we can prove it" and there was real, if beginning, and very widespread debate around campus and with individuals, and between groups of students and the revolutionaries who came on campus to build the tour around this question and other elements of the overall new synthesis of communism that has been developed by Bob Avakian.

Soon, on March 16-17 there are going to be premieres in a number of major cities of the film, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! The RCP is calling on people to clear the day and come together with hundreds of others in theaters around the country to be part of this. The aim and objective here is to make these premieres a major step in building a movement for revolution in this country. Tens of thousands of people, including among the most oppressed sections of the people in this country, but also students, other intellectuals, and people of all sorts who hate the way the world is need to be aware that this is happening and what this film, BA and the revolution he leads is all about. And most important, hundreds countrywide from these very sections of the people need to be directly attending these premieres, understanding that if they seriously hate the ways things are and not only want a different world but actually know that the world urgently needs to be radically different, there is really nothing more important they could be doing on the day of these premieres than to be getting together in these theaters around the country to engage the most pressing questions of our time as spoken to by the leader who has made possible a whole new world. These premieres are not an end in themselves, but the premiere events need to be understood as a critical punctuation point in actually forging a movement for communist revolution in the U.S.

There are intense and wide-ranging efforts going on to build for these events. In the spirit of contributing to the discourse and experience in building for these premieres that have been posted on, I was asked to write up some experience from three and a half years ago in building for the Lotta tour at the University of Chicago. These were intense efforts that met with a lot success in terms of the immediate objective in front of us of making this a major, major issue on this campus among, if not literally all, truly wide swaths of the student population and these efforts resulted in a standing-room-only event. But there are important distinctions between these two events, and there were also significant shortcomings especially in our working to draw together the more radical-minded students into collective cores, even if small, right on the spot in the course of building for this event and more so in its immediate aftermath. In this vein, there are important things we have learned since that time and are continuing to develop and sum up all very much anchored in the party's statement, "On the Strategy for Revolution." And it is important to keep in mind that this experience was in relation to an event that, while important, was not the same type of event or as important as a premiere of such a film by BA, as one of the filmmakers put it," ...this is a film, but that is not its essence. This is a daring, substantive, scientific, summoning to revolution. 6+ hours that can change how you see the world and what you do with the rest of your life..." But with that in mind, there are some things that would be good to learn from in the approach taken in 2009 to the Lotta tour.

By the time of Lotta's actual speech at U of C, pretty much every undergraduate knew about this event before and in the immediate aftermath of it taking place. Individuals, but also importantly whole groups of students, started piling into the auditorium the evening of the speech. Lotta spoke to an overflow crowd of more than 300 that stayed not only for the speech, but for a long formal question and answer period. Dozens of students came up to Lotta when the Q&A ended and engagement and struggle continued until the room had to be vacated. The following day a front-page article in the university newspaper, the Daily Maroon headlined, "Lotta asks students to reconsider communism," quoted Lotta's presentation including the point he made that "We need a different system—a total revolution. Exactly at a time when capitalism is in crisis, at this moment we are told we can't go beyond capitalism but can only tinker around the edges. It's as if there is a warning label affixed to the discourse on human possibility." And there was more back and forth in the period after the speech, e.g., a right-wing student paper writing a slam, a left group writing a piece countering Lotta's exposition of the new synthesis of communism, arguing instead for more fairness in the realm of distribution as a solution to the world's problems.

While Lotta's tour had an impact on a number of campuses, at the University of Chicago this impact was very close to reaching a situation where if you were on this campus you weren't going to escape knowing about this upcoming speech and it became a "you need to be there" for students tormented by the state of the world today and striving for answers, others intrigued by the possibility of revolution and also a good chunk of students that wanted to challenge Lotta from various angles. A good number of U of C students from capitalist-restored China also came, with one young man telling Lotta that he "had not understood the reasons for the nostalgia that exists for Mao in China until [he] heard Lotta's speech," where he got a glimpse of what the actual character of that revolution was and what it meant to masses all over the world.

In the last couple days leading up to Raymond Lotta's appearance it had become pretty clear that major waves had been made and there were hints that issues of profound importance to the billions of oppressed around the world and to the future of humanity were actually, at minimum, contending with "business as usual" in the minds of hundreds of students. As we were leafleting and postering in the last days, many, many students were telling us that they had seen and read the leaflet and the related promotional materials repeatedly; some would say to us things like, "my friends and I are all going to be there," or "I really want to go but can't because of a conflict but six of my friends are planning to attend." And more than one student said to us things along the line, "Damn, I can't believe how thorough, determined, systematic and effective the RCP and its supporters have been in getting out the word about this event and its importance." An important sign of the effect this was having on those who actually were grappling with these questions was that even students who thought we were wrong felt compelled to come to the event, and told us so. The main thing was this: the challenge this posed had tapped into something with students who do, on some level, yearn for a better world, but who normally keep the ideas of revolution and communism bottled up or not even in their purview at all. This had hit them, and because they were interested and drawn to this, it began to have an effect much more broadly.

And at the 11th hour, when the university administration tried to pull some regulatory bullshit to disallow the event, progressive clergy from the surrounding community, students, some profs, and a student-based leftist group stepped forward to assist in various ways to prevent the rug being pulled out from under this event. All the preliminary work had made this rallying possible on extremely short notice at this 11th hour. The university was forced to back down in its attempts to suppress this event.

So, what all went into this?

There was a group of people (ranging from four, but never more than six or eight, of us at any one time) committed to making this happen and very partisan to BA and the new synthesis. Within this group on any particular day, there were three to five people in their 20s and 30s, and the rest of the group consisted of veterans of the upsurges of the '60s. Doing this work at U of C was very new to the whole group. While some of us knew a few students and some professors on this campus, none of us at the core of these efforts were enrolled at U of C (and the few ties we did have on that campus in the main did not think students would be interested in a program with this title and argued against this approach). Nevertheless, we were able to accomplish a great deal despite this weakness of no students or profs being part of our core, and despite shortcomings in our own orientation in attaching enough importance to this, or seeing the possibilities of organizing people on the spot to contribute in some way to this, large or small.

There were within our crew building for this event a couple very good revolutionary leaders and agitators with real skill at leading right on the ground in forays of this nature (though again, it was not enough of our conscious orientation to try to cohere advanced people we found on the spot to join with these efforts and the overall movement building for revolution).

Our crew put in a great deal of time—long hours from early morning till the evening, consisting of various forms of mass outreach with punctuation points at various points in the day, where we would pull together a critical mass (like six or so people when we could), and made a big stir as leaflets were distributed and students challenged. Among other things that we all had studied in preparation for actual battle in the realm of public opinion was the "Set the Record Straight" materials (now available on; BA's "Views on Socialism and Communism: A Radically Different New Kind of State, A Radically Different and Far Greater Vision of Freedom;" and the manifesto Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage. The RCPs message and call, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have," had been issued a few months previous and all this was influencing how we were approaching things and even our body language.

What was key in what and how things were accomplished was that we all had a grasp that, from the perspective of making revolution, there was a real need to not throw up our hands in the face of a relatively stultifying atmosphere on most campuses. Instead, we had to work to transform this with real determination and to do so from this very revolutionary perspective. There is real importance to winning a section of intellectuals to take up the science of revolution, communism as re-envisioned by BA, and throw in with the movement for revolution he is leading, with the party at its core. This objective was constantly returned to as we learned more about the students and their thinking and this continued to inform and guide planning and all types of creative and really very lively ways that were unleashed to make this event actually have real impact. And in the evenings, we were stepping back and summing up what we were learning and examining our approach from this same perspective.

One issue that we had to wrangle with deeply pretty early on, and that there was a lot of struggle among us, was whether it was a negative that these youth were very serious about their studies. There was a line influencing some of us at first that this academic seriousness should be viewed and dismissed as simply scholastic careerism. We struggled over this and realized that while the very workings of this society turns pretty much everything to shit, this seriousness did not in and of itself reduce to this, but that there is real importance to and actually a major contradiction in this society in relation to working in the realm of ideas, and that we had to step back to a different plane to look at all this. What we were fighting to do was take to a section of these young intellectuals some really critical important understanding of actual human history that has been vilified and distorted and introduce them to the basis, vision, and strategy to fight to bring a far different and better world into being.

One of the things we wrangled with was the following from the "The Revolution We Need... the Leadership We Have":

And, despite the good intentions of many teachers, the educational system is a bitter insult for many youth and a means of regimentation and indoctrination overall. While, particularly in some "elite" schools, there is some encouragement for students to think in "non-conformist" ways—so long as, in the end, this still conforms to the fundamental needs and interests of the system—on the whole, instead of really enabling people to learn about the world and to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, education is crafted and twisted to serve the commandments of capital, to justify and perpetuate the oppressive relations in society and the world as a whole, and to reinforce the dominating position of the already powerful. And despite the creative impulses and efforts of many, the dominant culture too is corrupted and molded to lower, not raise, people's sights, to extol and promote the ways of thinking, and of acting, that keep this system going and keep people believing that nothing better is possible.

And looking at this elite campus gave us a deeper perspective about how to actually struggle with and influence these students and other intellectuals related to the campus.

Overall, through this process we developed an actual determined plan that continued to develop; here are some elements of it:

1. An analysis that continually got further developed as we learned more as to the ways and means to saturate (repeatedly) the undergraduate student body regarding this critical subject matter and learning from the responses and challenges the students were raising. We had to think about and learn about what freedom we could grab to make this the kind of issue it needed to be. And we went out there with the confidence of knowing we were actually representing for the billions whose lives cry out for revolution in this world, that we had an important understanding of the problem and source of this, and the solution, and an actual accurate and real understanding of how all this critically needed to begin puncturing the discourse.

One of the things we wrangled with early on in these building efforts was not trying to replace ourselves (the organizing core on the campus) for people coming to hear and be part of Lotta's presentation. While we engaged and really challenged people and learned from the discussions we did have, we purposely didn't try to get into long, drawn-out exchanges with just one or two people, although with people really interested we took the time to go have a cup of coffee. But we really put the emphasis on people coming to this event to dig into all this in the depth and level the subject matter called for. In building for the program, the debate that broke out with defenders of capitalism or anti-communists served to reach a much larger group of students about the importance of digging into all this.

2. We had the benefit of the tour having already taken place in NYC, and a main leaflet had been developed out of those earlier efforts outlining four points that would be covered by the speech. This leaflet was distributed in many thousands. As part of this main flyer, we were able to circulate the questions that had been posed by the students at the previous leg of the tour and saturation with these was extremely critical, but not the only important element in puncturing the atmosphere. Another had been the quiz about the history of communism. As we were getting this out and collecting the results, the students at U of C actually did a little better than most campuses in relation to the questions on it regarding the Soviet Union, linked to influences of various academic and left trends on campus, but it was striking that the American-born students in particular didn't know anything about the history of the Chinese revolution and China when it was truly a revolutionary society due to a very "Eurocentric" (focused on Europe) and "economist" (confounding the struggle for better conditions of labor under capitalism with proletarian revolution) interpretations of the communist revolution. Taking this quiz out for a few days early in our efforts did attract a lot of students who fairly eagerly took it up and actually turned in their answers. They were also very interested to learn the results. Also distributed at different points were an open letter from Lotta to the anti-communist historian Tony Judt [that provoked a lot of attention] and another from Sunsara Taylor entitled, "The Furthest Thing From Your Minds." These were read by the students and periodically commented on. They told what it provoked in their thinking to the event organizers on campus. And we had Revolution newspapers and major works by BA that were available at the time (e.g., Away With All Gods! and Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy) to also get to people who would engage.

3. But we had a plan that we kept improving in the weeks we built for this.

On this particular campus there is a "quad" where most of the undergrads cross through when changing classes or going to the student union and campus coffee shops [we also discovered many small coffee shops and cafeterias on campus]. So, this was one important spot that we were at regularly and consistently, but it was also helpful to know the actual class schedule and other things about the students schedule to get a feel for when there were hundreds and hundreds of students crossing this quad and the best time to be there with the greatest number of our core we could pull together at those times.

4. But we didn't just leave it to that. Not all the students can be reached by being stationary at that quad, as important as that was. Quickly, through some Internet research of the syllabi of classes, and talking to students while we were out there leafleting, we found out what departments/classes had progressive professors and/or attracted the more progressive students (students would tell us, you got to go talk to so-and-so professor or go to so-and-so class with this), including some quite large, that might be particularly important to focus on (many students offered up suggestions actually). This was not simply what classes were open to radical concepts (but they included those, and at this particular campus part of the core curriculum for undergraduates includes some study of Marx, the father of the communist theory) but also things like the economics department, where many of the young intellectuals who have concerns about the actual horrors in the world were getting pulled into various dead-end capitalist schemes as maybe providing the answers. There had actually been an important major struggle a year or so earlier on that campus to try and stop the new economics building getting named after the arch-reactionary economist, Milton Friedman. Though this battle was not won, it involved hundreds of faculty and students. Petitions and such that had gone on in relation to that protracted battle were also the source of important information about especially the progressive segment of the professors and teaching staff. And one thing that was actually important is that a considerable amount of effort was made to leaflet the science building at the time of key class changes. A biologist from this campus had an author's event around the release of his book at Revolution Books, but more fundamentally, as was the case in the campus upsurges of the '60s, many, many people not majoring in the social sciences do also care deeply about the world and the world we want to bring into being must comprehend all these important spheres!

So, these various classes were leafleted at key class times. There was also "flash leafleting" in a number of the larger undergraduate classes right before class would begin sometimes including a quick and short agitational statement on the theme of the upcoming speech when there was an opportunity. Some professors welcomed this, some professors had not shown up for their class yet, and A FEW professors encouraged their classes to attend. These ways of reaching the student were completely unorthodox and added to the idea of rebellious thinking.

Many of the undergraduate dorms were also leafleted, mainly by students we met who lived in the dorms who took in leaflets. Our crew leafleted from the outside by knowing the schedule when students left to go to campus and came back for their meals. Some cafeterias were open to the public, and where they were, we sometimes joined the diners.

5. There were also additional "supplemental" elements that proved very important and that we heard a lot of comments about: Various quotes by Bob Avakian and the quote above from the "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have" were made into leaflet-sized mini posters, and one of these would get posted on every bathroom door stall and bulletin board that could be found for a day or two, and then we would do another quote for another two days. Which quotes we selected came out of our evening summation meetings of what we were learning in taking out and joining these questions with the students. It was interesting that the bathroom stall posters provided a means to run a "thread" with students debating the subject matter right on the posted leaflet and this "thread" ended up being two sided, some students writing pro-capitalist stuff or anti-communist stuff, and others criticizing those students' viewpoints.

Attention was paid to getting passes to the library which is for students only, since many students holed up there, so that the bulletin boards and the bathroom stalls there could be postered.

There were also full size color posters lining the walks from the dorms. This was done via "flash postering," with 100s prepared the night before and the best routes were mapped out where they should be put up like on the walks from the dorms to the campus. A very early morning crew went out and put them all up within a couple of hours so that when the students started arriving on campus that day, it was like when the flowers all of a sudden blossoming in the spring.

"Table Tents" (made by attaching together along the sides three palm card size promo materials) were placed at the center of every table in the student union coffee shop and cafeterias that could be reached.

A chalking-on-the-sidewalk graffiti battle also ensued after some students who were ardent defenders of capitalism had written a challenge to the Lotta event.

6. We went to various clergy and other progressive people in the neighborhood where the University is located about this event and caught a number of students who lived in those neighborhoods in the process. We also tried to meet with various professors and forge some beginning ties in some key departments.

And there is probably more that I am not remembering today, but these are some of the key elements that actually were part of a systematic plan that continued to develop and get enriched as we went along, that flowed from fighting through on puncturing the atmosphere on this campus in relation to the history of the communist revolution and the possibilities to fight for a new stage. This was a lot of work, and full of all kinds of controversy and challenges—and was a great deal of fun—and resulted in a glimpse of what could be possible...

In retrospect, there were also weaknesses to what we did. The key weakness, and one which we cannot afford with the work to build the upcoming premieres, was a failure to consistently enough find the ways to involve students in this and build relations with them going into this. Some of this was done; but again, not enough and not nearly systematically enough. Getting those relationships going where students who are interested are also challenged and drawn upon to actually help build it in many different ways, and where this activity further provokes their thinking and questioning not only could have made this event even more powerful, but it would have laid much more of a basis for people to come out with real ties to the movement for revolution.

In going on campus to build the premieres of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, it'll be important to keep in mind the lessons above and even perhaps some of the specific ideas (though the point here is to learn and apply, rather than mechanically copy)... but we'll need to do all that in a way that much more draws out and draws on the potential initiative of the students themselves. We should be looking to bring cores of students—who already know each other through class, or who live in the same dorm, or are on the same sports teams, in clubs, what have you—as groups to these premieres. Sometimes it'll be one person in this who gets really deeply into seeing/hearing/experiencing BA, and it'll mean working with her or him to bring others along, who will also get something out of it and get into it. As we do so we need to be learning, and we need to be leading the people who do play a sort of "core of the core" role to understand and deal with the questions, both honest and slanderous, that they'll be presented with.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

International Women’s Day 2013:

Fight for the Liberation of Women
All Around the World

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


How often do you hear it... when a woman is raped... when a woman is humiliated and disrespected, when a woman is battered or murdered...

She should have known better.”


Protest against the oppressive working conditions at Tazreen Fashions garment factory in Bangladesh where 121 garment workers died and at least 200 were injured in a fire, November 2011. Photo: AP

Should have known better than what? Known better than to be born female in a world where rape is epidemic on every continent? Known better than to live in South Africa, where four in every 10 women will be the victims of rape? Or in India, where a 23-year-old student was dragged off a public bus, raped, brutally tortured, and left for dead? Or in the USA, where every 15 seconds a woman is beaten, where every day three to four women are killed by their partners, where one out of four female college students will be raped or sexually assaulted while in college?

Should a young girl “know better” than to live in “the democratic West” where she will be bombarded with images that tell her that her goal in life is to be “sexy” for a man—even before she knows what intimate relationships are all about? Should a high school student in Ohio “know better” than to go to a party where she is drugged and raped and then have that posted on YouTube—like in the old days when the KKK would lynch a Black man and brag about it in the newspapers?

Or, if she’s born in a part of the world controlled by reactionary religious fundamentalists, should she “know better” than to be a young woman driven out of Pakistan for playing sports? Or a girl in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan who wants to learn to read, but can’t go to school because reactionary Islamist forces allied with the U.S. occupiers, or the Taliban, won’t let her leave her house for fear of having acid thrown in her face?

Should a woman have to “know better” than to live in one of the states where a safe, legal abortion is practically unavailable, and women are coerced or forced to bear children against their will?

What kind of fucking world is this where to be a woman is to be insulted, degraded, and physically threatened at every turn? And then to be told all that it is her own fault?

“Know better?!?” Here’s what every woman, and every person, should know and needs to know: This world does not have to be this way! The family and “traditional family values” have been and still are forms through which women are oppressed. Women’s oppression has been essential to the operation of every system of exploitation of the many by the few. But today, there is a basis for humanity to fight its way out of this horrific nightmare and create a world where human beings can rise to their full potential and truly flourish—because of the work and leadership of Bob Avakian.

If you’re not willing to accept this world as it is, you need to be there for the premiere of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! This film is a “daring, substantive, scientific summoning to revolution.6+ hours that can change how you see the world and what you do with the rest of your life,” as one of the filmmakers put it.

On March 16 in NYC, LA, and Chicago and March 17 in San Francisco: clear the day. Bring along your closest friends, the ones you talk about serious things with—to come together with hundreds of others in theaters across the country to be a part of this. (See information and tickets.)


* * * * *


New York City garment workers protest the deaths of 146 women in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, March 1911. Photo: AP

International Women’s Day (IWD), March 8, is a revolutionary holiday that came out of the struggle of women—in particular, the struggles of immigrant garment workers in New York City in the early 1900s. In November 1909, tens of thousands of workers, overwhelmingly women, stormed out of the sweatshops and into the streets. In 1910, March 8 was declared International Women’s Day by an international conference of socialists and communists. Lenin, the leader of the Russian Revolution, was among those who voted at this conference to establish this tradition. Since then IWD has been celebrated worldwide by all those fighting for the liberation of women and the emancipation of all humanity.



Red Guard young women hold up Red Books on their way to a rally in Peking, China, 1967. Photo: AP

In the Soviet Union from 1917 to the mid-1950s, and in China from 1949 to 1976, the “wretched of the earth” as they were called rose up in communist revolutions and seized political power. For several precious decades, there were real socialist countries on this planet where women were not sex objects but were taking great steps towards equality and liberation.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013



March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


We are told that "equality for women has been won" and that "there are no limits to what girls can achieve." BULLSHIT!

Every 15 seconds a woman is beaten. Every day three to four women are killed by their partners. One out of four female college students will be raped or sexually assaulted while in college.

In recent years, pornography has become increasingly violent, cruel, degrading towards women; women are referred to as "cumdumpsters" and "fuckbuckets"; the "money shot" (ejaculation in a woman's face) is standard; humiliating cruelty—like violent "ass-to-mouth" penetration—is normalized, and racist bigotry is sexualized. Meanwhile, the broader culture has been pornified: pole dancing is taught at gyms, "sexting" is a national phenomenon among teens, and the strip club is the accepted backdrop to "male bonding." All this is tied in with, and reinforces, the trafficking of millions of women and girls as literal chattel in the international sex industry.

This is NOT society becoming more comfortable with sex. This is society becoming saturated with the sexualized degradation of women. If you can't imagine sex without porn, you're fucked.

At the same time, a Christian fundamentalist-driven assault is imperiling abortion, birth control, real sex education and women's lives. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who do not conform to traditional patriarchal gender and sexual norms are demonized and threatened. Abortion doctors are killed. Women who seek abortions—or even birth control—are stigmatized. 2011 saw the largest spate of legal restrictions on abortion since Roe v. Wade in 1973.


Fetuses are not babies. Women are not incubators. Abortion is not murder.

Women are not objects. Women are not things to be used for the sexual pleasure of men NOR are they breeders of children. WOMEN ARE HUMAN BEINGS CAPABLE OF FULL EQUALITY IN EVERY REALM!

It is long past time that this new generation stand up, reject, and RESIST this culture of rape and pornography; this culture that labels women "selfish" if they choose not to become mothers; this culture that reduces women and girls to sexualized objects while denying their full multi-dimensional humanity (including their right—as one essential part of this—to explore their sexuality without shame or stigma); this culture that demonizes and bullies LGBT people.

Our purpose is NOT to lobby for new legislation to ban pornography ("decency laws" have always served to further repress homosexuality, boundary-challenging art, and scientific sex education). We oppose the criminalization of women in the sex industry.

Our mission is to challenge the new generation in particular to reject this culture of rape and pornography, to resist the shaming of women who have sex and/or abortions, to wage fierce cultural and political resistance wake others up, and to celebrate, fight for, and win the full equality and liberation of women.

Contact with your questions, comments, ideas, and interest in getting involved. Get flyers to hand out, bring a speaker to your campus, ask your toughest questions. The future of women depends on YOU!




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Excerpt from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Compare this Constitution—both the passage below and the entire document itself—with any other constitution on the planet! And after doing so, tell us why we should not fight for such a society.

Eradicating the Oppression of Women.

The oppression of women emerged thousands of years ago in human history together with the splitting of society into exploiting and exploited classes, and this oppression is one of the cornerstones of all societies based on exploitation. For the same reason, the struggle to finally and fully uproot the oppression of women is of profound importance and will be a decisive driving force in carrying forward the revolution toward the final goal of communism, and the eradication of all exploitation and oppression, throughout the world. Based on this understanding, the New Socialist Republic in North America gives the highest priority not only to establishing and giving practical effect to full legal equality for women–and to basic rights and liberties that are essential for the emancipation of women, such as reproductive freedom, including the right to abortion as well as birth control—but also to the increasing, and increasingly unfettered, involvement of women, equally with men, in every sphere of society, and to propagating and popularizing the need for and importance of uprooting and overcoming all remaining expressions and manifestations of patriarchy and male supremacy, in the economic and social relations and in the realms of politics, ideology and culture, and to promote the objective of fully emancipating women and the pivotal role of the struggle for this emancipation in the overall transformation of this society and the world as a whole. This orientation, and policies and laws flowing from it, shall be applied, promoted, encouraged and supported with the full political, legal and moral force, authority and influence of the government, at all levels, in the New Socialist Republic in North America.  (Article III. Section 3.)



The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP is written with the future in mind. It is intended to set forth a basic model, and fundamental principles and guidelines, for the nature and functioning of a vastly different society and government than now exists: the New Socialist Republic in North America, a socialist state which would embody, institutionalize and promote radically different relations and values among people; a socialist state whose final and fundamental aim would be to achieve, together with the revolutionary struggle throughout the world, the emancipation of humanity as a whole and the opening of a whole new epoch in human history–communism–with the final abolition of all exploitative and oppressive relations among human beings and the destructive antagonistic conflicts to which these relations give rise.

Read the entire Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP at





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

It’s Not Fucking Complicated...

Forcing a Woman to Bear a Child Against Her Will Is Slavery

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


In January 2013, Planned Parenthood announced that it is abandoning the term “pro-choice” because the issue of abortion is “complicated.”

Is forced motherhood complicated? No! Being able to have abortions means that women don’t have to give up their lives and dreams. This is positive and liberating.

Fetuses are not babies.
Women are not incubators.
Abortion is not murder.

Abortion on demand and without apology!




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Here Is The Rose from the band Outernational

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


“We are releasing the Here is The Rose EP right now, in time for One Billion Rising and International Women’s Day, because right now millions of people, and millions of women in particular are speaking and acting out  against their daily oppression - patriarchy, rape culture, sexual objectification and dehumanization.  We made these songs to support that expression, and to challenge everyone, even these women, to look to the real possibility of a different future, a revolutionary new society where patriarchy is understood and ended.  Right now there is just as much responsibility for men to be speaking out against sexual violence and exploitation, patriarchy and the mind/body fuck that’s being dealt to women everywhere.  Men have responsibility to understand how they propagate patriarchy.  We hope to be examples to other men and to other artists.”

- Leo Mintek of Outernational

“The cold truth is that there is nowhere on planet Earth where it is safe to be female.  From Delhi, India to Steubenville, Ohio and everywhere in between, one cannot talk about freedom while half of humanity is enslaved.  One cannot be about breaking all the chains but one.”

- Miles Solay of Outernational


Listen & download:




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Doing a Presentation in Prison

Male Domination is Not the "Natural Order"

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund received the following letter:

Dear Comrades,

Greetings in solidarity! I've been receiving Revolution for a while now. I relish each new issue. Revolution newspaper is my weekly dose of revolutionary reality.

I am doing a drug program here in the prison. Recently the subject of domestic violence, sex roles, and male dominance came up. After the group I was re-reading the June 12 issue of Revolution, when I came upon the center feature about "Rape and A World of Violent Domination". I knew I had to share it with the other prisoners in my group.

I approached my counselor with the idea of doing a presentation about "Male Domination and it's effect on women and society." I was surprised when he was fully supportive and told me I could come up with the presentation and run the group for one day.

My presentation went great. I taped the feature from Revolution up on the board and presented to my fellow prisoners many ideas that they had never considered before; namely that "women are not breeders, lesser beings, or objects created for the sexual pleasure of men, that when women are held down all of humanity is held back." I could see the shock on the other men's faces as I shared the statistics "one in three women and girls is sexually abused or beaten in her lifetime" and all the others.

Men who only the day before had argued that male domination over women was "the natural order" suddenly began to see the horrors that these societal views force onto women and girls. The men I most suspected would dispute and argue against me began to ask questions like "what can I do to stop this violence against women?" and "How can I teach my young son to treat women as equals?"

I'm writing today to thank you from the bottom of my heart for Revolution newspaper. It gave me the opportunity to share Revolutionary thought and equality with others. It is a gift I was proud and touched to be able to share. I am happy I was able to share the truth of women's equality with these men. I truly believe it will change their lives and the lives of the women they encounter in the future in a profound manner.

In Solidarity,
'A Wisconsin Revolutionary Comrade'




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Reporter's Notebook

A Powerful Day of Defiance:
No More Trayvon Martins
Revolution—Nothing Less!

by Sunsara Taylor | February 27, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


One year ago yesterday, Trayvon Martin was still alive and visiting his father in Sanford, Florida. A little after 7 pm his life was cut short by a racist vigilante as he walked home from the corner store with his hoodie up to protect him from the rain. As millions around the world now know, George Zimmerman, the wanna-be-cop who admitted to having killed Trayvon, was not even arrested. It wasn’t until Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and soon afterwards tens of thousands of others around the country stood up and demanded justice that Zimmerman was finally arrested. Still, today he is free and a whole year’s worth of media has been ratcheted up to “humanize” Zimmerman, to tarnish the character of Trayvon Martin, and obscure the basic facts of the case—like the fact that Trayvon was doing nothing but walking home talking on the phone to his girlfriend and if Zimmerman hadn’t been out acting as a wanna-be-cop who thought a Black youth in a hoodie must’ve been up to no good a young man would still be alive today.

Refusing to let the tremendous anger that had spilled forth from Black people as well as many others over this murder and all it concentrates, be swept under the rug,  to be suppressed, refusing to let this case become yet another green light to any racist that they can go out and murder Black youth, and determined to lead people to fight against this outrage as part of building up the strength to put an end to this madness and as one means through which people transform themselves for revolution, I ran for the day with the Revolution Club through a full day of Remembrance, Defiance and Determination for Trayvon Martin.

Our day had several chapters, a lot of lessons, and a lot to build on and take further—through struggle.

Chapter One: Deep Potential Cut Short at a City University

Our day started at a university with a high concentration of Black and Latino students. Our plan was to hold a rally and speakout at noon. When we arrived we spent a few minutes going table to table in the cafeteria telling people it was the anniversary of Trayvon’s murder. A lot of people were appreciative, but they were also clearly in the mode of continuing their conversations and their lunches as opposed to getting up and joining the speakout.

We challenged these students. Often I would look right at the Black students at the table and say, “Let’s not bullshit here, right now this young man—like all Black youth in this country—has an active death warrant hanging over his head. It may or may not be carried out but it is always there—and you know as well as I do that if some racist cop, or some wannabe cop, were to murder this young brother, if the murderer were even taken to court (which rarely happens) it almost for sure would be deemed ‘justifiable homicide.’” Sometimes I would include further exposure of how Trayvon’s case had been handled—how the pigs had tested Trayvon’s body for drugs but not Zimmerman’s or other facts—but always I would continue to put the challenge to the students. “This is what it means—and what it has always meant to be Black in America. First slavery, then Jim Crow and now the New Jim Crow of police terror, mass incarceration and criminalization. As Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party puts it, that’s three strikes for this system. We need a revolution and nothing less! And right now we are building the movement for revolution. If this shit is not okay with you—you need to be part of standing up against it right now and you need to be digging into why this revolution is necessary and possible, learning how we can end all of this once and for all and bring into being a far better world.”

In other words, we didn’t rest with people being broadly supportive—we struggled with them over what this case really means, the larger reality it concentrates, the fact that there is a way out, the fact that there are concrete ways for them to act now to be part of changing all this and to be digging in to find out how to end it all for good. The film premiere and the need to fight the power were not “two different things we are doing that you might be interested in” but two powerful dimensions of a revolutionary strategy for how we transform conditions and people to bring closer and prepare to be able to seize on a revolutionary crisis when one opens up.

People went from casually supportive to very serious and even, in many cases, shaken. I could hear them struggling with each other after I left.

As others continued to go to all the tables, myself and a couple people from the Revolution Club went out to the crowded area where the speakout was to take place. We held up posters of Trayvon that said, “We are all Trayvon Martin—The Whole Damn System is Guilty!” and began agitating off the same basic points made at the tables. Quickly a young woman jumped up to join in holding up a poster. Asked why, she said, “Well, I’m Black and it could have been me.”

Most of the students in the area were listening intently and there was clearly a section that was gathering from a distance—you know how people sort of “lurk” nearby, clearly checking things out but not yet sure they want to conspicuously “join in.” A few students came and asked for posters that they could carry throughout the day with them.

But, before we could go further an opportunist from a profoundly non-revolutionary revisionist trend approached and began yelling over us about how the RCP supposedly supports the Democrats, distorting the very powerful and important work the Party spearheaded in leading people to try to drive out the Bush regime years ago. At first some of our crew responded by drowning him out and telling students he had nothing to do with real revolution. But they didn’t give a lot of substance and you could see many of the same students who had been getting drawn in starting to withdraw. It wasn’t clear to anyone yet what the political differences were and why they mattered and it can be profoundly demoralizing to new people when they see those who claim to be standing up for the people arguing with each other over what appears to be petty rivalries or egos.

Here it is important to note that opportunists and revisionists don’t really have to win the argument, they just have to succeed in turning people off from the real revolution. And, at a time when most people are not into revolution and have a lot of spontaneous aversion to the idea of leadership and especially individual leaders, these opportunists and revisionists have a lot of spontaneity going for them in getting people to tune out from the real revolution.

However, reality is what it is—the world truly is a horror and it is not due to human nature, it is due to the nature of the system and we have the revolutionary leadership and strategy to fight our way out of this and to emancipate all humanity and this is in the interests of the vast majority of humanity. Revolution really is in people’s interests, revisionism is not. In light of this, we quickly changed approaches and decided to let the guy run out some of what he had to say so the students could hear it and then hear our response to it.

He ran out a bunch of lies about the RCP supposedly having supported the Democrats and fostered illusions about elections and this system, he went into a spiel about how everyone needs to support the struggle of the working class, and then he insisted that students find out about “real Marxism.” After he had finished, we reset the terms by first noting that the one thing this guy never talked about, and the one thing that “real Marxism” is actually all about, is actual revolution. We described what a real revolution is and why one is needed—going back to the “three strikes” of this system as just one example of why we need a real revolution (slavery, Jim Crow and the new Jim Crow)—and how Trayvon Martin is one more example of this. This is why we need a real revolution and this is what the RCP and its leader Bob Avakian has forged the strategy and vision of and is actively leading people to prepare for and hasten right now. People standing up today around Trayvon as part of fighting the power and transforming the people for revolution and on the 16th people need to get into this revolution in its greatest substance and content at the premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! We noted that a lot of what the guy had said about the RCP supporting the Democrats was just bullshit and lies, but also that they need to learn the real deal about the elections and why they are a trap and what it takes to bring about real and meaningful change and this is another dimension of what they will get from the film, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Repeatedly we underscored that only BA and this Party, and the Revolution Clubs acting to strengthen the movement for revolution led by this Party, have answers to how we get out of this and there is nothing more important that any of them could be learning about and contributing to than that.

This approach of actually opening up the debate, but refusing to respond on the petty and narrow terms of the opportunist, did begin to draw the students back in and was opening up bigger questions for them. Unfortunately, at this point campus security showed up in force, surrounded us and threatened to arrest us for daring to be on campus.

We had a big day before us and only 17 days till the film premiere, so we felt it wasn’t right to risk arrest. But, we also weren’t in a huge hurry to leave. As we were surrounded we led the students who had gathered in a mic-check about how they have a right and the responsibility to have these questions engaged on their campus and how they need to step in and be part of the fight to put a stop to the outrageous genocide being waged against our youth and to get into the source of this problem and its solution through revolution. We had a call and response about the importance of fighting for no more Trayvon Martins and for coming out on March 16 to hear BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! We didn’t leave before getting a way to stay connected to many of the students who had been drawn in by this point.

Leaving, we were very dissatisfied. There is a lot to sum up about the potential that was revealed and how to draw on this to transform the situation so that hundreds of students on that campus are actively thinking about and debating this revolution and dozens are beginning to get actively involved in real ways (which there is clearly the potential for right now).

Chapter Two: Not Being Stereotypical, Seizing Every Opportunity to Fight the Power and Transform the People for Revolution

Once we were outside the building, a couple of us heard a bunch of laughter and cheering going on somewhere out of sight. We followed the noise and discovered that there was a group of about 25 students, many of them part of a fraternity, gathered on the platform beneath the campus flagpole. They were dressed up in all sorts of ridiculous masks and costumes and one person was set up a distance from them with a camera. Turns out they were recording a YouTube of the “Harlem Shake” (for those who don’t know, this is something of a dance/joke that has gone viral on YouTube with many different people making their own videos).

I ran up and announced that it was the anniversary of Trayvon’s murder and showed them that I had about thirty signs with Trayvon’s face and asked them to all hold one and take a picture. With almost no debate, they grabbed for the posters. For a second they were going to do the “shake” with the posters, then one of them said, “Wait, the shake is really a joke and Trayvon is very serious,” so they decided to stop dancing and just hold the posters for a minute. After the picture had been taken, they gave the posters back, thanked us, and resumed their hilarity.

The story is worth telling because a big and ongoing struggle we have been having is whether it is sufficient to sort of throw out our revolutionary line and wait to see who it attracts, or whether we have to go out and fight for and put it in people’s faces and create a situation where they have to decide where they stand in relationship to it. While this was not the deepest engagement or even the most advanced expression of fighting the power, it is significant in what it revealed and what it gave expression to when we stepped to people with confidence and certitude and led them to take a stand right there on the spot.

Chapter Three: Giving Expression to the Youth’s Fighting Spirit, Leading and Unleashing at the High Schools

By the time we all regrouped, quite a few more revolutionaries had joined us and we had a pretty big crew. It was essential that we took a few minutes to sum up our experience and to wrestle with how we were going to do better in our next round at the high school. This included going further into both what our message needed to be and how we would represent as more than just a bunch of individuals doing good political work with other individuals all in the same area, but instead as a real critical mass and social force for revolution.

It was brief, but there was some struggle over whether we should mainly unfold what we are doing through the particularity of Trayvon’s case and how to win justice for Trayvon, or whether we would come from what Trayvon’s case concentrates about this system and why we need Revolution and Nothing Less and the full mission of the Revolution Club.

One person argued that we should step to the youth by arguing that if it hadn’t been for the massive protest that George Zimmerman never would have been arrested and if we don’t stay in the streets around this George Zimmerman would almost certainly walk free. This was objectively different than what the leader of the Revolution Club had been arguing; that we not be confined within the terms of the struggle around Trayvon and then “add on” revolution, but instead how we need to step from what the case of Trayvon reveals about the fundamental nature of this system and how we need to fight around as part of building up the strength to put an end to this madness through revolution and for the same reason people need to be getting deeply into the revolutionary leadership and the answers provided for how we end all this for good by Bob Avakian in the film, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

We also wrestled with how to make the greatest impact with the numbers we had. This included our visual impact (pinning signs and slogans on all of us so we were clearly part of a collective force) as well as some division of labor (some agitating, some with the DVD set up to show clips of BA, some with the newspaper and all of us responding to and acting together when led to by myself or the Club leader).

Then we set up in a park that a lot of students come through after they get out of school. As soon as school let out, we began agitating and holding up our signs of Trayvon and many students took a very serious interest. A few stopped for a minute, but most gave their approval and kept streaming by us. One member of the Club said, “We have to start marching,” and so we took off marching in the same direction as the flow of students and many of them began chanting with us. Still, when we got to the other end of the park, these students kept going and we were back to our same crew.

At this point it was very decisive that we had talked through actually acting as a collective force and not just a bunch of individuals like we often do. A couple of people set up with the sound-system on a ledge and began agitating as students continued to stream by. Not far from them was a crowd of students hanging out and goofing off and not in a hurry to go somewhere. These students could hear the agitation, but they were clearly on the “outside” and would have to decide to leave their friends to join in the rally. We quickly pulled the agitators off the ledge and brought them over to this crowd of students. Applying the lessons from the experience of the Harlem Shake crowd, we went right up to this group of students and fought for them to take up the fight around Trayvon and the need for revolution.

This, in combination with the kind of agitation and orientation we had struggled over, had an immediate effect. All these students knew about Trayvon and once we began speaking passionately and substantively about this case—and as we gave them signs and a way to take this up on the spot—almost all of them joined in. Still, as we agitated they were sort of “in and out” in their attention and we were struggling keep their attention. One of them started yelling, “When I say Trayvon, you say Martin. Trayvon!” and his friends responded, “Martin!” We recognized that this was giving people a way to take part and picked up on this chant with him. This gave further shape to the crowd as people saw their friends joining in and also saw a way to do the same. A few of the young guys put their arms around each other and started marching around in a circle. A few young women started yelling out things like, “Stop treating us different because we are Black! We have rights!” Other students who were still streaming by took a more active interest.

Still, the students with us were “in and out” in terms of their attention and even some of them were wandering away. I took the bullhorn and spoke very briefly to the stakes of this case, but even more this time I spoke to how righteous it was for these students to take up these chants and to take up this case. I called on them to speak about why they were doing this. I went to a young Latina who had been yelling and invited/encouraged/challenged her to tell people why this mattered to her.

She took the microphone and began telling the story of how her cousin was killed by police. All her friends got really quiet and listened intently as she described how he was accused of having a gun but really it was an inhaler, how he left behind a wife and twin babies he never met, and how they still have never seen justice in his case. After she was done, we upheld how courageous and important it was for her to have taken the mic and we called on her peers to show her some love. They did this and you could see how the group dynamic was changing further. Others who had been resisting the idea of speaking when I first posed it were starting to get the sense that it would be something that their peers would uphold and see as righteous and so then a young Black man stepped forward with less hesitation.

He spoke about how he knows a lot of people who have been mistreated by the police. He said, “I don’t want to stereotype, but I don’t think the government likes Black people.” He described being followed going into stores and treated like he must be up to no good. He also spoke about how the government kills people like Martin Luther King and Gandhi, even though they are non-violent. One of the most important things that he did, though, was to challenge some of the other students who were leaving, calling them out by name and telling them to get serious. Perhaps he would have done this anyway, but my sense is that he was much bolder about this precisely because we had established a dynamic where the youth were reinforcing each other for stepping out and speaking and joining in.

While he was speaking, a group from another school came over to see what was happening. They yelled some things out about discrimination but looked like they were going to keep walking. An older revolutionary challenged them that they had to join in. It took a lot of struggle. Finally, one of them spoke about how Latinas are stereotyped and treated like they are just stupid and catty and that is not true.

As important as all this was, it still had the dynamic of sort of a rolling group of people stepping into something the revolutionaries were doing. We had to do something that would take all this somewhere—it was time to march!

We called on the youth to take this anger into the streets and wake other people up. It was a fight—and far from everyone who was gathered decided to join in—but some of the youth took off with us chanting loudly back and forth as we went, “When I say ‘Trayvon,’ you say ‘Martin,’” and, “When I say ‘revolution,’ you say ‘nothing less.’”

Off we went on one of the most defiant and joyous marches I can remember. A group of young women were up in the front literally jumping up and down screaming out the chants and waving their arms around. Before long, they took over leading the chants and were playing with the tempo of calling out Trayvon’s name. This freed many of us up to run along the sides and call on others to join in. A good number did. And everyone stopped and stared and cracked open a big smile. The energy of these youth was infectious—both their rage and their joy.

About half way down the first block, one of them who had been joining in the response part of the chant ran up and took the microphone. She wanted the other chant and began yelling, “When I say revolution, you say nothing less!”

By the time we were on the second block, passing and gathering the attention of many basic masses along the way, another young woman took the mic and began singing the chants with an extraordinary voice filled with passion, hurt, and defiance. The feel of the whole thing, as the youth were more unleashed and creative in taking the lead, as they absorbed and were buoyed by the responses they were getting, and as we were agitating along the sides and sometimes with all of them, was transforming and the march was becoming a real political force.

We stopped after a couple blocks on the corner of a major hospital and held a rally and speakout. New people had joined in during the march and quite a few people from the hospital and the street were drawn in. The revolutionaries took turns with the youth. We’d get into what the whole case of Trayvon concentrates, the need for revolution, the tremendous importance of the upcoming premiere on March 16 and the righteousness of people standing up to fight the power today and transform the people for revolution. The youth would speak bitterness about their own lives, give expression to their dream of seeing a world where people are treated all the same, and tell people how good it felt to be part of standing up. In between different speakers, the woman with the incredible voice would sing and lift up everyone’s spirits and fill people with pride.

A Black woman in a wheelchair who was coming out of the hospital was among those who gathered to listen. I could tell as I watched her responding to the youth that she had something to share so we brought the microphone over to her. She spoke with tremendous anger about the case of Trayvon and explained how she is afraid for the life of her own son, how this fear drove her to send her son out of NYC so that he is less likely to get caught up in the kind of trouble that could steal his life. She spoke of remembering Emmett Till (we had been agitating about his case and how little has changed and how this shows the need to not only fight but to WIN this time, to make REAL REVOLUTION) and agreed that nothing had fundamentally changed and she hoped it was true that we could end this.

A middle-aged Black man who was holding a three year old son took the mic next. His comments were brief, just explaining that he has seen too much racism in his life and didn’t want his son to have to live through all that too. Everyone melted when his son started babbling something about his dad into the microphone as his father spoke.

Here on the corner, we went even further in talking about what the case of Trayvon concentrates and why we need revolution, how we are out there as part of a strategy to fight the power and transform the people for revolution, to organize the thousands who will influence millions and be trained to lead millions to make revolution when there is the emergence of an all-out revolutionary crisis and how we have the leadership and vision to take this all the way and establish a whole better society leading to a communist world. We challenged people to get serious about being part of this, that there is nothing more important than getting into these answers and engaging this leadership. We talked about BA and had people do a call and response about the date and the title of the upcoming film premiere.

Before leaving we sold a bunch of newspapers and got a lot of contact info (including not only from the woman in the wheelchair but also her young Black male attendant and many others).

We thought we were done and so I called the students together and told them they have to get into the Revolution Club. One of them yelled back, “I am IN the revolution club!” I said that was righteous and that she should see that through as well as the rest of them and introduced them more formally to Noche Diaz, explaining a little about his case (he is facing 4½ years for non-violently observing and protesting police brutality) and then Noche told them more about the club. They all signed up. But they weren’t done. They wanted to march some more.

So, we all took off again and repeated the same march back to their school. This time they led all the chants up until about half way back. Then one of them grabbed the mic and brought it back over to us and said, “I think you should tell everyone why we are here.” They recognized the need for some things to be gotten into for those we were passing that they couldn’t yet break down.

When we got back to our starting point, the young women wanted to speak out one more time. But this time a group of guys started approaching them on an entirely different basis, asking things like, “Do you have a boyfriend?” or, “Hey you look good.” This threw them off from what they were saying and a young guy from the Club stepped up and did some agitation about how woman are human beings and our comrades in the struggle for a better world, not objects to look at. He spoke powerfully about how a cornerstone of this revolution is the full liberation of women and how we are against catcalling and objectifying and abusing women. This opened up a whole new and final round to our rally as a couple of these young women picked up on what he had said, saying, “I am not just something to look at, I am a human being and a freedom fighter.”

Finally, we pulled people together one last time. It was noteworthy that as this march and rolling speakout went on, not only did this crew get forged into a collective force, they also got more seriously interested in the bigger ideas that we revolutionaries were putting forward. They had sort of listened in the beginning as we broke down what real revolution was and where all this needed to go, but by the end they were asking questions about revolution and discussing seriously what it would mean to be part of the Revolution Club and the importance of attending BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

They suggested that we come into their school and we made plans to work to do that. But we also made a point of going into what is said in, “BA: A Contended Question.” We explained how BA concentrates the most radical remaking of this world and because of this many people love him and some people hate him, precisely because of what he concentrates. We told them they should take this to their progressive teachers and there is a very good chance this will go well and we would love to come in. But, they shouldn’t be thrown off if some of them are not so favorable or even if some of them say things like, “It is good to be concerned about these issues, but don’t get into BA or get with those people.” We reiterated that there is nothing more important than the questions BA is answering and they needed to get into them for themselves and if they run into anything that they can’t answer, new questions, positive responses and negative responses, they need to come back and get into them with us because this is what humanity needs from us all.

Chapter Four: Summing Up and Drawing Correct Revolutionary Lessons

When they finally left, we had a brief summation. A lot of what we summed up are things that have infused the way I have recounted this—the decisiveness of us going straight up to the youth and creating situation where they had to delineate themselves in relation to the revolutionary pole we were planting (as opposed to just doing our thing near them and hoping they came over), the effect the youth had on each other—and on all the others in the area—as they stepped into this, the beauty and creativity that poured out of them as they stepped into this in their own ways, and the way that they got more serious about the bigger questions we had been posing about revolution as the day we fought things through both in leading them to fight the power and in continuing to fight for them to lift their heads to these bigger questions.

There is one particular exchange from this summation that I really want to highlight though. Towards the end, one of the Club members spoke with great appreciation for the determination and spirit of especially the young women in taking the lead throughout this afternoon, for their singing and their stories, for their determination and their seriousness. He capped it off by saying, “I just have one word to sum up this experience: unleashing!”

While there certainly was a lot of unleashing that had gone on, and while it was clear that there was no replacing the irrepressibility and infectiousness of the energy and spirit of those youth, it was actually not correct to boil the experience down to “unleashing.” Really, it is correct to describe the afternoon as a process involving two words: leading and unleashing. And there is a dialectical relationship between those two elements. I spoke about—and I recommend to all reading—the section of Grasp Revolution, Promote Production—Questions of Outlook and Method, Some Points of the New Situation by Bob Avakian where he deals directly with the dialectical relationship between leading and unleashing. Really, you cannot do one without the other—just like there is a dialectical relationship between leading and learning. Both those dialectics were involved in the advances we wrenched out of the afternoon—and both of those dialectics will be essential to taking all of this somewhere (actually organizing people into the revolution and continuing to plant the pole more broadly, as opposed to letting this be just a “good thing we did once” and letting all the people and momentum wash away).

It seemed people quickly recognized that this was true. One person who had been quiet up until then made the poignant comment, “Yeah, those women who led all this, I saw them right before that tell [one of our comrades], ‘No, I am not going to do that.’” These young women who were so unleashed were the same young women who only minutes before were thinking that they couldn’t and shouldn’t and didn’t want to be any part of this revolution. Transforming that and unleashing what was suppressed within them took leadership! These dialectics, between leading and unleashing and between leading and learning, were very much at play throughout the day and need to be much more consciously recognized and applied to everything we are doing. If we think we are leading just because we are saying the “right things” off to the side and not fighting to really unleash the revolutionary potential that is suppressed within people, we are going to leave the masses on the sidelines. Similarly, if we see only the initiative and positive qualities of the youth when they step out and fail to recognize how decisive our leadership is in uncorking that—and how essential it will be to not only continue that in the streets but to accumulate forces for revolution—we will allow this (and other) advance(s) to dissipate and once again leave the masses on the sidelines and leave the world fundamentally unchanged.

Chapter Five: Rallying at Union Square for No More Trayvon Martins—Revolution, Nothing Less!

Next we rolled down to Union Square where a rally had been called by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network for 4 pm and where Trayvon Martin’s parents had announced they would be at 6 pm. Word of this gathering had been getting out all day on NPR and 1010 WINS radio as well as, presumably, other places so we were determined to make our collective presence felt and to plant a very powerful pole around Revolution—Nothing Less.

When we arrived there were already a hundred or so people gathered. But they were milling about and nothing organized was yet happening. Off to my left I could see one of the young revolutionaries getting into conversation with someone and quickly drawing a small knot of people in who were listening. Off to my right I could see the same thing happening with another young revolutionary. The scene was tense and people were eager for leadership, but our crew was once again acting more as a bunch of revolutionary individuals all doing “good things” but not amounting to what was actually possible or needed.

Myself and the leader of the Revolution Club called people together but people took their time, finishing up their conversations and getting drawn into other things. Figuring that it was wrong to let these important, but dispersed, interactions set the limits for what we were doing and figuring that once we started something different the rest of the Club would catch on, we stepped out and did a mic check. Immediately the rest of the Club came together and amplified this and a crowd began forming. First it was about twenty, then forty and soon there were at least a hundred people crowded in around us repeating what we were saying.

We again agitated about what this case of Trayvon means — all that it concentrates about this system and why we need real revolution, we got into our strategy of fighting the power and transforming the people for revolution, how fighting today fits into this, why it is righteous that people came out but also why people have to go further, to get to the Magic Johnson theater on March 16 for BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! to dig into the biggest questions of our time and the answers provided by BA as to how we can not only fight but actually win so that a generation from now people are not still mourning the murder of Black youth, the raping of women, the bombing of people around the world, the destruction of the environment (if we make it that long, given how this system is burning up the planet), and why people need to get into the Revolution Club and join us in taking to the streets after the vigil with the parents.

Different members of the Revolution Club took turns agitating and the crowd drew bigger and bigger. Soon, we had to give them some direction to disperse and regroup on the edge of the steps so that the speakers could be up above and the crowd could be below so that everyone could see and hear. The crowd was won to this very quickly and soon we regrouped the whole affair in such a way that we could easily speak to and be seen by hundreds of people who had gathered.

People were hungry for leadership—for the kind of penetrating indictment we were making of this system, for some concrete form and expression to the otherwise atomized individuals that had shown up, for the ideological challenge we repeatedly made to people about the need for them to confront and follow through on what the real implications of Trayvon’s case are. It was uneven in our agitation, but what came through as a whole was not merely letting people know that we are revolutionaries and that we are into BA and a hope that this would turn them on. We put forward the challenge to them that even if communist revolution sounds extreme, the extreme of the actual genocide going on right now demands that they engage it with an open mind and a sincere heart. We upheld the righteousness of how much oppressed people and others have fought for liberation for generations, including the generation that stood up around Emmett Till—but that this generation needs to be the generation that goes all the way and ends this, nothing less is acceptable and that BA has summed up the lessons of how not only to fight but to win, and not just win in the sense of defeating and dismantling the armed repression of this state (its courts, military, prisons, police forces, etc.) when a revolutionary situation emerges in the future, but also wins in the sense of brings into being a revolutionary state power that is uprooting all this exploitation and oppression and transitioning to a whole better genuinely communist world free of all forms of exploitation and oppression. Everyone here, we said, has a responsibility to seriously get into this. There is nothing more important and while it is absolutely essential that people came out to fight on this day, we have to get serious about going all the way or we are betraying the very things that moved us to be in the streets. I could see the faces of people in the crowd as they were nodding and taking this very seriously. We led people to again repeat the date and the title of the film premiere, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! And we got into why it was important that we not go home, but instead march into the night, after the parents of Trayvon held their vigil. We held a rally in this way for probably 45 minutes, including welcoming up others to speak bitterness about their own experiences of police abuse.

During this time, people were setting up nearby for where the parents were going to show up and that rally began to take shape. We broke up the rally we were holding and all went over and joined in. As we did this, people from the crowd came up to us to thank us for what we had done and to sign up with the Revolution Club.

During the official vigil, some of the lawyers and others put forward a very different message than we had been. Some claimed that the murder of Trayvon had nothing to do with the color of his skin. Others recognized that this was about his race but claimed that America is the greatest nation on earth and has been being healed by the response to Trayvon’s killing. Trayvon’s parents spoke passionately about their love for their son and the tremendous pain of losing him as well as the strength they feel that so many are out to remember him. At 7:17, the moment of Trayvon’s murder, people lit candles for him and then his mother led them in all blowing them out at the same moment. There was a prayer that cried out to a non-existent god and claimed that Trayvon was in a better place. Jamie Fox spoke from the heart about being the father of a 17-year-old and having to confront the pain of what it would mean if she had been the one taken and expressed a lot of love and support for Trayvon’s parents.

All of this was very tightly organized and controlled and when the candles were blown out they all very quickly left.

Once again, there was a situation where things could have just dispersed and wound down for the night. We were determined that wouldn’t happen.

Immediately we began a mic check again and dozens of people joined in and the whole park could hear us. We upheld the courage and determination of the parents to be out here in the streets and of everyone else for being out too, but we went immediately and directly at the lie of the U.S. being the greatest country in the world. “No it is NOT!” we yelled, and many joined us in response. We talked about slavery and Jim Crow and the New Jim Crow, we talked about the drones and the wars, the rape and violence against women. We called out again the need for Revolution—Nothing Less and got the crowd chanting that in a call and response. Then we called on people to join us in taking to the streets.

We chanted and marched and a sizeable section of the crowd came with us. Two of the chants they particularly liked were, “The whole damn system is guilty! The whole damn system is guilty!” and, “I sag my pants, I rock my hoodie. NYPD keep your hands off me!”

Once again, it was striking that a number of young women stepped to the front and were jumping up and down screaming at the tops of their lungs. Tons of cops lined this march as we set off through the Village in the night, clearly nervous about the energy of the crowd and the receptivity of those we were passing. Others joined in and the march was loud as fuck.

At a certain point I went through the crowd and asked people, “Have you gotten connected to the Revolution yet?” I held out a clipboard and have never had such eager response among a march of people to want to stay connected with this revolution and who were so clear that we were talking about communist revolution and the leadership of BA. It was not at all that most of them knew who BA is or had a strong favorable opinion about communism, but it was clear to them that this is what we were about and they were very attracted to what they understood about this and the ideological challenge that they get into it as well as the expression that their anger was being led to take in this defiant march.

Chapter Six: Digging Deeper Into the Revolution On the Spot

I don’t have it in me to write with as much detail the whole dynamics of this march as I did about the one in the afternoon (and you probably don’t have it in you to read about it in that much detail), but as we went some new people joined and some people dwindled. But a core stayed with it the whole way and was angry and joyous and very attracted to what the Club had been putting out. By the time we decided to wrap up, we gathered for one last mic-check and speakout on a corner. We told them again about the revolution, about the premiere and had everyone chant the date and title and then we invited them to join us in a near-by fast food restaurant.

A core of young people who had been with us all evening came with us. We spent the next hour and a half getting into a rip-roaring discussion, learning what had drawn them out to the protest and what had further attracted them to the revolution, debating questions of whether Cuba was a revolutionary model (it is not), what real socialism is and why that matters to be grappling with that now, questions of human nature, questions of strategy for revolution, whether we need “horizontalism” or a communist vanguard to make revolution and various other controversies coming off of Occupy, why the previous revolutions were defeated (and why they didn’t fail) but also why humanity needs the new synthesis of BA, the importance of people attending and helping build for the premiere, and much more. As all this was going on, others from the fast food joint got drawn in.

This kicked off a whole new round when two young men, one Black and one Latino, argued in favor of stop-and-frisk as the only reason people like them and others they grew up with aren’t carrying guns more often and killing more people. We got into a very deep debate where we read BA’s quote, “On Choices... and Radical Changes,” and into what it is really going to take to get the youth out of killing each other and how the only answer is making revolution and drawing them into making this revolution. Blaming them for their bad choices only reinforces their oppression. These guys were indignant of the idea that these youth aren’t responsible for the bad choices they make, but as we went deeper—especially utilizing that quote from BA and breaking it down and making them respond to it—they didn’t get won over but they continually had to admit that the larger critique we were making of the system and the context for these youth’s choices was true.

After a lot of wild struggle over this, we queued up the section of the Revolution Talk where BA gets into the example of the prisons in California and the Corcoran SHU. New people from other tables gathered in to watch and everyone laughed and got into the agitation BA did about how the youth aren’t “regulating shit” on the corners, while understanding why they get into it also struggling with them to see the bigger picture and to be about fighting for the emancipation of all humanity.

One young woman who comes from a background where the youth are into that kind of life and who is part of the initiative to End Porn and Patriarchy, has been interested in watching this DVD with me but we keep postponing due to various scheduling conflicts. This was her first time seeing a clip, and her first time meeting the Revolution Club. She commented that BA was hilarious and she was now even more interested in watching more. Others in the restaurant gave their contact info to us. The two friends who were still defending stop-and-frisk said they found BA very serious and were definitely going to be at the premiere in Harlem. And a bunch of the folks from the march made plans to join us at Revolution Books on Thursday when we are getting into the section of Michael Slate’s interview with BA on, “Is it crazy to think you could make revolution?”

We cannot take for granted that any of this will happen if we do not continue to lead this process, but all of this opened up and revealed and began to transform the tremendous potential that exists for people to relate to and get active with even as they are learning more about this revolutionary line if we take it out as what it actually is.


Chapter Seven: Unwritten and the Challenge to All of Us

I wasn’t able to stick around to be part of the Revolution Club’s summation of the day or to be part of their planning for what comes next. Nor am I able to sit down with all of you who are reading this and fighting to be part of applying the RCP’s strategy for making revolution, including right now by actively and aggressively building for the upcoming premieres of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

But it is absolutely critical that we do not underestimate the tremendous potential and hunger for real revolution that exists when we go out with it as what it is and when we actively apply our strategy for revolution, including fighting the power and transforming the people for revolution, lifting people’s sights to see what is at stake and what is actually possible, challenging people ideologically on their responsibility to act in relation to all this and to dig in deeper, and when we give people meaningful ways to begin doing that on the spot.

None of what I describe in this one exciting day is “the formula” of how we should do our work. There were ways that openings presented themselves yesterday that are different than what we will encounter the next time we go out. But the potential of yesterday would never have been revealed if we had not acted on it in a living way—rooted on our firm understanding of the need for Revolution and Nothing Less but also fighting at every point to identify both the obstacles that needed to be taken on and the potential pathways that were being revealed. I also in no way think that what we accomplished yesterday sets the limit for what potentially could have been accomplished—or for what we should be aiming for as we go forward.

Also, there are big obstacles in our path to making this revolution that we have to collectively wrestle with as scientists, rooted in and applying our strategy and on that foundation thinking critically and creatively about how to solve problems. We have to make breakthroughs on the campuses and even as much potential has been revealed we have not yet forged a dynamic where that potential is being tapped and transformed into a growing pole and force. We have to make breakthroughs in actually bringing new people into the movement for revolution—into the Revolution Club and into other forms of organization where people are both part of changing the world and themselves, including right now especially getting into BA and building for the premieres and seeing the difference these can make in society and in their own commitment to follow through on their concerns for humanity.

One of the biggest lessons of the day, and one which had to be fought for repeatedly and which remains very important to continue to fight for, is the need for us to really pull together as communists and as scientists to identify, wrestle with, and solve the problems of making this revolution. This requires wrestling not simply in a formalistic way with “what should we do” or “what should we say,” but with what are we learning as we apply our line and as we probe reality with our line, what are we transforming, what is being revealed and what do we make of it, and how do we take all of this further—involving PEOPLE every step along the way—to build this movement for revolution.

In short, the “seventh chapter” really isn’t a chapter. It is a challenge. And it is one that is on all of us and requires all of us. Success in these premieres could change a tremendous amount—in the terrain and in the organized strength and influence of this revolution—at a time when the world really is crying out for revolution and the new synthesis of communism. Whether you are brand new or been at this for a long time, let’s pull together with all our science, our passion, our collectivity and our determination to really make every single one of the next 16 days count.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

"A Hellava Scene in East Oakland"

February 27, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Trayvon Martin Day, February 26, saw a hellava scene in East Oakland!

Signs waving, horns honking, and two loud and two determined marches in the streets—marking the one-year anniversary of the cold-blooded murder of Trayvon Martin, at the busiest intersection in East Oakland.

Rally on one year anniversary of Trayvon Martin murder, East Oakland

Rally on one year anniversary of Trayvon Martin murder, East Oakland

Photos: Special to Revolution

A bullhorn was passed from hand to hand. People eager to speak their anger—from the murder of Trayvon, and a whole litany of related abuses and crimes against the people—from the targets placed on the backs of Black and Brown youth, the 2.4 million caged in prisons, and how, in so many ways, this system has no future for the people but instead, pits them against one another in the most destructive forms.

But what really gave this day new added power and hope was the bringing of the news of the upcoming premier of the movie BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! This framed the fight around justice for Trayvon in a whole different light—as part of the movement for revolution—that these and a multitude of other horrors the people of the world are forced to endure are not permanent. The world does not have to be this way, and we have a leader in Bob Avakian, and the revolutionary strategy that he has forged, that can lead to a radically different world, beyond any oppression.

Throughout the week building for Trayvon Martin Day, coming at it from the need and possibility for sweeping aside this whole putrid system, and challenging people to step forward as emancipators of humanity, we made some important, if only beginning breakthroughs.

We spent many days reaching out to students of one very multi-national proletarian high school. We got out lots of leaflets about Trayvon Martin Day and leaflets and palm cards advertising the movie premier. A member of the Revolution Club was invited in to speak to many classes. That was all good, but as we went along, we were really having difficulty getting students to engage with what we were presenting. We summed up that what we needed to be doing is not just talk about how Trayvon and all his murder represents shows the need for revolution, but put much more of a challenge to the advanced—how long are you going to allow this to continue, without stepping forward to end it once and for all?! When we finally did this, we found a number of students who were really jazzed about coming to BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Some of these students posed with a banner they had signed to send to Sanford Florida and also signed up to start a new Revolution Club on campus.

We also learned much about teachers we met as an important force in the movement for revolution. Many of them are young, and have come to inner city schools to make a difference. They have a great dedication to their students and compassion for their difficult lives and futures under this system. They supported us and welcomed us into their classrooms as a way to engage their students to take up the big questions facing them. One teacher prompted the speaker with some questions: “What does your Revolution represent?” and “Could you explain the relationship between Racism and Capitalism?” Teachers like these are very important in the movement for revolution and we are challenging them to bring students to the premier.

We also concentrated work at a local junior college and some of them joined us at the demonstration in East Oakland.

The demonstration brought together more than 30 people of all ages and colors, revolutionaries, people from Occupy, World Can’t Wait activists, college students and neighborhood residents. Some jumped out of their cars on the spot, some saw it on the news and were compelled to come and join. Others had combed the internet, looking for someone, doing something, on Trayvon Martin Day, and were there waiting for us when we arrived.

At times, there was a cacophony of honking horns of people showing their support. One white guy, stopped in his big-rig at the light, was pulling on his massive horn, drowning out everything else. He was going crazy, frantically, waving, honking and trying to put on his “hoodie,” all at the same time! He finally gave up, and just held up his “hoodie” for all of us to see. The five occupy people, deftly moved in and out of the heavy traffic handing out leaflets to eager hands.

One Black woman had seen us on television. She grabbed an energy bar and a bottle of water, and raced down to be with us. She told us she had to come. “I have been in the closet for a long time,” she said, and told us how refreshing it was to be here “together with people of all races.” She had spoken on the bullhorn for the first time, and said it was very empowering to hear her voice joining with others.

One Occupy activist approached us with the comment that he really liked how we were calling for putting an end to this system. “I guess I’m going to have to learn more about the RCP.”

At the demonstration, five tickets were purchased for the movie showing. On the spot. And five high school students want tickets as well.

At the end of the day, we pulled the new people together for a Revolution Club meeting. One woman asked, “All this takes money, how are you going to do that?” Off that, three new people volunteered to do a bake sale.

It was a very good day, but only a beginning of what can be, and will be, accomplished in building for BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Critical Crossroads in Nepal: Presentation to the Newly Reorganized CPN(M) by RCP, USA Supporter

February 24, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


For 10 years (from 1996 to 2006), a very important People's War took place in Nepal. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), small forces were able to challenge the old state, then ruled by a monarchy. The party's stated goal was to carry through a New Democratic Revolution as the first stage of a revolution that would then go forward to the socialist stage, as Mao had done in China. The revolution met with a tremendous response among the millions of peasants and workers and educated youth in Nepal. A powerful People's Liberation Army [PLA] was formed; most of the countryside of Nepal was taken out of the grip of the traditional feudal and comprador capitalist rulers; and liberated base areas were proclaimed in much of the country. The revolution also won increasing support from middle-class elements centered in the capital and other cities of the country. The strength of the revolution also intensified the disarray of the ruling classes, and many of them concluded that it would be impossible to continue to rule Nepal under the old monarchy. At the same time, the desperate rulers and armed forces of the old state, backed up by India, and Western imperialist powers, and with support from the new capitalist rulers in China as well, fought ferociously against the revolutionary forces.

Unfortunately, in 2005 a crucial shift in the line of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) took place at the Chunwang meeting. That Central Committee meeting of the party ratified a policy of abandoning the goal of establishing a new state, a people's republic led by the proletariat and its party, in favor of fighting for a "democratic state." Once this line was set, a whole series of shifts in strategy, tactics, and policy also took place. Agreements for a "multi-party democracy" were made with the main reactionary political parties in Nepal. And in November 2006, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed which: formally ended the People's War; agreed to a plan to merge the PLA into the reactionary army of the old state; disbanded the organs of power that had been established in the liberated base areas; and established elections to a Constituent Assembly. An interim government was formed with the CPN(M) holding some of the ministries.

During this period the CPN(M) was reorganized as the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), uniting with other parties and individuals who had not been involved in the People's War or who had even opposed it.

Elections were held in 2008. The UCPN(M) won the largest number of seats in the Constituent Assembly and a government was formed with UCPN(M) chairman Prachanda as Prime Minister.

Throughout this period of reversal of the revolution, sharp debate took place, first privately and then publicly, between the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and the UCPN(M). A series of letters were sent by the RCP, USA which sharply criticized and struggled against the revisionist line that had been adopted by the UCPN(M) and the consequences of that line. [See "On Developments in Nepal and the Stakes for the Communist Movement: Letters to the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, 2005-2008 (With a Reply from the CPN(M), 2006)."]

Under pressure from the army and the leaders of the old state, the Prachanda government resigned in 2009 and a new government was formed by the previous opponents of the People's War.

In November 2011, after a prolonged governmental crisis, a new government was formed with Baburam Bhattarai, a prominent leader of the party as Prime Minister. This government quickly moved to finalize the destruction of the revolution [See "Baburam Bhattarai—Chosen Gravedigger of the Nepal Revolution," Revolution, September 11, 2011.]

Throughout this period many members and supporters of the UCPN(M) became increasingly uncomfortable with the direction things were going, as the fruits of the revolution were abandoned one by one. Some of these forces inside the UCPN(M) formed an opposition to the leadership of Chairman Prachanda. Eventually these forces left the party in 2012 and formed a separate party, taking the original name of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

The newly reorganized CPN(M) recently held its founding Congress. While the new party has attracted those who hate the increasingly ugly results coming from the reversal of the revolution, the new CPN(M) has unfortunately been unable to decisively break from the essential problems of line, and resulting practice, of the UCPN(M)—the line which has led to this disastrous situation for the revolution.

In this light, a supporter of the RCP, USA, who had long been associated with building support for the revolution in Nepal, was invited to offer opinions to the recent Congress. What follows is a slightly edited transcript of what was conveyed to that Congress.

* * * * *

The following is a contribution to the recently held Congress of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) made by a long time supporter of the revolution in Nepal who is a supporter of the RCP, USA and the new synthesis of Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

Greetings comrades. Let's get straight to the point. We are at a critical crossroads, not only in the revolution in Nepal but also in the international communist movement. A few years ago, millions in Nepal looked to the Maoists as their hope to end oppression. Now the masses' former leaders have become the ugly face of their oppressors and exploiters. Much of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement is being turned into apologists of revisionism. What happened—what's the problem—and what's the solution?

As a supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, I want to render support to anyone who wants to get the revolution back on track. But saving the revolution requires above all else a radical rupture with the line that has led to this disaster—a rupture that has still not been made.

I have heard a lot of talk about how the problem is that Prachanda and Bhattarai betrayed the revolution—they sold out to India. Listen to what Engels, Marx's closest comrade, said about the betrayal of leaders:

"...when you inquire into the causes of the counter revolutionary success, you are met on every hand with the ready-made reply that it was 'Citizen So and So' who betrayed the people. But this reply does not explain anything. It does not even explain how it came to pass that the people allowed themselves to be betrayed. And what poor chance stands a political party whose entire stock in trade consists in the knowledge of the solitary fact that 'Citizen So-and-So' is not to be trusted."

Think of what Engels asks: why did the people allow themselves to be betrayed? This gets to Mao's concentrated summation: the correctness or incorrectness of line is decisive. A wrong line will transform even the best fighters. A correct line can help remold even those who have lost their path.

I don't see the history of the party as a steady effort to achieve a more correct line. While there was always two-line struggle in the party, the crucial turning point came when a revisionist line emerged seven years ago and became dominant, and almost everybody went along with the main points. Take the Constituent Assembly elections in 2008. Many comrades in Nepal were concerned about the danger of reformism. But still the entire party and most of RIM [Revolutionary Internationalist Movement] hailed the victory as "the election miracle." Why a miracle? It was a way of telling yourself that yes, we all know that advancing revolution through a bourgeois parliament defies the laws of class society, yes we know it goes against the ABCs of Marxism, so it's like divine intervention. No it wasn't. It was a trap set by very real-life imperialists and reactionaries, and it represented a giant step into the parliamentary swamp. Whatever Prachanda's intentions, why did the party allow itself to be swept up in this bourgeois democratic trap?

Because the party was in the grip of revisionist thinking. Once a revisionist line became dominant in October 2005 at Chunwang, then everything else flowed from that, and all the tactics served that line. Without rupturing with the line, you will have Prachandism without Prachanda.

Over and over I have heard comrades say that the problem was that Prachanda said one thing, but he did another. This view is just another expression of refusing to face the fact that the problem was the collective line of the party. The main problem with Prachanda is not that he didn't do what he said, but that he acted in conformity with the revisionist line. In a fundamental sense he did exactly what he said he would do. Prachanda implemented exactly the revisionist line that was adopted and dominated the party for the last seven years.

If you don't know the problem, you won't find the solution. What was the problem? The revisionist line was wrong on key issues, including the state, nationalism, and communist methodology. The revisionist line negated the Marxist understanding of the state. It talked of a "transitional classless republic" and promoted all kinds of illusions about multi-party elections and bourgeois democracy. The revisionist line negated that in class society each ruling class will institute a different form of democracy to serve its interests and its class rule; the parliamentary democracy imposed on Nepal could only reinforce the rule of the reactionary classes and lead to the dismantling of the base areas and PLA [People's Liberation Army].

This revisionist line was marked by nationalism. Remember the election slogan of turning Nepal into the Switzerland of South Asia. And as we all know, Switzerland is not exactly a base area of the world revolution. It is a small reactionary state that is connected to the bigger imperialist powers and serves their interests. This is the model that Prachanda meant when he said Nepal should be the dynamic hub between India and China. But no one opposed it. All this was done with a methodology characterized by eclectics, which was called fusion, and by pragmatism and realpolitik, in other words, sacrificing principle for the hope of short-term gains.

The party abandoned the goal of setting up a powerful proletarian state led by the vanguard party to serve the world revolution. It replaced the communist vision with revisionist notions of restructuring the state, which meant that whatever tactics you used you would only end up reforming the existing reactionary state. Think back to May, two and a half years ago. Hundreds of thousands came to Kathmandu ready to give their lives for an insurrection. But with a wrong view of the state in command, even if that tactic had succeeded, the result would not have been the dismantling of the old state power and the destruction of the reactionary army. The whole strategy was based on getting a large section of the reactionary officer corps to go along with this so-called "insurrection." Even if you had succeeded, the result would have been more like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela than like Mao in China. Whether you reached this reformist result through peaceful means or through violent means does not change the essence of things.

With a revisionist line securely in command of the comrades' thinking, Prachanda and Bhattarai were content to allow the party opposition forces to mobilize the masses as a kind of pressure group. This is not a picture of the struggle for a revolutionary line making steady progress. Instead, the opposition for the last years functioned like a safety valve, where those in the party who were unhappy with where things were going could let off steam. No real repudiation was made of the revisionist line. In this way, the power of the revolutionary upsurge was lost, and the old reactionary state was legitimized by seven years of the Maoists taking part in electoral politics.

Over and over during the last few years, I have heard the explanation for a refusal to make a decisive rupture with revisionism: you don't understand, the revolution can't succeed without Prachanda, we have to keep fighting within the party to win him over. In other words, the correctness or incorrectness of the line is less important than losing Prachanda.

The pragmatism and democratic illusions that dominated for seven years have to be dug up and broken with—and much remains to be done. Do you think the task is over? No, it has just begun. Everyone agrees that Prachanda and Bhattarai's shameless cooperation with India stinks of pragmatism and realpolitik, betraying principles for bourgeois positioning. But how different is the CPN(M)'s approach to China? The Chinese revisionists have turned China into the sweatshop of global imperialism. It is one of the most unequal societies on earth. Yes, there is a need for diplomacy and making use of contradictions among the enemy, I understand that. But that is different than basing the strategy on realpolitik maneuvers. I have been told, "We are clear on the nature of China." Show me one single article of exposure in your press about the horrors of capitalism in China. Think of the confusion this is causing to people around the world. Millions want to see genuine change but they can also see what China has done to the masses there and in Africa and elsewhere—all in the name of communism. Making use of contradictions among reactionaries must be handled not according to the criteria of nationalism, but on proletarian internationalism.

Now you are talking about uniting "everyone" against India, even die-hard anti-people forces and proven destroyers of revolution like the Chinese bourgeoisie. Isn't this really just a new sub-stage, like the old CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement] sub-stage of uniting "everyone," including India, against the monarchy? (Of course it was correct and necessary to rally people against the monarchy, but as part of the NDR [New Democratic Revolution] and not by creating a special sub-stage as was argued and practiced.) Is what is being proposed now really any better? What about the fundamental changes and class realignment of the new democratic revolution? What about the workers and peasants and the revolutionary intellectuals? The problem is not that many nationalists and bourgeois democrats joined the revolution: they need to be part of the revolution, especially in its new democratic stage. But they need to be led by a proletarian internationalist vision.

A radical rupture is needed with the nationalism that dominated for the last seven years. Prachanda's nationalist election promise to turn Nepal into Switzerland wound up in the same old capitulation to India. And isn't this nationalism also one reason why so many comrades dismissed the RCP polemics against the revisionist line that started seven years ago? Once again, in part because comrades thought that who wrote the polemics was more important than the line they advocated.

What is happening in Nepal is part of a larger global process. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is dividing into two and the science is advancing to a new stage. There are some in the international communist movement who say they are your friends and yet viciously attack the RCP and Chairman Avakian's new synthesis of communism. I suppose they are indeed friends of something here: they cheered when you signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, they cheered when you participated in the CA[Constituent Assembly] elections, and they're cheering today too. You tell me whether they are friends of revolution!

I just read a recent statement from one of these false friends who was not at all repentant about cheering for the wrong line the whole time during the last seven years. This so-called friend of Nepal condemned the RCP as "dogmatist" for opposing the Maobadi's [Maoists'] line during the last seven years, and he argued that just because the Nepal party's line was wrong didn't mean the revolution had to end up in failure. This is like saying, you go to Tribhuvan airport, the plane is listed as going to Delhi, it's a small plane built for short flights, it has only enough fuel for Delhi, the flight plan is for Delhi, and the pilot announces the plane is going to Delhi—and then when you land, you throw your hands up in amazement, oh my god, we're in Delhi! Tell me please, where on earth has a revisionist line ever led to revolution!

Now these re-organizers of the international communist movement want your party to sign on to a new organization that they say will be based on "People's War as the strategic anchor." So this new international communist movement is openly announcing it will not be based on a correct political and ideological line but on practical achievements. Doing this would repeat exactly one of the main problems that led the revolution to disaster here in the first place—separating your goal from your strategy of how to get there. Think about what happened in 2005. While Bhattarai was fighting hard over big questions like state power, while Bhattarai was reversing verdicts on the dictatorship of the proletariat and on the experience of Russia and China and replacing this with multi-party bourgeois democracy, all too many comrades were content to ignore this and just focus on the immediate struggle. The comrades lost sight of the main purpose of fighting the people's war in the first place: to dismantle the old state and establish a new revolutionary power as part of advancing the world revolution. For the last 30 years there has been a worldwide imperialist onslaught against the experience of the Soviet Union and China, telling everyone that communist revolution leads to disaster. How do you answer this? How would you organize the economy of a socialist Nepal? How would the new revolutionary state relate to revolution in South Asia and the rest of the world—do you want "good relations" with India, or do you want to help the oppressed in India overthrow that reactionary expansionist power?

The new democratic revolution means a combination of social revolution and national revolution—you can't have one without the other. This is not fundamentally a question of a government with "good guys" in charge. It is a different state power, a different class alliance. It means tearing up the old production relations and bringing into being new ones. It means agrarian revolution, uprooting caste discrimination, and mobilizing the masses to transform the world, not trying to get a better position in a reactionary world. And everything you do, including the way you fight revolutionary war, has to be linked to a clear vision of where you're going.

How can anyone who is serious about saving the Nepal revolution from the disaster it's facing not want to engage with the thinking of the party that first so loudly sounded the alarm about the revisionist line, seven years ago? How can you not want to know more about the understanding that dared to go straight up against the tide of spontaneity sweeping the party and much of RIM into the revisionist swamp? I urge you to engage with the new synthesis of Comrade Avakian. He has a lot to say about these problems of pragmatism, realpolitik, nationalism, and eclectics that have sabotaged your own revolution and the entire international communist movement. He is addressing and providing basic answers in defense of the experience of proletarian revolution and how we communists can do even better in the future.

To conclude: 20 years ago, as the revolutionaries faced the setback that had occurred in Peru, the Nepalese revolutionaries stepped forward, saying we will leap into the breach. Today the situation of the communist movement at the planetary level is much more critical and requires much greater boldness—to step forward to be part of rescuing the communist project and leading it forward to greater heights. But this will not be done without a wrenching rupture with the revisionist line that has dominated the movement in Nepal for years now—as Mao said, the correctness or incorrectness of political line is indeed decisive.





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

French "Saviors" in Mali:
World-Class Enforcers of Slavery, Genocide, and Oppression

February 24, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Four thousand French troops invaded the North African country of Mali in January. They drove Islamic Jihadists from their strongholds in the cities and towns of northern Mali. While a picture of the French occupation of Mali is just emerging, including evidence that it is setting off indiscriminate massacres of religious and ethnic groups accused of aligning with the Jihadists, the "international community" has applauded the invasion as a grand victory for human rights.

Jihadists who seized control of large areas of Mali banned radio and television, beat women, cut off the hands of people who were accused of "blasphemy" or "loose moral behavior," and executed people to enforce a draconian version of Islamic law.

But their crimes aren't even in the same league as those of the French invaders.

The French Empire—Slavery, Suffering, and Death

Modern France—the proclaimed land of "liberty, equality, fraternity"—was built to a great degree on top of the blood, bones, land, and cultures of the enslaved peoples of a huge region of North Africa and Southeast Asia.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, a tenth of the earth's surface was colonized by France—an empire that at times ranged into the Americas, the Caribbean, and Asia. The French empire suffered setbacks in North America at the hands of their British rivals and their attempt to colonize Mexico was defeated by Mexican forces in 1867. They were driven out of Haiti when the African slaves rose up against their colonial masters.

But French colonialism was entrenched in North Africa and Southeast Asia. In the later half of the 1800s, the French colonized Indochina—the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. French capitalists turned vast tracts of forest into rubber plantations. Tens of thousands of Indochinese labored in the plantations under what were described by one worker as "hell on earth." According to official (and likely underreported) French statistics, 17 percent of the workforce at one plantation died in the year 1927 alone.

By the early 1900s, through wars, alliances with local rulers, and systematically provoking conflicts between different peoples in the region, the French established control over much of North, West, and Central Africa including what are now the countries of Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast, Benin, Niger, Chad, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

France didn't abolish slavery in its African colonies until 1905. U.S. academic David P. Forsythe wrote, "From Senegal and Mauritania in the west to Niger in the east (what became French Africa), there was a parallel series of ruinous wars, resulting in tremendous numbers of people being violently enslaved. At the beginning of the twentieth century there may have been between 3 and 3.5 million slaves, representing over 30 percent of the total population, within this sparsely populated region."

Today, the French are hailed by the so-called "international community" for saving important cultural artifacts from the Jihadists in the fabled Malian city of Timbuktu. But if you are looking for plundered cultural and historic art and culture from Timbuktu, a good place to start would be the many French museums of artifacts stolen from Africa by the French colonial rulers.

The French ruling class and their ideologues—those celebrated icons of enlightenment and bourgeois democracy—justified all this with the crudest racism. In 1886 the French bourgeois republican Jules Ferry declared: "The higher races have a right over the lower races, they have a duty to civilize the inferior races."

After World War 2, the French waged a counter-revolutionary war of occupation in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, killing hundreds of thousands of liberation fighters and civilians. After the defeat of the French in 1954, the U.S. took over the imperialist domination of Vietnam and waged its own war against the peoples of Indochina until being defeated in the mid-1970s.

And between 1954 and 1962, France sent 400,000 troops into Algeria to attempt to crush the independence movement. The French forces killed over 100,000 Algerians before being driven out.

The success of liberation struggles, along with the dismemberment of traditional-style empires and the rise of U.S. imperialism, provoked a series of crises for the French ruling class and brought the end—in the main—to formal French colonialism. But what emerged instead was neocolonialism, which maintained the same basic oppressive relationships between France and its (former) colonies, but in the form of nominally independent states.

New and Not Improved Neocolonialism

Of every thousand children born in Mali, 109 die in infancy. By contrast, in capitalist-imperialist countries, the infant mortality rate is in the range of three, four or five children per thousand. Those additional 100 children in every thousand who die in infancy in Mali are direct victims of the workings of imperialism—with the French ruling class the main "beneficiaries" of the brutal exploitation of the people of Mali.

Financial instruments of international capitalism-imperialism like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) impose policies that contort the economy of Mali in service of foreign capitalist-imperialist investment. IMF policies force peasants in Mali to use scarce arable land to grow cotton for export to France instead of food to feed themselves and their children. That, in part, is why 27 percent of the children in Mali are dangerously underweight. And when world market prices for cotton crashed starting in the late 1990s, Malian farmers suffered even more extreme privation, and Mali's national debts to imperialist financial institutions mounted.

The legacy and present-day operation of imperialism produced the most profound and horrific scars on the economic, political, and social landscape in Africa, including setting the stage for endless fratricidal conflict among peoples in Africa that has been an essential element in colonial and neocolonial domination. France, for example, was deeply involved in provoking and perpetuating the horrific genocide in Rwanda in 1984 that resulted in the killing of between half a million and a million people. A Rwandan commission determined that France helped train the ethnic Hutu militia that carried out much of the killing, helped plan the genocide, and participated in the killings. The report accused 33 senior French military and political officials of involvement in the Rwandan genocide including François Mitterrand, the president of France at the time. The Rwandan report said, "French soldiers themselves directly were involved in assassinations of Tutsis and Hutus accused of hiding Tutsis." ("Rwanda: French Accused in Genocide," AP, August 6, 2008)

Such are the baby-killing, genocidal "liberators" of Mali.

Imperialism vs. Jihad—and the Need for Another Way

Mali borders countries that are in the crosshairs of both sides in the clash between Western imperialism and Islamic Jihad. The French invasion of Mali is not just to enforce imperialist super-exploitation of the people of Mali. It is a move on the part of the Western imperialists—with the U.S. providing substantial backing to the French invaders—in that conflict.

Today, far too many of the kinds of people in countries like France and the USA who correctly opposed the wars against the people of Vietnam or Algeria are at best passively complicit with the same kinds of crimes carried out by their own ruling classes against people around the world, including the French invasion of Mali—so long as those invasions are justified as keeping people in those countries safe from "the terrorists," fighting Jihad, and bringing "democracy" to Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

But Western imperialism is still imperialism. The crimes carried out by the Jihadists in North Africa can't touch the scale of horrors brought by just French colonialism and imperialism alone—which again enslaved some three million people in North Africa and that today, is responsible for the deaths, in infancy, of over 100 of every 1,000 children born in Mali. If you didn't know that when you started reading this article, you know it now.

The U.S. and its allies (with France "walking point" in its former colonies in Africa) have carried out and continue to commit monstrous crimes in the name of opposing Islamic fundamentalism. The following points, emphasized in recent articles in Revolution, are crucial in getting at the reality behind this imperialist justification.

First, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism is in large part a product of the workings of imperialism (including specific policies of the CIA in Afghanistan, where it backed and funded Islamic fundamentalists going up against the Soviet Union).

Second, the crimes of U.S. imperialism—from the Foxconn sweatshops in China to the environmental emergency, from mass incarceration in the USA to the intolerable infant mortality rates in North Africa, dwarf even the aspirations of these reactionary Islamic forces.

Third, if you don't oppose, but instead fall into active or passive complicity with either "the West" (the U.S. and other imperialists including the French) or Islamic Jihad, you strengthen them both—in the vicious cycle where every drone attack that wipes out a wedding party in Pakistan (with far, far too little protest in the U.S.) serves to recruit more Jihadists, and on and on.

Bob Avakian's analysis of "the two outmodeds"—two clashing reactionary forces that represent ways of thinking and organizing society that belong in the past—provides a concise and powerful tool for understanding this conflict and acting to change the terms of things:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these "outmodeds," you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these "historically outmodeds" has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

BAsics 1:28

When you start from the interests of humanity, then instead of aligning with "our government" and celebrating and defending its immoral and criminal actions around the world, the challenge is to break out of the terms of these "two outmodeds" and be part of what Bob Avakian has posed as "bringing forward another way." There is a different way the world can be, and a real alternative to capitalism and all forms of oppression in the new synthesis of communism that BA has developed, and in his ongoing revolutionary leadership.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

From A World to Win News Service

The Global Rush to Grab Land and Other Resources

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


February 25, 2013. A World to Win News Service. The planet is facing a serious food crisis. The unsustainable use of resources, from the land to the sea, due to the violent rush for profit, poses a great threat to humanity and the planet. But rivalry for control of food production and distribution under the profit-driven capitalist system is still sharpening, taking new forms and causing greater misery for the world's people. The land grab going on in Africa and other parts of the world is part of this trend.

Africa, whose people were kidnapped by the millions for the slave trade and ground down and bled under colonialism and since, a continent whose resources have been sacked for centuries and which has suffered so much from wars spurred by big-power rivalry, faces a new form of looting today. Corporations, private banks, pension funds, and many multinational companies have grabbed fertile land all over the continent. With the connivance of corrupt and client governments dependent on foreign investment, they have secured long leases by paying as little as half a U.S. dollar per hectare [about 2.5 acres] per year.

Although this kind of land acquisition is far from new, there has been a spectacular jump since 2008. In the following year, investors bought or leased more than 56 million hectares in Asia, Latin America, and especially Africa, roughly 15 times more land than the yearly average in the preceding half century. (Farah Stockman, Boston Globe, February 24, 2013)

Writing in the July 11, 2012 issue of the web magazine From Around Africa, Aniede Okure gives the following examples:

* Ethiopia has leased or sold 3.6 million hectares of farmland to foreign companies from India, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and Israel. The leases require them to pay 80 cents per hectare per year. This deal has displaced 1.5 million people from their farmlands.

* The U.S.-based SG Sustainable Oils in Cameroon obtained land rights for 99-year leases on 73,086 hectares of land at a rate of 50 cents to $1 per hectare per year.

* Sime Darby Plantation, a Malaysian-based company, signed a 63-year agreement with the Liberian government to lease 220,000 hectares.

* 67 percent of farmland in Liberia, 15 percent in Sierra Leone, 7 percent in Tanzania, 10 percent in Ethiopia, 6 percent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 8 percent in Gabon, 11 percent in Guinea, and 6 percent in Mozambique are controlled by foreign investors who pay from 50 cents to $7.10 per hectare per year.

What do these transactions mean for millions of poor farmers who are already struggling to feed their families? The land grab means that these farmers are stripped of their livelihood. It means that they are evicted forcefully from where they were born, lived and worked for generations. It means the destruction of their lives and the lives of their children. They are being driven into a situation where even those lucky enough to find jobs have no choice but to accept working under the harshest and most difficult conditions, with wages often not enough to feed themselves and their family. If they are hired by a foreign-owned plantation on what was once their land, they will now mainly produce food for export, not for their country's people.

Compensation is almost nil in these evictions. In Liberia, Sime Darby Plantation, which wants to grow palm trees, paid $200 compensation to each evicted farmer for a 63-year lease, only $3 for every year. (Guardian UK, February 29, 2012) According to a 2011 publication by NU Wire Investor, one hectare of land in the U.S. costs $32,000, but in the poorer countries of Africa it costs less than the price of a cup of coffee.

It is often argued that in many places farmers have been unable to make a living from their small plots, and jobs will bring them more income than farming. But in general in the Third World, the shift to large-scale commercial farming is part of an unbalanced model of development in which people are robbed of their land and then basically cast aside. Whether the foreign investment comes from the imperialist powers or other reactionary states, it usually leads to greater dependency on the world market and submission to monopoly capital and its institutions such as the IMF [International Monetary Fund], the World Bank, the UN, and certain NGOs [Non-Governmental Organizations].

An ancient African saying no longer applies: "We who are alive now do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." Sustainability, ecological impact, and the consequences on people and nature may be touted in corporate brochures, but they are not and cannot be a real part of the "business model," even if some investors feel pressured to claim otherwise in their sponsored ecological and developmental impact studies and other public relations propaganda. Instead, the inexorable capitalist logic of the extraction of the maximum profit in the shortest time and the rivalry between competing capitals takes command and is the primary driver of investment.

Further, once the "gold rush" is on, companies and states who don't get in on the land grab now risk being excluded in the future, losing out to those who got there first.

Monopolizing Water

Along with these land grabs, water resources are being diverted to meet foreign capital's needs, squeezing other farmers dry.

The Alwero River in Ethiopia's Gambela region is key for the indigenous people. A new plantation in that region, owned by the Saudi Arabian billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi, is irrigated with water diverted from the Alwero. The company's plans for industrial irrigation would undermine local people's access to this life-giving stream. While Saudi Arabia was receiving its first shipment of rice from Ethiopia in 2009, over five million Ethiopians were hungry and relying on international charity food programs to feed them.

Neil Crowder from the UK-based Chayton Capital, an investment firm that has been acquiring farmlands in Zambia, says, "The value is not the land, the real value is in water. Grabbing of water resources for irrigating large-scale farming could rob millions of people of their access to water and risk the depletion of continent's most precious fresh water resources. But still the message repeated at farmland investor conferences around the globe is that water is abundant in Africa. It is said that Africa's water resources are vastly underutilized and ready to be harnessed for export-oriented agriculture projects." (

To see what this could mean, let's look at what has already happened in Pakistan. The country's single biggest irrigated area was created by Britain when Pakistan was part of the British colony of India. Later it was expanded with funding from the World Bank. Some 90 percent of all crops grows on land irrigated by water from the Indus River. Although this irrigation system expanded cotton exports and increased the production of rice and wheat with the use of other plant varieties, there was a price to pay.

Even freshwater rivers carry salt. The Indus carries 22 million tons of salt each year, only half of which is discharged into the Arabian Sea. The rest, almost a ton of salt per year per every irrigated hectare of land, stays on the farmers' fields. This kills crops. So far, a tenth of the fields in Pakistan have become usable for agriculture. A fifth are badly waterlogged, and a quarter produce only meager crops. The water withdrawal from the Indus River is so intense that in most years it no longer flows all the way to the sea. Capitalist investment does not take this kind of damage into account because it is external to the cost of production. Societies and the planet suffer under these conditions, but capital thrives.

In India, pumped water from deep boreholes irrigates 30 crops that replaced the indigenous farming system, including new plant varieties that require more water than traditional crops. A quarter of India's crops are grown using underground water that is not replenished by rainfall, and the water table is dropping dangerously.

Although the issue of sustainable agriculture is more acute in the dominated countries, it is a global problem. Water tables have fallen substantially in large-scale farming areas in the American Midwest. Fruit plantations in California use 15 percent more water than rain can replenish. This kind of agriculture cannot last.

The Aral Sea, once the fourth largest lake in the world, between the borders of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia, has been completely destroyed, with unimaginable ecological and human consequences. The infant mortality rate in this area is now the highest in the world. The two main rivers feeding the lake were diverted to supply water for cotton farming in the 1960s, a decade after socialist planning principles were replaced by the criterion of profit under the rule of a new capitalist ruling class that had arisen within the Soviet Communist Party.

The situation is even more dramatic in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has no rain or even rivers to speak of, but lying beneath the desert are vast fossil water aquifers (underground water bodies left over from earlier climate conditions). The Saudi government invested $40 billion in the 1980s to pump out this precious water to irrigate millions of hectares of wheat. In the '90s, in order to provide feed for the growing industrial dairy farms, many farmers switched to growing alfalfa, a crop that needs even more water. The aquifers collapsed. Some 60 percent of the country's fossil water was squandered in the process and lost forever.

According to the mega-NGO Oxfam, the land foreign investors have leased and bought from poor farmers in the poorer regions of the world is so vast that if it were farmed properly, it could feed a billion people. (Observer, October 13, 2012) But 60 percent of the crops grown on these lands are for biofuel (plants used as energy sources).

Capitalism cannot put sustainable development first, which, among other things, would mean drastically reducing the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that is propelling global warming. Instead, the profitability of biofuels has triggered a "gold rush" mentality among investors seeking higher returns on their investment. Further, biofuel projects are often speculative and may turn out to be disastrous for a country, even in capitalist terms. In northern Mozambique, farmers lost their land to international companies that wanted to grow the jatropha plant for biofuel. This experiment failed, but the damage was already done.

Food prices have gone down on the world market since their historical peak in 2008, but not by much. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), they are now approximately twice as high as a decade ago. (Almost one and a half times as high if adjusted for inflation.) Burgeoning financial speculation on agricultural products and the large-scale land grabs interact to drive up food prices.

Those who live in the imperialist countries spend only a small part of their income for food (nine percent in the U.S. on average), but in the countries dominated by imperialism, overcoming hunger is a serious challenge. No matter how much they work, many people are forced to spend 50-70 percent of their income (and sometimes more) just to buy food, often of low quality, so that even if their stomachs are full they may be malnourished. This gap between the extreme ends on the scale of rich and poor is getting bigger. Drought and floods due to climate change have dramatically increased the problem.

When rich countries import food it is like also importing water from the countries they dominate, because the water needed to grow these crops is used to create exported agricultural commodities and not to feed the local people. The imperialist countries and their associates import vast amounts of what has been called "virtual water" from the countries under the domination of their capital. They have situated themselves in such a way that they can even benefit from climate change and drought by increasing their control over real and "virtual" water and food sources in general.

The world needs 200 billion liters of water a second to grow its food, the equivalent of all the water in the Amazon River every day. About 62 percent of the water used to grow crops consumed in the UK is "imported" in this sense, amounting to some 58 bathtubs full per person per day. (Guardian UK, August 20, 2008) These sets of activities—capital's indirect import of water as well as direct access to water and the diversion of its natural flow for irrigated industrial farming, along with the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides—is a recipe for disaster for the countries where small farmers are being evicted, and for the world as a whole.

In the past few years, many grain suppliers have bought each other out, creating an ever-growing monopoly in which a shrinking number of firms control the global food markets. Six huge companies (ADM [Archer Daniels Midland], Bunge, Cargill, Louis Dreyfus, Glencore, and Marubeni) control more than 75 percent of the food market, and this process of monopolization is continuing. This trend favors further increases in prices all along the food chain.

This consolidation is also a threat to producers, because farmers are faced with fewer buyers and may have to accept lower prices for their crops. At the same time, farmers are basically dependent on grain trading companies and chemical monopolies for their seeds and fertilizers, and have to pay more to be able to produce. The entire food chain from top to bottom is increasingly under the direct control of monopoly capital. These monopolies are in the position of deciding who will farm and who will not, who will eat and who will not, and also who farms what!

Then there is the problem of wasted food that is created by the way the capitalist distribution system works, driven by the same need for the biggest and quickest profits as capitalist food production. According to Tim Fox, Head of Energy and Environment at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in the UK, wrong storage methods, improper expiration dates, the constant encouragement of customers to buy more than needed (offers to buy one and get one free) and too much attention to the appearance of products are some of the major causes of this waste. Thirty percent of the vegetables grown in the UK are not even picked because they don't "look good." Half of the food purchased in Europe and the U.S. ends up in the rubbish bin. In the Third World, the waste takes place at the start of the food chain due to the lack of adequate agricultural technology, storage facilities, and transport. Roughly half of the 400 billion tons of food produced on this planet every year are wasted.

However, the most criminal waste is the waste of human beings. Millions of people are dying from hunger and other causes related to poverty (such as lack of medical care). At the same time, the productive power and intellectual abilities of many millions are wasted because they cannot find work or are kept on the margin of society.

Are We Doomed to Live Like This Forever?

It is not true that our planet cannot feed its current population. Despite capitalism and other exploitative relations, the Earth now produces more than humanity needs, and it has the capacity to produce much more. The problem is that the capitalist mode of production and its distribution system cannot put the needs of the people and the planet first.

Capitalism proclaims that it represents the final point in human development. But it maintains tremendous impoverishment and is an obstacle to the kind of development the world really needs. This is the reason why getting enough to eat, let alone being able to eat healthy food, is so hard for so much of the world's population. Capitalism cannot give people the most basic right: the right to eat. At the same time, it is not illegal to lay people off, it is not illegal to violently evict millions of people, grab their livelihood, and force them into hunger, because all this is crucial for the dynamics of capitalist accumulation. That is the reality of "fair trade."

This system, capitalism and the domination of the world by a handful of monopoly capitalist countries, is not humanity's final destination but a barrier to its advancement to a better world. In order to get rid of hunger and injustice, we must do away with this system and nothing less.


A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Prisoner Responds to Bear Witness Appeal:

"The Nightmare Still Goes On..."

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


"An Appeal to the Brothers and Sisters Locked Down in this Society's Prisons: Bear Witness to Torture in U.S. Prisons and to All Law Enforcement Abuse" was issued in Revolution, February 3, 2013, by Carl Dix, representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party who was imprisoned in the military for refusing to go to Vietnam; Clyde Young, a revolutionary communist who was imprisoned in his youth; and Gregory Koger, a revolutionary communist who was imprisoned as a youth and spent many years in solitary confinement. The following response to this from a prisoner was received by the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund:

February 12, 2013

To the Bear Witness Project,

Torture. Sensory deprivation. Depersonalization. Cold Storage. These are all the terminologies that adequately describe what my state of existence has been like for the past six years, and for nearly 10 years all together—the latter being the title of a report by the Human Rights Watch in 1997 called Cold Storage: Super Maximum Security Confinement in Indiana. If anything in my disclosure in this letter seems a little farfetched and exaggerated, I can understand the skepticism, but you must understand that I've lived a farfetched and exaggerated existence for a long time now and the nightmare still goes on. Before there was a Guantánamo Bay or an Abu Ghraib, there was a MCC and SHU in Indiana and other states scattered across the United States, right here.

Professor Colin Dayan wrote a book called The Law is a White Dog, which was about this connection between domestic penological practices in America, the U.S.'s foreign policy and practices in its "detention centers" abroad and the ever-expanding justification for this form of torture in U.S. "civil" case precedents. In the Preface of her book, she writes:

Much of this book has a contemporary resonance—obviously Guantánamo and the secret prison sites in this country and round the world, where our country has made others complicit in its deprivation of rights and willful disregard of the laws of nations and the international obligations which this country, like others, has taken upon itself. This is a political book, then, but it is not a tract. What I have tried to do is show that the shame that is Guantánamo has a history, in our nation and its treatment of its own. (p.xiv)

My experience with residing in supermax facilities dates back to 2000. I had been in prison for little over a year. To give you an idea of the background of this particular prison and the type of circumstances which compelled me to be one of the rebellious "field slaves" throughout my whole bit and spend years on solitary confinement, I must explain what came BEFORE me being administratively sentenced to this domestic Guantánamo Bay indefinitely.

Within my first two months of being at this facility when I first came to prison in '99, a group of correctional officers, a lieutenant, and a casework manager had brutally beaten and murdered a mentally ill prisoner May 27, 1999, and had gotten away with it. Even the governor's office had been complicit in this cover-up. According to the official report, they claimed that this brotha had died from "choking on his own vomit." All the prisoners that were on that segregation unit unanimously told what really happened. One guy was so adamant about sticking to his statement, that they placed him on the SHU (the supermax facility) for a year for "false reporting." Just like Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, supermax units are often not used to hold the so-called "worst of the worst" but to intimidate and break a guy's resistance in one form or another.

What had angered me the most about that situation, though, was not only that this brotha died senselessly, but the obviousness of how it was deliberately covered-up, all the way downstate. Here I was sentenced to almost 40 years for a robbery and hadn't killed NO ONE, but within my first two months in prison, individuals who had given an oath to that very same state—that sentenced me to decades in prison—had MURDERED someone and not spent a day in jail. Not a day! Instead they were permitted the freedom to continue ordering us around, writing us up for committing petty prison rule violations, and maintaining their dominance and "authority" over us. If there was one incident that completely delegitimizes their "authority" over me in my eyes, I would have to point back to that incident, especially once I realized that that incident really wasn't an aberration on their part. That was the unwritten rule, the norm.

With that background in mind, as I said, I started off my supermax stints in 2000. Most of the times I've been sent to the SHU was due to my resistance against the prison regime in one form or another. One of the assault cases I caught against a guard was to bring to light the murder of that brotha back in 1999 when I first arrived here. I felt at the time that the only way to put this facility on trial was to do so in a criminal trial setting. Although I beat that particular case on an appeal on technical grounds, I've spent many many years on the SHU due to it. One thing all prison regimes fear are those who aren't fearful of bearing witness to their crimes and refuse to relinquish their humanity even under inhumane conditions. Nowadays most guys who fit that category end up spending years, even decades on these sort of units.

The near decade that I've spent on the SHU (now known as the SCU) I've experienced and seen a lot. Not only have I experienced its effects upon my own self, but I've seen it time again affect others in a multitude of ways. It's impossible to enumerate all the techniques and practices in one letter in which they've employed to try to break a person's will to resist, but I'll name a few so that the reader can get an idea of what these types of units are like.

Normally shakedowns are used to look for prohibited "contraband," but many times shakedowns are used as a form of intimidation on these units more so than they are in general population. I've came back to my cell plenty of times, after my cell had been shookdown, with everything—my personal letters, pictures, legal paperwork, magazines, books, etc.—piled up high in what could easily be mistaken for a pile of trash in a landfill, with my wash cloth and towel floating in the toilet. This particular shakedown that comes to mind, they weren't looking for anything at all; they just wanted to trash my cell and rub it in my face because they could. (I can't even began to describe the degree of hate and bitterness that that gives rise to in you.) I've also known them to use the threat of shakedowns, like the above in order to deter others from coming out of their cells to take a shower or their one hour solitary rec. They do stuff like that occasionally only to lessen their work load for that day, since a lot of the guys will decline their recs and showers out of fear of having their cells trashed and having to spend a meaningless hour putting their cells back in order. Again, stuff like that breeds intense hatred in you for them every time you experience something like that, because you see it as an indirect attack to your humanity, your individuality, and your dignity as a man.

Other tactics of intimidations that I've experienced are the use of the bright lights in our cells. Every so often they may arbitrarily keep our bright lights on nearly 16 hours in a day, then several months later abruptly suspend that practice, before arbitrarily bringing it back a year later—claiming they're only doing so for "the safety and security" of the prison. If that was really the case, why isn't it like that 24/7? How is it about "the safety and security" 16 hours in a day and not a PRIMARY concern the other 8 hours or so hours in that same 24 hour period? Nah... it's about control, intimidation, and sensory deprivation. As simple as such a change is, it's a form of sensory deprivation which completely alters your sleeping patterns and moods. It's another form of behavior modification which is employed to instill helplessness into you. And in many cases, it's unfortunately effective.

Like I said, I've not only experienced some of these effects myself at times, but I've also witnessed how this has affected others in a multitude of ways. I know several guys over the years—both Black and white—commit suicide because they could no longer endure the SHU's sensory deprivation, its torture, and depersonalization. I've known others to cut themselves and light their mattresses on fire, not to kill themselves, but to just get transferred to a psyche unit so they could escape this place. I personally know one guy, who had cut off one of his testicles and handed it to a guard just so he could go to the hospital for a few hours. He was one of the most extreme cases and should've never been placed on the SHU in the first place for a variety of reasons, but back then over half the guys that were housed on the SHU were mentally ill. Fortunately for them and us, they can no longer house mentally ill prisoners on either of the two supermaxes in Indiana any longer. But back then they could, and I'm sure they still do in many other states.

That in itself adds a degenerative dynamic to such an environment. I remember when they did used to warehouse mentally ill prisoners on the SHU, the guards and the prisoners alike would exploit those dudes in all kinds of ways. As far as the guards, some of them would turn them into their personal "hit men" by giving them extra trays to gun down a prisoner they didn't like. (In prison terminology, whenever someone is "gunned down" that means someone had squirted them with a bottle of piss, liquidated feces, or a combination of them both.) For one who has ever experienced being "gunned down," that's probably the most humiliating experience that one can ever experience in their life. Afterwards you definitely don't want to become a victim ever again. It can even bring out the worst in the victim.

Back then, I remember also alot of the correctional officers used to get off by running in on a single prisoner five and six deep and beating their ass. The fact that all of us are held 23 hours a day in a single man cell, the odds are always against us whenever they find some justification to run in our cell and beat us up. And in the '90's and early 2000's, cell extractions were a normal part of every week. They used the littlest justification to carry out those cell extractions and beat your ass too. If someone got shorted two slices of bread and refused to return their tray out of protest, they would run in his cell, suited up, remove the tray from his room, and beat his ass in the process. For many of them that wasn't only "sport," but also a "sanctionable" means of retaliating against us for whatever reason, without having to worry about any repercussions. Around that time, I remember there being a number of deaths and dudes being severely injured in many of those cell extractions. There were a few officers who got fired, but most of the time those situations were covered-up just like that one had been when I first came to prison.

Although there has been some "reforms" that's been made over the years within Indiana's supermaxes, reform doesn't address what I believe is the most debilitating component of these sort of institutions: the psychological side of the equation. In Supreme Court cases like Wilson v. Seiter 501 U.S. 294 (1991) and Beard v. Banks 548 U.S. 521 (2006), the U.S. Supreme Court totally excludes the subjective psychological component of the prisoner's mental health, thus depersonalizing them. Instead of taking into consideration their mental health in relation to the severity of the conditions, the court only considers the prisons officials' intent. Professor Colin Dayan pointed out the absurdity of this approach, by writing that:

In this spectacle of deference to prison authorities, the Court seeks grounds and reasons after the fact. Evidence resides in the most obscure and unverifiable place: the private thoughts of prison officials. If the objective severity of conditions is judged unconstitutional only when the subjective intent of those in control is present, Eighth Amendment violations are wholly impossible to prove in practice. (p.194)

I've known a lot of dudes, who have undergone this experience and now are either "crazy" or so socially detached and different than they once were, that their "BEFORE" and "AFTER" profiles stand in stark contrast from each other. You wouldn't even recognize them, if you had known them "BEFORE." I've experienced this personally.

A few years ago a close friend of mine ended up getting to the SHU and being placed on indefinite status along side me. I've known this brotha for a number of years and I've always taken him to be a strong solid dude. After spending several years on this unit and being shuffled around a few times, the last time I bumped back into him on the same range (tier), it was immediately apparent to me that he wasn't the same guy I'd known for years. He had that distant, detached look in his eyes. And he later confirmed it, when he sent me a kite (letter) and told me how his mind had been playing tricks on him. He told me, although he knew what he was seeing wasn't really happening, that he often observed a herd of spiders invading his cell from under his cell doors. I think it was around the second or third day, that early in the morning I heard what sounded like a T.V. being smashed against the floor. Come to find out, he had smashed his T.V. on the floor, jumped on his bed, with shit smeared all down one side of his face. One guard later told me, when they arrived at his cell, he was looking up at the ceiling not responding to anyone.

Before they transferred him off the SHU, he stayed on the range with me long enough to shoot a few kites (letters) to each other. At first, I honestly thought he was just busting a move to get off of the SHU and was willing to pay the "psyche role," but I realized after reading his kites (letters) that my guy was really messed up psychologically. I actually shed a few tears that night after that incident because I've known others who have fallen victim to the SHU, but I just never expected that to ever happen to one of my own guys. The fact that he only had several more years in prison left and had already done 10 years, it messed me up that he just might be damaged for the rest of his life. I say that because I hear that he's still seeing stuff invading his cell.

As "crazy" as that stuff is even today, many psychologists have attested to these supermax facilities causing one's mental health to deteriorate too. Professor Dayan dedicated part of her book to this phenomenon, to highlight this very fact, in which she wrote:

After years of analyzing the effects of supermax confinement on inmates' mental health, Harvard psychiatrist Stuart Grassian defined the environment as "strikingly toxic." What he has called "a specific psychiatric syndrome" caused by solitary confinement includes such symptoms as hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions. Inmates have difficulty remaining alert, thinking, concentrating, and remembering due to prolonged sensory deprivation. During a 60 Minutes episode on California's "Pelican Bay" broadcast on January 15, 1995, Grassian complained, "In some ways it feels to me ludicrous that we have these debates about capital punishment when what happens in Pelican Bay's Special Management Unit is a form of punishment that's far more egregious." (p. 85)

There's not enough space to really paint a comprehensive picture of an experience such as this to the public in a letter, but I felt the need to write as much as I have because I know how psychologically damaging these types of places are. I didn't even comment on my own psychological struggles in enduring this, but I sincerely believe anyone who has ever done time on these sort of units, especially endured years, have been scarred in a number of ways. Not only does places like this need to be abolished and a movement built up to accomplish this task, but all the brothas and sistas leaving places like this need the type of social support which will help them to address those social and psychological issues brought about by these institutions. I'm sure some will leave experiencing post-traumatic stress and other maladies that will make it hard for them to socialize and connect with others for a while—not all, but some. People need to be aware of this, though.

Lastly, I think we should never lose sight of how these units are being used in context of the New Jim Crow phenomena of mass incarceration too. As many of us now know, the New Jim Crow was initiated to preempt the likes of another Black Liberation movement from ever emerging again as it did in the '60s and 70s, and becoming a revolutionary threat to the status quo. In order to accomplish that goal, they had to criminalize, stigmatize, and neutralize the Black male population. Once this particular demographics had been successfully ensnared by the "War on Drugs," racial profiling, and the crack epidemics, the most rebellious and radical segment of the growing population later found themselves totally neutralized on supermaximum lockdown units scattered across the nation. In effect, Sun Tzu's military axiom of what constituted the pinnacle of the excellence in war had been adapted to a civilian form. As Sun Tzu had said in The Art of War:

"For this reason attaining one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the pinnacle of excellence. Subjugating the enemy's army without fighting is the true pinnacle of excellence." (Sawyer's trans. p. 177)

What better way to preempt a revolutionary situation from ever taking root and maturing than to neutralize that segment of the population that it's most likely to appeal to, on units which are designed to indefinitely break the will to resist out of the individual before they're ever politicized and seek out revolution in the first place? How many individuals on these units are Black and Latino nowadays? In the '60s and '70s many of these same guys would've been leaders of the Black Panthers, Young Lords and various militant organizations and parties back then. The prison that I reside at stop allowing us to receive any material about the Panthers several years ago, claiming that such material was a "threat to the security of the prison." Think about that!

I would argue that the supermaximum lockdown facilities across the nation is "the Final Solution" (a Nazis phrase) of this slow genocide which Carl Dix often speaks about in relation to the New Jim Crow of mass incarceration. It's an ever-expanding population of individuals like me, who embodies everything BAsics 1:13 represents, who find themselves on these units nowadays.

In closing, I would like to salute those guys out in California and other states around the country who've carried out those various hunger strikes, resisting these types of conditions. Not only should these kinds of resistance spread to the supermaxes in other states, but they must also come to see themselves collectively as being a part of this larger movement against the New Jim Crow of mass incarceration because while the two have their own particular contradictions, they are at the same time interconnected; they reinforce each other in practice. I would like to also commend Carl Dix, Clyde Young, Gregory Koger, and RCP as a whole for making this connection and building up a movement to once and for all bring to an end the The New Jim Crow of mass incarceration and these torture dungeons. I definitely stand in solidarity with you and will continue to do everything that I can in my own power to continue to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution, too. That's really the only alternative that we really have.

The Struggle Continues,





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Fundamental Rights Under Sharper Attack

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Three ominous events in the news last week show just how sharply fundamental rights are under attack:

Bradley Manning: Torture and Persecution of Whistleblowers

Bradley Manning, a 25-year-old U.S. Army private and intelligence analyst, was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq, accused of leaking classified documents that were published by WikiLeaks, and held for nine months under conditions amounting to torture. One of those leaked documents is a video showing U.S. troops in an Apache helicopter firing on and killing civilians in the streets in Iraq. On February 28, Manning accepted responsibility for providing to WikiLeaks selected information about U.S. war crimes. He continues to plead not guilty to 12 major charges—including "aiding the enemy"—for which he faces a possible sentence of life in prison without parole. The torture and vindictive persecution of Manning are meant to serve as a severe warning against others from stepping forward to blow the whistle on the crimes of the U.S. government and military.  A professor of military law at Yale University, quoted in the New York Times, said, "They're trying to scare the daylights out of other people."

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Government Spying

In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, which vastly expanded the ability of the government to eavesdrop on people in the U.S. without warrants. Accepting the argument of the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ), the Court declared that the plaintiffs—who included lawyers, journalists, and human rights advocates—had no legal standing to bring the lawsuit. Legal analyst Glenn Greenwald explained the tactic of the government: "By draping what it does in total secrecy, it prevents anyone from knowing with certainty who the targets of its surveillance are. The DOJ then exploits this secrecy to block any constitutional or other legal challenges to its surveillance actions on the ground that since nobody can prove with certainty that they have been subjected to this eavesdropping by the government, nobody has 'standing' to sue in court and obtain a ruling on the constitutionality of this eavesdropping." This ruling has ominous implications for legal challenges to the flood of fascistic laws passed since 9/11.

Scalia's Racist Attack on Black Voting Rights

During last week's questioning of lawyers in a case related to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that the law, which is a concession to the struggle in which many Black people and others gave their lives fighting for the right to vote, amounted to a "perpetuation of racial entitlement." This and other outrageous remarks by right-wing members of the Court are signs that the Court might overturn a key provision of the voting law, which would enable states to make it more difficult for Black people to vote. Before the Voting Rights Act, one of the main forms in which Black people were oppressed, in addition to brutal sharecropping exploitation, open segregation, and KKK terror, was being denied the right to vote. While the reality is that no serious positive change has ever been, or can actually be achieved through voting, the fact that this basic right is under such blatant, heavy assault—including from the "highest court of the land"—shows that white supremacy and oppression of Black people, which are so foundational to this country, not only continue but are intensifying.


All these attacks—on Bradley Manning; on the ability to legally challenge repressive laws; and on Black and other "minority" peoples' right to vote—must be resisted. More—all these attacks point to the need for a whole new system, one NOT based on exploitation and oppression. Check out the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the Revolutionary Communist Party.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Interview with National President of Veterans for Peace

"Bradley Manning Is a Hero"

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


A special feature of Revolution to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports, and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.

In January 2013, Revolution had the opportunity to interview Leah Bolger, the National President of Veterans for Peace about the case of Bradley Manning. The following is an excerpt from that interview:

Bradley Manning has been in jail for close to three years now awaiting trial for basically blowing the whistle on war crimes, which was his sworn oath to do. I was in the military for 20 years and I know that when you witness a war crime you are supposed to report it and that is exactly what he did. He released a video tape that implicated the U.S. Up until recently he had not admitted to it but he has now. So he did so out of a crisis of conscience. He witnessed, if you've seen the "Collateral Murder" video, if you haven't you need to, Google "Collateral Murder" on YouTube, this is the video, it was dubbed "Collateral Murder" by the WikiLeaks folks. It is an actual video tape from an Apache helicopter that shows their regular normal procedure of attacking innocent people, Iraqi people who were doing nothing except one family was trying to get their children to school and these people were attacked. Missiles and guns were shot at them and they killed nine people, I believe. Two of them were a Reuters reporter and photographer. And I think the world probably still wouldn't know about this if it hadn't been for Reuters reporting that their cameraman had been killed by American missiles. So they reported it and looked into it and they asked for an investigation and the army said no, nothing, there was nothing wrong.

Well Bradley Manning released these video tapes amongst a bunch of other stuff too. What the video depicted was the truth of war. There were completely inhuman things—laughing about killing people, laughing about rolling over dead bodies with tanks. It was just abominable and reprehensible and sickening. When you watch it, it just makes you gasp to hear the language. But this is not an aberration. This is the truth of war. And that's what we need to convey to people. What Bradley Manning did was a huge service to the world, to let people know the ugly, awful truth of war. And that's what Veterans for Peace tries to do with our own personal experience.

He's a hero. According to military law, if you see, if you witness a war crime you're supposed to report it. And his chain of command certainly didn't support him, and in fact the President of the United States said he was guilty of a crime punishable by death. Obama said this in a press interview and he said he was guilty. So when you have the Commander in Chief say that this man is guilty and the Commander in Chief is in the chain of command for all the people who will be part of the jury system, the judicial system, there is no way Bradley Manning can get a fair trial.

And I also mentioned that he really had a right to a speedy trial which is 120 days and it will be over three years before he's even going to trial now. This is crazy. He's been in three years of solitary confinement in what the UN calls torturous conditions, deprived of his clothing, forced nudity, prohibited to exercise, no social contact with anyone. These are inhumane, torturous conditions and the United Nations has called for an investigation into this. So it's obviously vindictive punishment against someone who has embarrassed the government. But what I'd like to stress to people, is like I said, this is not an anomaly, this is not an abomination, this is what goes on everyday in war. So we have to understand, because this was not just a couple of bad apples, this was typical. These Apache gun ships that did not give fair warning, they did not use escalation of force, they didn't allow the people to surrender, they harmed first responders, the people who were coming to people's aid, that is a flagrant violation of international law, human rights. So there were all these different points of the Geneva Convention that were violated—international law. And not to mention the fact—why are we in Iraq in the first place, a country that has done nothing against the United States, and occupying that country? It's just one horrible thing on top of another, making it worse and worse and worse. And now these soldiers [who carried out these murders], they were found to be completely innocent and it's just a really sad commentary on what our value system is in American society.

Some people say that part of the reason the U.S. government is going after Bradley Manning is to get at Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

I think the government is very, very embarrassed. I support, Veterans for Peace supports Julian Assange and we think transparency is critical. And getting back to Bradley Manning, the government in order for people not to see these things they over-classify things to make them secret or top secret so that we can't know it and then to release it makes it a federal crime. Well, these things are not secret. The things that Julian Assange released are not secret to the Iraqis, they are not secret to the Afghanis. These are war crimes that are happening. Who is it being kept secret from? The American public. The government doesn't want us to know what is being done in our name.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Victory in 15-month political battle

Charges Dismissed for Brooklyn Stop-and-Frisk Freedom Fighters

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


On February 27, a victory was won when charges were dropped against Carl Dix, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Luis Barrios and Morgan Rhodewalt. The four had been arrested while protesting NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy at a Brooklyn NYPD precinct in November 2011. This action was part of the movement to stop mass incarceration, which has initiated determined struggle to end the racist, illegitimate, illegal practice of stop-and-frisk by the NYPD—that jacks up and humiliates hundreds of thousands of people every year, the majority Black and Latino, and 90 percent of them doing nothing wrong, and that serves as a first step in a pipeline that has locked 2.3 million in prison.

Right after the prosecution rested its case, the judge ruled that prosecutors had not proven the elements of disorderly conduct and granted a trial order of dismissal. The case against Greg Allen, who defended himself on the same charges before a different judge in November, was also dismissed. Seven remaining defendants in the case are expected to have charges dismissed on March 12.

In November 2012, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network picked the 73rd NYPD Precinct in Brownsville, Brooklyn, for the second location in a campaign of mass nonviolent civil disobedience to stop the NYPD practice of stop-and-frisk. The 73rd has the second highest rate of stops. The Huffington Post reported that in 2011, "73rd Precinct officers stopped 25,167 New Yorkers. Ninety-eight percent of them were black or Latino."

On November 1, 2011, more than 100 people rallied near a subway stop, where people spoke out about their experience being stopped by NYPD, the effect it has on a generation of youth, and both the need to end the policy and the system which is responsible for it. They came from East New York and Brownsville, from Occupy Wall Street, religious groups, and from the movement for revolution.

Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, an initiator of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network along with Cornel West, called on people to stand with him, and a multinational group of young people, Black, white, Latino, Asian, both men and women, gathered around him. Dix led a mic check of a quote from BAsics, from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian: "No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that."

After a loud march to the 73rd Precinct, with chants of "We say NO to the New Jim Crow! Stop-and-frisk has got to GO!" 28 people were arrested by NYPD on the street in front of the precinct.

Brooklyn prosecutors originally charged the protesters with obstructing governmental administration (OGA), which carries a possible 12-month jail sentence, and disorderly conduct, which carries a possible 15 days. After six court appearances, rallies, a petition signed by over 1,000 people demanding the charges be dropped, and through the political and legal arguments of a volunteer group of lawyers from Legal Aid, Brooklyn Defenders Service, the National Lawyers Guild, and Occupy Wall Street lawyers, the prosecutors dropped the more serious charges but wouldn't let go of the disorderly conduct charge.

Four police witnesses admitted under cross examination that the protesters were kept at such a distance from the 73rd precinct door by several rows of NYPD that they were not blocking it, and the NYPD's own video confirmed that. Prosecutors tried to change their charge from blocking the door to gathering and causing a disturbance but, in this case, the judge was not persuaded.

Carl Dix said, "The judge's dismissal of our cases is a real victory that took a long time to achieve. We were and are right to resist stop-and-frisk, and the authorities were and are wrong when they argue that it is about fighting crime. It's about criminalizing the youth. This kind of racial profiling serves as a pipeline to the more than two million people warehoused in prison across the country. This victory has to be turned into a step forward in ending all this injustice."

Nine people await trial in Queens, set for April 8, on charges from a November 2011 protest at the 105th precinct. Four tried in November, including Carl Dix and Morgan Rhodewalt, were acquitted by a jury of more serious charges of OGA, but were convicted of disorderly conduct. At this time the Queens prosecutors still plan to try others on the same charges.

Noche Diaz, a defendant in both Brooklyn and Queens, will be tried in the Bronx on March 20 and in Manhattan on April 23 for three arrests in which he was observing the police arrest and, in one case, beat others. He has five serious misdemeanor charges in trials where prosecutors say he has a "pattern" of interfering with police. The Stop Mass Incarceration Network said recently:

"Many wonder why there is no movement of young people protesting all this, as previous generations have. 24-year-old Noche Diaz IS protesting all this. He IS organizing others to protest against all this. He HAS put his body on the line to protest stop-and-frisk and to observe the police abusing people. Noche is a revolutionary, who lays out his views as he protests and organizes. And for all this, he faces 4½ years in jail just in Manhattan, as well as jail time in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens... YOU have a responsibility to make sure they don't succeed in doing that. YOU need to help make sure Noche can continue to do the important work he's involved in."

For more information at




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Why Go to This Film Premiere?

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Why go to this film premiere? Simply: It's by far the most important thing people could be doing that day–it's dealing with the most important thing there could be–because it's about the real possibility of bringing into being a radically different world, where all this madness, all the oppression and injustice, all the abuse and degradation that is so much a part of life now, would be done away with. If anybody can think of anything more important than that–let's hear it!



New York City

Saturday, March 16, 1 pm - 8 pm
AMC Magic Johnson Harlem 9 Theater

2309 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (at 124th Street)
Harlem, NYC

$20.00 General Admission,
$10.00 Unemployed and Youth;
$75.00 Premium Seats

Tickets and more information:

See film trailer for Magic Johnson Theater:

A "before the film" commercial that you actually want to see:  "BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less" ... at the Movies!


Saturday, March 16, 1 pm - 8 pm
Ferguson Hall at Columbia College

600 S Michigan Ave. (Harrison & Michigan)
Chicago, IL

$5 Youth/Students/Low-income;
$15 General Admission.
Food served at intermission.
Take CTA Red Line to Harrison stop.

Tickets, parking, childcare and other info:

Los Angeles

Saturday, March 16, 1 pm - 8 pm
L.A. Theatre Center

514 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA

$20.00 General Admission,
$10.00 Students
$100 Premium Tickets with DVD of the film and VIP Seating
Food available. Contact us for childcare.

Tickets and more information:
Revolution Books, 5726 Hollywood Blvd.
or UCLA, Carter Huggins Hall, Rm 1232
(also known as Campbell Hall)

SF Bay Area

Sunday, March 17, 1 pm - 8 pm
Laney College Theater

900 Fallon St. (at 9th St.)
1 block from Lake Merritt BART Station
Oakland, CA

Tickets $5-$20
Child Care Available
Contact Revolution Books Berkeley for tickets and information: 510-848-1196,,



Spread this everywhere and to all your friends, using the social networking tools here.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

More On Key Themes and Threads—Building for the Premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


This post should be seen as supplemental to yesterday's very important post  "Key Themes and Methods in Fighting Through to Successful Premieres."

More on three key points from that post, and two new points:

  1. To the Masses in a Mass Way—EVEN MORE SO
  2. Building Collectivity at Every Level
  3. Follow-up is Critical
  4. Into the Media and the Social Buzz
  5. Raise Funds!!

1) To the Masses in a Mass Way—EVEN MORE SO

As we write, it does not seem as if what was actually meant by saturation in the essay recalling Raymond Lotta's speech at University of Chicago in 2009 has been truly grasped everywhere; it would be important to return to that posting in going into this last week and to fight to really implement what is said there in relation to especially key components of the local plan. Biggest enemy right now: satisfaction at "good things," at "doing better." 

From a comrade out on a campus: "While going up to individuals and getting into this premiere with them should be one element of our work, we are not going to succeed in making these events a critical moment in the movement for revolution by limiting our approach to fighting for people one on one to attend. We have to really saturate and we have to be bringing forward collective presence of those students who are attracted to and buying their tickets."


Why go to this film premiere? Simply: It's by far the most important thing people could be doing that day—it's dealing with the most important thing there could be—because it's about the real possibility of bringing into being a radically different world, where all this madness, all the oppression and injustice, all the abuse and degradation that is so much a part of life now, would be done away with. If anybody can think of anything more important than that—let's hear it!

One comrade wrote the following about taking this out and boldly using it:

The paragraph is EXTREMELY COMPELLING—and I would read it and just stop and make them respond. Then I would work on groups of friends, because you could see how they were looking at each other, and usually there was one in the group who seemed most pulled by it but they didn't really want to step out without their friends and at the same time they were having a positive impact on their friends. I would struggle for them to come together, precisely because this isn't just to learn—altho you will learn a lot—but to open up the real world possibility of ending all this madness to whole sections of people, to get into this revolution, and to be able to come out of that to actually IMPACT on the world—we really need revolution and nothing less because humanity needs a better world. Most times at a certain point I would look at them and say, "Tell me the truth, have you EVER had anyone come and say that there was a way to end all of this horror?" Inevitably the answer was no, and this would make them pause and think more deeply that this wasn't just another event they might be interested in, but something truly unique and that DOES REALLY MATTER. Then I would argue that nothing could be more important—or read that paragraph if I hadn't yet—and tell them they had to get a ticket and make a commitment and be there. Most said they'd think about it and I got their #'s and emails and set a time to meet them tomorrow.

People were moved, but not committed yet. But, I think that some of these groups in particular there is potential to pull them in together. Also, the more that this becomes something that is truly unavoidable, that will have an impact on them. Also, they will be weighing—and others will as we go—the sharpness of the challenge that was put to them and this will influence what they do as they see this more and more surrounding them on campus. And the more people get their tickets and say they are going, this will have a "I don't want to miss out" effect on folks as well.

So—USE THIS PARAGRAPH "WHY GO TO THIS FILM PREMIERE?"!!! including in emails, tweet the link to it, as mini posters everywhere and in your own discussions with people.

To the masses, in a mass way: this is MORE important than ever. And wherever the premiere is beginning to be known—especially wherever there are clusters of several or more people who have bought tickets or otherwise become active—now is the time to intensify the mass presence. Go from "critical mass" to "chain reaction"—find the ways to work with the ticket buyers and people who are supportive to participate, in different ways. Posters remain very important. Palmcards appearing all over—very important. Another important form: people can put stickers on their clothes—either with the title of the film, or the masthead of the paper—this has in some areas been a way that the hardcore youth have chosen to show interest and support. Get to the point where there is a palpable feel of a movement toward going to the film showing. Apply the lessons of last week's post on the Raymond Lotta program at University of Chicago in 2009 not only to campuses, but to key areas where the oppressed live and where the movement for revolution has had a presence. Work to achieve a tipping point.

Other forms: drum corps; preview parties where part of the rough cut is shown and tickets are sold; raising money, with buckets and mobilizing people to make and sell food, etc.; mobilizing the young youth.

AND as stressed in "Key Themes and Methods in Fighting Through to Successful Premieres," direct engagement—at times on the spot and for the first time—was very important and was clearly part of what convinced people to buy tickets.

2) Build and exercise collectivities at every level:

Different kinds of collectivities should be built: every team that goes out; with people who want to help, a way to put into practice what was said yesterday in the section on "organizing and consolidating cores."

Every team setting out to build for the premiere should always take a few minutes to re-ground themselves before they go out—use the editorials, use the palm cards, or short  audio or video of BA etc.—it doesn't have to be complex... but do it! And always sum up, with whoever is with you, going back to where this premiere fits into our whole project, and looking for significant signs and openings from that angle; if you are working mainly alone, find someone to team up with to talk things over.

Working out with people HOW to get to the premiere itself—helping resist and overcome the pulls of their daily lives—requires returning to the substance of the paragraph above as to why this is the most important thing they could be doing that day and working this through with committed individuals as well as groups and especially turning these obstacles and needs into collective opportunity to forge collective forms... every obstacle an opportunity to build collectivity and deepen understanding of why we must be there.
It still seems, from what is being reported, that people want to participate... but we are not finding the ways to enable that to happen, not following up, not getting back to them. Revolution, among other things, is about people in many different ways participating in changing the world!! 

But, one critical caveat: don't allow your sights to be limited to whatever the particular collectivity that has been pulled together spontaneously thinks can be accomplished. Leadership is decisive, in putting forward a vision based on grasping the great need, fighting for a method to analyze the pathways to freedom and transformation within that need, and carrying all the way through on the plans to effect that analysis (even as activity itself will and should call forth certain adjustments to the original analysis and plan).  

3) Follow up is critical:

In areas where there is a buzz, and people are weighing this and saying that they probably will come—remember that, as one comrade put it, the "probablies" will likely not "materialize to anything if we don't fight this through." In yesterday's "Key Themes ..." it was put, "If approached on the right basis, it is important to recognize that folks giving us their contact information is often a meaningful step in the process, indicating they are seriously weighing all this—and it is very important that we follow up with them." Individually and wherever possible, not just one on one but including in making the atmosphere much more one where this is what everyone is debating and they don't want to miss it." Go consistent! And go big!

Important: go back to every area where people did something significant around February 26, and continue in every area where there are any kind of outpourings around International Women's Day. Follow up!  Go back to classrooms where you already spoke and sell tickets. Talk to the people again who bought tickets. Call the numbers that people give you—a point emphasized in yesterday's post but which must really happen! Again, this point is well emphasized in "Key Themes and Methods in Fighting Through to Successful Premieres"; review and implement. 

Continue sending out the statements posted on the site urging people to come to everyone who is coming, or thinking of coming; reinforce and deepen commitment, spread the current.

4) Getting into Media and Public Opinion More Generally:

Key tool: again, the statements posted on this site urging people to come. Figure out creative ways to use these to get publicity.

Continue with the blasts to e-lists; step this up this week! And with the people you reach, get as many of them as you can to themselves get this around, this way spreading the news much further and also drawing these individuals into part of building the social movement for the films.

Pull people together in every area who have been in the media or worked on media; people who have significant public profile of one kind or another; and make plans for final push.  Send in ideas or any appearances to the site.

Tap more scientifically into the networks of people that have known and worked with the Party. Make sure nobody is being overlooked. Remember: this film is tremendous, these premieres will be "a great day," and people will kick themselves if they don't go—and be righteously mad if they don't go because we forgot to tell them!! Think about everyone we've worked with in different mass social initiatives; people who contributed to and were part of the April 11 concert, for instance; people who have expressed interest in and talked about the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America; etc. etc.

5) Last But NOT Least:

RAISE FUNDS!! Raise funds in buckets on street corners... raise funds through projects involving masses in tamale sales or dinner sales... raise funds by going to people who've donated before, or should have donated... raise funds by going to people we don't know but who want to see the world changed and want to use some of their money to make that happen. Make this a mission, and if openings pose themselves use the person best able to make the case to do it.





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Observations and Thoughts on Building for the Premiere

Key Themes and Methods in Fighting Through to Successful Premieres

March 6, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Here are some observations and thoughts on two main themes off of being out this last weekend to promote, build for and get people to come to the film premiere BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

The first theme I want to touch on is that it seems to me that the line and approach is—and remains—the decisive factor in how people understand the content and significance of these film premieres, on whether they come to the premieres, and be part of building a social movement for these film premieres—a critical moment in the movement for revolution in this country.

It is important that people get their tickets now, seal their commitment to come, and create a favorable and compelling atmosphere in key sectors of society, influencing others. At the same time, it is critical that the mission and method of taking this to the people be consistent with the content and tone of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, and the need and ideological challenge for people to "Get With It!" In other words, our approach has to be in line with and consistent with that, not be narrowed down to just "get your tickets now," severed from content. People need a basic understanding of the content of the film, of what to expect—what folks are coming to hear and why it matters.

In this context, a couple of thoughts/observations:

* The palm card for BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! is a tremendous, and still perhaps underappreciated, resource. This card puts forward with simplicity and in a basic way why this film matters. In my experience, it was really worth having people not only just quickly scan the palm card (as is the fashion in this attention-deficit society), but really take time to read the front and back of the card, including the three quotes—from BA, Cornel West, and the filmmaker—and reflect on it all, forming the basic framework of what often turns into provocative, interesting—and unexpected—discussions. Often, both because many people have difficulty reading and because it is more interactive, it is good to read aloud with them. The content of the palm card, either in conversation or agitation, along with "Clear Your Day" as a tag-line (or "Get Your Tickets Now") poses a challenge and a framework for the rest of the engagement. This might encompass who is BA, other questions about the revolution, and much more—all of which should lead in a broad way and directed towards the film premieres.

* The more there are the "surrounds" and collective engagement with BA the better. While not a pre-requisite for buying the ticket, we found that a great majority of those who bought their tickets had some degree of direct engagement with BA—at times on the spot and for the first time—either through watching some clips and/or listening to the Cornel West and Michael Slate interviews or quotes from BAsics. This "speaks to the serious" like nothing else, and deepens the understanding of what to expect—what folks are coming to hear and why it matters.

* Overall, there is an approach modeled in the last editorial "Clear Your Day" of directing people to the film, of not trying to answer every question exhaustively but utilizing the method of the editorial, saying these are the big questions of our day, they are substantively taken up in this film and this is why you need to Clear the Day, this is why you need to be there. A conviction that this is the most important thing they can do with that day—to Clear the Day for BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

This same editorial also poses the big questions that objectively exist in society and are subjectively brought to the fore by this approach. Posing these questions brings them to consciousness. As the editorial states, it is not about answering all the questions, or agreeing to everything as a prerequisite to come to the film, but having these questions is reason to be there! I had an instance where I ran through some of these questions with a high school student. He was relatively quiet, and at a point, I asked "Don’t you sometimes wonder if this is the best of all possible worlds or is there something better, not some heaven or utopia but that we can make?" and he replied, "All the time." "That's why you need to be there," was my response—and he just took out his wallet and bought a ticket.

* As part of this process, many have given us their contact information. Some did not have the money on hand to buy tickets, some have questions and want to learn more, and many are still contemplating all this, often hearing for the first time what is completely outrageous and eminently reasonable. If approached on the right basis, it is important to recognize that folks giving us their contact information is often a meaningful step in the process, indicating they are seriously weighing all this—and it is very important that we follow up with them.

This takes a variety of forms including phone-calling, meeting up for coffee, sending them the daily emails from the BA Everywhere initiative, or links to the interview and film clips and other works of BA on While we can't go chasing after people who aren't serious, it is important to take the time to fight for those who actually are seriously weighing this.

Drawing People in on the Spot

The second theme I want to touch on is that it seems to me we need to get much better at, and find more forms and means for drawing people in on the spot and organizing and consolidating cores and groupings to come to the film premieres. It'd be great to hear others' experiences in this regard so we can all learn from them and popularize and emulate some approaches and forms that achieve these.

In this context, a couple of points:

* Drawing in and involving people on the spot has to be built into our approach in everything we do, not an afterthought or add-on. Even as people are first introduced to the film and weighing buying a ticket, people can become part of the process of building for the film (and often this can impact back on their desire to be there as they learn more). This might include taking stacks of palm cards and distributing them, contributing funds, inviting us to their home and club to watch the clips and listen to the interviews with their friends and family, and joining us in outings to the campus, to the projects, and to different events.

What I learned this past weekend are some ways popularized by the local Revolution Club along with others. Buttons with BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! have proven to be popular particularly with a section of the high school students and creates the feeling and the realness of a social movement for this film. There are a group of young kids in the projects—“shorties”—who have gravitated to this, and are part of the crew, wearing "The System Has No Future for the Youth, The Revolution Does!” t-shirts, drumming when people are out among the masses, handing out cards to each apartment and postering all over the place. They are asking people—neighbors and others—"Have you got your ticket yet?" creating a "vibe" and contributing to the surrounds and social compulsion. The Revolution Club has created a simple stencil of Revolution—Nothing Less! for t-shirts, backpacks, etc.—popular among the youth. Getting a stencil of this is getting involved. Having the shorties and others do it and making it a mass phenomenon seems the next evolution. These are just a few examples, and we need a lot more and consistently.

* Organizing and consolidating cores and groupings to come to the film premieres will be critical, from the standpoint not only of successful premieres but also in making these a decisive moment in the movement for revolution in this country.

People being approached should also be encouraged and worked with to speak with their friends, family, neighbors, colleagues and associates about this, those "they talk serious things with," invite them to engage with BA and come to the film premiere. People can be part of selling tickets for this whether they are extremely "fired up" and on a mission for this film or if they are new but serious about trying to bring their friends. This applies even more to those who came to the fall events where BA spoke live and have some understanding of what this experience can mean and result in!

A basic read and discussion of BA: A Contended Question helps give them a correct framework to process and understand their friends' reactions—and their own. There are natural "organic" groupings in different social realms whether it be the campus or the projects or society more broadly, but forging and consolidating cores takes leadership—method, attention and work—and it's worth it. It seems to me that collectively listening to and watching BA—in the film clips and the interviews—even while taking it out to and with others is a critical aspect of consolidating these cores.

What I got a deeper sense of this weekend is that not only do we need newer cores we meet and forge through this process, but we also need to grow already existing cores like the Revolution Club, Revolution Books, or the local BA Everywhere Committee. These are very attractive centers with people gravitating to and orbiting around these cores. The local Revolution Club for example has become a recognized force and reference among certain sections of youth including students. New people can learn a tremendous amount, as well as contribute—both through their own involvement and even by simply being present with the revolutionaries—by joining in these efforts. I saw some evidence of this when a few youth, with life stories and histories borne of the profound oppression of sections of people by this system, ran with the Revolution Club for parts of the day, both contributing in significant ways and showing the potential for much more.

The bookstore and the committee have reach and influence among strata ranging across artists, intellectuals and basic masses. While primarily ideological and political centers, these can and must also be centers of organizing for the day, making sure people come to the film premieres—including, as much as possible, helping coordinate simple logistical measures like organizing shared and collective transport to the theaters/venues, and working through other obstacles like childcare. Revolutionaries leading in the mass initiatives to stop mass incarceration and to end pornography, patriarchy and the enslaving degradation of women are a similar attractive force representing a future without all these horrors, a conviction that it no longer needs to be this way, and should be selling a lot of tickets and involving people in building for these premieres.

Again, collectively listening to and watching BA—in the film clips and the interviews—even while taking it out with others is a critical aspect of cohering and consolidating these cores. Without making a "stage" out of this, instead doing this as part of the dynamic of being out in the world, and building on the beginnings around all this, it seems to me we can and should strive to realize the full potential and do much more around this.... and I think 10 days is still enough to make it all happen!




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

To Those Who Hate the Oppression of Women—And Want to See Humanity Free of Every Chain...


A message from Sunsara Taylor

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Karl Marx once wrote that in the future communist society it will be as difficult to imagine owning a piece of land as it is today to picture owning a human being.

The same principle applies to the rest of the many horrors today seem to constitute the "natural order of things." It will be difficult for people to fathom how it ever seemed acceptable to live in a world where millions of children died each year from preventable disease, where technology and innovation were utilized not to solve world hunger but to create and unleash arsenals of mass destruction, or where ideas—even new understandings of how to cure epidemic diseases—were considered "private property" and held back unless someone could profit off them.

As one critical dimension of this, human beings will look back in bewildered horror at the idea that it was ever considered "human nature" for men to dominate, degrade, and brutalize women. Students will roll their eyes in disbelief as teachers try to convince them that people had ever declared this era in particular—one marked by a global epidemic of rape, increasingly violent pornography, and a sex-slave trade that consumes women and girls by the millions, from the one end, and the rise of fundamentalisms with its spectacular misogynist violence, its shaming of women, and its all-out assault on abortion and birth control, on the other—as a time of "great advance for women." And girls everywhere will grow up free from ever knowing what it is to feel shame over their sexuality, to be reduced to objects of any kind, or to fear for their safety at the hands of men.

If this, today, is hard to imagine—that is not surprising. Everything about the world we live in reinforces the notion that this is "the way things have always been" and "how they will always stay."

All of this is blown away when you hear BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

This masterpiece six and a half hour speech spans the globe and comprehends the many outrages which call forth both the need and the basis for genuine communist revolution. Woven through this, BA reveals—with unrelenting passion and sweeping substance—both the source and the real-world and realizable solution to the oppression of women. He shows the connections between this and all other forms of oppression and the roots of—and reinforcement between—all of this in class divisions. He shows very concretely HOW a total revolution could be won to sweep all this away. And he shows how no such revolution could actually succeed if it does not deal with the liberation of women as one extremely important component from beginning to end.

BA addresses head-on the way this system has deprived so many of even the ability to see beyond these current conditions of female enslavement and degradation—and he takes a sledge hammer to any sense of this being necessarily "permanent" or the result of some supposedly unchangeable "human nature."

He enables you to see, and to feel towards, the way we are forced to live—including the cruel and misogynist dimensions of the culture that go unnoticed even by most who consider themselves "enlightened"—something as close to the horrified bewilderment of those future generations as it is possible to feel today.

He can do this because he understands—and brings alive in vivid dimensions—how it is actually possible to win the fight to bring into being a whole new liberated era for human beings.

All this is why you need to be at the premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Such a revolution won't be easy, and this is something that BA doesn't shine on or shy away from. But such a revolution is possible, and this is something that BA not only reveals but gives others the method to understand and contribute to.

No one else on the planet today is even dealing with the magnitude of questions BA takes on in this talk, let alone providing answers.

There is nothing more important that any of us could be engaging than what is presented in BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

And BA is infectious in his moral commitment—unflagging, in fact intensifying, over nearly five decades—to contribute all of his heart, and all his knowledge, skills and abilities to serving the cause of revolution and the emancipation of humanity. It is an example we can all learn from and a standard we should all aspire to.

All this is why you should not only clear your day to attend, but work to bring others to, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

For those of you with a special commitment to the liberation of women, stop and really think about what first drove you to take up this fight. Maybe it was the murder of abortion doctors. Maybe you and/or countless friends were raped or molested. No doubt you are sickened by the way girls in some parts of the world are shrouded and shamed while others are taught to move and act like sex objects long before they even know what sex is. Surely you are horrified by the millions and millions of women and girls who are beaten and pimped and traded as sex slaves. You and I both know that I could continue this list for pages and pages and still not exhaust all the possible outrages that might have been the first to push you to fight.

I know that many of you expand your thinking to include the children forced to work in the mines of India and Africa, the millions locked the concrete dungeons of the U.S. prison system, the irreversible destruction of the earth's ecosystems that escalates every day, and the countless other degradations and horrors of this world.

Now think about the possibility of all of this ending.

If you are serious about wanting that—not just fighting the "good fight" or helping a few people, but really and truly seeing all of this END—then there really is nothing more important you can do on March 16/17 than to clear your day, get your ticket, bring your friends, and listen and engage very deeply with BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

On Hugo Chavez: Four Points of Orientation

March 6, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela for the last 14 years, died of cancer on Tuesday, March 5. In coming weeks, Revolution newspaper will feature analysis of Hugo Chavez, his program and outlook, and the regime he headed. We offer readers these four points of orientation for understanding the politics and economics of Hugo Chavez and U.S. imperialism's stance towards him.


1. U.S. imperialism has dominated Venezuela.

Throughout the 20th century, the U.S. dominated Venezuela's economy. It gave military and political support to the ruling regimes that represented the interests of the wealthy landed, industrial, and financial elites. Oil was a critical factor. Venezuela had emerged as a major oil producer in the world, and U.S. oil companies were heavily involved in Venezuela's oil sector. In 1989 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) imposed a vicious austerity plan on Venezuela. The masses took to the streets in militant protest. The government responded with bloody repression, murdering at least 3,000 people.


2. Hugo Chavez was a thorn in the side of U.S. imperialism.

Hugo Chavez came to office in 1998 against a backdrop of massive corruption, autocratic rule, and subordination to imperialism. He said that the resources of Venezuela belong to the Venezuelan people, and that oil revenues should be used to improve social welfare. He called for a foreign policy that would stand up to the U.S. For these and other reasons, Hugo Chavez commanded considerable popular support. For these reasons, Hugo Chavez also became a thorn in the side of U.S. imperialism. In April 2002, the CIA backed a coup against Chavez. And throughout Chavez's presidency, U.S. government aid agencies and military attaches, and U.S. private foundations and media outlets, have worked to build up anti-Chavez forces in Venezuela.


3. Hugo Chavez did not stand for genuine revolution and genuine socialism.

A real revolution in an oppressed Third World country like Venezuela requires a two-fold break. There must be a radical break with the political economy of imperialism. And there must be a radical social revolution, a radical break with traditional relations and ideas. This was neither the program nor outlook of Hugo Chavez. Venezuela remained dependent for revenues on the world oil economy, which is dominated by imperialism. It remained dependent on the world market, which is dominated by imperialist agro-business, for its food. Under Chavez, there was improvement in literacy and health care, but there was no fundamental change in the class and social structure of society. Agriculture is still dominated by an oligarchy of rich landowners. In the cities, the poor remain locked into slums. Women remain subordinated and degraded. Abortion is banned in Venezuela.   


4. U.S. imperialism has no right to meddle or intervene.

Any and all attempts by the U.S. to destabilize, or plot against, the Venezuelan government must be resolutely opposed. We in the U.S. have a special responsibility to act on that understanding.





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

An Experience Watching the Rough-Cut With a Group of People

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

"BA just grabbed me and dragged me in," this was one of the first comments after nearly a dozen of us finished watching the first two hours of the rough cut of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION— NOTHING LESS! "He gives so much history to everything he is talking about. Even if you are new to this movement you know what he is talking about because he makes it really clear." The young man speaking is very new to the revolution. He grew up in the projects not far from where we are gathered and has spoken with deep anger as well as searching about the conditions he and those around him have grown up in, about having spent time in jail, about seeing friends cut down by the senseless violence of the streets, about trying to figure out why Black people are always on the bottom. During the film every now and then he would take out his notebook and jot something down. He said he especially liked how BA gave such vivid examples, "like how he said there is blood in our clothes [referring to the crushing process of exploitation through which our clothes are produced under capitalism], I never thought about that... and I am never going to forget that."

The young woman sitting next to him grew up in a different part of the world and had been taking even more notes throughout the speech. She was most struck by how BA forces you to totally reject the normal terms that people think in, "all the pragmatism and excuses not to be thinking about and doing something about the horrors in the world." She went on, "Sometimes you will be having a conversation about drones and the whole thing will be about how drones are cheaper and maybe kill fewer people than regular war and you'll be going along thinking about things all totally within the confines of how things already are. But you hear BA and you realize, those aren't the terms—why is any of this happening in the first place. That is the real issue... He connects the dots, too. He goes from small to big and from past to present and even the future... all in just the first three hours!... Like [the first person to speak] said, he pulls it back to history, to the beginnings of society and shows this is not inherent." She did a mocking type of voice to convey what is conventional wisdom, "Well, people are all just bad." "No. This is NOT inherent. People do good things too, but its leashed and struck in charities or whatever is allowed or easy within the current confines."

She and another young man both took some time to talk about how even when people know some things are wrong in the world, they don't really confront just how bad things actually are. Both of them had seen the speech before and it seems they had both been driven to go and see for themselves if things really were that severe. "Yeah, you can google everything he says... at first you think it might be an exaggeration but really none of it is an exaggeration."

The next person who spoke agreed with what had been said but really seemed to be most struck by the method of the speech. "He also tells you WHY these things are happening. And he's not only asking all these questions, he is asking the question of how to ask the question. How to understand all these things, where does it come from. Not from human nature, not from some 'conscious universe.' He's saying we can understand all this from science, and he is taking you inside the scientific method. And he's showing you how all these other methods lead you to dead-ends. It's really sweeping, like watching someone working in a lab, going into the questions of what kind of system we live in and can we do anything about it and not only does he answer that but he opens up to you how if you aren't coming from science you can't do anything about it."

A Latin American woman who'd never watched BA before then spoke up. She had observations about many of the particular things she learned in the film, but then paused and her face got very intense. When she continued it was slower, "It's kind of amazing what he made me think. You are taught your whole life that the Christians are really good and really moral when they give away money to people who are more poor, but why is it that some people have so much to give away... all the exploitation behind that. I never thought of that before."

A white guy who had been involved in the Occupy movement commented, "I am really inspired by what I saw but also troubled. Particularly this point you were making about science. Capitalism is a system that people say is justified by science too. It takes for granted that some people will always be exploited. The very idea that it is wrong for 10 million children to die every year, that isn't just science. To say it is wrong for that to happen is not a scientific conclusion. It seems to me there is something outside of science that BA is also doing in the film." He went on to explain how capitalist political parties will do things like focus groups that start with the assumption that the world is going to be basically the way it is and then applies science within that to figure out how to go at things. "Like if you take for granted that 10 million children are going to die, you can use a detached science to figure out how to do just do some good for some of those kids. It seems to me there is something beyond science that BA is doing in that film when he says that we should put an end to the deaths of 10 million children each year."

He continued to explain that he is troubled by the rejection of religion and spirituality in the film, clearly things he holds dear to himself. He clearly wasn't resolved on these issues, but wound up his comments saying, "It seems the root of the power of this speech is that BA is really attached to humanity and doesn't pull punches. As for the dismissal of religion, I guess if Cornel West can dig it, I can live with it too."

From here a very rich discussion broke out. Several people went into how important it is to utilize science to understand the real world and the dynamics of change if you want to change the world. They brought to bear things that BA had said in the film about not only what is happening in the world but the importance of having a method to accurately and thoroughly understand it.

As for the question of how the bourgeoisie (capitalist class) also has utilized science in the service of its monumental crimes, at first someone argued that really we have to understand that there is a difference between "bourgeois science" and "proletarian science." This was challenged by others who insisted that science and truth don't have a class character, that what is true is what corresponds to reality, but that whether you want to look at all that and what you do with the truths you discover through science does depend on what your world outlook (or class viewpoint) is. For instance, it is a scientific fact that 10 million children die each year from preventable disease in the Third World, that can be tested and proven. But, whether you want to do something about that, even whether or not you want to look at that fact, does have to do with what your morality and class outlook is.

The young guy who was troubled by such a reliance on science brought up the example of Richard Dawkins' "scientific" theories of the "selfish gene." He said, "This is totally different than what BA was saying about people." Really, others argued, what BA is saying is true not because we reject the scientific facts discovered by Dawkins, but because Dawkins is wrong and reductionist in his theories of selfishness and that what BA argues—about how there is no such thing as an unchangeable and unchanging selfish human nature—actually corresponds to reality, to human history, and is actually scientifically true.

At this point the whole room was leaning in and listening deeply. Many were jumping at the chance to add new layers to the wrangling. What about the actual content of the Bible (with its mandates for rape and oppression and ignorance) but also what of those motivated by their religious beliefs to fight against oppression? What does BA say about, and what does everyone think about, how to handle that contradiction? One person brought up what is written in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) about how people will be free to practice their religions under socialism, but that the state will be secular and science will be taught in all the schools. He mentioned that, "Religious people can even hold office in the new society, but the state will be secular." and discussion ranged into how that might work as well. From this he also emphasized why it is so important, and why BA places such importance, on fighting with people to give up belief in make-believe, but also why we know and are oriented towards uniting very broadly—including with religious people—in the fight to change the whole world.

"What about the fact that reality is always changing," asked the first young woman to speak. "Religion teaches you that god gives orders as to how the world is supposed to be and religion is like a moral dictionary. It just stays there unchanging. It doesn't acknowledge that the world is changing. Instead you have to accept a moral dictionary and it puts people to sleep. It doesn't allow you to evaluate the present, future and past, the micro and the overarching and the understanding of all these things. And it lets you ignore things that are going on that are wrong just because they aren't spoken to in that moral dictionary."

An interesting thing was that all throughout this discussion over the relationship between religion and atheism, science and morality, method and the struggle to change the whole world, it never felt even the least bit "detached" (to use the very accurate description of how science appears to so many today). People were getting into these questions because they could see how they mattered to the struggle to actually put an END to all the tremendous horrors that are grinding on all around us every minute. There was a rigor, but also a real passion, that was shared by everyone even as they explored important differences. There was a drive to dig into these things as a key part of following through on filling the challenges and the great responsibilities and the great possibility of putting an end to the unnecessary suffering that had been laid out in the film.

Still, the time was rushing by and the evening had gotten late. It was clear everyone in the room had new thoughts bubbling up and that it would have been easy to spend several more hours right there on the spot. But, the purpose of this viewing had been to give people a taste of the film but also to organize and unleash enthusiasm and plans for promoting and drawing forward the necessary audiences for the premieres.

It was necessary, in other words, to shift gears to make plans.

Right before we did, actually as a segue into getting organized, one of us made the comment, "Think about all the bullshit people spend so much time talking about and thinking about, all the really mind-numbing shit as well as the truly degrading shit." Everyone laughed and began naming off some of the things they hate most about the current culture. "Now imagine on March 16 and 17 as the theaters let out and hundreds of people spill into the lobbies. Imagine hundreds of new people spending the night and the weeks afterward with their closest friends—or with new friends—digging into all of the kinds of things we've just begun getting into and more. And we've only just watched the first third of this speech—we haven't even gotten to all he has to say about how all this can be ended changed."

People did stop and think about this and then everyone, newer and more experienced, those with different levels of unity and different angles of appreciation, went to work on figuring out the ways to make the greatest use of the days left before the premiere to make sure everyone possible is going to be part of that experience.





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Two Big Sources of Dynamism: Revolution Books and BA Everywhere Teams

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Many people are working very hard to make the nationwide premieres of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! major successes. When and as we do this, there are sometimes simple ways to multiply our efforts that we may not see. We need to ask: where are the possible synergies of different efforts, where are the possible sources of dynamism, that we may be overlooking? And how do we do better at opening a number of different doors into this movement so that people can find ways to make their contributions count?

One big source of potential energy are the Revolution Books bookstores. When Revolution Books plants a pole of "revolution—nothing less," all the other contributions from writers, artists, filmmakers—the books, the films, and the forums—take on different import, they become part of and contributions to a larger process of knowing and changing the world. One of the key insights of BA's new synthesis of communism is that change can initiate and come through many diverse channels and that this needs to be given expression now and under socialism—so that people can better understand the reality we face and discover the pathways to carve out freedom to change it.

On the basis of Revolution—Nothing Less, Revolution Books is a center for doing just that. In the past few months in New York, there has been the beginning of a new vibrancy at the store, a deeper engagement with the core purpose of Revolution Books—which actually IS putting revolution, and the new synthesis of communism, out into the world. Revolution Books, as a concentrated experience and application of BA's new synthesis of communism—when it is really in effect—is a key crucible through which revolutionaries and supporters of the revolution will be forged.

For the next nine days Revolution Books all across the country should be a hub of engagement with Bob Avakian– of reading, watching, listening, discussing, and debating while developing lots of creative ideas, plans and means to execute these plans to raise funds, inspire and mobilize people to go out to the campuses, to culture events and concerts of cutting edge and progressive artists, to go out in the neighborhoods to the high schools and parks. There should be a real cooperative synergy between bring forward and forging new people for the staffs of the stores and for BA Everywhere Committees all around the country.

After the premieres, the DVD sets of BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! need to get out everywhere—with regular showings in the stores and playing in projects and the schools. Starting right now Revolution Books needs to be out in the midst of where people are, being part of a scene bringing people BA straight up, involving them on the spot while introducing them to and engaging them with the whole thing. New people can be running with Revolution Books—in lots of different milieus and in different ways—contributing with ideas, funds, volunteering in the stores and out in the streets with Revolution Books, making it even more a crucial center of a movement to change the world through revolution.


Another big need—and big source of dynamism—should be the BA Everywhere teams. Right now, there are tremendous needs to make these premieres what they really have to be—there is work with the media of different kinds, raising funds, making sure that materials are finding their way into the right hands, making sure that the venues and staffing of the premieres fully reflect the content of the film, following up on and fielding the 101 last-minute opportunities and crucial jobs that will present themselves as the hours tick down to the premieres... and continuing all the while to spread word of this premiere.

Right now is a time for people to come forward and rapidly expand these BA Everywhere teams. There is a lot everyone who is anticipating these premieres can do to make them a success, no matter when they met this movement, how much experience they may have, or how long they have been involved. If everyone's efforts, ideas and contributions are to be maximized and integrated into the whole of what needs to happen to make these premieres what they can and need to be, more people will need to be welcomed into and organized into these teams and committees. BA Everywhere can be a very important vehicle for people from different places and with different experiences to get organized and work together to make these premieres hit with the maximum impact.

There is no reason why such committees can't work from the stores, with the activity and ferment from both feeding into and multiplying each. Why can't there be a scene where people come in, get oriented by going to the website and talking things over with someone who is responsible for the day, and then be part of a group all pulling together to make a great new thing come into being? No reason at all! So, let's get to it.





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

From A World to Win News Service

Film Review: 5 Broken Cameras

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


March 4, 2013. A World to Win News Service. 5 Broken Cameras, the first Palestinian documentary nominated for an Oscar, gives an overwhelming depiction of the injustice and brutality on a massive scale against the residents of a village called Bil'in in the West Bank. Israeli settlers exude entitlement as they move into new apartments on the hilltops surrounding Bil'in, settlements on land stolen from Belin farmers. Not only are Bil'in's inhabitants viciously assaulted and oppressed but even the olive trees that are supposedly left to them are burned by brazen settlers or uprooted by the army using armoured construction machinery.

Starting in 2005 and filming over a period of five years with a succession of five cameras destroyed one after another by Israeli soldiers or settlers, Emad Burnat, a farmer turned amateur filmmaker, documented the protests against the land seizures by the Israeli government and the wall under construction that occupies and will separate them from their farmland. Despite great personal risk, he continued filming from a sense of moral obligation to his people and the desire to make the world aware of the struggle to save their land. In 2009 Burnat enlisted the aid of Israeli activist and filmmaker Guy Davidi to help make the film.

The film won many prizes worldwide, in Europe and in the U.S. at the Sundance Film Festival. That this documentary did not win an Oscar is not surprising in a climate where the reactionary feature film Argo received the award for the best picture of the year. Despite having an official invitation to attend the Academy Awards ceremony, when Emad Burnat, his wife and youngest son Gibreel landed in Los Angeles, they were detained and almost deported by U.S. immigration officials until filmmaker Michael Moore intervened and called in Academy lawyers.

The film is told in five episodes, each one corresponding to the life span of a camera. The growth over five years of his newborn son Gibreel is juxtaposed with the village struggle led by Emad's two best friends. Both are determined and all are brave. Gradually we come to understand the complex thinking of many village residents as they evolve through this experience. We get to know a number of them quite well. This film is not just a collection of footage; it has a powerful dramatic rhythm and character development.

One of the villagers, Phil, a tall man affectionately called the elephant by the children, uses humor to keep up the morale and unity of the resisting villagers in the face of humiliations, tear gas and rubber and live bullets. He often emphasizes that these particular protests are non-violent and appeals to the Israeli soldiers on the basis of their humanity. "We are all cousins," he tells them.

Yet the soldiers relentlessly carry out orders in the fulfilment of an Israeli strategy designed to wear down the villagers' will to resist through attrition—the breaking of bones and faces, the destruction of homes, and from time to time the taking of lives. The army does not seek to kill everyone, but to demonstrate that the price for refusing to submit is higher than anyone can stand to pay. Phil's non-violence and attempts to find common ground with the soldiers does not change that.

The struggle affects Emad's son Gibreel greatly. As a toddler, some of his first words are army, fence and bullet. Despite his deep concern for Gibreel's safety, Emad says the best way to protect his son is for him to understand how the world really is and the vulnerability of human lives. When one of Gibreel's favorite adults is killed by the soldiers, he is deeply disturbed and asks his father why the soldiers act the way they do, and especially, what can be done about it. The audience can't help asking themselves the same question.

In 5 Broken Cameras, you witness the soldiers coming to the village in the night and arresting 12- and 13-year-olds and hauling them off to prison amid protests from the families and international activists who support their struggle, including some Israelis. During the protests, one by one each of Emad's brothers is arrested. Then one evening the soldiers come for Emad. They tell him to stop filming, that he is in a closed military area. That closed military area, he replies, is his own home. He goes to prison for three weeks and is put under house arrest in another building for two months. 

Towards the end of the film, Emad is almost killed in a truck accident and survives because he is treated in an Israeli hospital. For him, this treatment is not a favor but a reminder that under the occupation the Palestinians have almost nothing of their own, not even good medical facilities. When he returns home after a long recuperation, his wife Saroya (unfortunately the only woman in the film whose character is developed) is concerned that he will be killed and asks him to give up filming and stay with her and their four children. But he cannot stop. His filming is the act of resistance that allows him to heal the wounds of oppression, humiliation and injustice that he and other Palestinians endure daily throughout their lives under Israeli occupation.

When you see what the Palestinians are up against, you can understand why struggle goes up and down and why the question of how their oppression could be ended is so important. It's not surprising that some people get discouraged. What's more impressive is that this discouragement is so often overcome. You see how the Israelis themselves propel Palestinians into action against them again and again.

Watching the film you are filled with the feeling that all of Palestine is a prison. You see the birds soaring in the sky in tremendous liberty. But on the ground every move by the Palestinians is confined in an ever more constricted space. Then in the course of resistance you are arrested and taken to another restricted space—a prison within a prison.

There are almost 5,000 Palestinians in prison right now. About 20 percent of the population have been imprisoned since 1967, some 600,000 held for a week or more, which means that most families have been affected. Many prisoners are never charged. An Israeli military court can order suspects detained indefinitely under a procedure called administrative detention, subject to renewal every six months, without trial. Some prisoners are children.

In late February hundreds of Palestinian youth and others clashed with Israeli soldiers in the climax of a months-long wave of demonstrations in support of four prisoners on hunger strike. The prisoners demanded that they be either put on trial or released. On one day, nine Palestinians were injured, one critically, when settlers fired live rounds in clashes near Nablus. As two hunger strikers neared death, the action was called off, at least temporarily,

Arafat Jaradat, a 30-year-old father of two children, was arrested for allegedly throwing stones at an Israeli military vehicle. After five days in prison he died under suspicious circumstances. Israeli officials claim he had a heart attack, but the Palestinian pathologist who attended the autopsy of the prisoner said his heart showed no signs of that, but there were broken bones and serious bruises on Jaradat's body.

Kameel Sabbagh, a lawyer who attended Jaradat's last hearing, said he had advised the Israeli judge that his client had been tortured and should be examined by the prison doctor. According to Sabbagh, this did not happen. "He had serious pains in his back and other parts of his body because he was being beaten up and hanged for many long hours while he was being investigated," Sabbagh told the Ma'an news agency. His notes from the court hearing describe his client as "extremely afraid" of returning to his cell.

With the death of Jaradat, outraged Palestinians poured again into the streets.

This is the reality in Palestine, and 5 Broken Cameras is no fiction. It is a moving work of art.


A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

An Idea:

Using Social Media to Promote the Film

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Our social media team here in Chicago is planning on sending emails to everyone who signs up for the film premiere on our Facebook event, urging them to get tickets and asking them to invite their friends on FB to the event there. We will also email people we know who were invited and urge them to "join" the FB event, get tickets and invite their friends. We plan to adapt the emails you post here on for that purpose. This approach has worked in relation to other events to turn FB "joins" into really getting tickets and COMING to the event.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

From San Francisco, An Idea:

What Students and Teachers Can Do

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader in San Francisco:

At a local community college people organizing for the premiere figured out things for students and teachers to do:

5 things teachers can do:

  1. Buy one or more tickets and come
  2. Engage BA themselves
  3. Facilitate others coming and engaging—make it a class project for credit
  4. Classroom presentations
  5. Have tickets there for students

Things students can do:

  1. Buy one or more tickets and come
  2. Engage BA—listen to Cornel West Interviews Bob Avakian, watch the rough cut of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!
  3. Spread the word
  4. Talk to their teachers about classroom presentations
  5. Join mobes
  6. Take palmcards




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

A "before the film" commercial that you actually want to see:  "BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less" ... at the Movies!

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following is from people who are part of building for the premiere in New York City.


Beginning on Friday, March 8 and running for one week, before all showings at each the nine screens at the AMC Magic Johnson Harlem 9 Theater in the center of Harlem, moviegoers will get to see a 60-second spot promoting the premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Right-click here to download for off-line viewing.

That BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! is going to be shown at the AMC Magic Johnson Theater on Saturday, March 16, right in the heart of Harlem—at a theater that youth frequent and that is the only first-run major movie theater in Harlem, has caused people to sit up and realize that we are serious about people experiencing BA and being part of the movement for revolution that he is leading. If the film is going to be shown at a mainstream commercial theater, we thought: of course there should be an ad for the premiere that runs on all the screens. We found out the cost and announced the idea at program at Revolution Books—$250 was raised on the spot. Later that night, someone donated $350 upon hearing of this, and later another $100 was contributed through phone banking, raising 2/3 of the cost within 48 hours.

The BA Everywhere crew got encouragement from a local representative for the AMCI Magic Johnson, and we applied to the national ad agency that places these spots in theaters nationwide. To say the least, this was not a typical before-the-previews ad. And, we were past agency deadlines to boot, and they have formal restrictions on ads being non-controversial. But we pushed through and made the ad in 48 hours. We put before the ad agency that we have built support for the film in NY and Harlem and that funds for the ad were raised through individual donations. At the same time, we sharply countered their stipulation that ads can't be controversial by saying that ads for super-sized soft drinks and the U.S. Army are quite controversial to many. This had an impact, and we got a green light to submit the finished ad for approval. On March 5 we heard from the ad agency: "Happy to tell you that we moved mountains but did get the rush approved. The ad will begin on Friday... "

The ad itself beautifully and simply projects the essential info about Bob Avakian and the NY Premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!  The ad should be used far beyond the Magic Johnson. Besides the wide screen high-definition version made for the theaters, there will also be a version (download here) for the "grass roots": in high school and college class rooms, on street corners, at community centers and spread through social media.





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

"Bob Avakian Articulates What the Problems Are and a Plan for Changing Them"

March 6, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Bob Avakian has mastered the art of communicating complex ideas so that anyone can understand them.  He articulates what the problems are and a plan for changing them. He does not try to simplify either the ideas or the language to express them.  Rather, he relates those ideas to the lived experiences of people, especially the oppressed who are often treated as ignorant and stupid.  BA knows that they are not; he actually knows many people who are oppressed, unlike most political leaders.   

Though this may sound simple, it is not easy; nor do I find it anywhere else in the U.S. political sphere. 

Nancy Van Ness, American Creative Dance





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

"Black people need to see/hear this"

March 6, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


This statement is from a woman whose son was killed by the police and who heard BA speak:


Black people need to see/hear this tape because we blinded. I was blinded at first—I'm not blinded no more. They get out and hear this about why we are oppressed the way we are. Maybe somebody will stand up and say "we stand for revolution."

When I heard him it didn’t take long for me to say that this is what I wanted to do—stand up and fight because shit that is going on out here is wrong. But we didn’t see that. We never thought that the police’s goal was actually out here to take our lives away and lock us up for no reason. And what was that point for? What was that reason for? So they need to see, hear the reason why the system is the way it is. And maybe some people will join us. We need millions, not some, we need millions of people to join us and wake up and say, "yes, it's time for revolution."

What helped me was how he broke it down, how he broke down the system, and why the system can’t provide. And then for me to go through my own trial just made me say, “hell no. No!”





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

From a High School Student on Hearing BA Speak:

“It is not enough to just say you agree. Humanity is at stake... Revolution—nothing less!”

March 6, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


This system cuts short the life of millions of children as they slave away in third-world factories, this system consistently allows police to murder anyone they choose, this system regards women as objects, this system literally starves people to death, this system perpetrates human suffering in all its forms. This is what we were born in to. We never decided that this is the way the world should work, but we do have an obligation to do something about it. Still, look around; the world we come to is nothing less than a horror. It is easy to get lost on where to focus just efforts so many folks are stuck, overwhelmed by the horror, unable to see a way out of the conditions cast on to themselves and the world around them.

In the film premiering March 16th, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA, poses a challenge to the notion that this is just the way the world works. He lays out the framework for understanding the conditions we face and moving beyond this system to finally achieve the emancipation of all humanity. This film is vital, now more than ever, because folks hungry for a way out of their unacceptable conditions have been lied to and kept away from the truth for far too long: capitalism is the problem, communist revolution is the only way out, and it is possible, largely thanks to the work of Bob Avakian.

Avakian was active throughout the revolutionary upsurge that took place in the sixties. However, unlike so many others, he never lost that spirit. In fact, he continues to deepen understanding of the strategy necessary to make revolution in a country like the U.S. I had the opportunity to participate in a discussion with Bob Avakian in the fall. What struck me most about him was the conviction he spoke with. The clarity of analogies used deeply affected me. I have been around the Party since I started high school and am fixing to graduate this June, but I never felt so sure about my role and responsibility in the movement for revolution as I did after hearing him speak. I really believe that this film could have a similar effect on other people, including more high school students.

There is no necessity to allow another generation to come to this planet drained by capitalist greed and this world demolished by imperialist violence. There is a necessity for revolution, there is a strategy that can take us there, and there is leadership to guide us. It is not enough to just say you agree. Humanity is at stake. If you’re not for the countless ways this system devalues human life and the planet sustaining it, then you have to watch this film and you have to help build for its premiere on March 16th. BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! is exactly what folks need right now.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

From a Spanish speaking supporter and sustainer

(Translated from Spanish)

March 3, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


I've been a witness of a BA's talk that only could be described as spectacular and much needed today. In it there are many valuable things for discussion and it poses impressive objectives that deserve the effort to get this project of the BA's movie off the ground. All this effort yearns for giving voice and inspires the possibility of a radically different world from the exasperating nightmare in which many live today. The threat of mass incarceration and a war worse than the current one that hang over many people. A life sunk in misery and human degradation from which many yearn to free themselves. These powerful reasons suffice to support this nascent revolutionary movement.

As a supporter and sustainer, I want to encourage others to join and contribute with money and other ways to this valuable revolutionary project. Many will think that you are dreamers—it's real sad to think that we have lost the ability to aspire to a better world and that we must settle for what exists. We cannot ourselves be blind and ignore the painful reality that exists for many people here and around the planet. Since unfortunately we live in a world based on exploitation and subjugation to put it in Marxist terms. A world which we want to change. We have to be participants and contribute in various ways to achieve this objective of liberating humanity. The Party is working in that direction and needs your collaboration and financial contributions in order to carry out projects for creating a revolutionary movement that can succeed in its objectives. I am convinced that another world is possible, and we must contribute with our efforts and money to support those who commit themselves and are true to this cause. But the conformists must be shown that there are people whose understanding of how this system functions has led them to take up an advanced, revolutionary position that seeks the good of all of humanity. We really have to make enormous contributions in order to achieve this high-sights objective which could benefit the world. We must have the world in our mind. Because what the people really need is a revolution!!!

March 3, 2013





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Letter from a reader:

"I told her of my own experience of seeing the rough cut of this talk and how it changed the way I saw the world..."

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following was written by a young revolutionary who was part of a team that went out to a busy intersection in a Black and Latino neighborhood to spread the word about the film premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

A young Latina woman and her friend were standing around and we went up to them. Gave them a palm card (of the film) and described what it was about, and I asked her, "So, what do you think about revolution?" And she said, "I don't know, I don't really care, I just go with the flow." I said, "Well you shouldn't just go with the flow, you should care cuz there is so much fucked up stuff going on." She said "Well, like what?" And I gave her a long list. I mentioned the oppression of Black people, the oppression of women. She looked interested when I spoke about abortion. I told her abortion is under attack and if we don't do anything that right will be taken away! She said she didn't know that abortion was under attack. I told her about my experience on going to San Francisco and how there was thousands of people marching for abortion to be banned and how we were a small group but we were there standing up for abortion rights and that made a difference. So, she told me a story of when her mother was pregnant of her, she was low on money and didn't have time and wasn't prepared for a baby. But, she was an old fashioned thinker so, she just went along with having the baby. But, now she has a different mentality and her mom said, "If I would of been pregnant of you now and I had this type of thinking I probably would of had an abortion," so that story made her think about abortion. I asked her what she thought about abortion and she said it was important and thinks that right should be available to women. 

We gave her an issue of the newspaper and asked for a donation and offered her a ticket to the film. I explained that it would be very helpful for her to watch this film so she could hear what BA has to say about these issues. And, I told her of my own experience of seeing the rough cut of this talk and how it changed the way I saw the world. It completely transformed the way I think and see all these issues and how I can actually do something about it. So, she bought a ticket and she took the Revolution newspaper. We asked her afterwards "what was the reason” she bought the ticket, and she answered, "Well you just made me think a lot about all these issues and I'm interested to see what he (BA) has to say about these issues."




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Message to the Youth in the Neighborhood

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


I want to say this to the youth in the neighborhood. This system has no future for you. You have to seriously check out Bob Avakian.

From an early age this system had me programed for prison and I wound up doing many, many years. I know about the solitary confinement, the beat downs—the struggle to keep your humanity. I was a kid when I went in and an old man when I came out.

You know this is the future this system has looming over you. You know it just like I did. From the time I was teenager I knew that I would end up in prison or dead. The system had conditioned you to expect prison and death. Do you accept this?! This system has no future for us. Is that okay?! Revolution is the only way out. But you don't know that we have the leadership to get out of all this, BA. He's saying something you never heard before. The preachers, politicians, and all those who tell us we got to accept how things are—they're spreading bullshit. Things can change and on March 16 you can hear Bob Avakian cut through all the bullshit and tell you how. A different future is possible for us and humanity. BA has the light to get us out of this horror. But you have to be part, you have to be there on the 16th and hear for yourself. Take that first step. I got my ticket! Get yours!

Revolutionary brother in Harlem




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

"You need to experience this for yourself and get moved like I did"

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


At the fall presentation that I attended, Bob Avakian was speaking to me.

My testimony is reflective of my experience of finally meeting someone who was able to see me as a visible, viable force of fury who has since become an inextricable part of the movement for revolution. He tapped into all my emotions: in other words I cried when he scientifically articulated how capitalism and imperialism was intrinsically embedded in the consequential genocide of Black people. That open discussion of the reality of how chattel slavery historically and contemporarily affects those of us who continue to catch hell by this fucked up system just set me on fire and forced me to diligently look outside of my own plight under capitalism and get on board with BA and the collective revolutionary communist movement of the RCP to create an unfettered movement for revolutionary transformation. It compelled me to see the world no longer as a hopeless victim but as someone on a mission to organize others and to do so methodically.

It would be selfish and counterproductive if those of you reading this did not come to the film premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION--NOTHING LESS! You need to experience this for yourself and get moved like I did.

Spoiler alert: He puts forth several challenges to us at the end, and if you come make sure you experience the whole thing.

From an African-American Grandmother and Freedom Fighter




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

"It changed the way I looked at everything"

March 6, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a young Latina:

As a person who has seen the rough cut of this film, I think it's very important for everyone, especially young people from the hood to see this because BA talks about what they go through and he has a solution to all the oppression. And I know for me, when I saw it, it changed the way I looked at everything... music, shows, commercials, ads. I just started seeing all the fucked up shit they promote and it made me want to challenge all that and not go along with any of it. So I think everyone should just buy their ticket, clear their schedules and be there on March 16.


View statement here:

Latina testimonial about BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

500 Years from Now...

March 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Five hundred years from now, about the same amount of time that has elapsed since Columbus invaded what his class of exploiters call the "New World" and began a genocide of its native peoples, future humans, if there are still any, will look back on this time—our time—as one of the most critical in human history. Our planet is now literally teetering on the brink of environmental catastrophe, yet our so-called "leaders," of this capitalist-imperialist system we all live under, do nothing. In fact, they are even accelerating the crisis. It was just reported that last year saw the second largest annual increase ever recorded of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas driving global warming. Greenhouse gasses are not being cut back, their output is increasing!

And let’s not forget the many other crimes spawned by this system: from the starkly illegal invasions of Third World countries, to Stop and Frisk and the New Jim Crow, to the imprisonment of brave whistleblowers like Brad Manning (who faces a possible death sentence for exposing war crimes—who should instead be treated as a hero), to the patriarchy and commodification of women (and men), to ALL the “savage inequalities” that are part and parcel of this system. Anyone with eyes to see and a developed conscience can grasp that the world is a living nightmare for billions on the planet today—and it will only get worse under the current worldwide system of capitalism-imperialism. So how do we break out of this madness—of a system that has proven time and time again it can’t be reformed in any meaningful way? 

Revolution—Nothing Less! This is the only viable answer—and it is also the title of a remarkable new film I was privileged to see in rough cut form. This is an extraordinary film of an extraordinary leader—a revolutionary leader. Why extraordinary? Because genuine revolutionary leadership is not common in today's world. Expect unusually straight talk from someone who is basing himself on a thoroughly scientific worldview and on the most advanced revolutionary theory there is—the New Synthesis of Communism—from someone who is motivated by a deep love for the masses and a genuine concern for the future of the planet. And, most importantly, HE IS WILLING TO LEAD AND FIGHT FOR THE BETTER WORLD HE KNOWS IS POSSIBLE! This is a film and a leader I strongly recommend to everyone who is concerned about the future of humanity and the fate of the planet.

Finally, let’s hope that when our descendants of the distant future—if there are still any—look back on the early 21st century they will not remember it as the time when the cruel and greedy capitalist-imperialists won out and destroyed their planet and their future—completing the destructive cycle begun by Columbus 500 years earlier. Let’s hope instead they will remember a bold and heroic people of that time, inspired and led by farsighted revolutionaries like Bob Avakian, who in one of history’s darkest hours was able to meet and defeat the forces of reaction, move history forward, and progress beyond anything those brave revolutionary souls of that time could have imagined. These descendants of the future would celebrate the memory of those individuals for the sacrifices they made for their future, which they in fact would have made possible.

—a former Peace Corps volunteer and environmental activist





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

From a conscious young Black man in Chicago:

Why People Should Come Out to

March 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


"Bob is like a Black leader but he is bigger than that" he is an emancipator for everybody.  

When I say "Bob's like a Black Leader" it's because most of our leaders stood up against what's wrong and tried to make a change in our community—and that's what he do—but not just for our community, for the whole world.

When African-Americans, Blacks, what not, when they say "we need a leader" they mean we need a voice to speak about the conditions they in that they face every day from like police brutality to Black on Black crime. So Black people say they need a voice. That's why I be like, "Bob is like a Black leader but he is bigger than that" he is an emancipator for everybody. Cause he touches on things that happen in our community today all the way back to the establishment of this country. He teaches REAL Black history. He shows us how to stand up—not for only our family and friends, our loved ones—for everybody. He tells you it is not only y'all going through this it's 10's of millions of people going through this.

Hearing BA I know the world could be different because these are everyday things that people be talking about but he puts it on a bigger scale—not just in our community but he shows the oppression that's happening all across the world and he start from the root of it. And when I be reading it and hearing him—how he takes it all the way back and then he bring it to today's terms it shows you how the world is. It gives you that voice that you need that we don't hardly understand because we dealing with these situations individually.  

When I be listening to BA I be knowing these things be going on but I don't know that understanding or that basics that he teach to present it to my people the way he do. I know it could be different because he says things people don't want to talk about. To a whole multitude of people it crushes them every day and they just forced to deal with it—we forced to deal with it. And then we forget about the problem. And that's wrong.





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

"Be a new generation that is standing up"

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


I'm buying a ticket for a young person who might need help getting to BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS. I want this ticket to go to a young person who is not a carbon copy of what this society wants the youth to be. Someone who wants a different future for this world. BA is one person who has the vision and the program for another world. Go hear BA and don't be a carbon copy. Be a new generation that is standing up against what keeps us enslaved.

Black man in Harlem



Things do not have to be the way they are! You should go listen to what Bob Avakian has to tell you. I gravitated to this message from reading BAsics. BA speaks with great passion about the horrors of the world, but he says IT DOES NOT HAVE TO LIKE THIS. You can't say it any plainer. The young people in particular should see BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

From Harlem




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

James Vrettos, professor, John Jay College, NYC

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Having gone and listened to a live, public Bob Avakian speech, as I have, is to be exposed to one of the most provocative, serious and controversial social thinkers of our time. He's an American original who should be heard, debated and critiqued for these dramatic and troubling times.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Professor of history and scholar of the Chinese revolution

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


BA is a great revolutionary leader in today's world who has a clear understanding about what are the underlying problems of our world. He has been fighting for the goal of creating a world where there is no oppression and exploitation all his life. People who are interested in building a better future for humanity will benefit from listening to what he has to say.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

From Gregory Koger—Revolutionary, Former Prisoner, and Current Target of Political Persecution

March 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Far too many people know and live under the daily conditions of misery and exploitation of this capitalist-imperialist system. And far too many do not know that not only does the world not have to be this way, but we—together with others all over the world—have the potential to get rid of all of these completely unnecessary horrors and struggle together to build a world where everyone contributes what they can to society and gets back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings.  Not only in terms of people's material needs being met but allows people who have been systematically locked out of participating in the realms of ideas, art and culture, and the very planning and organizing of society to take those up, together. 

Bob Avakian has dedicated his life to searching for the way for us to struggle together to get to that world, analyzing the history and experience of previous movements for revolution and socialist societies and bringing forward a new synthesis of communism. Those who know far too well the degradation and misery of this system need to know about the pathway to get out of this shit—and everyone serious about getting to a radically different and liberated world should come out to the premieres for BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and get the opportunity to see and hear this brother speak.





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

"If you're one of those people who've said 'Call me when the time is right and I'll be there' then here's that call"

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From Dennis Loo, Ph.D.:

If you've ever wondered whether a revolution could happen in the USA, then you need to be there. If you burn with impatience or long for something dramatically different than what authorities say is "just the way things have to be," then you need to be there. If you were heartened by Occupy's verve, energy, and determination, but saw that there are some real limitations keeping them from realizing their goal of ending savage injustices, then you need to be there. If you're sick and tired of anti-rationalist bible-thumping, white supremacism, misogyny, great power chauvinism, and free market fundamentalists who are literally destroying the earth and society's fabric in pursuit of their disastrous visions, then you need to be there. If you're intensely curious to hear and get into how the foremost revolutionary in the world today re-envisions and has rekindled the communist project, then you have to be there. If you're one of those people who've said "Call me when the time is right and I'll be there" then here's that call. Come if you want to be part of bringing into being the core of what can eventually become the critical mass that will change history and wrest an entirely different fate from our times than what the forces in charge are now heading us all headlong into.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

"You have got to watch this incredibly credible movie"

March 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a small business owner and peace activist:

You have got to watch this incredibly credible movie. It is an absolute “Tour de force” by Bob Avakian that can and will move you right up to the front with thousands and then millions of others in the drive for revolution.

At first I wondered how there could be such an intensity in his voice and gleam in his eyes as Chairman Avakian carefully and thoroughly laid out the monstrous crimes and injustices of our imperial capitalist society. Well, I soon realized I was more than just a passive listener as I began to anticipate and join in his understanding of the scientific approach to the solution.  I and millions of others are going to be needed to help replace capitalism with the new synthesis of communism – and wow, is it truly 21st century new.

Here’s what I like best about it:

The new synthesis of communism thrives on not only learning how to take on the contradictions in society; it also actively and positively seeks out contradictions to allow their expression and evolution in the bright daylight of scientific inquiry. [Check out the RCP's Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).]

Just look at the world after this movie opens your eyes. Nothing else is working. Do I want to be part of this push for revolution? Damn right I do!





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

"If you are someone who once imagined a better world or if you're someone who has checked out revolution and communism in the past, but have found yourself believing the mantra 'It looks great on paper, but it [is] horrible in practice. Communism just doesn't work,' you've got to see this film."

March 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a teacher in Atlanta:

If you’re anything like me, the idea of watching a six hour film seems nearly impossible. I rarely get six hours of sleep a night, six hours with a friend or family member, six hours to do whatever...pretty much the only thing that allows me to spend 6, 8, 12, 16 hours is my job and I guess I’m lucky to have one. 

If you’re anything like me, you probably ask yourself, “Is this really as good as it gets? Is this really the best of all possible worlds?” If you’re anything like me, you’ve caught yourself compromising your hopes and dreams of a better world and a different future. Maybe you’ve caught yourself compromising your imagination to conform to what we’re told is “possible” and if you’re anything like me...maybe you’ve even started to believe that nothing will ever change. This is the best we can do, so I should quit whining, get back to work and be thankful.

If you're anything like me, you MUST see this film; BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! is not just a film, it is an experience, a journey with a relentless revolutionary leader. If you're someone who once imagined a better world or if you're someone who has checked out revolution and communism in the past, but have found yourself believing the mantra “It looks great on paper, but it's horrible in practice. Communism just doesn't work,” you've got to see this film.

Bob Avakian is going to challenge some of your assumptions and he might even inspire you to think differently or rekindle that flame of hope and rebellion you once had. What is so powerful and potentially world changing about this film and Avakian's re-envisioning of communism and revolution is the science behind it. BA's words are going to tap into your emotions, your indignation and righteous anger at “the way things are.” All the while, he is going to guide you, scientifically, through how real revolutionary change is possible and how it could actually be made. That is powerful! There is NOTHING else out there like this. Truly, if you're anything like me, you will leave this film inspired, and yearning for NOTHING LESS than a WHOLE NEW WORLD.





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

From Chicago—Showing Film Trailer on Cable TV

March 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


We just got word back from the person from Can TV Cable station: The BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! trailer for Chicago has been accepted at CAN-TV and they will start cablecasting it Monday at the latest. He will try to get some specific times to me then so we can be on the lookout for it. I wanted people to know in case cable stations in other cities where we are showing the film might try and get it on cable TV in their area.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Watching the Rough Cut with a Group of Friends

March 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


(Translated from Spanish)


A group of friends got together to watch the rough cut of the film of the new talk by BA, BA speaks: REVOLUTION — NOTHING LESS! And we were really lucky to be able to see it before the premiere.

This really inspired us and gave us enthusiasm to see all of it through to the end. We didn’t have much discussion, but we made comments on some of the points mentioned in the talk, but without getting into them very deeply.

At the end of the talk, we started to talk a bit about some of the observations in the course of the talk. Each person understands the talk at different levels. On the one hand, one of the people watching it was doubting about the possibility of revolution. He mentioned BA’s method, his vast history, that he knows and explains things. He thinks that there is nothing greater in this that the scientific method, but that BA knows what he is saying. We also talked about how it’s very hard for the masses to change, if they don’t fight against the injustices of this system, at the same time as they are learning about the nature of the same system.

Someone also mentioned that if you don’t oppose the system, “it will pull you” and drown you again within its confines.

Another compañero said that he was feeling like this was in the past, but that he wanted to return again to the struggle.

At the end, we talked a bit about the challenge posed in this talk and the talk’s importance. A compañero who had contributed on several occasions by translating articles for the newspaper, etc. committed to doing this work more consistently.

Another compañero who was active in the 1970’s said that he felt tired with the passing of the years, but that he would see about contributing as best he could, without committing himself.

I think that it was good to show the rough cut and for sure plan to invite many more people to attend the Premiere and encourage others to see and promote this talk BA speaks: REVOLUTION — NOTHING LESS!, by organizing sessions like these and on a bigger scale, in small or big groups, stimulating discussion, and learning as much as possible both from the content as well as the method used by BA.

Despite the fact that English is not my native language, I had enough patience to listen closely to be able to understand as much as I could. This reminds me of what one of the compañeros said to me, that if you are going to raise so much money, you should add [Spanish] subtitles to the film or something.

And in fact, that’s not a bad idea, but what is really needed is that more people with bilingual abilities who want to see this film in other languages get with this movement and contribute, by translating the film of this talk into other languages for those people who don’t speak English and so will be able to listen to it in their own language and understand its content and approach better. BA takes care of the rest, but everyone has to attend to see the premiere of:





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Important Experience to Share in Phone Banking to Sell Tickets—and a Proposal That Is Getting Implemented This Weekend in NY That Could Be Adapted Everywhere in This Last Run-up Period

March 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |



I think we should have all-day phone banking with runners. On Saturday we can have a team of people phone calling, and a team of runners in Harlem. When we sell a ticket people can go deliver it. All the people that are close to getting a ticket we can say – "get your money together, give us your number, and someone will deliver it on Sunday."

We can have a team @ rev books calling on Saturday and Sunday and maybe an extra person to be runner also. But for sure we can do uptown both days, with Sunday having a bigger team. We should have a goal of 40 tickets by phone banking. 

What do people think? I spoke to xx and he thinks it's a great idea, and reminded me how we sold 40 tickets for the showing of the Revolution Talk DVD at the Schomburg in Harlem in this way.


This is the Basic Outline/Script

Introducing self, calling from Revolution Books, and I ask them if they have a moment--

"I want to talk to you about a film that can change your life, it's called BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! BA stands for Bob Avakian. It's showing on Saturday, March 16th, let's talk about you getting a ticket today."

We talk about BA, who he is. Talk about the "If's" in the editorial of why they need to be in the room that day. They raise questions—and I direct the conversation back to getting a ticket. 

I tell them about how there is a team of people out in the world building for the film and how they can join it. 

We make a plan to follow up (make sure they get a ticket). Sometimes they say they want to listen to the Michael Slate BA interview, or Youtube videos of the DVD as a way to see this leader. I make sure that I can get back to them... or I hook them up with a team that is on the campus.


Hi, I am ______ from_______. I want to talk to you about a film that can change your life. It's called BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! BA stands for Bob Avakian. it's showing on Saturday March 16th @ Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem. Call me @ ______________ to get your ticket.



I have been calling mostly students to principally sell tickets.

In the past, I have called 60 students, have reached 10 and have left message for the rest, and have sold 6 tickets. Just to be clear I need to confirm the 6, 4 were going to meet a team leader, and 2 were going to go online.

People have responded very positive and interested to learning more about the film and BA. At one college, everyone I called had seen the movie poster and wanted to find out more what it was about. At an elite university, no one had heard about it. Three called me back saying "how is this movie going to change my life..." and the others I talked also asked about the movie. This opened the door to talk about BA and the film, using the orientation in the last editorial I talked about the importance of people being in the room each day. 

All the people I talked to did not know who BA was, so I responded by saying that is one of the things we are trying to change with this movie, and why you should buy a ticket and bring a friend.

The questions that came were: what about Obama; are you crazy, revolution will not happen and besides we need something more peaceful; no one wants change because they put up with this all the time, people are sheeps. I mostly directed people to the 5-part interview with BA on the Michael Slate Show around this questions, so they can get a taste and get to know BA.  

I set up appointments to get back to people, make sure they bought the tickets. 

2 questions that stood out the most was:

1. The woman question—out of the 10 people 8 were women, they all spoke to how fucked up things were for woman, rape, harassment at school, work everywhere they went... They asked how this ever going to change. I read to them BAsics quote 3:22; and focused on the last part the unleashing the fury; they said they never heard anyone say that there anger should be unleashed, everyone else says be calm, don't be like the person that assaulted you, forgive people. Things like this make them more angry and then they keep it in. So hearing BA's quote made them want to check out more what BA is more about. One said they would buy a ticket based on never hearing man say things that strong about stopping the oppression of woman.

2. They did not have much belief in people changing, they talked about the horrible way people treat each other, the gangs, murders, muggings and fighting amongst different races. I told them about the 4th part of the Slate interview, how people do not have to be angles. And they said they would listen to it, but they believe in a way that we are the angels (the communist) because we are doing the right thing but others are fucked up. 





Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Making a visual presence of

March 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Our plan for the weekend was to make a visual presence of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! in a neighborhood where we've been doing a lot of work. And we wanted to do this in a way that immediately engaged and involved people from the neighborhood. We focused on the busiest streets for postering, and spent time selling Revolution newspaper outside a grocery store. A team of us put posters up on every pole on a busily traveled street and around a park in the heart of the neighborhood. One of the people with us had said that it's not good enough to have a poster here or there, but it needs to be everywhere to stand out. Throughout the weekend, we struggled over not just putting up posters, but doing it in a way that was accumulating forces on the spot.

People from the neighborhood came out, curious as to what we were doing. Some of them were very excited to find out about the film and asked for info on the showing and where they can get tickets. We created a buzz, as cars stopped to read the posters, and people on the street and bicyclists stopped to talk. Some people took stacks of palm cards and began passing it out as they walked down the street. Some youth came up and asked if this was about Trayvon Martin, because they'd seen revolutionaries talking about that last week. We talked to them about the film and how this revolution is about putting an end to all the brutality and horrors, so that there are no more Trayvon Martins. We challenged everyone with the importance of this talk and a number of people responded with their thinking about the real history of this country, what revolution and a revolutionary society would mean, and whether they thought it was possible. A number of folks were impressed with the talk being 6.5 hours, reflecting the seriousness of what was being called for.

A young man on his way to work took a bunch of posters to put up later, and went up to the team to watch how they were doing it and told them, “I'm part of the revolution, I got my posters to put up.” An older guy said that he knows about revolution, because he's from the '60s, and we told him about BA and how this is about winning an all-the-way revolution. He asked for information on the film, and in talking with him about how he needs to be part of making this happen, he said that he can get palm cards out on the buses. One thing that we stressed in talking with the people taking up materials was how BA is a contended question and how many people like him for what he stands for and some don't, so they shouldn't get thrown off by the controversy, and make sure and let us know what their experiences are.

We set up a listening session for the next day with some of the people we met. It fell through, and we summed up that we need to pull these together more on the spot and lay a better basis for it.

A recently formed “street team” went out to small businesses, and many of the owners put posters announcing the film in their windows and took stacks of palm cards to distribute. This team said that they would take responsibility to systematically go through the neighborhood to every store over the next couple of weeks and work with the storeowners to build anticipation for the film. They said that there was a lot of receptivity to the film and one storeowner told them that he would put up posters and go to some of the other businesses himself. One thing they summed up as a weakness was that they didn't bring up donations. And they would correct that next time out.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Setting up literature tables in a Latino district market plaza

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


On a sunny Saturday, we set up literature tables in a Latino district market plaza. With plenty of displays about the film and photo displays with BAsics quotes, we got on the bullhorn in Spanish and English, using the editorial (Revolution #294) as a guideline.

Some more serious type people were attracted than others to the film announcement and to the voice of BA being interviewed by Cornel West coming out of a boom box. One woman, M (a young Latina college student), stuck with our crew passing out flyers of the editorial. And later she joined us for an on-the-spot Revolution Club meeting at a nearby taqueria to listen to one section of Michael Slate’s interview with BA—it was about the strategy for revolution. This young woman paid a lot of attention listening, and responded that revolution is not a crazy idea.

On Sunday, it was real slow in the hood ... even the churches didn’t generate much foot traffic. With growing forces in mind, we decided to try and set up another Revolution Club meeting at a fish place, calling up our most recent contacts. M responded right away and joined us promptly as we ate some catfish nuggets. It became very clear that she had been thinking a lot about what BA was saying and about what this film meant.

Right away, she wanted to know what the RCP’s concept of revolution was. It was both a question of strategy, but also of wanting to know why the world was the way it was with the 2 outmodeds and whatnot. (She was also concerned about the NDAA, and what that was all about.) Just a few pages into a copy of BAsicsstatement on strategy, and she bought the book as well as the Cornel West/BA CD. We showed her the BA Everywhere dvd with the BAsics bus tour; and after watching BA speak in three different time periods, she remarked " He’s REALLY good." Several topics came up off of reading the editorial (women’s abuse, children dying in the third world, etc); but the destruction of the environment caught her attention, especially since her boyfriend is involved in environmental studies. She was grappling with the fact that destruction of the environment was "irrational," that you "can’t eat money" (a Native American saying) when the environment is destroyed; and yet capitalism is showing more and more that it has NO REAL solution because of its anarchy of production and profit in command.

After discussing all these, we made sure to return to the premiere. (We didn’t want to miss this point, which we sometimes did in our outings—discussing with people about the concept embodied in the three words "REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!" while forgetting to get into the film itself.) She said she definitely would clear her schedule for the premiere and she also decided on the spot that she would invite her boyfriend to the film as well as other relatives. We told her to use the editorial in explaining this film to others. And we invited her to join our next outing.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Involving people in the whole process

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


An important and significant thing from that day is that masses did join in with us, L from the Bronx, the two young guys from the projects, as well as S who is an African-American guy in his early 30s who lives in the projects ... After going to [a political event] with us and being part of handing out materials afterwards he wasn’t yet ready to buy the ticket. After he stayed for the entire summation where we were really as a team of scientists looking at where we were at in relationship to what’s needed, including a lot around how we were selling tickets and why people should get them on the spot, he came right up to me and said, “I need to get my ticket, I realized I can’t miss this.” At the beginning of the summation we were talking about the debate and he opened up about some of his experience having grown up in and now living in the projects, with stop-and-frisk, saying that he had been stopped and frisked 30 times in one year and even had a situation where he felt he was a split second from “being a Trayvon Martin or Sean Bell.” This is someone who really wants revolution and is seriously checking this out.


Comment: Actual participation in the work to build the premiere, and then participating in collective summation afterward relating that work to our overall goals, leads someone to buy a ticket.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

At work in an office

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


8 people in my office of about 20 at a cultural institution in a big city wore hoodies on 2/26 in honor of Trayvon and to be part of the national day to demand justice for him.

Usually at work around events I'd talk to people as individuals. This time I put up a poster about the Trayvon protests and made an announcement inviting people to come to the protest and wear hoodies to work. This allowed people who knew about Trayvon to talk to others about it. I was surprised by who ended up wearing hoodies, including some newer, young people I didn't know. Everyone was excited to be part of the national day. And now I have some new people to talk to about the film! When I put up a poster about the film with some pluggers attached, I noticed one young woman had a plugger at her desk. I asked if she wanted more. She said, "Oh, you're the radical. I'm always looking for something really radical." She bought a ticket, and another young woman that I've known for a while. Even my boss, when I asked for a week off to build for the film, engaged me about it, like why should someone like him come to the film. I summed up that doing things in a mass way conveys more seriousness, draws forward new people, and creates a better climate to sell tickets and struggle with people to come to the film.


Comment: Going to people in a mass way creates better conditions. Now follow-up and follow-through important; do people want to do more?



Permalink: rough-cut-with-professor-at-an-elite-university-en.html

Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Viewing the entire rough-cut with professor at an elite university who is oriented toward another trend but wants the Party in the discourse

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


_____ was again very immersed in viewing the film, and again quite animated afterwards. He was up and pacing about, saying that he thought that there were “3 points; what students need to encounter before they decide to work on Wall Street when they are young enough to make crucial choices...” He said I could take some notes. [The notes follow:]

“The tragedy of bourgeois politics. Broadening people’s horizons beyond their attachment to bourgeois politics. You vote and you’re part of this system. Don’t delude yourself with maintaining independence...not that you ignore the process because elections are when power is up for grabs in society.

“Thinking about revolution in the U.S. This question has been avoided by the international left. There are a lot of illusions in Europe—complicit with fantasies of counter-imperialist hegemonies. The U.S. plays a hegemonic role—in culture, in the military, in the production of ideology, the dominance of the U.S. university system. Until they see that, you support reactionary notions of European anti-imperialism. The beleaguered left in the U.S. has the hardest job. The most basic question of Marxism, the fundamental question is to make revolution in the Headquarters of the system. If the U.S. left brushes a flea off its inspires the whole world. This is real revolutionary politics (the speech)’s got to be heard at ____ [university] and all over the world. When you start talking the way BA does, what would it mean to think about it...we could have a lot of discussion about how I think about that. All that entails about illusions of capitalism and imperialism, about revolution in the U.S.

“...Some of the greatest evasions in the world, that there is a left project without being cognizant of a U.S. left. (something about adequate international ties.) The left is reproducing a reactionary anti-Americanism that excludes revolutionary possibility.

“The counter democratic project. This involves a lot of my deepest questions. Winning the battle for democracy. [I think I got that right; he’s said that before like in the seminar prior to the RL forum recently. I think it shows his conflictualness (?) about democracy from Marxist perspective.] We need the middle class, professors, etc., as well as the unemployed. We need people to counter the arguments and to talk about society in a meaningful way. To talk about the suburbs, southern sheriffs, the ignorance of people, to analyze this society, riven by the KKK... Question: what is the role of the working class? There are fantasies about socialism in one factory; workerist fantasies. What would the discussion over dinner look like? To advance the social crisis politically. Everything that seems normal—for those things to change even for people who voted for “W.” The notions of ‘we can wait for (fill in the blank) generation to work on.’ Armchair Marxism, pseudo-radicalism. This is addressed here by BA.

“It’s important to get the kids to say what they think. What provoked you? For them to say out loud. Youth concentrate the question of social psychology. What’s cool and not cool. To say what they think in front of that pretty girl.

“Engaging the young probationary members of the intelligentsia. [The school where he teaches] is not a completely traditional institution like Harvard. Some of the kids are a little ‘off’—their parents are not all with the status quo.

“So, to deal with democracy, with the actual seizure of state power in America. The democrats seize state power now. Power is only up for grabs between the two wings of the ruling class. It’s not a world where power is NOT up for grabs. These are the questions that take the discussion out of the classroom.”


Comment: This again demonstrates the power of putting BA, uncut, in front of people; and it shows the potential for this film to do that in an extremely powerful way.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Effort in an upscale progressive suburb

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Most recently (yesterday) we did somewhat of a combination of street-team and concentrating at a Whole Foods-type market in town. This is a market that used to be much smaller and hard to do because of access. Now it is in a new location, big, and very accessible from the sidewalk in front. And it was very busy yesterday. A Native American homeless guy told us the patrons are a combination of residents of [two different suburbs]. He told us we’ve come to the right place because there is big bucks here. He said it’s “a good combination:[ one suburb] has the money, and [the other suburb] has the spirituality and consciousness.” He really picked up on and liked our internationalism.

I had met a guy that works in a small variety store on a visit to town a week or so ago. He was interested in the materials and coming to the film at the time. He had said he would share the materials with friends, and I saw him again yesterday. He said that he had shared the materials with a few friends, and that he was still interested to learn more and get into it more and possibly go to the film. I told him that we want to pursue this with him and his friends more. And he said fine, but he was speaking of a web presence and in particular, a website called I said I was more interested in seeing them in person than checking out the website, but I’d like to do both. He said we could post on this website all the information about the film. He noticed right away that we had a hashtag and said he did some web work and knows all about that technology. I am going to get in touch with him and ask him if he can post that on the website, which I should've said at the time. He gave me an e-mail address, he said which is reserved only for a select few. But that he and his friends discuss politics, and they'll discuss this more. He at first had been interested because of the radical nature of the solution to all the problems, which he sees many of them and hates in the world.

We met these two Black guys in their 30s at the big market. They are from Oakland, but have not heard anything about what we are doing, BA, etc. They were interested. We told them we were being truthful and frank and honest with them and that they needed to play a role in this. If this is going to succeed. I think they responded well to our certitude. They took extra materials and gave a phone number. Thinking now, we could've done something a little different, and try to arrange a listening session with them. We had trouble doing that because we had no table set up. I’m thinking that we could have used one of our people a little differently and had that person playing the interviews a short distance away and people could be directed to them. I think our orientation with them and others yesterday was better in terms of the need to involve people, making a big point of telling people this is serious and what their responsibility is to this revolution and telling them about this leader they need to engage with starting now. We explained the process of building for the film where the premiere itself is a nodal point and people need to be engaging, wrangling, and taking out and bringing forward others to be part of this, and they had a responsibility within this.

One comrade said that he was a little hesitant about challenging people to step forward and take part and engage with this. He didn't want to come off as hyping the thing and said that one thing we need to do is sharpen our agitation. We agreed that we can sharpen our agitation but that the flyer and the way it's laid out in the points are a really good guide in taking out this whole thing. And there's no reason for any hesitancy, so we should get into that some more. This came up at the end when we were summing up. Another comrade did a lot of challenging people and talking about the responsibility to step forward around this and be involved on various levels. She met someone from a community media, who invited her/us to come by. This station appears to have some public access throughout the area where we were yesterday. I thought the first comrade made an important point when he said that a lot of the people who responded positive yesterday were women, and he thought between the ages of 30 to 50. That was interesting because it is somewhat my experience as well. One woman who has a very small dress shop, said she really liked the fact that we have solutions, and we are saying, like the flyer says, all what's needed is for this world to be radically different. She said she's “well aware of the horrors in this world and what is different about what we are saying is that exact thing, it doesn’t have to be this way.. Everyone talks about this all the time, how bad things are.” She said, “can you believe the fact that in a country like this we do not have an equal rights amendment? But what you are saying is that the world doesn't have to be this way.” She had not heard of BA, and said she would get out flyers and we gave her a small stack for her store, as well as palm cards...

The second comrade met a woman who is unemployed, and is fearful of the future, because she doesn't know if she will be able to get work in the coming period the way things are. She took quite a number of flyers, and told the comrade to get back to her. I did not hear much more about this, why we didn’t meet more with her or get her an interview. I met a Black woman who lives in Marin, and it really struck her that what we are saying is true and is needed in the world. She said she had just been to an event recently at the Fox theater featuring West and Smiley. And that she really respects them, and is looking forward to listening to the interview with Cornel and BA. She said that she would really like to attend the premiere. I tried to sell her a ticket. But she said that she had to clear it with her son first. I told her that we would like to talk further. And if she has friends or relatives or her son that we could get together and talk with them. That would be great, I asked her if she has been in a book club or goes to political discussions, and she has done that type of thing in the past I said let's do something like that—get your friends together, we'll talk about this and to spread the word about the premiere and she said that’s a possibility. She would post up a poster and some flyers. She was trying to get into a car at the curb and she had to leave, unfortunately. I have her phone number and e-mail and we'll call her right away to follow-up.


Comment: Foray into an upscale progressive suburb shows potential for this; critical, self-interrogation spirit toward the work in the report a must.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Following up at a community college

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Many people have responded positively and taken flyers and gotten copies of the Cornel West interview with BA to listen to. And like we reported before, right on the spot, when we have gone out in a big way, we have called on people to come to a meeting of the Revolution Club that same afternoon and people have come and started to work together. People listened to the Cornel interview and had a discussion of the article in the newspaper about the new scene on campus at a college in the New York area.

So one of the new things that happened at the rally to save the community college is that three of the new people who recently formed a beginning Revolution Club took up mass leafleting and started engaging with folks about coming to the premiere. They also are organizing a rally and speakout on the anniversary of the killing of Trayvon Martin. They took the flyer that was put out by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and put the information about their rally and speakout on the bottom and decided to take this out along with the announcement for the premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! The plan for the day was to call for people to get with us at the end of the rally to listen to the Cornel interview and help figure out ways to make the premiere a big deal on campus. The plan for the Trayvon rally next Tuesday is also to call people to meet immediately after the rally/speakout to get together with the Revolution Club to watch the part of the Revolution DVD where BA speaks about they are selling postcards of the lynchings and connecting the history of lynchings, the story of Emmett Till, to the situation today. So, what we are doing is not waiting to call people later, but, yes, getting the contact information, but pulling them together on the spot to check out BA and take up the challenge of contributing to making this film a really big deal in society overall...

One of the important things that we learned on this day was that the Revolution Club people who were flyering for the first time ran into new questions and new challenges. One person got really jolted by some movement activists who started attacking Mao Tsetung and the experience of socialism in China as a “horrible thing” and accusing Mao of “killing millions.” She didn’t know how to answer this. Another Rev Club person was disappointed by the fact that there is still so much “apathy,” lack of rage, among so many students, when the situation is so horrible for much of humanity. He said that it really made it hard for him to see how things could ever change to where enough people in this country cared enough to where a revolution could be possible.

The next day we pulled together these two people and tried to get others too, to get into these questions. We listened to the second KPFK radio interview of BA on the Michael Slate show where he gets into “Is it crazy to think a revolution is possible in this country?” Listening to this really changed the way people had been looking at things. It really gave them, finally, a beginning understanding of how it could be possible to get to a situation where “tens of millions are questioning the legitimacy of this system” and that the work we do now of building the movement for revolution is how we can contribute to that possibility. It really opened his eyes to this. He still had a lot of questions with regard to what kind of things do people need to be doing today. We talked about the civil disobedience that people did in New York around stop-and-frisk. We talked about going out to oppose the Christian fascists who marched to deny women the basic rights to abortion and birth control as example of what kind of things people need to be doing. We talked about how we should fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution.

On the question of China, we talked about really challenging people to not just regurgitate the lies and slanders that they might have heard and that are so much the “popular thinking” these days but to get serious and look into the real history, the really liberating things that people did in China and before that the Soviet Union, when they “WERE” socialist. We got into some of this experience and pointed the website link to “Setting the record straight” and plans for the special edition of Revolution newspaper dedicated to this. One comrade lent his copy of the book Some of Us to the woman who ran into a lot of these lies and slanders and she is looking forward to reading these personal stories of women who grew up during the years of the Cultural Revolution in China and how they point to these as the best years of their lives where women were rising up in unprecedented ways to change the world—and how it changed how they thought about the world.

So, taking out the premiere for the first time has brought with it new challenges for the new people taking it up and they are eager to learn more as they persevere in connecting with other students and professors on campus. We see the next big leap needed is engaging with professors at this college to encourage their students to come to the premiere. Not that they have to agree with everything about BA’s new synthesis of revolution and communism, but that in addition to they themselves engaging with BA, they see students engaging with this revolutionary work as something that many more students today should be doing. And everyone who is serious about finding a way out of these horrors should engage with the premiere BA Speaks: REVOLUTION–NOTHING LESS! We have had some initial very positive responses from people who feel this premiere ties in to questions they are studying, like, for example, a class that someone is taking on “The Politics of Sexual Violence.” Another student volunteered to connect us up with his English teacher, who he said is always calling on students to get involved and raise their voices. Another student who is part of the “Economics and Political Science Club” said it would be interesting if this premiere could be discussed by their club. And we have heard that a teacher of a class has already said she wants to come see the premiere because she felt the topic of this film is very compelling. So there are some new and exciting connections to be made right away.


Comment: People run into a lot when they take this out; we need to “be there” collectively with them all along the way, advancing through challenges.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

Selling Tickets at a Community College

March 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


11 students have so far bought their tickets at the community college that we have been going out to. After some initial outings where we had a team of 4 or 5 people we were able to organize a revolution club that has made its first big project bringing at least 20 students from the school to the premiere. The Revolution Club meetings have varied from 4 people to sometimes just a couple of students because people have classes at different times and a lot of the students have jobs as well, but the role that they have been playing has really been great. Listening to the interviews of BA with Cornel and Slate have really strengthened the ability and energy of the students in making announcements to classes. We have been making announcements about the film in a lot of classes. Particularly receptive have been professors who teach African-American and Latin American history and politics but also other teachers who were part of the radical '60s and would like to see a new generation of radical students active in changing the world. After making a five minute announcement before start of a class, we come back at the end and ask students to buy their tickets. This is the main way we have sold tickets so far.

Our announcement is modeled after the points in the beginning of the editorial “What the World Needs Now” that talks about the horrors facing humanity, how people don’t see a way out and how this film challenges all that and can change all that; and how after the defeats of the first heroic attempts, there has not been any liberated society for the last 40 years. How BA has deepened the science of revolution, starting by going back to Marx and that it is not some unchangeable human nature but capitalism that is the source of all these horrors and that we need revolution, nothing less. We end the announcement with the quote on the card from Cornel West. Then one of the students in the Revolution Club makes a passionate call for other students to join them at the film showing and how they will be joining others from other colleges and also youth from the hood and mothers who have lost their children to police murder and that those coming together like this will be able to go back out into the world to make a much needed big leap in the strength in the movement for revolution. After most of the classes we have sold at least one ticket.

When people buy a ticket, we tell them that they should bring someone else to the movie and most of them can think of at least one other person who they discuss serious things with who they would like to bring. We also invite them to come to the next revolution club meeting. So while we are about half way to our goal, we have this last week to make a big push. If we can get enough of the people who have bought tickets together in different small groups to watch some of the preview or listen to the interviews with Michael Slate or Cornel, then that will have even more of a basis to make the final push needed to achieve our goal of bringing 20 people from the school.




Revolution #297 March 10, 2013

From SF Bay Area High School—Announcements in Classes

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


At one high school alone, by the end of next week we'll have made announcements or had class discussions (for the whole class) in something like 20 or more classes. I think this can be a good means of making a big push to get people to the premieres, including in groups, which perhaps others can do as well. However, I think the approach has to be off the latest articles in the paper that stress the palmcard and the "why come..." and not trying to answer the students' many questions—rather, tell them this is why they have to come to the premiere and hear what BA says about it, per what's been in the paper.