Revolution #298, March 17, 2013 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Now, that doesn't mean we don't unite with people in all sorts of struggles short of revolution. We definitely need to do that. But the proffering of any other solution to these monumental and monstrous problems and outrages is ridiculous, frankly. And we need to be taking the offensive and mobilizing increasing numbers of masses to cut through this shit and bring to the fore what really is the solution to this, and to answer the questions and, yes, the accusations that come forth in response to this, while deepening our scientific basis for being able to do this. And the point is: not only do we need to be doing this, but we need to be bringing forward, unleashing and leading, and enabling increasing numbers of the masses to do this. They need to be inspired, not just with a general idea of revolution, but with a deepening understanding, a scientific grounding, as to why and how revolution really is the answer to all of this.

     Bob Avakian,
     Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
     BAsics 3:1

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/297/clear-the-day-to-see-ba-speaks-revolution-nothing-less-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 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...

BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

March 2, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

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 revcom.us) 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.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/297/why-go-to-this-film-premiere-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Why Go to This Film Premiere?

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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!

 

BA Speaks: REVOLUTION— NOTHING LESS!

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:
www.revolutionbooksnyc.org
212-691-3345

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!

Chicago

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:
chicagorevolutionbooks.blogspot.com
773-489-0930

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.
revolutionbooksla.blogspot.com
323-463-3500
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, revolutionbooks@sbcglobal.net, www.revolutionbooks.org

 

 

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

 


 

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Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

An Invitation

By Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Let's go on a crucial journey together—full of unity against oppression and lively struggle about the source of the problem and the solution. Pursue your own convictions—that the outrages that move you are intolerable—to their logical conclusion, and be determined not to stop until those outrages have been eliminated. And if this, as well as learning about other outrages, and ideas about how this all fits together and flows from a common source—and how it could all be ended, and something much better brought into being—leads in the direction of seeing not only the need for bold and determined resistance, but also the need for revolution and ultimately communism, then don't turn away from that because it moves you beyond your comfort zone, challenges what had been your cherished beliefs, or because of prejudices and slanders. Instead, actively seek to learn more about this revolution and its goal of communism and to determine whether it is in fact the necessary, and possible, solution. And then act accordingly.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/bob-avakian-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Bob Avakian,
Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In Bob Avakian, the Chairman of our Party, we have the kind of rare and precious leader who does not come along very often. A leader who has given his heart, and all his knowledge, skills and abilities to serving the cause of revolution and the emancipation of humanity. Bob Avakian came alive as a revolutionary in the 1960s—taking part in the great movements of those days, and especially working and struggling closely with the most advanced revolutionary force in the U.S. at that time, the Black Panther Party. Since then, and while many others have given up, Bob Avakian has worked and struggled tirelessly to find the way to go forward, having learned crucial lessons and built lasting organization that could continue the struggle, and aim to take it higher, while uniting with the same struggle throughout the world. He has kept on developing the theory and strategy for making revolution. He played the key role in founding our Party in 1975, and since then he has continued the battle to keep the Party on the revolutionary road, to carry out work with a strong revolutionary orientation. He has deeply studied the experience of revolution—the shortcomings as well as the great achievements—and many different fields of human endeavor, through history and throughout the world—and he has brought the science and method of revolution to a whole new level, so that we can not only fight but really fight to win. Bob Avakian has developed the scientific theory and strategic orientation for how to actually make the kind of revolution we need, and he is leading our Party as an advanced force of this revolution. He is a great champion and a great resource for people here, and indeed people all over the world. The possibility for revolution, right here, and for the advance of the revolution everywhere, is greatly heightened because of Bob Avakian and the leadership he is providing. And it is up to us to get with this leadership...to find out more about Bob Avakian and the Party he heads...to learn from his scientific method and approach to changing the world...to build this revolutionary movement with our Party at the core...to defend this leadership as the precious thing it is...and, at the same time, to bring our own experience and understanding to help strengthen the process of revolution and enable the leadership we have to keep on learning more and leading even better.

From: The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have
A Message, And A Call, From The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

 

When I look at all this, I think again of my friend who decided to dedicate his life to ending cancer—and of the even greater need to put an end to the system of capitalism- imperialism and all the suffering and oppression this system embodies and enforces throughout the world.You see that there isn't anything more important that your life could be about, and whatever you end up contributing during the course of your lifetime is the most important and the most uplifting thing that you could possibly do. And yes, there are moments of great disappointment, but also moments of great joy as part of this. There is the joy that comes from seeing the ways in which people break free of constraints and rise up and begin to see the world as it really is and take up more consciously the struggle to change it. There is the joy of knowing that you are part of this whole process and contributing what you can to it. There is the joy of the camaraderie of being together with others in this struggle and knowing that it is something worthwhile, that it is not something petty and narrow that you are involved in but something uplifting. There is the joy of looking to the future and envisioning the goal that you are struggling for and seeing people come to even a beginning understanding of what that could mean, not just for themselves but for society, for humanity as a whole.

So this is what my life will continue to be devoted to, and this is what the ongoing story of my life will be about.

Bob Avakian
BAsics 6:18

 

There is very developed theory; there is a very visionary and concrete program for a radically new society, aiming toward a radically different world as a whole, embodied in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal); there is a real strategy for making revolution—preparing for and then, when the conditions have come into being, carrying out this revolution—concentrated in the statement "On the Strategy for Revolution"; there is the highest level of leadership we could have, in BA, who has brought forward a new synthesis of communism which involves a whole strategic approach to communist revolution; and there is a core of collective leadership, embodied in the RCP, which is carrying out work for revolution based on that new synthesis of communism. What is missing is YOU. If you are sick to death of the way the world is, and the way so many people are mistreated, counted as less than human and used and abused by the people holding power over us, if you are outraged by the fact that so many of the youth, all over the world, have no future, and that the future of humanity as a whole is seriously threatened by the way this system operates, then YOU have to become part of the initiators of a new stage of the revolution that is needed, part of the new people who step forward to in turn bring forward hundreds, then thousands, who will influence now and eventually lead millions and millions to make revolution when the time is right. What is needed is for you, and many more people like you, in growing numbers, to jump in with this, to become part of building this movement for revolution, and organizing forces for revolution, contributing whatever you can at any point, and winning more people to this, while you continue to learn more about this, and deepen your commitment and involvement as you deepen your knowledge about this. Otherwise, the world will just stay as it is, all the madness and everything people are put through will just keep going on, or get even worse, generation after generation.

Bob Avakian,
Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/forward-on-climate-rally-and-the-real-way-forward-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

"Forward on Climate" Rally... And the Real Way Forward

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On February 17, people poured into Washington, DC, for the Forward on Climate rally. The rally was called by 350.org, the Sierra Club, and the Hip Hop Caucus, and was endorsed by dozens of other groups.

Organizers said 50,000 people came, making it the largest climate change rally in U.S. history. People came from 30 states, as well as from other countries. Students from up and down the East Coast and Midwest, and from points beyond, arrived by the busload.

The size and breadth of the response demonstrates the heightening concern and anguish among growing numbers of people about climate change and environmental destruction. It also demonstrates the growing potential for truly massive political resistance to this destruction.

Keystone XL Review—State Department Whitewash

Two weeks after the February 17 climate protests, the U.S. State Department released a review of the new application made by TransCanada for a different Keystone XL Pipeline route. The first application was denied by Obama in late 2011, not because of the threat to the environment from climate change or because the tar sands are horribly destructive, but because Republicans forced a quick decision and Obama argued there wasn't enough time to make a "thorough review." Obama also expressed interest in the pipeline route avoiding certain environmentally sensitive areas in Nebraska, where there had been so much opposition to the pipeline that even the right-wing Republican governor was opposed. Obama then went on to fast-track building of the southern portion of Keystone XL—from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf, now underway. And now TransCanada has slightly adjusted the pipeline route in Nebraska in its new application.

The new State Department review, while claiming to be "initial" and making no definite recommendations on whether Obama should or shouldn't approve the pipeline (a decision slated for sometime this summer), completely whitewashes the threat posed by the Keystone XL Pipeline and the destruction wrought by extraction of tar sands oil in general, which the review doesn't even mention.

The review goes through some of the environmental problems that could be posed by the pipeline itself, then lists how TransCanada plans to "mitigate" them. New York Times writer John Broder remarked that the review "could provide Mr. Obama political cover if he decides to approve the pipeline."

On the danger of climate change, the review ridiculously claims that increasing the flow of tar sands oil by 800,000 barrels of oil a day will have a minimal effect on climate change. Why? Because the "Project is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of the development in the oil sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf Coast area." The argument here is that based on "market analysis," i.e., the needs of U.S .and other imperialist capital, if Keystone XL isn't built, the Gulf Coast refineries are going to get oil from someplace else. And if Keystone XL isn't built, well, the good old "market" will find a way anyway, shipping all the filthy tar sands oil by rail car, truck, or barges, and, well, that isn't going to be any better for the environment. Instead of Keystone XL being seen as one of a multitude of destructive projects that are linked together that all must be prevented to address the climate crisis, and that building Keystone XL can only further fuel extraction in the tar sands which really needs to just be stopped, the State Department says one or the other form of destruction is inevitable because of market reality, so it might as well be this one.

This whole review is not based on the needs of humanity and of ecosystems, which require Keystone XL be stopped and that the tar sands and other fossil fuels be left in the ground, and beyond that require that new safe and renewable technologies be rushed forward. No, it is based simply on the needs of U.S. capital and the argument that market reality is, after all, the only reality that's possible.

In the days before the main rally, 48 prominent environmentalists and others, including Daryl Hannah, Bill McKibben, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., climatologist James Hansen, and Sierra Club head Michael Brune, were arrested for civil disobedience in front of the White House.

A main focus of Forward on Climate was calling for Obama to reject construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed new pipeline stretching from the tar sands oil extraction region of Alberta, Canada, to southern Nebraska. From there the oil would be piped to the Gulf Coast to be refined. Oil extracted by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) from shale in the Bakken formation of Montana and North Dakota reportedly would also be funneled through the Keystone XL pipeline.

Keystone XL would increase by 800,000 barrels per day the flow of tar sands oil, the dirtiest and most carbon polluting oil on the planet, into the U.S. The tar sands deposits are the third largest oil reserves in the world. Already 1.7 million barrels of oil per day are extracted in the tar sands. Tar sands oil is now the largest single source of oil fueling the U.S. capitalist economy. Besides representing a huge pool of carbon that if fully extracted and burned would help take the world's greenhouse gases to levels beyond critical climate tipping points, this project is already massively destructive to people and the environment. In Alberta, the largest energy and largest capital investment project in the world, is in the process of decimating a formerly pristine wild area the size of Florida. Huge regions of beautiful boreal forest are being leveled so that gobs of thick bitumen tar can be ripped from the earth by steam shovels and steamed up through wells. Lakes of toxic sludge from the tar sands extraction now cover 50 square miles, contaminating lands, lakes, rivers, and groundwater with toxins and carcinogens. Indigenous peoples report that more of them are getting cancer, and one study showed a 30 percent increase in the rate of cancer in one native community in proximity to tar sands extraction.

Many who came to DC have been outraged by and are fighting against environmental destruction: against fracking for gas and oil that is contaminating land, groundwater, and the atmosphere with methane gas and other toxins, against mountain-top coal extraction where whole mountainsides are blown up and rivers and streams are polluted and filled with rubble.

Indigenous peoples from the U.S. and Canada came to Washington to speak out and oppose the destruction of their lives, culture, and lands. Chief Jacqueline Thomas of the Yinka Dene Alliance of First Nations people in northern British Columbia spoke about efforts to stop the construction of yet another proposed tar sands oil pipeline built by Enbridge Inc. across the wilderness of Alberta and British Columbia to ship oil to Asia. She said, "Oil will spill. It's just a matter of when. They've [Enbridge] spilled in the Kalamazoo, which I hear cannot be cleaned up. They've broken their promises... They've spilled in Red Deer, Alberta. They've spilled oil in my sister, the territories of the Lubicon Cree. They've spilled oil in the Northwest Territories, the Dene brothers and sisters that I know from the Northwest Territories. And, of course, who can forget the Exxon Valdez? Of course, also, in most recent memory, we have had the BP spill, which was on the news day after day, month after month. They have hurt the brothers and sisters of the Houma nation that my sister has visited. Never in my life have I ever seen white and Native work together until now."

Forward on Climate called for this protest to explicitly seek to appeal to and pressure, rather than protest and confront, Obama, especially in the wake of statements he made at his inauguration and State of the Union addresses claiming he would finally "do something" of substance to combat climate change. Forward on Climate's call says, "The first step to putting our country on the path to addressing the climate crisis is for President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. His legacy as president will rest squarely on his response, resolve, and leadership in solving the climate crisis." The stated purpose of the rally was "To tell Barack Obama it's time to lead in the fight against climate change, beginning with the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline." Forward on Climate's main logo borrowed Obama's campaign logo, sticking it in mass-produced signs at the center of the "O" in the words "NO Keystone XL Pipeline."

From the start, the strategy of 350.org and the Sierra Club around Keystone XL has been founded on the illusion that the problem of climate change stems from the "fossil fuel lobby" and/or "corporations" that wield too much power in Washington, instead of recognizing that fossil fuel extraction and production is foundational to the whole functioning, position, and competitiveness of U.S. capitalism-imperialism in the world. Under this illusion, the U.S. is seen as a democracy, maybe flawed, but with potential to find itself, right the ship, and bring the "corporations" back in line—with enough pressure from people. This completely obscures the reality that the U.S. is a ruthless capitalist dictatorship whose rulers control a worldwide system of poverty, misery, brutality, exploitation, and environmental destruction.

This illusory view fails to grasp the essential rules of capitalism's game—that everything under this system is a commodity, everything is done for profit, that capitalist production is by its nature private and driven forward by the commandment "expand or die," and that capitalism is a global system that proceeds through the domination of oppressed nations. Because of all this, there is a ruthless and never-ceasing compulsion of this system to win out and drive under competitors—for control of whole nations, regions of the world, and natural resources that fuel the system's operations. In short, this system can't be made to act according to different rules than those that make it what it is and that characterize the way the whole thing functions, even if these rules mean bringing on an environmental catastrophe.

The illusion being pursued and pushed by 350.org and the Sierra Club is that Obama is a man of conscience who is being pressured by powerful and entrenched moneyed interests, but who can also be pressured and, yes, encouraged, to see that humanity's future and, yes, his own children's future, rests with saving the climate. Obama's actual actions—from sabotage of international climate treaties, to vast expansion of offshore drilling including into regions of the Arctic that Bush was never successful in exploiting, to covering up the extent and danger of the Gulf oil spill, to the unprecedented and awful new spread of fracking of oil and gas deposits throughout formerly unspoiled regions of the U.S. itself, and on and on—are fueling environmental destruction. But these actions are not seen for what they are: the destructive and criminal actions of the head representative of the most ecosystem-destroying system in history.

While there is contradiction and motion within this movement, and some positive aspects to the role played by 350.org and the Sierra Club in that people are being activated around environmental destruction, their strategy is fundamentally a dead end. And if not broken with and ruptured out of, it will lead people not only to become demoralized but, as with the bulk of the antiwar movement, to come under the wing of the Democrats and learn to embrace the most horrific crimes, like drones, kill lists, and kill teams.

The fact is that when you confront the real problem—of a system whose very nature is bent on the destruction of the planet we live on through unstoppable competition for more resources and more profits no matter what the cost to the environment—then the reality that screams out is that all this must be resisted and that revolution is what is urgently needed—Revolution and nothing less! Only that has any chance to get us to a new revolutionary society that could address the environmental crisis and begin the process of allowing nature to heal.

Check out the Revolution special issue on the environment (revcom.us/environment) and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)

Compare State Department Review on the "National Interest" vs. Some Key Principles of Socialist Sustainable Development

The State Department review is charged with making an assessment of whether Keystone XL is in "the national interest"—note, not the interests of humanity or the environment.

Compare this State Department review:

"For proposed petroleum pipelines that cross international borders of the United States, the President, through Executive Order 13337, directs the Secretary of State to decide whether a project is in the 'national interest' before granting a Presidential Permit. ... If the proposed Project is determined to be in the national interest, it is granted a Presidential Permit that authorizes the construction, operation, and maintenance of the facilities at the border between the United States and Canada. The Department's jurisdiction does not extend to cover selection of pipeline routes within the United States. The draft Supplemental EIS was produced consistent with NEPA and will help inform that determination.

"The National Interest Determination (or NID) involves consideration of many factors, including energy security; environmental, cultural, and economic impacts; foreign policy; and compliance with relevant federal regulations. Before making such a decision, the Department seeks the views of the eight federal agencies identified in Executive Order 13337: the Departments of Energy, Defense, Transportation, Homeland Security, Justice, Interior, and Commerce, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Department is also soliciting public input on the draft Supplemental EIS."

With this from "Some Key Principles of Socialist Sustainable Development" in the special issue of Revolution on the environment (April 18, 2010):

"The socialist state must use its strengths and resources to promote revolution. The new socialist state must be a 'base area' for the world revolution. The emancipation of humanity demands this. The preservation of the planet demands this: for humanity to deal with the environmental crisis on the requisite scale and with the requisite urgency requires a totally different economic and social system and set of values. That requires socialist revolution and the spread of that revolution.

"The new socialist society will put the interests of the preservation of the ecosystems of the entire planet above its own national development. It will encourage and give scientific, technical, and organizational backing for bold international initiatives to prevent widespread ecosystem collapse of coral reefs, rainforests, critical savanna regions, etc.

"The new society will share scientific knowledge and technology with the rest of the world. It will contribute research to aid other parts of the world in dealing with various aspects of the environmental emergency—for instance, helping populations in low-lying poor countries deal with rising sea levels and flooding resulting from climate change.

"Such initiatives will require unprecedented planet-wide cooperation of scientists and others, engagement of diverse populations and systems of governance, and the involvement of local communities. And the socialist state will seek to learn from the experiences, insights, and struggles of people around the world."

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/basic-truths-about the-u-s-drones-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Basic Truths About the U.S. Drones

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Last week drones—pilotless, remote controlled aircraft which have been used by the U.S. military and spy agencies to kill thousands of people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries—were suddenly in the news in a big way.

Eric Holder, Attorney General in the Obama administration, wrote a letter in which he refused to rule out the use of drone strikes within the U.S. in "extraordinary circumstances." Rand Paul, a right-wing senator from Kentucky, objected to the letter, and then spoke for 13 hours in a Senate "filibuster" (a maneuver to stall a vote) against Obama's nomination of John Brennan for CIA director. Brennan is a leading architect of the Obama policy of murder-by-drone. Paul said he intended to speak "until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court."

Paul's focus was on the possible use of drone strikes within the U.S., not the ongoing use of drones to kill people outside the U.S. But Paul's marathon filibuster attracted a lot of attention, including sharp criticism from other leading Republicans like John McCain. Paul's filibuster also received support from some anti-war groups like Code Pink.

Some basic truth about drones and their use by the U.S. government needs to be injected into this debate.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/the-all-american-hit-squad-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

The All-American Hit Squad

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

"Panetta Announces Medal for Drone Pilots"—NBC News headline, February 13, 2013

The U.S. military personnel directly responsible for murdering people on the other side of the planet by remote control bombing are now eligible for special military honors.

U.S. "Defense" Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the soldiers sitting in air conditioned comfort at dozens of control rooms in the U.S. and around the world, staring at a computer screen and clicking a mouse that can cause death to rain down on people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and other countries, "contribute to the success of combat operations, particularly when they remove the enemy from the field of battle."

And now, if they attain what Panetta called "extraordinary achievement," they will be awarded a red, white, and blue "Distinguished Warfare Medal."

Thousands of people have been killed in drone attacks. Millions of people live in the terror of a drone buzzing overhead for weeks at a time, never knowing when or where it will strike. Panetta did not announce if the award would be given ex post facto to those valorous soldiers who have already demonstrated their extraordinary ability at murder from afar.

Some military traditionalists objected to this new medal, because the drone killers never place themselves in mortal danger. In fact, the U.S. military has a long tradition of honoring those who commit mass murder of civilians from a safe distance. A few examples:

When Panetta announced the medal for drone murderers, he also said that the most prestigious awards handed out by the U.S. military will continue to be given to "those who display gallantry and valor in actions where their lives are on the line." Meaning, those who kill for U.S. imperialism using more "traditional" methods.

Panetta was speaking of people like Chris Kyle, "American Sniper," an assassin for the Navy Seals in Iraq. Kyle's claim to fame and stardom in America was that he had killed more people than any other sniper in U.S. military history—160 confirmed dead and 255 claimed. The first person Kyle shot down was an Iraqi woman he claimed was carrying a grenade. After Kyle was himself recently shot dead by one of his followers, a service for him was held at Texas Stadium, home of "America's team," the Dallas Cowboys, and attended by thousands of military and police personnel. Kyle had received over a dozen military honors.

Drone warfare brings a terrifying, high-tech, remote control element to something that has long been a core component of "the American way of war"—massive death poured upon civilian populations. The U.S. armed forces are the brutal enforcers of a capitalist-imperialist system that exploits and devastates people across the earth, and plunders and destroys the planet itself.

The mass murderers it honors are its fitting representatives.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/connections-between-state-prisons-and-guantanamo-torture-facilities-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Prisoner Responds to Bear Witness Appeal:

Connections Between "State Prisons" and Guantánamo Torture Facilities

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

"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 lightly edited response from a prisoner was received by the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund:

Dear Comrades:

Revolutionary greetings, and since I cannot offer any financial support I would offer you my thanks and appreciation for the Revolution and all the work that you do. I also want to comment on some of the articles from the paper and some of my observations as well.

First off I want to make the connection between "State prisons" and the torture facilities of Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and the like. State prisons are now torture centers as well perhaps to a lesser degree but the same methods of torture and terrorism are used i.e. psychological harassment, and intimidation, extra-punitive isolation and mass punishment, food and sensory deprivation... short of water-boarding and extreme isolation there is no significant difference between the state prisons and the Guantánamos.

The prisoners at the Pelican and Cocoran and all over the U.S. have got it right; "This is a system that uses its state power—its laws, police, courts, bureaucracy, and prisons—to repress and control the masses of people; to enforce the oppressive economic and social relations in this society, including the new ways Black people and other minorities are systematically oppressed." Revolution, July 17, 2011, p. 11.

Those prisoners also make the right call to "end all tensions and violence among prisoners of different nations and peoples." This is what is needed to form a basis for prisoner unity. Lets take away the oppressor's tactic and strategy of divide and conquer and deprive them of any justifiable means of attack.

I thought about it like this; I'm a naturalized person, born and bred right here on American lands. This is supposed to be my country so how can my government attack me like this? How can my government engage in a subtle internal war against its own citizens? How can my government commit torture, terrorism, destruction and death, so viciously against its own people, its own country?

These truths are self-evident and as I continue to look at it, it becomes all the more horrific and obscene. The public has been terribly duped into accepting this bogusness and now that we are becoming aware... again... we find ourselves in the clutches of the monster, surrounded by police, courts and prisons. Again I thank BA and the people of the Revolution who continue to struggle and give us the real truth of these matters.

I was attacked and beaten by the police in which I forced them to photograph me. Afterward the court railroaded me and the courts continue to deny and dismiss my case as if I got what I deserved. Here in this prison I have faced (SMU) Special Management Unit, akin to the (SHU) numerous times. I have suffered the ongoing and continuous psychological attacks and torture for more than a decade. I have obtained the pictures from my beating and with your permission I would like to send them to you with other materials from my file. I believe my case is proof and that it exemplifies the way the system uses its state power for repression as mentioned earlier. I received 25 years for 5.4 grams of crack cocaine and a separate sentence of 10 years for resisting arrest, both are non-violent charges and as stated before I have been incarcerated for more than 10 years.

In closing, I offer my most sincere appreciations once more and extend revolutionary thanks. Please respond to this letter as soon as is possible. I look forward to criticism and comment and permission to send you some of the materials from my case.

In Revolutionary Solidarity, XXXXXXX

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/297/awtwns-film-review-five-broken-cameras-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

From A World to Win News Service

Film Review: 5 Broken Cameras

March 8, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/297/on-hugo-chavez-four-points-of-orientation-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

On Hugo Chavez: Four Points of Orientation

March 6, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/thrilled-pigelow-accepts-leni-award-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Thrilled Pigelow Accepts Leni Award

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Sunday, February 24, Hollywood: Thousands of people from all over the world jammed the sidewalks as the stars arrived for the Oscar ceremony. Amid eight-foot fences, concrete barricades and cops on the sidewalks, from streets and roofs, people strained for a glimpse of stars driving down the boulevard. Next to the Walk of Fame, with the sidewalk as a stage, another red carpet was unrolled. The window of Frederick's of Hollywood, a celebration of the objectification and degradation of women, provided the backdrop. The presentation of the Leni was about to begin.

Named for the pro-Nazi filmmaker of Triumph of the Will, Leni Riefenstahl, the Leni was awarded by the Committee to Sanitize Crimes Against Humanity in Film.

Passersby stopped to listen and take pictures as two prisoners in black hoods and orange jumpsuits did a fashion walk and then knelt by the podium next to large posters of the Leni—a gold statuette wearing a hood and dangling electrodes. Uncle Ray got on the mic and gave one of his barroom movie reviews of the CIA torture film Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Pigelow, the only nominee for the Leni. A Filipino man stopped by and shouted out crimes of the U.S. around the world.

Then, someone who identified himself as John Yoo, the brilliant lawyer who came up with a legal justification for the torture, including waterboarding, of prisoners, presented the coveted award. Pigelow was busy down the street, but her close friend, Elmira, Matriarch of the Dark Side, accepted for her. As onlookers posed for pictures in front of the sidewalk stage, Elmira read a letter purported to be from Pigelow, which said in part, "Let me get a little soft here. Leni Riefenstahl loved her country and she felt a sacred obligation to set the record straight at a time when much of the world was unfairly stereotyping and condemning Hitler and the Nazis—out of context and without considering the complexity of the Nazi mission. Suddenly everyone forgot those precious words of wisdom handed down from the ages—in fact, I think it was Attila the Hun who first spoke them—you can't have an omelet without breaking some eggs. Leni took that to heart and set out to help create an omelet for the world."

Pigelow's letter continues: "I always get a little teary here... I share a mission with Leni—a love of country and a sense of patriotic duty. And more, a desire to set the record straight, to correct the knee-jerk conclusions that pass for history these days. I am an artist and I am dedicated to the truth in my art. This is the heart of my film Zero Dark Thirty, and let me say here this is why I have portrayed torture so lovingly in my film. It happened, it was needed, more is needed in the world today and it made CIA agent Maya a hell of a heroine. As I've said so many times, mere presentation doesn't equal endorsement. But seriously, folks, let's always keep in mind the omelet is made by breaking eggs—we have to break eggs and while people may not want to see the eggs broken, they sure do want to eat the omelet. And I consider it a mission from god to bring the love and respect the 'egg-breakers' of the world need and deserve.

"As I said in the beginning of this letter, the Committee to Sanitize Crimes Against Humanity in Film has not only brought honor back to the legacy of Leni Riefenstahl, it has instilled a whole new sense of purpose, of mission, back into my life and my work. I have been consumed by the muse of truly great cinema—the ideas are jumping out of my head and a few have been greenlighted so look for them in the very near future—My Dinner with Adolph, The Glory of the Gas Chamber, Holocaust Daze, and The Untold Beauty of the Inquisition, to name a few. So thank you all once again and let's go out there and break as many eggs as we can—we've got a world to feed."

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/some-lessons-on-reaching-out-to-people-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Some Lessons on Reaching out to People on the Basis of "Why Go to This Film Premiere?"

by Raymond Lotta | March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

I recently had some discussions with a few professors about the March 16 premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS. I thought it would be helpful to sum up three lessons.

The first and most important has to do with adhering to the basic or "core orientation" that should be guiding us in going out to people. I am speaking of the vital paragraph "Why Go to This Film Premiere?" This really has to set the terms and the tone of our encounters with people. I say this because there is a tendency to get pulled away and, really more a temptation to, get drawn into all kinds of discussion and back-and-forth that actually cut against the whole point of that paragraph.

The paragraph says that going to this film premiere is "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!" I would have to ask all of us building for this event: If anybody can think of a better argument to make, or a better approach to interest, provoke, and stir people as to why they should come, well let's hear it. Not really, let's just apply this orientation.

Now's Not the Time to Be "Explaining" Things

I was in a discussion with a professor. I went with the basic orientation and put it before her. Fairly soon she was raising questions, and these were serious ones: what about leadership and the problems of concentrating too much authority in one person? what about this thing about a "white male" leading. And I answered, well you need to come to the film, because Avakian speaks precisely to this and other questions like it. And you're going to be edified and challenged by what you hear.

But, this professor went on, not letting up: "What about leaders losing touch with people, and the whole collective spirit of what you say you're about?" Well, I said, that's important, and you need to find out how Avakian views the question of leadership and people taking responsibility—and I asked, have you read his statement on the Occupy movement? And she said she hadn't. I told her she needs to and I'd get it to them and that will help them get prepared for this.

This professor kept raising questions and putting challenges before me. Some of it was coming from genuine interest in what the title of the film provokes. Some of it was coming from anti-communist influences. Some of it was a kind of testing of me. And here I have to say that I found myself, against the correct orientation (and against my better judgment), beginning to get sucked into argument and argumentation, and getting into that mode of "explaining" things to people. This is just wrong.

The point is that people need to SEE the film, to hear from BA, and join with others in immersing themselves in this. This is the leader of the revolution explaining why the world is the way it is, and how it could be different, breathtakingly and liberatingly different, and how a revolution could really be made in today's world.

You cannot not be at this event. It's just that important. Yes, there's a lot to talk and debate about, but we can get into that AFTER you see the film! I mean, really, how can we have a substantive discussion before you've really engaged this on the level of what BA himself is actually putting forward? And with this opportunity to be at the film showing in Harlem... with a diverse and eager audience of basic people, ex-prisoners, students, professionals and artists there to experience this together... and this itself giving expression to the kind of revolution that BA stands for.

And this bears on another point that needs to be made. You cannot really be serious about fundamental change, and really be true to your intellectual convictions and values, and tell me that you can't make it to this film. Again, is there "anything more important"? A big part of the challenge to intellectuals, but really to everyone, is this:

If what BA is saying is true, then this has enormous implications and consequences in the world and for humanity. Not that this can't be argued or debated, but again if what he is saying is true, then that is a very big deal. And so you need to be at this film on March 16.

I remember, this was in a discussion with another professor, I said that BA is doing what no one else on this planet is doing and taking responsibility for—in terms of actually forging a way out of this madness. He said, "come on, other people are coming up with alternatives." I said this is about an all-the-way transformative revolution—a real revolution.

It was beginning to go in the direction of a discussion of what we mean by revolution. And I caught myself and said, "the truth is there's a framework here for real emancipation, it's a scientific breakthrough, not that everything is answered but that there's a framework for going at this... and you've got to come hear what this is all about and then let's argue if anyone else on this planet has this kind of vision, scientific framework, and strategy...and, more saliently, if Avakian is right or not."

So we have to resist this temptation to "explain." The message is contained in "Why Go to This Premiere?"

Using BA to Prepare People to Experience BA

A second lesson, which I've indirectly touched on, is that BA has actually provided critical materials for people to prepare for this event. And rather than getting into "explanations" with people, we should be getting these critical materials to people.

One professor was posing questions about where we have our differences and where we have our shared interests, and what it means to be working together with definable differences. So I emailed him Bob Avakian's "An Invitation," about "going on this journey together..."

Another professor new to BA just didn't get how BA could speak to different sections of people and bridge different gaps. So I got her the Cornel West interview of BA and the clips of BA over the years. And I also referred her to some of the testimonials that appear on the revcom.us website. All of this is a tremendous resource we have going for us.

Yet in retrospect I can see how, even as I had done some of these e-mailings, I hadn't fully appreciated the importance and power of these materials. Specifically, I hadn't been seeking every opportunity to use these materials on the spot and in discussions with people in terms of why they need to be at this event. I'm thinking in particular of the rough cut of BA's Fall 2012 talk and the clips of BA over the years.

We should have a computer with us, though if we're visiting professors in their offices most of them have their computers ready to go, and we should let them know that they can get a sense of what this leader is all about if they look at the video clips. And they can get a glimpse of what they are going to experience on the 16th—and why March 16 is such a big deal—if they look at some of this rough cut.

There's the scientific theory that BA is developing and advancing. And there's the way that he communicates this, brings theory to life and urgency, and inspires and challenges people about the actuality of revolution. This says a lot about his leadership. With that professor I mentioned earlier (who had those questions about leadership), it was good to send her the materials, but I should have cued up the rough cut or the clips over the years right then and there. It would have helped cut to the essence of why this is the most important thing to be doing that day.

Working Together to Get the Audience to the Film

A third lesson is the need to be enlisting people to help make this event happen on the scale it must and with the audience that needs to be there. Okay, you've got a ticket but what's next, what can we do to get the word out and the potential audience out?

With one professor, we brainstormed about reaching out to faculty and students. He thought it would be good to get an announcement on campus listservs—so I offered to provide a listserv-friendly announcement (it included the basic film premiere information and the Cornel West quote about BA), and it went immediately on to the listserv. He gave me the names of other professors whom I should get in touch with. And he agreed to talk with one about having me speak in a class.

I heard an account of one organizer for the premiere speaking to a class at one of the city colleges, invited by the professor, and getting people really interested in coming. But it turns out that quite a few of the students work on Saturday and don't feel they can take off without possibly jeopardizing their jobs. This is a problem that some of the supportive professors can actually help solve, if we put it before them. Maybe they could talk with the students and see if a letter from them to an employer about an important "educational event" taking place that students are being encouraged to attend (and maybe for extra credit) on Saturday—maybe this would enable some students to come who feel conflicted about missing work and maybe jeopardizing their job. Apparently, some students have classes on the 16th and expressed similar concerns about missing classes. So we should work with professors in the same way to deal with that.

One professor agreed to be on call if campus security started hassling people handing out palm cards and doing displays; he'd say he approved of this. And he had some students take palm cards and posters and gave us authorization to put up posters in his wing of the campus. The point is not these particular examples as such, although they have wider relevance, as it is the general principle that we need to collectivize with people to the greatest degree possible to solve problems standing in the way of people coming out.

If we truly grasp and apply the core orientation—that this is by far the most important thing that people could be doing on March 16—then we should be able to unleash a lot of collective creativity and determination.

 


 

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Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

A Few Thoughts and Some Experience in Sealing People's Commitment to Come to BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

It is of great importance that we win many people to actually attend the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and that we do so on the right basis! Even in these final days a lot can be done to effect this. This includes continuing to go out very broadly to the masses in a mass way, involving people on the spot and forging/involving cores of people to come together, and it requires systematic fighting through with all we are meeting to really seal their commitment to come and to come on the right basis. What follows are thoughts on approach to this final dimension—on working with people to seal their commitment to come, and on the right basis.

These are some reflections off my own experience and that of others I have heard about—it is not comprehensive or meant as a "script" but it should provide some helpful experience for people working to do follow up and hopefully will also spur more people to sum up and synthesize their experience so that we can work together to maximize these last few days.

As has been stressed a number of times through various things published at revcom.us it is really important to present this film as what it actually is. This is described well in the words of the film-maker, "Yes, 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." We should present this, along with the basic substance (often, actually quoting) the other information on the palm-card, and very early in our discussions we should focus people up on the question and answer provided in the following:

"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!"

It is important to actually stop at that point and give people a chance to process this invitation/challenge—and then to respond to IT. Resist any pull to fill in any silence after this to try to soften the challenge. Let people respond to it.

Many people respond by saying, "Wow, that is so true," or something to that effect. Others kind of acknowledge it on one level and then pretty quickly get back to something like, "What is more important? Paying my bills. I got to work that day." Obviously, there are other responses, but these typify some of the directions people go.

When people seem interested but they raise obstacles—including real-world difficulties like having to work or having trouble finding child-care or whatever else—it is worth it to fight through with them to CLEAR THE DAY and get their ticket (sealing their commitment to be there) to experience this film, but it is essential to not let the obstacles of life set the terms for this discussion. Instead, what is needed is to deepen people's engagement/understanding of what the film actually is about—the real world possibility of putting an end to all this madness—and to fight through obstacles in the service of winning them to make this commitment to come and hear this film together with others.

What is in that key paragraph quoted above is very true, but it is also not what people are thinking about most of the time and I have found that it can take a few times of being redirected for people to really let what is being posed sink in. The more that people understand what this film actually is, the more they will be able to weigh the importance of fighting through the obstacles in their life to be there.

If you are really listening to people's responses, you can start to understand what it is they think you are posing and deepen this where it is correct, struggle with it where it is off or incomplete, and struggle with people over their priorities where this becomes clearly delineated. It is also only in this way that you can assess whether they are serious or not and whether it is worth your time to continue struggling with them.

I will give a couple of examples.

Several people I spoke to about getting tickets posed, "I know, I agree these things are important. I am talking about them all the time. But I have to do [work, school, etc.]. Can't I just watch it later on DVD?"

I always go back to the fullness of what BA is actually answering in this film. "It is very good you think about these things a lot, but what BA is going to lay out that you don't know—and I'm not picking on you, no one else has these answers, that is why this is so important—is how we put an END to all this madness for real. Not just fight, but actually WIN."

I have had to pose a similar thing several times when people tell me that they are involved in a struggle of one kind of another, against Stop and Frisk or for the rights of undocumented immigrants, or other things. I have noticed a tendency at times for people building for this film to get into a discussion of why one strategy versus another is correct in these important struggles but I don't think this is the way to go. Rather, it is important to acknowledge and even encourage their desire to fight around those questions (here I am talking about sincere people, not opportunists) but to refocus their minds on the big problem that BA has actually solved—how to make real revolution and emancipate humanity!

Often, to try to get people to really "hear" me, I would give an example like how today there was Trayvon Martin, 50 years ago it was Emmett Till and that they should think about their future grandkids. Will they be watching their grandkids live through the same horrors and worse? Or will we be able to tell them that we ENDED all this, and their grandkids growing up wondering how the hell human beings ever lived this way for so long?

Giving an example like this—and there are many, many more that could be given—has proven helpful in my experience to kind of jolt people into hearing that this isn't like things they've heard before. It is not just about fighting. It is about ENDING all this oppression and bringing into being a far better world.

I have gone back and forth between deepening this sense of what the film is really about with people and acknowledging very openly along the way, "This is why I am really fighting for you to make the commitment to be there with others, to get your ticket today, you really should not miss this." And working for them to actually buy their tickets on this basis.

Throughout all this, however, I do not try to replace what BA does in the speech. I am telling them what he is going to get into and answer and why these things are unique and really matter. I am not trying to answer all their questions or differences myself (none of us will do this as fully as BA in this film which is precisely why people should come and hear IT) as a prerequisite for them to come.

The other point that I have taken the time to focus up with people is that, while they can watch this on their own and they definitely should if they do not come, it really makes a huge difference to be there with others. The point of all this is to CHANGE THE WORLD TO END ALL THIS MADNESS. While they will definitely learn a lot from this and need to learn a lot from BA (we ALL do!), this isn't fundamentally just about educating people. Acting as individuals, even if we know the way out (which, again, they do not know), we cannot effect it. We have to do that together. This is why it makes a huge difference for people to come together to connect up their curiosity and concern, or their passion and anger, or their determination and commitment with the actual answers and experienced leadership that can take this somewhere. It makes a huge difference for people to experience this film together, hundreds of people around the country on a single weekend so that we can get into this together and go out and actually change the world!

Of course, by coming to the film they are NOT committing to play any particular role in this revolution—and there will be a lot of different ways people respond to this film and things they do off it—what I am asking them to do is to make a commitment to come and hear the case made for how we can be part of the fight to emancipate all humanity, why this is needed and how this could actually be won. This is something that people around the world need so badly and they have a chance to hear it and really should not turn their backs on this—it really matters.

Throughout all this, it is essential to listen and draw out people's responses. If they are dismissive towards this, we shouldn't spend time continuing with them. But if they are responding to this and taking it seriously, even if they are not fully decided, it is worth it to really lead them to think this all the way through.

Another point that came up quite a bit with some of the younger people I spoke to was a sort of attitude of, "I am down already and I am committed." Granted, this is far from the most widespread response (most people are not yet thinking about the questions of how to change the world, something we are fighting to change), but for those who are, there are some important points to bring to bear in BA's interview with A. Brooks. In that interview, What Humanity Needs Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism, BA makes the point that there is too much arrogance in the culture these days, including among those who are new to political life in this new generation.

He makes the point that it is wrong for young people to think that if they are just really committed in their hearts that they will be able to go further than things went a generation ago. A number of times I had to tell people straight up, "Let's be real here. It is very good that you are committed and passionate about this and determined not to accept this world. But if you think that the '60s generation lacked commitment, willingness to fight and to sacrifice—people gave their lives, they fought so hard, they changed so much... for a time, but if you think that what was missing is commitment you are really mistaken. And that mistake—if persisted in—will have great and negative consequences for humanity. What was missing in the '60s was the scientific understanding and leadership to take that fight all the way—to really make real revolution and END ALL THIS MADNESS. That is what was missing then and that is what BA has brought forward and that is what your anger and passion and commitment needs to be brought together with, or else it becomes really nothing but a way of making yourself feel better in a fucked-up world. Again, what BA has made possible is CHANGING THE WHOLE WORLD AND EMANCIPATING ALL HUMANITY."

Throughout all of this, I was uniting with and underscoring the importance of their positive impulses and sentiments but really sharply delineating what they need to come together with to be part of emancipating humanity and why any notions that impulses and sentiments alone are sufficient is really wrong. It is important not to put down these positive impulses and qualities and by recounting this I am NOT encouraging in any way an approach of telling people that they aren't doing anything important or thinking about anything important if it seems they are sincere in trying to make a positive change. But there is a point of challenging them to really think about the possibility of all this horror and injustice being ENDED and engaging what is needed for that to be made real.

It is very important, as a point of method throughout all of this engagement and struggle, to actually let people respond to the substance of what you are saying. Not just to make the points and keep moving. But really draw them out in relation to what you are saying. You learn a great deal through doing this which should be shared with the Party and others working on this effort. Also, it has a big impact on the person to actually have to work through their thinking in response to what objectively are not only new ideas but very different terms than they are used to dealing with. And you discover quickly and along the way if they are taking the struggle and stakes seriously (in which case it is worth it to continue) or if they are not serious (in which case you can put this challenge to them once as what it is and tell them it is their choice what they want to do in relation to that and wrap it up). And, finally, you actually have the best basis to seal people's commitment to attend the film through buying the ticket.

More on getting people to the premiere on the right basis

Finally, two quick thoughts on "on the right basis."

Once someone purchases their ticket we should see it as a very big priority to make sure that they begin some beginning engagement with BA even before the film. The Cornel West interview with BA is a very good way, as are viewing clips of BA from the Revolution talk and there are other ways. But the more that people begin this engagement the more they have a deeper sense of what they are coming to and the more they will be able to take it in as what it is and stay through what is a lengthy and substantive presentation. It is really worth the time to make sure someone gets the links to some of these materials (or gets them in hand) and then to talk with them a little about them before the film. Again, this should be done in a way that does not seek to replace the upcoming film, but does help get people in deeper and prepare them to be thinking about the biggest questions.

The other point I want to end with is the great importance of "BA: A Contended Question" (See Revolution # 278, August 19, 2012, available at revcom.us). It is important, especially where people get excited and want to go talk to their friends or their progressive professors or the people they know who might be more involved in activism, to go into the substance of that piece with them. BA is very contended precisely because of how radical and thoroughgoing the revolution he has re-envisioned is. This is not a bad thing, it is a very positive thing—but only if people are prepared for what they might encounter and are provided a basic framework and approach to evaluate what they might encounter—and an inviting and open connection to someone who can talk through questions that might come up as they begin to engage with BA.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/arkansas-law-biggest-assault-on-right-to-abortion-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Arkansas Law—Biggest Assault on Right to Abortion
Urgently Needed: Massive, Uncompromising Resistance

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On March 6, Arkansas adopted the most restrictive state law on abortion in the United States—banning abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can typically be detected by abdominal ultrasound. This is a direct challenge to Supreme Court decisions, which give women a right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, usually around 24 weeks into pregnancy. One news article described this as "the first statewide victory for a restless emerging faction within the anti-abortion movement that has lost patience with the incremental whittling away at abortion rights."

Indeed, for the last 40 years, since Roe v. Wade was decided, there has been the relentless taking away of abortion rights AND this is part of a real effort to take this right away altogether.

This strategy of going for the most extreme restrictions on abortion rights has yielded a lot of results—to the point where women's right to abortion is, for all practical purposes, almost non-existent for many women.

Recent data, in fact, shows that 2012 was another historic year for restrictions on reproductive rights. According to the Guttmacher Institute, U.S. states enacted the second highest number of anti-choice restrictions in history. There were 43 abortion restrictions enacted in 2012. There were a record 92 provisions enacted in 2011. (Democracy Now!, January 14, 2013) This year, 278 such provisions have already been introduced in state legislatures that would restrict abortion rights in a number of ways. Another 18 measures would limit access to contraception.

Dozens of states have adopted all kinds of regulations that in effect create barriers that are sometimes insurmountable for women trying to get an abortion—like waiting periods, parental consent for minors, and ultrasound requirements. There have also been stringent regulations placed on many abortion clinics that make it harder for them to operate.

In Mississippi there is only one abortion clinic in the whole state. And now, this clinic, which relies on traveling doctors, may have to close because of a rule requiring doctors performing abortions to have visiting privileges at local hospitals.

Already there are 10 states that have time limits for abortions at 20 weeks into pregnancy. These 20-week laws also violate the existing standard of fetal viability. In many cases they are being legally challenged BUT they are in effect.

The stark reality is that despite its formal legality, abortion is more stigmatized, more dangerous to provide, and more difficult to access than at any time in the last 40 years.

Some abortion rights groups and legal experts responded to the Arkansas law with a basically "don't worry" attitude, saying that the law so deeply contradicts existing constitutional doctrine that it will probably be quickly voided.

But as Sunsara Taylor has pointed out:

"The right to abortion is not safe at all; it is extremely extremely endangered! And, in some ways, the most dangerous thing of all is that people refuse to face this!

"There is a reason the 'pro-life' movement is so puffed up these days. There is a reason they are introducing bolder and more restrictive and more vindictive legislation—openly insisting on no abortions and no exceptions, even for rape victims or to save the life of the woman. The reason is that they are winning.

"...If we do not reverse this trajectory soon—very soon—we will lose this right and condemn future generations of women and girls to FORCED motherhood, against their wills, and to lives of open enslavement, terror, and life-crushing shame. And the only way to do that is through massive, uncompromising resistance—beginning now."

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/a-thought-from-taking-ba-speaks-revolution-nothing-less-to-the-classroom-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

A Thought From Taking BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! to the Classroom

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

A couple of us went into a classroom to promote the premier of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! We made a presentation aimed at making the point that the most important thing these students could do was clear the day and be in the house for that premier. We showed them the ad that's being played before every film that shows at the commercial theater in NYC where the premier will occur. The professor told the students that he was going and that he would give extra credit to any student who attended the premier and wrote a paper on it.

All of this created a lively atmosphere with students speaking bitterness about particular outrages and raising broader questions about whether revolution was possible, was there a plan for it, whether it would lead to chaos, how could you have police who wouldn't use their power to abuse people and more. The grappling over this was 2 sided, with some students addressing the questions that other students raised, and the 2 revolutionaries telling people that these questions are reasons why they needed to be at the premier because BA was going to address all that and more.

With all this swirling, the young revolutionary called on those who were going to be there for the premier to stand up. 2 students stood up, and we led 2/3 of the class in applauding them. The revolutionary asked them to say why they were going to the premier. The 1st student, a young woman said: "I know about the problems, and we shouldn't have to be living like this. I know it's going to take a movement to do something about all this, and I want to learn more about it." The 2nd, a young man, said: "I know a little bit about revolution, and I know it's something that we need. I want to be there to learn more about it and be a part of it."

This exerted a pull on other students to take the premier more seriously. Another student bought a ticket at the end of the class, and almost all the students gave us their e mail addresses to get updates on the premier. This meant we could send them the e mails being put out about the premier, and we had already urged them to spread the word on the premier to others. It also meant they'd be getting materials they needed to check out themselves, like the interviews BA did with Cornel West and Michael Slate, and the video clip of BA thru the years.

Now we need to work on ways to tap into the desire of a number of the students to be there on the 16th and work to get them to be in the house then and to engage BA in the lead up to the premier.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/6-plus-hours-can-impact-6-plus-billion-lives-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

"6 plus hours can impact 6+ billion lives"

March 10, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a young man in high school in the SF Bay Area who has watched the rough-cut of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!
 

What stood out to you?

"When BA gets into pornography, the whole thing about porn how it really degrades women. When you get into that industry—if there's no job and you're in a desperate situation you end up getting into that because you're desperate to make ends meet. Also, this country makes clear—BA talks about the culture of patriarchy promoted for so long it's hard to know how far it goes back. When I was introduced to BA, I understood that patriarchy going on, but he gave more clear light in simple manner how it's going on in this country and how we need to bring an end to it. He makes it visual—if someone didn't know anything about what patriarchy is, he makes a very clear understanding in five minutes and you get an understanding.

"Overall the movie—like the book BAsics itself—is basic. Some parts are hard to comprehend but most of it was easy to understand and captures and things make you laugh—it's true you say—things about Obama. Interesting he points out these things—the detailed things that a lot of people are missing—without making it too heavy and complex. Even though the film is six hours, it fits in your brain, it goes in there easily. It's not six hours of reading like Marx or something.

"What I've noticed is it makes things clear to people who don't know anything about revolution and communism, and getting out to all variety of audiences. With revolution and communism, the ideology, he answers—I'm not saying he answers everybody's questions—but different audiences, like intellectuals, people who said look what happened in the past, he speaks to them. He put 40 years into it. You couldn't find anybody else who could answer questions like he does it. Not a long answer—look up some of his videos about what is capitalism, the unchanging human nature crap. He has a good way of addressing things—not answering everybody's problems (in sense of individual problems), but giving answers to those things. 

"This country has a lot of different kinds of people with a lot of different ideas about revolution and especially communism—and lies are being told. There's Set the Record Straight which is really awesome. Recently I had an argument about the Great Leap Forward and what happened with the three million who died. BA and the rest of the Party helped—they're together on this mission to move for revolution, to make revolution and get stuff out plus tell people what really went down in those previous revolutions. He's not saying they're perfect, he's summing up the positive and the negative and learning from it. There will always be mistakes he says, but he talks about what happened back then and how to improve on it. This country is known to lie and push down the history of communism and socialism and what happened in Russia and China."

What jumped out at you?

"The end part—toward the end. It doesn't matter what age you are, we need more youth. He's giving confidence to everybody it doesn't matter what age they are—encouraging the youth this is their future—this system has no future for the youth but revolution does."

What do you say to people about the film?

"Holy shit this was good! Better than all the Lord of the Rings put together. 6 plus hours can impact 6+ billion lives. What is it about? I really can't answer it for you—you have to see it for yourself. You've just got to see it for yourself. It's incredible—you've got to see it for yourself and then judge. This premiere can make a big difference because afterward people will have a lot of strong reactions.

"When friends ask about the film, I say he speaks the truth about Obama and why things can't be reformed, but there's an alternative. Then people say, well this movie sounds like something I might want to go to. Even if you're not clear who this guy is, I say, he makes strong case for revolution, even if you don't agree with all of it, it's excellent. Personally, I saw it and I loved it, and thought it was very well executed. If you've never heard of BA—go see it. If you have questions—go see it anyway."

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/the-slavoj-zizek-raymond-lotta-debate-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

The Slavoj Žižek – Raymond Lotta Debate

On the History and Prospects for Communist Revolution

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The World Is a Horror – Is Bob Avakian's Reenvisioned Communism The Answer?

Monday, April 15, 2013, New York City, 6-9 pm
Columbia University—Altschul Auditorium
International Affairs Building, Rm 417

(enter at Amsterdam &117th, below the underpass)

On April 15 at Columbia University in New York City, Slavoj Žižek and Raymond Lotta will engage in a great debate "on the history and prospects of communist revolution." Slavoj Žižek is a prominent philosopher and social theorist. Raymond Lotta is a political economist and advocate for Bob Avakian's new synthesis of communism.

In January 2012, Slavoj Žižek launched an attack on the Revolutionary Communist Party and Bob Avakian in an interview in the Platypus journal. In response, Raymond Lotta wrote a polemic in Revolution and challenged Žižek to a public debate. Žižek accepted. And the debate is on.

At its heart, this is a debate between the world as it is and the radically different world represented and made possible by Bob Avakian's new synthesis of communism.

Be Part of Making This Happen

Planning meetings are taking place in New York City

Contact Revolution Books–NY
146 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10001
Zizek_Lotta_Debate@yahoo.com
212-691-3345

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/from-three-people-in-new-york-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

From Three People in NYC

March 12, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

White guy in his twenties who saw BA speak this past fall:
"I'll be at the Magic Johnson Theater on March 16th because in this day and age its rare to hear a man speak the truth and I'm not going to miss an opportunity to do so."
***
A Black man in his early thirties who said he's been stopped and frisked by police 30 times in a year
"I just bought a ticket to see BA speak, I'm really interested in what he has to say, ya know, there's a need for revolution, it won't hurt for me to buy a ticket and see this man's perspective and see where he's coming from. Look like he's really into mind the community where I come from, and he really cares for the masses of humans around the world. Thank you."
***
A college student, young Black woman, who bought her ticket:
"I encourage you to see the screening of Bob Avakian's REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS because I am inspired to hear about someone who thinks that they know how we can have a revolution, change capitalism, change the societal constructs in which we live today. I'm very curious to understand why he believes there are steps to reforming and changing society, and I think it's just a very inspirational and a motivational tool to help encourage people to ban together, fight against societal norms and constructs and make a change and make a difference, starting with this generation, so that's my little piece, I hope you go, come out and see it!"

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/ba-and-revolution-in-the-air-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

"BA and Revolution in the Air"

March 12, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian and his work are getting more into the political discourse as revolutionaries are going out in the world engaging and struggling with a wide array of people about BA and revolution, while building for the premiere of the film: BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Two significant examples:

Residente C13, the lead vocalist and master rhymer of Calle 13, the radical multi-Grammy award-winning music group from Puerto Rico, has been tweeting about reading Bob Avakian. Calle 13 packs arenas and concert halls worldwide with their unique mashup of musical and incredibly creative lyrical styles. Politically radical and outspoken, Residente C13 is uncompromising in his critique of what U.S. imperialism has done and continues to do in Puerto Rico, Latin America and throughout the world. He has collaborated on recordings with artists worldwide including Shakira, Ruben Blades, as well as with the revolutionary rock band Outernational on the song: "Todos Somos Ilegales."

Residente C13 is an avid tweeter on a wide range of topics with a Twitter following of 4.8 million. Over the last week as debate was going on about the death of Hugo Chavez, he tweeted: "This is something all the statesmen of my country should read—Bob Avakian: "Why do people come here from all over the world". Later he tweeted that he was reading BAsics. In response to one person's question about being a communist he said: "You do not have to be communist to read the book, I'm not, but it is important to read. Hug." And then, when someone challenged him about promoting this he answered: "Read this book so when you are screaming at me that am a communist like it's an insult you will be screaming it with a basis and foundation."

After these tweets views of the clip "Why do people come here from all over the world," from the film Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian, multiplied five-fold. A door to BA has been opened. People are checking it out. This needs to be amplified.

Also this past week, the student page of The Nation website, "Student Nation" posted an interview: "Talking with Jamel Mims." In the course of a wide ranging interview about Jamel's art work, his study of hip hop in China, his teaching, his work with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and the Revolution Club, the interview also features a beautiful photograph of the Revolution Club in hoodies reminiscent of the classic photo of John Carlos & Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympics.

Jamel says: "I'm most excited about [the activist organization] The Revolution Club: fighting the power, transforming the people, putting revolution and communism back on the map, and a culture of revolt against this present-day revolting culture! Whether [we're talking about] patriarchy or the oppression of minorities, wars for empire or imperialism's stranglehold on the third world, small reforms won't do—it will take nothing less than a revolution to actually address and uproot these social contradictions once and for all. We're currently working for the premiere of the film, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!—a 6+ hour call to revolution that can change how you look at the world, and what you do with your life—coming to theaters this March."

****

Two examples of what spreading BA and revolution and the campaign can mean. In WHAT HUMANITY NEEDS: Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism Bob Avakian says that the BA Everywhere campaign "is a key element of influencing millions of people now: getting the concept of this revolution and the scientific grounding underneath it, in a basic sense, out to millions, so millions of people are encountering it, so that people are debating it very broadly in society—so it's a point of reference."

In the run up to the Premiere of the film let's ramp this up.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/march-13-press-conference-to-protest-police-suppression-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

LA: March 13 Press Conference to Protest Police Suppression of Promotion of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We received the following press release:

For Immediate Release
Contact: Lucy Lee, Revolution Books
323.463.3500, revolutionbooksla@gmail.com

Press Conference Tomorrow at Noon
To Protest the LAPD's Attempt to Stop Promotion of the Film BA Speaks: Revolution – Nothing Less!
On Crenshaw Boulevard

When:  Wednesday March 13th, Noon
Where:  Southwest corner of Crenshaw Boulevard, just south of Stocker Boulevard
(under the billboard announcing BA Speaks: Revolution – Nothing Less!)

Speakers:
Jim Lafferty, National Lawyers Guild
Harry Lennix, actor
Rev. Meri Ka Ra, KRST Unity Center of African Spiritual Science
Michael Slate, writer for Revolution newspaper, host of Michael Slate show on KPFK

On Saturday, March 9, in a violation of their legal and civil rights, the LAPD attempted to prevent a group of revolutionaries from distributing information about an upcoming film premiere, BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less on the corner of Crenshaw and MLK Boulevard.  An LAPD officer threatened them with arrest for inquiring what code they were in violation of and six cops formed a phalanx near the literature table. 

"This was a show of force and intimidation to prevent people in South Central LA from finding out about this very important film of a talk by Bob Avakian, described by one of the filmmakers as 'a daring, substantive, scientific summoning to revolution ,'" said Michael Slate, radio host on KPFK and writer for Revolution newspaper.

After insisting the police provide some justification for their threats of arrest, the police provided this series of codes:
1.  41.24.1 LAMC: soliciting donations public property.
2. 41.57 LAMC: Loud noise coming from person
3. 115.02 LAMC: General, amplified sound
4.  28.01.01 LAMC: distributing flyers on public street
5. ____ LAMC: blocking sidewalks [no code number cited]
(for more on this, see Statement of Facts below)

Commenting on these, Michael Slate said, "A careful reading of these municipal codes makes clear that these were absolutely not applicable to what the group was doing on that corner.  This was outrageous and illegal action by the police aimed at silencing political speech that's exposing this system.  It is yet another example of the LAPD's well known and established history of illegal harassment and repression violating the rights of the people."

BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! is a film of a talk from the revolutionary leader, Bob Avakian.  It is premiering in cities across the country , in LA on Saturday, March 16 1 pm at the LA Theatre Center,  514 South Spring St.  (Go to revcom.us for more information about the film.)  Supporters in LA have been actively promoting this premiere in neighborhoods throughout the city.  While they have been met with support and interest from many people in the LA area, they have faced persistent and unjust harassment from the authorities, in South Central and from the Sheriffs Department at West LA College.
____

Statement of Facts

On Saturday, March 9, 2013 at approximately 2 pm, at the corner of Martin Luther King and Crenshaw Boulevards, six LAPD cops on bicycles approached a group of five people, who were standing on a public sidewalk  distributing flyers promoting the premiere of a film, BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! and selling copies of Revolution newspaper. These cops threatened them for passing out flyers and using a bullhorn and a portable sound system without a permit.  When they explained that what they were doing did not require a permit, Officer Avila informed them that they were wrong and could be cited and/or arrested.  When asked what laws were being violated, Officer Avila informed them that they should do their own research and he would not provide them with any specific laws that were being violating. He threatened them that if they insisted on knowing the violation, they could find out by being cited and/or arrested. 

One of the group pointed out that the police were  threatening to cite them for alleged violations of law, yet they would not tell them which laws were being violated. The cops then said they would get back to them and stayed there for the next hour, apparently looking for the laws supposedly being violated.  For a whole hour, the six cops on bikes lined up on the sidewalk right next to where the group continued passing out flyers, next to the portable small table that was on the sidewalk with promotional materials for the film premiere in a very intimidating fashion, forcing people to walk through a phalanx of cops.  They were later joined by a Sgt. Olivares who pulled up in a marked police car.

Olivares and Avila approached one person in the group and told them they  were in violation of the following Los Angeles Municipal Codes, which they had written on a piece of paper:           

1. 41.24.1 LAMC: soliciting donations public property.
2. 41.57 LAMC: Loud noise coming from person
3. 115.02 LAMC: General, amplified sound
4. 28.01.01 LAMC: distributing flyers on public street
5. LAMC: blocking sidewalks [no code number cited]

Though the group was not cited on this day, they were warned they could be arrested if they did this again.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/short-report-from-berkeley-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

From the BAY AREA: Building for the Film Premiere in Classes at a University

March 12, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Here's what we're announcing in classes at UC Berkeley (you can do a minute or two before class starts)

Why Should You Go to the Film Premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!  this Sunday, March 17, 1pm at Laney College Theater?

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!

BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!  This Sunday, March 17, 1pm, Laney College Theater.  Get palmcards–buy your ticket from us now.  [HOLD THEM UP].  6+ hours that can change how you see the world and what you do with the rest of your life.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/high-school-student-on-the-film-excerpts-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

High School Student on the Film:

"It answers questions but calls on people to ask more questions!"

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

These are excerpted from the words of a high school student who saw the rough cut of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! The only questions she was asked were, "What stood out to you?" and "Why should people be in the theater on March 16 / 17 for the premiere?" Read a fuller transcript here.

***

Before I saw the film I had learned about the lynchings during Jim Crow and before that, and I used to think, these people were fucked up. They took slaves, they killed Black people, they were fucked up. It was always about the individual. Like, some people didn't do that, and some people did. It was never about, like, all the things that made that OK. That's what society was comfortable with. So I was always angry, I thought, how could you think that was ok? How could you see that and not say anything? I had all these questions about lynchings, and all these things I never understood. I never questioned the entire environment they were in. The way people interacted with each other and saw each other. People's environment affects them so much, causing things to be normalized, things that should never be normal. So I never took into account the whole context. It's like people's ideas are manufactured in a way that's telling them how to respond to this or that thing. So in the film, he's talking about the lynchings. And you can see the little white kids smiling. And they're going to the lynchings and people are hacking off the body parts of the Black people, and the white people are having a picnic! Those things I didn't know, they spoke to the state of the environment people were living in. And suddenly I wasn't mad at all those individual people. I wasn't mad at the little boy who laughed, or the little boy playing with the fire that was burning a man alive. I was just angry about the whole system that made that seem OK. The laws that made that seem right. What people had been led to believe. People's vision of worth. It was so mind-blowing to me because I understood something on a whole different level.

And what he said about not just taking revenge. It just answered so many questions I didn't know I had. Doubts in my head. Or refuting other people's arguments. Why this can't be about doing wrong against those who wronged you. It's not about raping the rapist or killing the white people, it's not about that. That's what I feel like a lot of Black nationalists are about, and I don't get on board with that at all. It's the relations that people have with each other, that's what causes them to be so... cruel. Which became so much clearer to me. It isn't about revenge at all. Revenge doesn't, it doesn't take into account the situations that make people the way they are. Like, if somebody does a horrible thing. It doesn't question the bigger system, the bigger problems. It doesn't address that people are born on different levels, people have had horrible lives, and some people have had privileged lives. People didn't choose that. Revenge doesn't address what makes that OK to begin with. If you just get revenge, you're not getting at the root of the problem. You're not getting at the relations, the whole environment, the causes, the motivations, that made it happen. You just get that it happened. That's a very narrow form of justice, whatever justice is. People should be questioning the situations that make all that possible. Or they're not addressing all these deep inequalities, the effects of privilege, all these things that are the basis for what happens in the world.

Before this film I really didn't realize how many great things people have done, or even understand why people do terrible things. Now I know: people are not done doing great things. This is NOT the best that we can do. People could do so much better than this. It's so, so possible. Revolution... Nothing Less! speaks to me, more than anything else: this new synthesis of communism has to be fought for and put into place.

Hearing the history of how great humans can be, understanding the past communist revolutions, has really set it in stone for me. Before, I would be like, these are ideas on how something could work. It was never solidified in my brain: this could really happen. In some ways, this HAS happened! People are not all bad. It became real. It became different from just another person's ideas on how society could work. This is something that can happen. A revolution. And in the right direction. He's getting into what worked and what didn't. He's not just another guy with some ideas about how society could work. It wasn't like learning from somebody who's just a philosopher. This is real. He could be our leader. It's so possible! I just have to stress that because so many people don't have hope that things can really change. Thinking THIS is all we can do! And he said it in such plain language, that I could understand. Because what a lot of people who have a lot of good things to say do, is use all these terms I don't know, and then I just shut down. Analysis like this, and leadership like this, and saying it like that, so people can understand, is just a testament to how all this is possible...

I think that it's really important for people to be there [at the premiere] because not only all the questions they have, and all the beliefs they have that need to be challenged, but like, later on, there needs to be more people around that are talking about these things. More people who are informed, and understand what BA is talking about, and give historical references to things and challenge each other, and debate. That's a great thing! Having a lot of people there, and bringing people with a lot of different outlooks is so important. People will leave with a lot more answers, and a lot more of the right questions. They should be there to talk to other people who care about the world, about making this revolution. About whatever comes up that they hear that they need to debate out. It's so crucial. That's why I know I'm going to be there. People will be inspired.

I love this film. You know? I love this speech, and the way he, like, breaks it down. If it even causes someone to question what he's talking about, and having people there to speak to it, that's so much more beneficial than even just researching it on your own. This will help you not only be more politically conscious, but it pulls out the right questions. But not just that. It answers questions but it calls on people to ask more questions! You SHOULD be questioning what makes your society the way it is! To be less quick to trust what somebody says to them. It's incredibly important...

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/high-school-student-on-the-film-full-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

High School Student on the Film:

"It answers questions but calls on people to ask more questions!"

March 12, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

These are the words of a high school student who saw the rough cut of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! The only questions she was asked were, "What stood out to you?" and "Why should people be in the theater on March 16 / 17 for the premiere?"

***

Before I saw the film I had learned about the lynchings during Jim Crow and before that, and I used to think, these people were fucked up. They took slaves, they killed Black people, they were fucked up. It was always about the individual. Like, some people didn't do that, and some people did. It was never about, like, all the things that made that OK. That's what society was comfortable with. So I was always angry, I thought, how could you think that was ok? How could you see that and not say anything? I had all these questions about lynchings, and all these things I never understood. I never questioned the entire environment they were in. The way people interacted with each other and saw each other. People's environment affects them so much, causing things to be normalized, things that should never be normal. So I never took into account the whole context. It's like people's ideas are manufactured in a way that's telling them how to respond to this or that thing. So in the film, he's talking about the lynchings. And you can see the little white kids smiling. And they're going to the lynchings and people are hacking off the body parts of the Black people, and the white people are having a picnic! Those things I didn't know, they spoke to the state of the environment people were living in. And suddenly I wasn't mad at all those individual people. I wasn't mad at the little boy who laughed, or the little boy playing with the fire that was burning a man alive. I was just angry about the whole system that made that seem OK. The laws that made that seem right. What people had been led to believe. People's vision of worth. It was so mind-blowing to me because I understood something on a whole different level.

And what he said about not just taking revenge. It just answered so many questions I didn't know I had. Doubts in my head. Or refuting other people's arguments. Why this can't be about doing wrong against those who wronged you. It's not about raping the rapist or killing the white people, it's not about that. That's what I feel like a lot of Black nationalists are about, and I don't get on board with that at all. It's the relations that people have with each other, that's what causes them to be so... cruel. Which became so much clearer to me. It isn't about revenge at all. Revenge doesn't, it doesn't take into account the situations that make people the way they are. Like, if somebody does a horrible thing. It doesn't question the bigger system, the bigger problems. It doesn't address that people are born on different levels, people have had horrible lives, and some people have had privileged lives. People didn't choose that. Revenge doesn't address what makes that OK to begin with. If you just get revenge, you're not getting at the root of the problem. You're not getting at the relations, the whole environment, the causes, the motivations, that made it happen. You just get that it happened. That's a very narrow form of justice, whatever justice is. People should be questioning the situations that make all that possible. Or they're not addressing all these deep inequalities, the effects of privilege, all these things that are the basis for what happens in the world.

Before this film I really didn't realize how many great things people have done, or even understand why people do terrible things. Now I know: people are not done doing great things. This is NOT the best that we can do. People could do so much better than this. It's so, so possible. Revolution... Nothing Less! speaks to me, more than anything else: this new synthesis of communism has to be fought for and put into place.

Hearing the history of how great humans can be, understanding the past communist revolutions, has really set it in stone for me. Before, I would be like, these are ideas on how something could work. It was never solidified in my brain: this could really happen. In some ways, this HAS happened! People are not all bad. It became real. It became different from just another person's ideas on how society could work. This is something that can happen. A revolution. And in the right direction. He's getting into what worked and what didn't. He's not just another guy with some ideas about how society could work. It wasn't like learning from somebody who's just a philosopher. This is real. He could be our leader. It's so possible! I just have to stress that because so many people don't have hope that things can really change. Thinking THIS is all we can do! And he said it in such plain language, that I could understand. Because what a lot of people who have a lot of good things to say do, is use all these terms I don't know, and then I just shut down. Analysis like this, and leadership like this, and saying it like that, so people can understand, is just a testament to how all this is possible.

Before I was like, so where's he at? Where is Bob Avakian? And he talks about why it's important to protect the leadership. It's the same reason why you avoid... avoiding "premature decisive encounters." He says, don't create situations where the revolution can be crushed. He talked about Huey. He puts it a lot more eloquently than I do, but he basically said the system doesn't want leaders like Huey around, doesn't want people around who have a lot of the right ideas and are actually mobilizing people. The system will kill them, which can crush a movement, or demoralize it. That's terrible. We need to have him alive! We need to be able to pick his mind, and to have him be our leader, and not only have him be our leader, but to expand on the most thorough, and... I'm trying to say... the new something you can put into action! It's the most advanced thinking we have! Having him alive is worth not knowing where he's at. And also we need to have BA EVERYWHERE, not just where he's at, only relating to people in the place where he is! We need to connect people to him, and everyone should know who he is. So okay. maybe people should not actually know where he's at. He should be safe. Things like that just checked off so many boxes in my head. This is serious.

Revolution defies a lot of people's beliefs. They think people are lazy, or they don't care, or people are too comfortable. People's views of human achievement are so low. So, so low. Like he's talking about the human nature argument. Like all these bad things people do are justified because that's just what humans do! But people are so molded to believe these things that they can't imagine a revolution. They speak the words of their oppressor. They become different people. They can't get past what they've been told. It makes them unwilling to move, or even hope, even hope that a better world is possible. So you gotta come with the best argument, a real case for it, with the real history, having the analysis, having the evidence, that revolution IS possible! That's what he does in REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

Like when he was talking about rap and music videos. He called it a "poisonous package of individualism, religion, and misogyny." He talked about people wearing huge chains with crucifixes on them, and rap videos that have religious references side by side along with degrading women, all along with this message of "getting mine" and "me first." So he talks about how it's all three, it's a package. Young men growing up today come with this package. It was kind of crazy to me, because I never connected them in that way. I was like, oh, I got the individualism. Young men grow up believing that if they try hard enough, they could be a millionaire. Not just the hope, but there's such a huge value on material things. And women are just part of that. There's so much misogyny in the rap scene, it's all that you hear. Seeing they're connected, and they're essential for young men to be the way that they are. So many people, so many youth, come with that package, and I never thought it was all connected. It was cool that he could connect them all. And then it all connects to the lack of young people in the struggle. The lack of youth voice, a lot of apathy, in young people. We need those people! We need people who haven't settled in, who haven't had decades of indoctrination by this system, and they're all being held back by this whole package. From every angle. Having those people be a part of the solution is critical! You can attack that package, and see even better how all this is possible. The package is what THEY want you to believe. When I say "they" I mean the media, the church, the government, the people who produce all this propaganda. I mean the system. It's bigger than rap videos, it's propaganda, that fuels the religion, fuels the government, fuels the misogyny. This country, with the religion, it's ridiculous. It comes from everywhere. You can't escape it. You know what I'm saying? You're so pressured to believe one thing, without evidence. It's in the media, it's in the laws, it's everywhere. The people that own everything, the only people who benefit from this whole system, are the people who benefit from all the young people believing in this package. They benefit so much more because people believe that package, and so they reinforce it for a lot of people to believe. Most people, which is kinda scary. But it's so unnecessary! It's so crazy. Like, so many people are caught in the trap of religion that they believe anything those people tell them. People are so fucked over in so many ways by that package right now. Not only women with misogyny, not only the planet with individualism, and not only, like, the unwillingness to do something about it, or to believe in something even though there's evidence because of religion, all of the shit that comes along with religion, and what that causes for women, and what that causes people to believe, and when he says there's a package he's right. There's so much in that package, it's so much to challenge people on, and question people on, and enlighten them on. There's just so much work to do. A lot of work more people need to be doing.

I think that it's really important for people to be there [at the premiere] because not only all the questions they have, and all the beliefs they have that need to be challenged, but like, later on, there needs to be more people around that are talking about these things. More people who are informed, and understand what BA is talking about, and give historical references to things and challenge each other, and debate. That's a great thing! Having a lot of people there, and bringing people with a lot of different outlooks is so important. People will leave with a lot more answers, and a lot more of the right questions. They should be there to talk to other people who care about the world, about making this revolution. About whatever comes up that they hear that they need to debate out. It's so crucial. That's why I know I'm going to be there. People will be inspired.

I love this film. You know? I love this speech, and the way he, like, breaks it down. If it even causes someone to question what he's talking about, and having people there to speak to it, that's so much more beneficial than even just researching it on your own. This will help you not only be more politically conscious, but it pulls out the right questions. But not just that. It answers questions but it calls on people to ask more questions! You SHOULD be questioning what makes your society the way it is! To be less quick to trust what somebody says to them. It's incredibly important.

You can't wait for the revolution to come. You shouldn't wait. It also speaks to you not being passive about knowing the world can be a lot better, and doing nothing, knowing there's a place and people that you could be helping. It's crazy to me. It sounds horrible. Like, if you know, if you've watched the speech, I'm not saying people are horrible, but I'm saying if you know the system can be better, and you understand, but you just go back about your daily life, it's... appalling. It's appalling! I couldn't imagine ever being the same, knowing what I know. I can't imagine anybody finding out what's really going on and then not doing anything about it! You can't. Your life will be changed. Even understanding the things that make your life the way it is. If you know, really know, about American imperialism, if you know about the state of the world that is crying out for your help, only at the expense of you being a comfortable American person, like if you know that? And understand that? And go back to your life as it was? No way. You'll be stuck with something at the end of this premiere. The movement needs you. Like if you give a rat's ass about what the fuck is going on in the world, and you see this, you would be taking it up and getting with a revolutionary party that needs you, and is trying to make all the shit that's going on in your life, shit that you hate, make it non-existent! Trying to liberate all of the rest of the seven billion people on the planet! Not only is it ultimately important, but you should feel the drive and the fire and the anger inside yourself to be a part of this revolution. Because of what you know now, now that you've seen this film. To be a part of changing the entire world!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/ba-at-the-front-counter-of-revolution-books-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

BA at the Front Counter of Revolution Books

March 12, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A couple weeks ago we introduced a little DVD player at the front counter at Revolution Books. Something new began to happen. Staff people stopped trying to "convey" who Bob Avakian is and what he's saying and instead simply introduced people to the leader of this revolution, in person, if you will. By simply saying here's what I'm talking about, and clicking it on, we've shown dozens of people the 10-minute video "BA Through the Years" at the counter. Most stay to the end. It has changed what many thought about communism and revolution, what they are pondering about what's possible, and in some cases what they are doing—including buying tickets on the spot to the film premiere. Sometimes little groups form checking out the video, and a conversation ensues about BA among perfect strangers. 

One Black man who recently got out of prison after 17 years was taken aback by the clips, asking, "Why didn't I know about him?" Another older West Indian guy who's read Avakian but is still caught up in religion, after seeing this clip, bought a ticket and sat down to reread Away With All Gods on the role of the Black church.

Yesterday, a young white brick mason/actor wandered into the bookstore for the first time, watched the whole video, never moving, except for his fingers drumming on the counter. "That was amazing, man. I'm with him. Understand that. This is what I think about. I've always felt myself backing away when I hear about communism, but I realize I really don't know anything about it, and that's wrong, to make that judgment about something so important on hearsay." I said, "You have to be at this film if you want to know about communism. You've been lied to. BA has a whole new synthesis that goes farther than anyone. This is a science."  Him: "Okay, don't get me wrong, I think communism is a great idea, but could it work?" Me: "Yes. And no one has explored this question and the past revolutions with more rigor than BA. You have to be there Saturday."  The guy bought BAsics to find out more. He will have to get out of his job that day to be there. "It'll cost me $300 in wages, but I'm gonna try."

We are also playing the video clips for people who come into the store regularly-- some for many years-- to buy the paper, hang out and talk, take part in events. They too are transfixed. Some are surprised by BA's history in the 60s with the Black Panthers, some have never heard his "broke-leg motherfucker" story, some had literally never seen BA speak. Which is on us, friends! 

No more long windy conversations where we chase every objection to communism anyone ever heard from a prof or blog or backward relative. We are getting out of the way and letting BA speak, letting people actually meet the leadership they have. This is the person who can make the most compelling argument for coming to these premieres!, and connecting with this movement for revolution that has a real chance of winning.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/comments-from-rev-robert-b-coleman-on-ba-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Comments from Rev. Robert B. Coleman on BA

March 12, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

My conversation with Bob Avakian and my reading of his strategic plans for revolution have been challenging to say the least. To begin the conversation with focused attention on the poor and the marginalized fits my religious and biblical sensibilities. To give voice to the voiceless; to empower the powerless... these things speak to my heart as an ordained pastor and theologian. We may diverge on the various strategies employed to achieve a more just society. We may be identified by our disconnect when it comes to religion in general and Christianity in particular. But, there is great benefit in engaging in the dialogue, listening to Avakian's critique and proposal for change, and discerning your place in the ordering of society as we move into the twenty-first century. Go, listen and learn. Engage in the dialogue and critical synthesis yet unfolding. The uncritical support of any public figure or philosophy is folly. And the test of effective strategy shall not come without intense interaction and dialogue.

Rev. Robert B. Coleman
Chief Program Minister and Minister of Social Justice
The Riverside Church in the City of New York

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/film-press-release-nyc-3-11-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Film Premiere: BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS

March 11, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We received the following press release:

 

March 11, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Film Premiere: BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

On March 16 and 17, the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! premieres at the AMC Magic Johnson Harlem 9 Theater in New York, and 3 other cities nationwide.

This is a film of a talk Bob Avakian did in the fall of 2012.  Why should you do a story on the premiere of the film of this talk this week?  Simply: It's by far the most important thing people will  be doing on March 16. It deals with the most important thing there could be–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!

From Bob Avakian, in the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!:

“Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity."

Who is Bob Avakian

"My dear brother Bob Avakian... is the chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.... He is one of the few coming out of the 60's who never sold out, he never caved in, he never gave up, held on to his forging of a rigorous, scientific analysis of the objective realities that are driven by a revolutionary love – because he has such a deep love for poor people, oppressed people, all around the world.  Whether you agree or disagree with our brother, one thing you cannot deny: that he is the real thing. No doubt about it."
—Cornel West, introducing his interview with Bob Avakian on the Smiley & West radio show (October 5, 2012)

From one of the filmmakers:
“Yes, 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.”

In addition to NYC, the film will premiere that same weekend in Los Angeles, Chicago, and the SF Bay area.

For information about Bob Avakian and BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, see: Clear the Day!  Come Together with Others Around the Country, See the Film Premiere of “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!”

Read what others are saying about Bob Avakian and this film:

"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."
—James Vrettos, professor, John Jay College, NYC

For interviews in New York City with Carl Dix, Raymond Lotta, Sunsara Taylor, Andy Zee, or Jamel Mims contact baeverywhere@gmail.com.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/iwd-in-san-antonio-building-for-the-film-showings-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

IWD in San Antonio—Building for the film showings

March 12, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A crew of us went from Houston to San Antonio for the annual International Women's Day (IWD) march. For many years, San Antonio has been one of the few cities to consistently hold a march and rally for IWD, and this year people took to the streets in defiance of a new city ordinance demanding exorbitant fees for marches.

Our crew, though small, had a significant impact, and there was a lot of interest in the film, with some people struggling over making the trip to Houston to see it. At the beginning of the rally, we marched through the crowd with a large banner in English and Spanish, "Break The Chains - Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!", and agitating about the film and the need for revolution to end the oppression of women and all oppression. People grabbed up the palm cards for the film, with many taking extras to get out to others they know.

Many marchers slapped on the bumper stickers, "BA Speaks: REVOLUTION - NOTHING LESS!", wearing them throughout the march. It also made a big difference that one member of our crew was distributing stickers from the Stop Patriarchy movement, which were taken up broadly and could be seen being worn by people throughout the march.

We got out a large number of the IWD issue of the paper, as well as the special issue, "A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of all Humanity".

The crowd was smaller than years past, and not quite as spirited. This was reflected in a lack of chanting... and most of the chants that were done did not even mention the fight against women's oppression. Our crew started raising chants such as, "Not the church, not the state, Women must decide their fate", and "Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes, no means no", to address this, but we did not leave it there.

Large numbers enthusiastically took up the chant: "How do we end patriarchy? Revolution - Nothing Less!; How do we end racism? Revolution - Nothing Less! How do we end imperialist war? Revolution - Nothing Less!". The chants livened things up and raised people's sights. It was part of establishing a real revolutionary pole, and stood in stark contrast to a lot of the identity politics, trade unionism, and outright revisionism that has a strong influence in that city. It attracted the more radical elements, especially youth and immigrants, and the revolutionary pole significantly transformed the march.

At the end of the march, the MC agreed to announce the screening. She added, "this seems like an important film", encouraged people to go see it, and said, "I hope they show it in San Antonio". A retired professor bought BAsics, remembering BA from previous writings and work, and a young woman bought the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). She had shown a revolutionary her copy of the US Constitution, and the revolutionary had said she needed to check this out.

We also set up a couple of listening sessions among immigrant women, who listened to the Cornel West interview with BA. A lot of important questions came up in these, as people grappled with whether or not to come to Houston for the screening, and whether to organize others. One person agonized over the strong radical group she had been in the 60s, and how dialectical materialism had strengthened them, but in the end they fell apart under the repression. She kept asking "Why?", and there was talk about people's fears in terms of even daily survival. All of this was taken on as to why people HAVE to come to the movie showing, and that it is BA that has the most profound answers to these and other important questions facing people.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/verdict-in-the-steubenville-rape-case-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Verdict in the Steubenville Rape Case:

There is some justice—but there's no cause for joy—in the Steubenville verdicts

March 21, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On August 11, 2012, a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio, passed out at a party. While she was unconscious, a number of men stripped her naked and raped her. The unconscious girl was dragged to different parties, violated and degraded at each. In cell phone footage taken that night and posted online, one of those at the scene laughed and joked about the rape of the girl, "Is it really rape, cuz you don't know if she wanted it or not. She might have wanted it. That might have been her final wish." While this girl did not die, a group of guys can be heard laughing as one of them goes on for a full 12 minutes saying things like "She is deader than OJ Simpson's wife," and "She is deader than Trayvon Martin."

As the story came to light, throughout society people were shocked and outraged.

On March 17, two Ohio high school football players were convicted of raping the 16-year-old girl, and one was convicted of distributing a nude photo of the victim online. One of the convicted young men was sentenced to a minimum of one year in juvenile detention, the other to a minimum of two years, and both teens face possible maximum sentences to age 21.

Revolution received the following correspondence in response to the verdict:

To be clear, what was done to the young woman in Steubenville, Ohio, was absolutely horrific—a horrific sexual assault, rape, total degradation and dehumanization...she truly was treated and mistreated as an object, a plaything, and not looked at by those two youth and the many others around (who later circulated degrading texts and pictures via social media) as a full human being. The whole thing is an absolute horror and absolutely sickening, and also, without a doubt, an all too common occurrence. It is a clear example of the rampant and systematic—and systemic—direct and indirect degradation and dehumanization of ALL girls and women, in this country and all around the world. And it has to STOP. But while this young woman must be vindicated and supported, and this crime cannot in any way be excused or forgiven or swept under the rug, we can take no joy from the fact that two still young teenage boys (16 and 17 years old, one white and one Black) will now go to jail, be marked with a record, and have to register as sex offenders (in the same category with adult serial rapists and pedophiles [sexual molesters of children] and so on).

Now that it seems to have become clear through the legal procedures that these youth were, in fact, involved in this dehumanizing degradation, it is right that there should be serious consequences (including likely such things as the juvenile jail sentences issued in these instances). A slap on the wrist for such crimes would further contribute to the initial degradation and could not be tolerated. But there is no joy to be taken from seeing these youths' (and their loved ones') lives also get flushed down the toilet—there is absolutely nothing to celebrate in this. Again, what was done to that young woman (and what happens routinely in this culture) is absolutely horrific and CANNOT BE TOLERATED OR EXCUSED. It is, and should be, a source of rage, and we in no way should want to, or try to, dampen that rage. Quite the opposite. But where and toward what should that be fundamentally directed?—that is the point. And in this connection it is striking that the one thing the various pundits and commentators don't seem to want to touch with a 10-foot pole is anything even approaching a real, correct analysis of WHY does this happen, what and who CONDITIONED AND TRAINED these teenagers (and their friends) to THINK about girls and women in such ways, to ACT to blithely degrade and dehumanize girls and women in such ways, to not even think there was anything WRONG about what they were doing. Again, what and who TRAINED AND CONDITIONED them in this way, very systematically, very regularly, very routinely, and from a very young age? Who or what is more profoundly to blame for all this? Yes, the culture which mythologizes football and football players played a part, as did the culture of alcohol and binge drinking, as did the culture of reckless and heartless defamation and degradation through social media...but these kids didn't invent this stuff or decide on their own that it was OK to develop and tolerate such a culture. As for blaming the parents? The whole issue of the systematic degradation and dehumanization of girls and women here is something that is WAY bigger than (and way beyond the control of) even the most principled and well-intentioned of individual parents or teachers. And THAT is the issue that none of the pundits and commentators seem willing to explore and address—the fact that there is a whole systematic social conditioning of boys and men that is systematically undertaken from the earliest years, and actively tolerated and encouraged in countless ways, including through the encouragement and official acceptance of and involvement in the multibillion-dollar porn industry, as well as the global sex trade which teaches kids from an early age that it is normal, routine and perfectly OK to buy and sell girls and women as literal chattel, to manipulate and torture their bodies for sexual titillation.

The things these youth did to that young woman? They were no doubt imitating things that they can see every single day in culturally tolerated and mainstreamed porn—in which girls and women are routinely depicted as objects of rape, urinated and defecated upon, covered with semen, penetrated with objects, and all manner of horrific degradation...this is all routine, mainstream, and objectively officially tolerated by the people who hold state power under the current system and who do less than nothing to stop it. It is literally BUILT INTO the culture and whole way this SOCIAL SYSTEM is organized. The people who run this system put more daily effort into enforcing traffic regulations than in trying to prevent this kind of exploitation and degradation of girls and women or systematic training of the youth in perpetuating this degradation and dehumanization (the boys to enact it; the girls, too often, to accept it).

And WHY does this system promote and tolerate such a foul culture? Not just because it is big business (which it is) but because the oppression of women as something less than full human beings is part of the very structure and "fabric" of such a society and has been institutionalized as part and parcel of this exploitative and oppressive SYSTEM from the very beginning. And THAT (and the need to get RID of that through systemic revolution) is what they really don't want people to talk about, or even think about. So much more convenient to just jail a few teen-agers, spill a few tears and bemoan football and booze and lax parenting...anything to avoid getting into the deeper causes...and the deeper solutions. So no, we communists don't "cheer" and celebrate when 16- and 17-year-olds get hauled off to jail and labeled sex offenders for life in an overly simplistic retribution for a young woman's lifetime of nightmares. We're more serious than that...about REALLY stopping this shit...for real...and at the SOURCE. So we can bring to an end this endless degradation and dehumanization of living girls and women (and ultimately of the boys and men as well, who are systematically trained since childhood to think in these ways and to enact all this, consigned to perverting much of their own humanity in the process).

So, while once again the acts that were carried out by these guys can in no way be excused, or covered over, or even allowed to be met with simply some kind of meaningless "slap on the wrist," there is nothing to "cheer" in Steubenville—but there is a great deal to rage and rail and fight against!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/after-the-premieres-the-challenge-now-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

After the Premieres...the Challenge Now

March 21, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Last weekend marked an important beginning, a launch of something new into the world. New... and quite remarkable as well. A filmed speech of Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, powerfully makes the case for revolution—nothing less! Over 600 people around the country gathered together to watch the new film, entitled, quite fittingly, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Diverse audiences—including significant numbers of youth and a significant turnout from the most oppressed communities—got deeply into it. They listened as Bob Avakian, in six hours, gave them a whole different framework with which to understand the world... and transform it. Periods of intense attention were punctuated by outbursts of laughter, talkback to the screen, and strong applause. The accounts we are publishing of the different premieres, along with the interviews, give a sense of the response and the spirit at these events, and of the connections that were made. It was, as the publicity promised, a journey—and in another sense, the beginning of a new phase of the larger journey... to revolution!

The challenge now is to go from leap to leap in "spreading the message." Many who came to the premieres bought DVDs of the film for themselves and more than a few bought multiple copies. But those who came forward need collectivity—they need to be part of a movement, where what they are able to do can be knitted together into a larger whole. The movement for revolution needs to nurture potential "cores" of people—working with people to organize smaller showings in schools and neighborhoods where the premiere was known about, and going out much more broadly into society with this. Those who learned about this movement and then helped to build the premiere, along with those who came to the premiere as the very first thing they have done, all need to be a big part of this—and in a variety of ways, suited to the many different circumstances and positions people find themselves in. The movement for revolution is going to need to listen well and learn deeply in order to lead well, building on people's understanding and ideas and leading people to work together to change the world. The movement for revolution is going to need to walk together with people, learning and wrangling, as they move again through this film, multiple times.

This effort with BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! can and must play a dynamic and central role in pushing forward the whole movement for revolution, even as other important elements of the movement—including the battles to really build massive movements against mass incarceration, and the degradation and enslavement of women through pornography and the attacks on the rights to abortion and birth control—make important strides forward.

This past weekend of premieres provided plenty of material to build from—so let's do it!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/north-dakota-passes-severest-restrictions-on-abortion-in-the-u-s-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

North Dakota Passes Severest Restrictions on Abortion in the U.S.

March 21, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On March 15, the North Dakota state legislature passed two bills that would become the most restrictive anti-abortion laws yet in the U.S. if signed by the Republican governor. The first bill was described by the Center for Reproductive Rights as "the earliest and most extreme abortion ban in the country, which would make the vast majority of abortions illegal after the point at which fetal heart tone can be detected—as early as six weeks, a time before many women even learn they are pregnant." The other bill would make it illegal for a woman to have an abortion based on gender or because the fetus has a genetic defect, such as Down syndrome.

The North Dakota anti-abortion bills were passed just nine days after Arkansas adopted a law banning abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The outrageous moves in North Dakota against the basic and fundamental right to abortion don't end there—there are other bills being considered, including two so-called "personhood" provisions that would give the rights and protections of a born human to every fertilized human egg (which would ban all abortions), and another that would close down the only abortion clinic in the entire state.

If you thought abortion was "safe" because Obama was re-elected, look with open eyes at what's going on in North Dakota, Arkansas, and across the country, and face up to reality: The right to abortion is not "safe" at all—in fact, it is extremely endangered. Last year, there were 43 abortion restrictions enacted by various states—the second highest number of anti-abortion laws in history following 2011, when 92 such restrictions were adopted. And this year, close to 300 anti-abortion provisions have already been introduced in state legislatures.

As Sunsara Taylor said earlier this year, on the occasion of the 40-year anniversary of Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. ("Abortion: Stigmatized and Endangered. Time for Massive, Uncompromising Struggle"):

"In recent decades doctors and clinic staff have been stalked, terrorized, threatened, kidnapped, blown up, and violently assaulted. As recently as three years ago—yes, when Obama was president—Dr. George Tiller was cruelly murdered as he worshiped in church. And neither Obama, nor any other politician, nor any leader of the major 'women's organizations' showed their face at his funeral.

"Does that sound 'safe' to you?

"Clinics have been bombed, set on fire, blockaded, vandalized, disrupted, picketed, and invaded thousands of times. Women are verbally harassed, spat upon, shoved and insulted in other ways in weekly 'vigils' by these fanatics, and sometimes more often than that. And this goes on all over the country.

"Does that sound 'safe' to you?

"More than one in four poor women who seek abortions cannot afford one and end up burdened with a child against their will. Women who are able to scrounge up the money must run a gauntlet of extreme and medically unnecessary restrictions from mandatory waiting periods to parental notification laws to being forced to endure a probe inserted into their vaginas, and more. Today, 97% of rural counties do not have an abortion provider. And whole generations have grown up never having heard anyone speak of abortion as something positive and moral.

"Does that sound like the right to abortion—which is the only guarantee that women can actually determine when and if they will raise a child—is 'safe' to you?

"Every step along the way, Obama has insisted on seeking 'common ground' with the most rabid anti-abortion Christian fascists—going so far as to welcome Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Archbishop who spearheaded a recent rebellion against birth control, to give the closing prayer at the last Democratic National Convention. He upheld the decision of his Secretary of Health to ban the sale of 'morning-after birth control' to women without a prescription. His health care plan will actually make it more difficult to get coverage for abortion...

"Does that—does any of this—sound like the right to abortion is 'safe' to you?"

The nightmarish flood of anti-abortion laws points to the urgent need for massive and uncompromising resistance—NOW. As Sunsara Taylor wrote: "If we do not reverse this trajectory soon—very soon—we will lose this right and condemn future generations of women and girls to FORCED motherhood, against their wills, and to lives of open enslavement, terror, and life-crushing shame."

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/justice-for-kimani-kiki-gray-revolution-nothing-less-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

JUSTICE FOR KIMANI "KIKI" GRAY! REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

By Carl Dix | March 22, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Carl Dix at the Kimani Gray Protest, March 24, 2013

On March 9 in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, 2 undercover cops ran up on 16-year-old Kimani (Kiki) Gray and pumped 7 bullets into him, 3 into the back of his body. The authorities quickly called this “justifiable homicide,” spreading the police story that Kimani had a gun. Witnesses say there was no gun and that the NYPD, the same department that killed Shantel Davis, Tamar Robinson, Reynaldo Cuevas and Ramarley Graham in the past 13 months, had just murdered another young Black man.

In the days that followed, riot police swarmed the area, brutalizing people who gathered at vigils or tried to march in protest on the sidewalk. Dozens of people were arrested in this suppression of the right to protest this murder. Kimani’s parents applied for a permit to hold a protest march, supposedly a right guaranteed to all the people, and the police denied it! This is outrage piled upon outrage. The police state is in full effect—their cops can gun down your child and then refuse to allow you to protest what they did.

How long must we bury our children who were murdered by the cops? Everybody who has an ounce of justice and hatred for what the powers-that-be do to the people needs to be out there standing with people in East Flatbush who have police in their faces all the damn time. They were right to rebel. If they hadn’t stood up and said NO MORE to the murder of Kimani; the authorities would have gotten away with sweeping it under the rug. This is a fight for justice, and you need to come out and support it. NO MORE! You need to be out there Saturday morning, March 23, at his funeral. You need to come back on Sunday at 3 pm to the rally and march demanding JUSTICE FOR KIMANI, JAIL THE KILLER COPS and DROP THE CHARGES AGAINST ALL THOSE ARRESTED IN THE PROTESTS! If we don’t do this, we’ll be leaving those who experience and see their relatives and friends experience this brutality day-to-day to face all that the system brings down on them by themselves. But more, the fight for justice for Kimani is a struggle no one should stand aside from...joining this struggle is not only about justice for Kimani, but it is also about whether we will accept and tolerate oppression and brutality of vast numbers of people in this society or whether we will fight for another future.

Now some people who express “concern” for the situation in East Flatbush, people like Jumaane Williams and Reverend Monrose, have condemned “outsiders” who came in and riled up the youth. Let’s be REAL—what has riled up the youth are the actions of the police, when they murdered Kimani and then attacked the people as they gathered at the vigils and marched on the sidewalk. There are only two sides in this struggle—either you stand with the people against the repression they face or, whatever your intentions, you’re siding with those who carry out this repression. There are no outsiders in the struggle against oppression and injustice. But if you're trying to shut down or channel the struggle in ways that don't actually challenge the system that's responsible, you're on the wrong side.

We should live in a society and a world where those entrusted with public safety would sooner risk their own lives than injure or kill an innocent person. It’ll take Revolution—Nothing Less! to bring this kind of world into being and not only end police brutality and police murder but bring an end to all the other horrors enforced on people around the world. As just one example, this week marks the 10th anniversary of the war in Iraq, which has not only killed many thousands of people but brought suffering to hundreds of thousands, actually millions, more—and this is just one manifestation of what this system brings down on the people of the world. Kimani’s murder is another outrage in a seemingly never-ending chain of unspeakable brutality and oppression brought down on Black people since the 1st African was dragged to these shores in slave chains. This brutality is built into the very fabric of U.S. society, and it points to the need for revolution! Anyone who sees all the horrors this system enforces here and around the world and wonders what, if anything, could be done about this madness, needs to check out the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! It deals with the real possibility of ending the degradation and injustice of today’s world. (For info on this film, go to www.revcom.us)

The days when this system and its enforcers can do whatever they want to people, when people are not inspired and organized to stand up and resist their attacks and build up the strength to end them once and for all; those days must be ended, and they can be!

 

Saturday, March 23, 9:45 AM
Come out to the funeral service for Kimani at St Catherine of Genoa Church, 520 Linden Blvd.

Sunday, March 24, 3 PM
Rally and March called by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN)—Gather at Church Ave and 55th Street (take #4 to Utica, then B46 bus to Church Avenue).

Carl Dix can be reached at (917) 868-6007 or via e mail at carldix@hotmail.com for interviews and commentary.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/on-the-nypds-5-millionth-stop-and-frisk-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

On the NYPD's 5 millionth "stop and frisk"

March 21, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A Question:

If any country on earth—pick one—had its armed enforcers swarm on people simply walking down the street, stop them, search them, often threaten, insult, and humiliate them...

And if the rulers of this country persisted in this policy, even though stopping people and searching them without any probable cause, and without any indication they are breaking a law, blatantly violated its own constitution...

And if the ruling powers of this country had their police do this, despite the fact that 90 percent of the time, even under their own repressive laws, the victims of this "stop and frisk" policy violated no law...

And if the people singled out to be stopped, humiliated, threatened and sometimes worse—brutalized and killed—were nationalities who had historically been viciously exploited by the rulers of this country—even been literally enslaved for over 200 years...

And if victims of stop-and-frisk were stigmatized, criminalized, and set on track to end up in prison...

And if the rulers of this particular country did this 5 MILLION TIMES IN A SINGLE CITY...

You would say: That is an illegitimate regime, one with no right to rule.

So... what does that tell you about the rulers of the USA?

It is up to us: to wake up...to shake off the ways they put on us, the ways they have us thinking so they can keep us down and trapped in the same old rat-race...to rise up, as conscious Emancipators of Humanity. The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those days must be GONE. And they CAN be.

From: "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have
A Message, And A Call, From The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
"

 


 

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Revolution #298 March 17, 2013


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/on-the-police-murder-of-kimani-kiki-gray-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

On the Police Murder of Kimani "Kiki" Gray:
This Is Genocide!

by Sunsara Taylor | March 21, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The police murder of Kimani "Kiki" Gray is not a random tragedy or an isolated incident.

It is the latest killing in what can only be described as a systematic genocide taking place against Black people that grinds on day after day across the entire country. This genocide takes place through the epidemic of police brutality and murder; through the penning of Black people in huge numbers into ghettos, with the worst housing, education, healthcare and almost no decent jobs; through mass incarceration at the highest rate of anywhere on the planet.

Think what it means that every Black mother has to fear for the life of her sons at the hands of the police.

Think what it means that "DWB" (Driving While Black) is a near guarantee of being pulled over by the police, and that even the most accomplished Black people still cannot escape criminalization and worse.

Think what it means that there are more Black men in prison today than there were Black men enslaved on the eve of the Civil War.

If all this were happening to any other people, or in any other part of the world, who could have trouble seeing this for what it is: a slow but systematic and steadily advancing genocide?

And who could excuse those who sat by and did nothing?

Even worse are those who use their public platforms to condemn the targets of this genocide, and the people who have stood with them, for expressing their righteous anger against all this.

It is essential that all those with a shred of humanity and conscience stand up against this latest outrage. This means being at Kimani's funeral on Saturday, March 23; at the protest called by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network on Sunday the 24th; and at future actions.

This also means confronting soberly the full scope of the horror this case concentrates and brings to life. The oppression of Black people—beginning in slavery, continuing with nearly 100 years of KKK lynch-mob terror, and currently manifest through the slow genocide of mass incarceration and police murder—is built into the foundations of this system.

A good place to start is with "The police, Black youth and what kind of a system is this?" a section from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a major speech given by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.

Revolution is not an "outside agenda." Revolution is the ONLY SOLUTION to this system that day after day is stealing and crushing the lives of our youth. This revolution must be urgently fought for and taken up right now, both by those who bear the brunt of this genocide as well as by others who refuse to accept all this as "just the way things are."

***

Find the Revolution Club at Kimani Gray's funeral on Saturday, March 23 and then on Sunday the 24th at 3 pm at Church Ave and 55th Street (off the #4 to Utica, then B46 bus to Church Avenue).

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/response-to-the-village-voice-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Response to the Village Voice:

People Rose Up in Righteous Protest Against Murder of Kimani Gray—And They Should Be Supported

March 22, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


The righteous uprising of the youth of East Flatbush and others from across the city of NY who were outraged by the murder of Kimani Gray has been met with riot-clad, baton-wielding cops and mass arrests. Accompanying these assaults has been a chorus of NYC elected officials, "community leaders" and others in NY and across the country who are "appealing for calm" and "furious" over those from "outside the community" who supposedly are inciting very angry youth to resist. The message? The youth are easily manipulated and NOT actually fed up with the dead end future they are trapped in and seeing and protesting the murder of Kimani as a concentration of that ugly future. And the further message: The youth should refuse to unite with those who are joining them in struggle.

But this is wrong...this struggle—which is just and not futile or destructive—is most welcome and in the interests of all the people. It is right to stand up and resist.   

Now, this chorus has been joined by the Village Voice, a paper which began as an alternative and progressive paper, but this week joins in on the reactionary attacks on the people who are rising up in East Flatbush. In a major article published in March called "Everybody Wants a Piece of Kimani Gray" the Village Voice characterizes the outraged youth as emotional and basically unthinking in their struggle while at the same time describing the situation with Kimani’s murder as "complicated." It ridicules the struggle: "The rolling protests and unrest that have roiled East Flatbush for the past week have at times felt like a 21st-century Bonfire of the Vanities, a dysfunctional and tragicomic variety show, as postures of rage and ideology, solidarity and self-promotion share the stage, and moments of dark absurdity overlie stark calamity.” Fuck you Village Voice. It’s a fine thing that people are rising up against yet one more outrage perpetrated on the people.

First, ask yourself: In a country where the police murder of a Black youth is so routine that most people are not aware of how often this happens, if there had not been the outpouring of resistance in response to this callous murder, what would be the outcome? Would anyone even know about it? Would this murder and uprising be a subject of discussion on airwaves across the country? Wouldn't the only story out there be the enforcers' picture of Kimani as a gang banger with a gun who deserved to die and the police as heroes? Would there be any hope of justice?

And then think about this: Is it a bad thing or a good thing if youth are joining with each other and others, raising their heads and beginning to go up against those who maintain a boot on their neck? Is it a bad thing or a good thing if, now, the youth are acting on their outrage and hopes for something different? Is it a good thing or a bad thing if people from different backgrounds and from across the city are a part of the struggle to demand justice for Kimani and calling out the continual brutality the police inflict on people?   

Let’s be real: The powers-that-be, including elected officials, like city councilman Jumaane Williams, fear this kind of awakening and rebellion on the part of the people on the bottom. They also fear the unity that is being built between different kinds of people. With such outbreaks of struggle the nature and legitimacy of this whole set-up/system get called into question. People begin to ask big questions. And those defenders of this system also go into high gear, working overtime to shut down the struggle and steer and confine the resistance of broad numbers of people into "acceptable" channels which don't challenge the whole set-up.

So, what's the real deal? What riled up the youth—and broad numbers of people—was the murder of Kimani, and the brutal—and constant—repression the Black and Latino youth face at the hands of the police. People were saying NO MORE! The source of the unrest is the actions of the police, not the actions of people in the community "riled up by outsiders"! And to these mouthpieces for the system (including those who speak in the Village Voice), we say there are no outsiders in the struggle against injustice and oppression. If you didn’t live in Sanford, Florida, should you not have said anything about the murder of Trayvon Martin? If you are the parent of a child killed by the police in a DIFFERENT neighborhood, are you supposed to be silent? Are you an "outsider" stirring up trouble if you speak out against injustice, the thousands of murders of Black and Latino youth by the police, if you join in protest against these crimes which happen every day in this society? 

Actually, we need to squarely face the fact that far too many people have stood aside and been silent when Black, Latino and other youth have been gunned down by the police and/or railroaded to prison. It is a very good thing that people from across the city of New York—from beyond the community of East Flatbush—have joined in the protests and uprising. And many more need to protest this murder and the massive incarceration of over 2 million people in this society, mainly Black and Latino.   

And to the Village Voice we say: NO, IT'S NOT FUCKING COMPLICATED. As Carl Dix said: "There are only 2 sides in this struggle—either you stand with the people against the repression they face or, whatever your intentions, you're siding with those who carry out this repression." The Village Voice should be ashamed for giving its backing to those who are condemning these actions and calling for an end to the righteous struggle. The police murdered Kimani Gray as a part of their ongoing terror and brutalization the people—and the people from that neighborhood and across the city rose up in protest and they should be supported. 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/radio-interviews-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Listen to Radio Interviews Promoting
BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

March 14, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Audio icon Carl Dix interviewed by Davey D. on KPFA, Berkeley, on March 15, talking about the protests against police murder in Brooklyn and the premiere of BA Speaks: NOTHING LESS!

Audio icon Listen to Sunsara Taylor and Amina talk about the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! premieres, on the Michael Slate Show, Friday, March 15, KPFK 90.7 FM.

Audio icon Carl Dix, on WBAI in New York City (99.5FM) Thursday, March 14, on "Education at the Crossroads" with host Basir Mchawi.

Audio icon Sunsara Taylor on KPFA on International Women's Day.

Audio icon Carl Dix, Wednesday, March 13, on the Jeanne Parnell show on WCHR, NYC.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/talkin-bout-a-revolution-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

"Talkin' Bout... A Revolution?"

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following commentary by journalist and op-ed columnist Erin Aubry Kaplan, dated March 14, appeared on the Social Focus section of kcet.org, website of the public media outlet KCET in Southern California.

The short curve of Crenshaw between Vernon Avenue and King Boulevard has long been a kind of delta where the many rivers of black reality meet. For starters, Crenshaw borders Leimert Park and View Park, separating the affluence of those places from the poorer hinterlands south and east of there. But it also brings the elements of both together in a scene singularly known throughout the city as Crenshaw (the area, not the boulevard). In that brief corridor that features both the modernized Baldwin Hills mall and the street hawkers and community saviors who regularly congregate on the corner of Crenshaw and King are all the psychic elements of black folks—aspirations, protests, struggle, resistance. They are not necessarily harmonious. It's quite a stew.

I've seen many billboards in that corridor trumpeting everything from black Atheism to Obama-ism. One that caught my eye this past week was an invitation to Crenshaw denizens to come see a film featuring Bob Avakian, chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party. It's screening this weekend downtown at the L.A. Theatre Center and records a marathon seven-hour speech by Avakian that he delivered recently. I won't get into the complex and controversial history of the RCP here, but suffice it to say that it is very much alive and believes that the black freedom struggle is foundational to the many other ongoing struggles in the country for justice and equity. Of course, unlike traditional black advocacy groups like the NAACP, the Party doesn't believe that the American system of capitalism can ever deliver that freedom—it simply wasn't designed to—and that the only real option is to institute another system altogether.

This proposal of radical change has always presented black people with a paradox. We want inclusion, meaning we want access to what every American has access to (theoretically), from functioning schools to safe neighborhoods to meaningful employment. But generation after generation we fail to secure these things, or not enough of these things to declare the struggle over. It has become clearer to many of us that we may always be in this state of gross inequality, a realization that prompts a question that sounds not radical, but perfectly logical: why not live some other way?

Nobody black that I know believes for a minute that America was created with his or her interests in mind. Nor does anyone I know believe that American hostility to true racial equality has relaxed to the point where blacks can claim that we have assimilated with reasonable success. And yet the determination to soldier on as part of the fractured and deeply flawed American project is almost universal. I guess blacks have been knocking on the door so long, we're loath to stop now. We're loath to stop being a thorn in the side of a nation drifting toward total racial indifference that needs all the reality checks it can get. True, we aren't exactly holding anybody's feet to the fire, as we did in the '60s, but somehow our mere presence, even the thoroughly mainstream presence of President Obama (who undoubtedly would live west of Crenshaw, if he lived here) makes the point that we still await our forty acres and a mule. That's how unassimilated we remain.

But there are certainly those among us who, like Malcolm X, see waiting on the system for justice akin to waiting for Godot, the title character of the world's most famous absurdist play who never shows up. It'll be interesting to see who shows up Saturday to hear Avakian. "Revolution—Nothing Less!" is what the ad encourages. I don't know about nothing less, but what's indisputable is that black folks here—and elsewhere—need something more.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/barney-bush-on-film-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

From Barney Bush

March 15, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From Barney Bush, Writer/Teacher/Native community chairman/Father/Grandfather and Activist in the honor of our homelands and the next seven plus generations

I am aware that we are at the crossroads where we are unable to recover any of the thousands of species destroyed by industrialization within just the last five years (about two hundred a day, so I hear). Having said that, we are already outside the realm of quick fixes for recovering the earth, air and water. Mining/fracking/drilling/crushing corporations realize that they have been given free rein from the legal system to do as they wish...maybe not exactly free; it's in exchange for the mining and drug company moneys that elected them to office, and none pretends to hide it. Not enough know yet, to care.... Colonialism, or any of its subsidiaries: democracy, republic, capitalism, Christianity, has done a good job at imprinting all of us, most of us, with criminal views of truth, good health, respect, courage, confidence, creativity, communication, perseverance,  prosperity, and the simple organic feeding of one's family and him/herself. I am coming to Chicago to the premiere of the film, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! to find connections that, through intellectual and common sense organization, will help us to make the impending disasters survivable.

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/experience-at-high-school-in-neighborhood-of-the-oppressed-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Experience at a high school in a neighborhood of the oppressed: a snapshot

March 15, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

These recent trips inside the class rooms with the orientation of “REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” have really been an interesting experience. The students are very receptive when it comes to hearing about injustices but then there is the question of what we are going to do about it and what is your life going to be about. I keep running into this contradiction of students not really seeing and/or not understanding why things don’t have to be this way. This is no surprise given what their lives are like. The challenge is drawing the students out; again they are very receptive and attentive to the content of what I am saying but after I present and open it up for questions and comments, its pretty dead and silent. It’s hard because I’m constantly posing questions and trying to raise the level of things but it seems to get nowhere. There was one experience where I presented and then based off the back page of the issue where a young girl in Pakistan was making bricks, a young woman made this comment “Why should we worry about that little girl when there is a 12 year old right down the street selling her body? I mean I'm not saying fuck her or let’s not care, but don’t we have to work on our shit before we say we can help others?” This comment kicked off a discussion in the class that is really rare to see.  Students began to kick around ideas like, what kind of culture is promoted, is the problem that people are too fucked up, what about human nature, patriarchy and the effects on young women, gangsterism and how it affects young men, sagging where did it come from, and many more things. I tried to give leadership to this but at the same time I let the students kick it around on their own. There is more to learn from this experience because again this doesn’t happen as much as it should. One thing I have noticed is that we need to talk more about who BA is with these students, use the materials to give people a glimpse of who BA is and what he is all about, why he is the real deal. 

There is a small core of students who have gotten tickets to the event but much work and struggle needs to be carried out to make sure that they are there and come as a group. I wanna sit down with them soon and get into why they wanna go, and how they think we can get more students involved. Also we need to be sharp in struggle with these youth, some are serious but overwhelmed by the “majority” who are not. We need to say to people flat out, we need a revolution and we have the leadership in BA, lets cut the bullshit and get serious about this because it will be us and people like us that will be the backbone and driving force of this revolution so lets get with the leadership making that possible and fight the power and transform the people for revolution, if that’s not what you wanna be about then I feel sorry for you and you’re not who we are looking for.

Also I’ve noticed that lately since I’ve been focusing on the serious students its sort of setting a pole and getting buzz going. This is nowhere near on the level it needs to be but there is a small buzz. The other day I walked into the halls and the students saw me with fliers, as they usually do, but I went only to one young woman who had a ticket. I gave her the flier that was an invite to meet in one of the classrooms after school with others who are going. Everyone around us was just staring and listening with a look of “how come she is getting a flier and I didn’t this time.” Right after her friend walked up to her and said “what’s that for?” she said “it’s about this film” then her friend asked if she was going she replied “Yeah I am, you should too.” Again this is not happening on the level it needs to be but we can and should learn from this. Finally even the not so serious students have commented on how we are always there working with the youth, and I even ran into some the other day when we went around the hood with a sound truck. These are youth who normally brush us off, they walked up to the sound truck and took palm cards for them and their family. Now they see me and walk up to shake my hand and say what’s up. I challenged one about going to the film he said “Nah I’m not going, I'm not the one you’re looking for this shit is serious and I got work to do to change myself.” I told him “Look bro its gonna be people like you and me that are gonna put this system in its grave, if that’s what you wanna be about instead of this gangsta gangsta shot um up bang bang lifestyle then you need to be at this film premiere.” He said he would really think about going but that he wasn’t sure. Again this isn’t the end and more needs to be done but seeds have been planted and sprouts are struggling to thrive.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/nypd-kills-brooklyn-youth-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

NYPD Kills Brooklyn Youth:

It's Right to Stand Up Against Police Murder

March 14, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Kimani Gray. Killed by two plainclothes NYPD cops. Kimani "Kiki" Gray, cut down at 16 years old. Another senseless, wanton killing of a Black youth at the hands of the police.

Every night since he was killed, people have come into the streets in mounting protests, determined to express their anger and outrage over this murder. They have defiantly confronted baton-wielding NYPD cops in vigils and marches. The chants ring out: "NYPD, KKK, how many kids have you killed today?" "Fuck the police" and "Don't shoot. Don't shoot." Others shout: "murders, murderers."

The official story for this murder? The New York Times wrote that "The teenager separated himself from the group and adjusted his waistband in what the police described as a suspicious manner." Also, "A woman who lives across the street from where Kimani was killed said that after the shots were fired, she saw two men, whom she believed to be plainclothes officers, standing over Mr. Gray, who was prone on the sidewalk, clutching his stomach." According to this witness, Kimani said, "Please don't let me die." And one of the cops answered, "Stay down, or we'll shoot you again." Other news reports cite statements by witnesses that Kimani Gray did not point a gun; or that he had no gun at all, or that his hands had been in the air.

Now in response to the outrage and protests by the people comes vicious repression by the police and the powers-that-be. The powers justify this by saying that the youth are violent and attacking the police. But the reality is that it is the police who are attacking the people. As people started to gather last night (March 13) for a memorial vigil for Kimani, 50 riot cops took their positions, constantly harassing people and going up their faces.

The crowd at the vigil grew and included Kimani's relatives and Juanita Young, Nicholas Heyward, and Margarita Rosario, all parents of children murdered by the NYPD. They came with a Stolen Lives banner with the names of people killed by the police. Both Juanita and Nicholas spoke to how their children were killed by the police and the need for this to stop. A revolutionary spoke to the murder of Kimani, saying how long must this go on, and that Revolution, Nothing Less is what it will take to stop the police from murdering our children. He spoke to how we deserve to live in a society where the security forces would sooner take a bullet than kill one of the people, and called on people to come to the premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

A large section of the crowd, mainly youth, decided to march. At the core of the march were fearless young women and men. They were joined by a wide range of people from across the city. The police on foot and on scooters blocked and penned in the people, not letting them cross the street on the sidewalk. On the sidewalk!!! The pigs were trapping people and penning them in. And people broke out of the trap. All along the march, those in the march were constantly having to break into a sprint to elude the police who would attack and grab people. Many of these rebels were pepper sprayed, and 46 people were arrested, including Kimani's sister.  

The police attack the people who are righteously protesting and arrest 46—yet the killers of Kimani walk free. Why? Because as Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has said:

“The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.” (BAsics 1:24)

Emotions run deep in this community, as they do in cities across this country. This part of Brooklyn can only be described as "occupied" territory. People are not free to hang out with each other without fearing what will come down on them. The police constantly harass and stop-and-frisk the youth especially on the streets for any reason, or no reason at all. Hundreds of thousands in New York City alone are stopped and frisked every year. And at any time these encounters with the police can end up with a murder by the police. Think about what it means for millions of Black and Latino youth to be living with the daily reality that not only are they systematically targeted by the police, but they could be murdered by them at any time and this would be declared a "justifiable homicide."

When people take to the streets, it is a fine thing. No one should accept the crimes that people are subjected to on a daily basis. No one should accept that this world they live in is just the way things are and the best humanity can do. This is not the best of all possible worlds—another world is possible. And the fight to win justice for Kimani can be an important part of building the movement for revolution that can bring that new world into being. People everywhere must stand with and uphold the youth defying the police and refusing to accept the murder of Kimani Gray in silence. People must voice their outrage over this cold-blooded murder. NO MORE!

"The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those day must be GONE. And they CAN be." (from "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have. A Message, And a Call, From the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA")

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/press-conference-denounces-lapd-attempt-to-stop-people-from-publicizing-BA-Speaks-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Press Conference Denounces LAPD Attempt to Stop People from Publicizing BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

March 14, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Wednesday, March 13, a press conference was held under a huge colorful billboard for BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! on Crenshaw Blvd in Los Angeles. It was in protest of the LAPD's attempt to forcibly prevent people from publicizing the premiere of the film in the area. For several weekends before the date of the premiere, revolutionaries have gone to the corner of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, talking to people at the bus stops and passing by, and using a sound system and DVD player to connect people with BA on the spot. People have stopped and engaged in lively debates, checked out BA, taken stacks of palm cards and copies of Revolution newspaper.

The last Saturday before the premiere, the LAPD tried to put a stop to this. As a press release about the incident stated, "On Saturday, March 9, in a violation of their legal and civil rights, the LAPD attempted to prevent a group of revolutionaries from distributing information about the upcoming film premiere, BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less on the corner of Crenshaw and MLK Boulevard, [a spot named Freedom Square]. An LAPD officer threatened them with arrest for inquiring what code they were in violation of and six cops formed a phalanx near the literature table." (Read more about the incident here.)

The Crenshaw District was said by a city council member to have the highest rates of homelessness, unemployment and foreclosures in the city. It was also one of the centers of the Los Angeles Rebellion in 1992, and protests of the murder of Trayvon Martin a year ago. In addition to people connecting with Bob Avakian on the street, some small businesses have put posters for the premiere in their windows. It's easy to see why the authorities fear people here connecting with the work and vision of Bob Avakian.

The press conference was not covered by the mainstream media. There were reporters from KPFK, the LA Pacifica station, Our Weekly, a widely-distributed paper with news relevant to African American communities, and Revolution.

The speakers:

James Lafferty, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild LA Chapter
Harry Lennix, actor and filmmaker
Rev. Meri Ka Ra, KRST Unity Center of African Spiritual Science
Michael Slate, writer for Revolution newspaper, host of Michael Slate Show on KPFK FM

Following the press conference, the speakers went down to the corner of Crenshaw and MLK, and helped distribute palm cards – in defiance of the LAPD's attempts to criminalize such activity.

James Lafferty: "I have to think that if somebody from a Disney film was standing where these folks were standing and passing out fliers for a Disney movie, or any other movie in this country today, the police would not have bothered them in any way, shape or form. It's inescapable that it's because of the revolutionary message of this film and of the group that was passing out the literature about this film, that caused the police to react in the way that they reacted. It's inexcusable. And one of the things that we're certainly looking at whatever kinds of legal relief or legal redress would be in order here.

"In addition to that, when this press conference is over today, I think we're all going to be going back to the site of this alleged crime—I intend to, certainly—and engaging in the same activity that was engaged in on Saturday. And we'll see whether the police would dare once again to violate the constitutional rights, the First Amendment rights, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, its supporters, and those who are simply trying to publicize the need and desire of their group to show this movie, the revolutionary movie with a revolutionary message—certainly a message that at a time of great repression, and poverty and homelessness and joblessness in this country is a move that I would think everyone would give a fair listen to."

Harry Lennix: "I just want to say as a filmmaker, to have someone tell you that you cannot publicize a piece of work that you have done and that has taken a considerable effort is an outrageous abridgment of the freedom of speech. Dr. King once said very eloquently that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And so any time that someone is trying to prohibit someone from exercising their free right simply by drawing attention to the fact that a film has been made that people in this time, perhaps more than ever need to hear. I know a lot of people, particularly in this community, have been emboldened by the reelection of President Obama, but just a few short facts about that: At a time when lot of people are taking this as some sort of a tonic for the ills that are besieging the Black community, I know from first-hand experience, being from Chicago and having deep ties to this date there, 532 murders happened in the streets of Chicago last year. One most recently in the month of January happened a mile, or a couple of blocks, frankly, away from where the president makes his Chicago home. No one had anything to say about it.

"So any time I see any such thing, as a person who relies on the freedom of speech, the First Amendment, to make a living, then I have to get involved in that, because this party in particular, Bob Avakian in particular, has vocally, vociferously, vigilantly, defended the rights of the under-served and marginalized communities. And the fact that this film is something that will be used to propagate a message of freedom and hope and true liberty, and that somebody is trying to squelch that, particularly when they're supposed to be protecting and serving us, that's an outrage. And as Jim [Lafferty] said, I cannot sit by idly and let that happen."

Meri Ka Ra: "As a community elder and spiritual leader, my responsibility is the uplifting of the ancient principles of Ma'at, that being truth, justice, order, balance, harmony, propriety and righteousness, as such a form likely to affect our safety and happiness, and that encompasses the highest teaching for humanity and our sharing of the resources of the earth. My hearing of Bob Avakian's platform affirms a high teaching for all humanity and includes a clear message of operative and restorative justice, focused upon the redress of human rights for America's Black citizens. Bob Avakian deserves, and has the right, to be heard according to Ma'at, according to the Constitution, according to the Bill of Rights of the United States of America."

Michael Slate: "This was a show of force and intimidation to prevent the people in South Central LA from finding out about this very important film of a talk by Bob Avakian, described by one of the filmmakers as 'A daring, substantive, scientific summoning to revolution.' This type of harassment has been persistent in South Central LA. It will not succeed and it will not be tolerated.

"Why would the police and the system they serve target the promotion of this film premiere? It's because they fear what might happen when the people they have pushed to the bottom of society can hear and engage with the ideas and theories of the most revolutionary leader on the planet. It's because when people see this film they're going to connect with this leader and the real possibility of bringing into being a radically different world, where all this madness, all the oppression and injustice, all the abuses and degradation that is so much a part of life now, would be done away with. And it's because the system and its enforcers fear what might happen when the very same people they have demonized, murdered, humiliated and pushed into prison, hook up with a movement for real revolution and a leader who has this to say, 'Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity.'"

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/sunsara-taylor-and-amina-on-michael-slate-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Sunsara Taylor and Amina talk about the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! premieres, on the Michael Slate Show

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Listen to Sunsara Taylor and Amina talk about the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! premieres, on the Michael Slate Show, Friday, March 15, 10-11 am PST (1-2 pm CST, 2-3 pm EST), KPFK 90.7 FM. Live online at www.kpfk.org.

"Why is it important? Why should people do anything they can to get to this film? What's going to come out of it? What's the idea behind the film and what difference will it make in the world today? Joining us to talk about these questions will be Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution newspaper and founder of the Stop Porn and Patriarchy Network, and Amina, an activist and organizer for revolution."

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/outrage-continues-over-police-murder-of-kiki-gray-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

March, Rally in Brooklyn: Outrage Continues over Police Murder of "Kiki" Gray

March 13, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editor's Note: On Saturday night, March 9, 16-year-old Kimani Gray was hanging out with some friends in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Two plainclothes cops in an unmarked car rolled up on them. A few minutes later, the cops fired 11 rounds at Gray, with 7 shots hitting and killing him. Three of the bullets entered from the back. The police always have a "story" to justify such crimes. The New York Times wrote that "The teenager separated himself from the group and adjusted his waistband in what the police described as a suspicious manner." So now fixing up your belt is cause for the police to execute a young Black man on the street—along with holding a cell phone, taking out a wallet, holding a toy gun, etc., etc.

According to a NY Times article, "A woman who lives across the street from the shooting scene said that after the shots were fired, she saw two men, whom she believed to be plainclothes officer, standing over Mr. Gray, who was prone on the sidewalk, clutching his stomach." According to this witness, Kimani said, "Please don't let me die." And one of the cops answered, "Stay down, or we'll shoot you again." Other news reports cite statements by witnesses that Kimani Gray did not point a gun; or that he had no gun at all, or that his hands had been in the air.

Police brutality is rampant in East Flatbush. Residents of all ages and walks of life complain of constant harassment, and youth in the area have targets on their backs—every one of them walks out of their house each day not knowing if they will end up in jail or dead. Just a year ago, and just blocks from where Kimani Gray was murdered by police, a NYPD detective shot and killed Shantel Davis, an unarmed 23-year-old woman, for being a suspect in an auto theft.

The police murder of Kimani Gray has already led to three days of street protests. The police and the system's media are pumping out all kinds of totally irrelevant bullshit about things Kimani Gray was supposed to have done at one time or another. But outrage in the community has grown as more facts come to light. The Times reported that the release of an autopsy report that indicated three of the bullets that killed Kimani Gray entered his body from the rear served to "fan the flames of a community already distrustful of the police and increasingly incensed about the shooting of the teenager."

At a Monday night vigil for Kimani Gray, anger flowed out into the streets of East Flatbush, and protests have continued. The following is a report from a Revolution reader.

* * * * *

From a reader:

3/13/13: For the second night in a row on Tuesday, over a hundred people rallied and marched through East Flatbush, angry and outraged over the murder of 16-year-old Kimani "Kiki" Gray at the hands of undercover NYPD pigs.  Various people on the scene and the press reported that the previous night, 100 to 200 people marched in the streets, headed to the NYPD 67th Precinct, after a memorial vigil for Kimani.  They were met by scores of cops grabbing people and setting up a line of pigs to stop them from getting to the precinct.  Reports are that police were grabbing people and trying to shove them out of the street onto the sidewalk.  Reports are that metal police barricades, trashcans and garbage were thrown into the streets to stop the NYPD cars from following the march.  Afterwards, the whole area was on police lockdown with police wearing helmets and carrying riot batons and police cruising the streets on every block for a long stretch of Church Avenue.

On Tuesday night, people were determined to show their outrage and anger, demanding that the NYPD stop killing their children.  Initially about 60 people gathered, in large majority various middle class activists, including a significant number of people that had been active in Occupy, along with some people from the community.  As the people marched, the crowd grew to over a hundred with people from the area gathering to watch and listen.  Large numbers of police in riot gear were on the scene from the beginning.  Even before the march, the police were fucking with people as they gathered, telling people that they were blocking the sidewalk. In the face of this, the people took off in a spirited and determined march with people from the area joining along the way.  A long line of police marched in the street alongside the people's march.

 People chanted:

NYPD, KKK, how many kids have you killed today
Fuck the police
No justice, no peace

Many, many people watching along the way were glad to see people marching, with some joining. Overall this was a very chaotic scene. Police were all over the place and people were never sure if they were going to attack the march.  The police blocked people from getting to the precinct.  The main bulk of the march was practically surrounded by the police and the march organizers decided to have a rally on the spot.  We, along with some of the marchers and people that were gathering from the community, were blocked from joining the rally and were stuck on the other side of the street. 

A revolutionary started agitating about, "How long will the police keep killing our children like Kimani Gray?  Revolution, nothing less is what it's going to take."  He did a whole riff on "how many more?", naming various people killed by the police and after each one saying, "REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!"  People were clapping as he did this.  He spoke to three strikes, making the point about it's the police that today carry out the lynchings.  People really liked this.  He spoke to how we have to worry every time our children go out the door that they will be killed by the police.   He challenged people to come to the premiere to hear how revolution could be made and we could win, overcoming all the outrages. This message connected with many in the crowd.

Among the masses, people were very, very angry.  No one believed the police story that Kimani had a gun.  A number of people said no one would be that stupid to point a gun at the police.  And many were angry about the character assassination of Kimani being carried out in the press. People want these murders to stop. 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/listen-to-carl-dix-on-cliff-kelley-march-14-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Listen to Carl Dix on the Cliff Kelley Show on WVON 

Thursday, March 14 6:08-6:25 PM (Central Time)

March 13, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Carl Dix, representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party and co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, will appear on The Cliff Kelley Show on WVON -1690 AM Thursday evening between 6:08 -6:25 p.m. (Central Time) to discuss the premiere of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! taking place in Chicago on Saturday, March 16 at Columbia College (full details below). 

This is an excellent opportunity to reach out to WVON listeners about the film premiere and why they need to be there.  Spread the word so your friends can listen in. If you want to ask Carl Dix a question, you can call WVON at 773-591-1690. (Out of state listeners can call Toll Free 877-591-1690 or 866-591-1690.)  So turn your dial to 1690 AM at 6:07 p.m. (Central Time) and listen to the interview. If you don't live in the Chicago are or aren't in the WVON broadcast area, you can stream WVON live.  

 

Click here to listen to the show.

Air times:

7:08 p.m. Eastern Time
6:08 p.m. Central Time
4:08 p.m. Western Time

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/carl-dix-on-police-murder-of-kimani-gray-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

Statement by Carl Dix on the Police Murder of Kimani Gray

March 13, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following statement is in response to a New York Police Department killing: 

 

ON THE POLICE MURDER OF KIMANI GRAY
March 12, 2013 by Carl Dix 

16-year-old Kimani Gray—another Black youth murdered by the NYPD. How long are we going to have to bury youth who have been killed by cops? This is unacceptable, and it must be stopped. It'll take Revolution—Nothing Less to stop these official murders and all the other horrors this system inflicts on people here and around the world!

Anyone who wants to see these outrages ended needs to be in the house on March 16th for the premier of BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! at the Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem. You need to see this film because in it Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, speaks with passion and science about the real possibility of bringing into being a different world, one where the madness, oppression and degradation of today has been done away with.

I've been on the front lines fighting police brutality, stop-and-frisk and other injustices perpetrated for decades, and I do that from this revolutionary perspective. That's why I stand with the people who stood up yesterday in Brooklyn, and why I say we need more, and more determined, resistance to these murders. And why we need to "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution!"

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/298/debra-sweet-invitation-to-attend-the-premiere-en.html

Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

From Debra Sweet:

Invitation to Attend the premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS

March 13, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is from Debra Sweet's blog, posted March 11, 2013:

 

My personal invite to you is based on what’s possible, and necessary, and what’s true.

Often, people ask me why I haven’t quit trying, in discouragement, to change the world, or even to just stop the crimes of the US government through a mass movement of people, as supporters of World Can’t Wait are working on.  The challenges are obvious, and I am aware of how rare – much too rare — it is to refuse to give in.

Part of the answer to why I’ll never give up is that I’m continually outraged, and don’t accept this as the “best” of all possible ways the world could be.  I came of age in the 60′s, amongst the struggles of Black people, women, people around the globe struggling for justice and liberation, which set the stage for being a rebel.

More significantly, I saw the possibility of a much better society because the largest country in the world then was socialist – The Peoples’ Republic of China.  The most vibrant, scientific, inspiring propagators of revolution internationally were the revolutionary communists who came out of that worldwide movement.  At the center of that ferment was Bob Avakian, BA, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

Cornel West introduced BA in a recent interview  as “one of the few coming out of the 60′s who never sold out, he never caved in, he never gave up, held on to his forging of a rigorous, scientific analysis of the objective realities that are driven by a revolutionary love – because he has such a deep love for poor people, oppressed people, all around the world.”

I heard him speak late last year.  BA made an extremely deep-going call to get with the movement for revolution, calling out the crimes of the imperialist system, envisioning how society could be, outlining the strategy to work through the huge challenges in how to get there.  He said something that has stuck with me, and I’m paraphrasing here, that if you see all those horrors, and you know it doesn’t have to be that way, why would you not want to be working and struggling to end this?  He talked about the need to confront reality, looking at the horrors this system creates, continually, and then applying science to transform the contradictions to create a whole different world. That resonates with me.  You can get more, right now, from BA by listening to an interview with Michael Slate on KPFK, where he went into these points.

Avakian and the RCP are leading a movement for real revolution, with a Constitution for the Socialist Republic in North America, (draft proposal), which aims to bring about 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."

Hearing BA in BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! in a theater with hundreds of others on the road to discover what can be done to end this madness and bring about the emancipation of all humanity is something I invite you to join me in doing.  What could be more important?

This trailer is playing at the Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem, where the film will premiere Saturday.

The film is simultaneously premiering in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in addition to Harlem. Details and tickets here.

 

 


 

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Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

From the Premieres

San Francisco Bay Area

March 21, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

An excited crowd gathered at Laney College in Oakland on Sunday, March 17, in anticipation of viewing the premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Those arriving early were greeted by representatives of the Revolution Club—Bay Area, and checked out the Revolution Books table in the lobby. Then, led by a banner-carrying contingent from the Revolution Club—East Oakland, people entered the theater to begin the day.

About 150 people were in the theater Sunday. It was a diverse group—different nationalities and ages, people drawn from all over the Bay Area. For many this was the first time they had come to such an event and a few were apprehensive about what they would find and hear. The freshness of a large section of the audience gave a different character to the event. Many, many of the people attending were not known to the organizers of the event before the day. People had heard about it in different ways—palm cards, billboard, newspaper ads, radio, class announcements and through friends. Something new was represented—new and important and fragile.

Students and teachers from City College of San Francisco, where there is a fierce battle raging to keep the school open for the 90,000 students who depend on it, were in the house, led by the Revolution Club just being forged there. Students from Laney College, UC Berkeley, Berkeley City College, Cal State East Bay, and other Peralta Colleges were represented. High school students from two different San Francisco charter schools attended as did students from Castlemont High School, Oakland High School, Oakland School of the Arts, Skyline High School, and Berkeley High School. These students were joined by teachers from at least three different high schools and other youth from around the area who met the revolutionaries during different outings over the past six weeks. Some of these students came together as beginning cores at their schools and others came individually.

In addition to this significant section of youth, there were many others of different nationalities, ages and backgrounds in the audience. Men and women from East Oakland and San Francisco who have been taking up revolution for a while now made sure they were representing for their neighborhoods and stood up proudly when the MC asked members of the Revolution Club to identify themselves. Anti-war activists, teachers, nurses, attorneys, unemployed and homeless, immigrants from Latin America, Iran, and Africa, a long-ago friend of BA who saw an announcement about the film and made sure to be there. Others BA had known from Black Panther Party days came to hear him speak. Several people had heard Carl Dix talk about the Kimani Gray murder and the link between the need for resistance to that and other police murders and the importance of seeing this premiere. Many had been called during the last few days leading up to the premiere and told us that those personal calls made a decisive difference in their plans to attend.

During the intermission, which lasted longer than planned because technical difficulties had to be resolved, people ate, mingled and compared notes about the speech. DVDs, premiere T-shirts, and literature were sold at the Revolution Books table. People checked out their packets to find out what was planned in the coming week and to fill out the questionnaires about how they would like to get connected. Some we talked to during the break commented that BA's exposure of Obama was hard to take. Others were not so sure about BA's critique of religion. Most, but not all, agreed that revolution, nothing less, is needed. Some said they could now see how that could even be possible in a country like this.

At the end of the evening, it was late (we started late to give those coming from the neighborhoods an opportunity to be there for the beginning and because the technical problems we had to resolve during intermission meant a longer intermission than we had planned) but many stayed to talk, to get more DVDs, to find out how to get involved. Most of those from the Revolution Club—East Oakland stayed for a while to eat dinner, visit, compare notes in a lively gathering characterized by a genuine camaraderie and excitement over what they had heard that day, the shoots of a movement for revolution that were seen in the groupings of people, young and old, all nationalities who came together to be part of this historic premiere. Plans were made to meet up on the weekend to get the DVDs out into the neighborhoods and to talk further about what they had just seen.

 


 

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Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

From the Premieres

Chicago

March 21, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

There was a sense of both seriousness and real excitement as over 120 people gathered at Ferguson Hall at Columbia College on Saturday, March 16 for the Chicago premiere of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! People commented on the diversity of the audience that were all brought together to hear BA speak on the most pressing questions facing humanity. The audience was about 30 percent Black people of all ages, from high school youth, students from community colleges, and others from some of the most oppressed communities, to older people who were teachers and professionals, and people who are part of the Revolution Club and the struggle against mass incarceration and police brutality. Several people of different nationalities commented on the importance of a section of young Black people being in the house. There were a number of older Black people who said they came because they feel that the situation has become intolerable and they were looking for answers, including several people came on their own after hearing Carl Dix interviewed two days earlier on WVON, a Black radio station. About 20 percent of the audience was under 25, high school and college students and recent college graduates, as well as others of that age from the masses at the bottom of society who are working on jobs or just working to find a way to survive. The rest of audience was made up of people from all different ages, strata, interests, and nationalities—all interested in engaging BA.

There was a lively interaction between BA on the screen and the audience throughout the film. There were visceral responses and talkback to BA from a section of the Black masses, young and older, who were sitting in one part of the theater, people were expressing their agreement and appreciation for what he was saying. This affected others to either join in or who couldn't help but notice that the Black people in the audience were responding very positively to BA. One young woman said she really liked the audience, that they were so involved and interested. A young white student said he had thought that you could not criticize Obama to Black people and he was really struck by the audience reaction to this part of the film. There were people throughout the auditorium nodding vigorously at some things BA said, and many times laughter broke out in parts of the audience and applause punctuated some particularly pointed comments that many in the audience wholeheartedly agreed with. There were also open expressions of both agreement and sharp disagreement in the parts where BA takes on religion and Obama and this carried over into some serious struggle in the "smokers' lounge," the sidewalk outside.

After the intermission, when BA goes deeply into what a revolutionary situation is and how it could be possible to win in a country like this, it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop because so many people were intently leaning forward wanting to hear him explain how the conditions could develop so that this system could be swept away. BA brought this question to the fore, and one woman was literally riveted during this part, commenting that "Whoa, he is actually going there." For a number of people who were very intently listening to this part wanting to know what BA had to say, there was also controversy about what he did have to say, i.e. questioning "is this really the only way?"
At the intermission and at the end there was a rich expression of what people appreciated about BA and the whole talk and what they were thinking about coming out of the film, much more than can be covered in this snapshot, but here are some of the comments:

Words people used to describe the film: "I love the film—it was powerful." "It was masterfully put."

A young Black man was asked at the intermission, "What do you think of the film?" He replied, "It's good." "What's good about it?" "That's my life."

A young woman said the most important thing she learned was, "it's not our fault." She didn't know anything about communism before she came and was surprised to find that she was not alone in her thinking, to hear someone saying what she was thinking, but had never said out loud.

The following comment by an older Black man concentrates what many other people thought about the film: "What stood out most to me was the zillions of knowledge that was compacted in six hours. I would say that for a man to be in this as long as he has, he has a very sustained amount of knowledge. This six hours, it doesn't actually explore all the knowledge I imagine he have and have for the masses. But just the short film is enough to get you started. Very much so, like you need gas to get up the road, cause you just ran out. He vitalized a lot of things that was going on in the 60s we wasn't too familiar with, didn't even know about, some of us, and he still been in the movement since then, so I take my hat off to Bob Avakian."

Many others made similar comments to this: "I was really impressed by his passion, his commitment, his sincerity. His entire speech is enough to make me want to be involved in some kind of way to help this movement. He touched on a lot of everything that's been happening. This is 2013, we've seen enough and know enough to know that the oppression is not gonna change without us."

A woman wrote on the questionnaire: "This film was powerful and comprehensive. BA's extensive knowledge of the system and historical experience on fighting it, enlightening others on it, and eventually overcoming it is timely, possible, and soon to be. I appreciate his efforts and will continue to build not only my awareness, but also participation to help humanity to break the system."

An older Latina activist said, "He really brings the definition of revolution to a very focused point... Revolution is revolution and he gives the reality of what it is. So if anybody comes along and says what is revolution—hey, I got the message right here in this film. I think it's important for young people, because they could be taking up all kinds of definitions of what revolution is. Like he said, we're talking here serious."

An older Black man commented at the end, "BA is qualified, bona fide, and should be paid attention to by everyone. Everything he put forward was very relevant to the situation and what we need to do. He gave all the proof to back it up. This is a person that can really teach people something." He compared BA's approach toward changing the world to a child's game of jacks: "Sometime you try to pick up one jack, or two, or three. Bob Avakian is about sweeping up every jack from the floor and all at once."

Several people commented on BA's internationalism—how he is concerned about and cares about the whole world. A young Black woman concentrated this in writing "I love BA. He is so connected to the oppressed people in the world and has a way of putting information in words that more of us can understand this world better." A white man said: "he has a very broad understanding, not just specifics about a certain people, but a very wide and broad perspective of the world."

A middle-aged Black man who came to the film off the WVON interview with Carl Dix said in an interview at the end when asked what struck him: "There are so many areas he spoke on that really allowed me to picture what could be possible, such as globally where people's needs could be met in a format where there could be justice for all people. I feel this is the terms that need to be brought to the mass of the people. For me personally, I didn't have an overview on how to combat the umbrella that was basically covering so much mass destruction. As far as communism, the way I had understood it was a sense of oppression. He made it crystal clear why the word communism was brought to the surface of things. I thought that was pretty legit."

A Black woman student made a point about BA's method and leadership, "He's going to give it to you straight, he's not going to sugar coat it and what he says is what he means. And I think he will be the one that basically uplifts the whole new generation of people because we done had the wool on our eyes for too long."

The controversy around Obama brought out questions of method and epistemology. A Black woman said to one of the staff that she thought the film was powerful and many more people needed to hear it. She talked about how she and all her friends had volunteered to work for Obama in his first campaign. Then she shook her head and said, "Well, I guess the truth is the truth," referring to BA's analysis of what Obama is about. Another older white woman said what surprised her the most was what BA said about Obama, "I'm an Obama person, except for the war on Afghanistan, I like Obama. I didn't know the other things about Obama that BA said. I have to rethink a lot of things now." An older Black man said, "I totally agreed about the person Obama, but BA went further to make you question your respect of the whole office of president and the whole system behind it."

People divided out sharply on religion, for example, an older white woman said she really liked "his atheism, that was such a strong start at the beginning about science and the degradation of the lord. That's RIGHT where I'm at!" While a young Black woman commented that when BA criticized religion and said there is no god, she stopped listening, she couldn't get past that.

Several women commented on what BA said about the oppression of women and rape, one commenting that he had "a very thorough feminist critique." A Native American activist was heard saying that he had never heard a non-native speak this way, especially the indictment of capitalism.

A Revolution Club member expressed how the power of BA and this film had impacted him: "After seeing the film I came away with a confidence that a revolution really could happen in a country like this. It really made me want to get out with more literature, be more straightforward with what Bob's talking about, and really help people understand what communism is all about...We need to introduce those the system has cast off to Bob. Because they struggle with things that the system do, and they just don't know what to do about it. And the party do. So I feel like if we can get it out to these people and help build them up, it could be the fighting force to stop these things. And we really need to get the Revolution Club off the ground, come together with a plan to help people develop the concept that we are trying to get them to understand. I think this is a great way to help the youth learn about the Party and Bob and I think it's a great thing to take it throughout the city, to the high schools, and get them to understand the science."

Many other people remarked that this is a film that needs to be heard by everyone, especially the youth. Many bought their own copy to watch themselves and show to others, 44 copies were sold. Many of the people who couldn't stay all the way to the end bought the DVD or expressed the desire to see the rest.

 


 

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Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

From a reader:

Observations from the L.A. Premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

March 22, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

It wasn't long into the film, BA Speaks: Revolution —Nothing Less, when the audience began responding audibly. Laughter, applause, assent. This is a masterpiece talk and the production of the film is beautiful with crystal clear sound. All this enabled people to get inside and travel with Avakian for 6+ hours, and in the process, many, many in attendance were touched to their very core —dealing with big questions about their lives and fundamental belief systems.

In LA, there were about 165 people in attendance. A very multinational audience. Groups of students came from three different state colleges throughout the city (including in some further away areas). Also, individuals from a community college and a major university. The students were mainly Black and Latino, one or two Asian students and a few white students. Probably 25 total plus handfuls of other young people. They'd heard about it from revolutionaries on campus —many who'd they seen over a number of days, as well as from professors who encouraged them to come. Over a dozen people heard about it from Michael Slate's show on KPFK, some of whom have been listening to BA on his show. A handful of Black people (in their 40s and 50s) came from a proletarian neighborhood. A group of Iranian people and a few people who speak mainly Spanish, with some English ability.

The viewing of the film was a collective experience, with voiced appreciation all the way through. A lot of laughter and applause. And people were audibly moved. Vocal agreement around the questions of the oppression of Black people and the critique of the argument that the youth should pull up their pants and take responsibility. Moved responses to the analogy of pornography today to the history in this country of postcards of lynchings and the analogy of the current deportation of undocumented immigrants to slaves being "sold down the river." The audience was quiet and intense on the discussion of strategy, and then vocal again in response to the discussion of the patriarchy in the culture. This was interesting because at first there seemed to be laughter at the critique of the too-often-used word "bitch." But as these phrases got challenged, people sort of stopped at their own laughter and you heard things like "oh" or "damn."

It was a tight audience —people feeling like they were having a collective experience, learning how each other were responding and a feeling they were in it together —and though we had to start late (people we knew were on the way were stuck in traffic), we were able to keep the intermission to 35 minutes. When the Revolution Club was asked to stand up, there was applause.

People stayed in discussions way past when we were supposed to even have the space —until a little after ten (the film ended at about 8:20 pm). And a few of us did go out to dinner nearby —continuing the discussion into the night.

A lot of people were still processing what they heard and were thinking deeply about a whole range of questions.

Many people commented on Avakian's stamina —both in the talk itself but also in life. That he came out of the movements of the '60s and hasn't given up, including when things have gotten difficult. A couple people drew on his comments about others, that when the movements ebbed, they would just go back to their comfortable lives. Coming into this, some people spoke to feeling like leaders are bound to desert the masses in this kind of way —this is something that weighs on people, and that they are weighing in considering their role in this movement for revolution. That BA spoke to this —with such honesty and outrage —resonated with people. Together with the fact that BA is a long distance runner and that he continues to speak with such honesty, and what several people pointed to as courage, spoke to these deep, if rarely voiced, doubts. Not only this, but BA has gone further —breaking this down so everyone can understand, and challenging them to be part of the process of making revolution. One student said he is "genuinely passionate and intellectually honest" and another person commented that "he draws you in and keeps you there."

People were surprised that they'd never heard of him before. And never had the opportunity to hear what he had to say.

Importantly, a few people commented on the fact that BA is still alive given the history of how this system has gone after revolutionary leaders —killing them in cold blood or locking them in prison for decade after decade. I talked with a couple people about BA's memoir, and the history of repression he's faced. But also that people aren't helpless in the face of this. That we have to now build a movement that is both projecting Avakian's voice throughout society, and building a wall around Avakian with people from different perspectives coming together to demand he not be fucked with. A middle-aged Black woman who was familiar with this history talked about the murder of Malcolm X and how white people in particular refused to stand with him at the time of his assassination. She got BA's memoir, in part because she wanted to understand how he came to know so much about Black people, and I suggested she get into the section further on dealing with repression.

Another person who'd raised this, a young Black college student, was beginning to weigh the potential cost to her if she stepped into this, wondering if she got more active, would she face arrest. We talked about the process through which revolution advances —taking on the repressive measures of the old order, which they will use to crush and intimidate the revolution and those who are drawn to it. There are no guarantees, but we are serious and serious about having people's backs, drawing forward others in the process to stand with those who come under attack, and exposing the illegitimacy of the whole system in the process. But I underscored again the importance of protecting and defending the leadership of BA in particular, while getting his voice out into society.

A few different people who were interviewed and that I spoke with were appreciative of the fact that BA spoke to the question of can you be a white person and lead a revolution. BA has spoken to this before in BAsics 6:10, "Somebody asked the question: did I think that as a white male I could actually lead the revolution. Well, the answer is no, not as a white male —but I think I could play a leading role in it as a communist." He speaks to it again, and very directly, in this talk. Some people came into this quite skeptical themselves, but both learning about BA's history and being moved by the content of what he's arguing for was changing their thinking, including with different questions posed about the fuller goal of this revolution: the emancipation of all humanity vs. ending one kind of oppression. One woman said she was challenged by the fact that BA knew more about the history of slavery than she did, and not only that, understood where the present-day oppression of Black people comes from. One student said he knew his friends already had questions about this but feels like if he can get them to get into the content of this talk, it'll speak to that. Clearly this is, and will be, an ongoing point of controversy and struggle.

Another controversy that came up a lot was in regards to religion. A young Black woman student asked how you keep from going crazy if you don't believe in god and said she felt challenged that we seemed to know more about the bible than she did. Her friend who grew up in a very Christian household introduced herself to someone in the Revolution Club, "I'm Black and I'm Christian. What are you?" She really loved the talk and felt like it was awakening a part of her that she'd kept silent. Growing up, she used to always ask why things were so terrible and her mom would just tell her to pray, tell her she's not supposed to question. She felt like she had to awaken the questioning part of herself that she'd turned off to get into all this further. The woman from the Club she was talking to is Latina, and they were also grouped with a couple other Latino students from a different school. The Black woman said she'd always been taught to hate Latino people, but how she'd never appreciated what it might feel like to be undocumented and the other two Latino students said they were always taught to hate Black people. They talked amongst themselves about where this comes from and were all serious about changing their thinking on this.

I overheard a middle-aged Black woman, an activist against mass incarceration, saying how much she loved the talk but didn't agree communists had to be atheists, "I'll be a communist and a Christian." One comment on a questionnaire was "please remember that 90% of people have a faith." A 38-year-old artist wrote on his questionnaire, "Amazing knowledge that is needed for the future of our youth and ourselves. I love the fact that there is a plan in place with research and many realistic scenarios have been discussed. I myself found the spiritual part the only part that was hard to follow, because of my belief in ancestral spiritual guides that have helped me in current struggles. Thank you for putting out a great movement."

One person I've spoken to since who played a big role in helping to build for the premiere, has had a hard time with the way communists struggle with people over religion, even as he has his own criticisms of the church. When I spoke to him the day after the premiere, he said that in regards to religion, he's questioning and is thinking more about the questions BA poses in the talk for people to think about.

You can see, from these examples, and more, the way people were wrestling with BA's critique of religion and how it blinds people to reality, but at the same time appreciated that religion was not a dividing line in terms of those on the same side fighting oppression.

In different ways, coming out of it, people were weighing what this new understanding meant for their lives. One student I spoke with was very moved but also conflicted. Her family depends on her for financial support so she feels like she can't fully act on what she came to understand. She knows he spoke to that but wasn't sure how to break through. And felt like, for herself, if she only did it part way, it would be kind of lame. We talked about the strategy for revolution and I showed it to her in BAsics, the last couple paragraphs. She appreciated this and said she had to process more.

Another student talked about how the "little shield that everyone has of ignorance is lifted after watching this film." Then went on to talk about how "you make a conscious decision whether you want to go on and act about it or you want to continue hiding under your shield. But if you do, it's kind of on you because someone already told you what's going on and what's the reality." At the same time, they were themselves conflicted about what this would mean for their personal life dreams, including potential repression they might face in the future.

In the lobby space, someone made displays with the testimonials about the film on two Japanese screens so people could walk around and read them. An older Iranian man (who had not been part of the revolution and is newer to BA) came up to me excitedly to show me the testimonial from an Iranian supporter living in the U.S. He said Iranians do need to hear this, and they would be open. But he was especially concerned about reaching the youth, "I'm not hitting my expiration date yet, but we do have to get the youth."

A couple students commented on how hearing this talk broadened out their understanding of revolution. That they'd never heard someone speak to all these different questions, and the interrelations of these different questions. A Black student said this talk was life changing, that previously he'd had a "small idea of revolution" but this has to be a collective effort, fighting for the rights of everyone. Another student spoke to the "cohesiveness" of BA's revolutionary approach —that from the oppression of women, discrimination against LGBTQ people, the oppression of Black people and immigrants... "it's all one and the same... it's all exploitation and oppression in pursuit of profit and capital." Interesting in this light, of the 32 questionnaires filled out from the night, 14 of them have checked off BOTH interested in fighting mass incarceration and interested in fighting to end porn and patriarchy.

There will be much more to report in the coming days about the impact of this film premiere... and the plans and impact of getting this film out into a society in a massive way. One thing I've been thinking about is the significance of new people coming into this revolution with their introduction being the whole thing laid out before people in this talk from BA —a whole different framework and method for understanding the immensity of the suffering on this planet, the source of that, the revolutionary solution and the strategy, vision and leadership. As we can see, even just from the initial response, this touched and even changed people in significant ways, causing them to think deeply about their core beliefs and even the direction of their whole lives.

The revolutionaries at the core of this movement have to learn deeply about all this —and we should do a great deal of listening in the coming days. I think it's important to note that in the packets given to people at the premieres across the country, we gave people both An Invitation from BA, and what we've come to call the "what is missing is YOU" piece. There is a great deal to learn about the method of these pieces —the serious approach to revolution, the wide embrace bound up with that and the challenge for people to be part of this in a myriad of ways. This is something to be applied in the coming days, and weeks —as we work with all those who came to the Premiere, all those who bought tickets and weren't able to come, and all the new people who meet BA through this new film, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live.

I'll end with a quote from a young woman interviewed in the intermission of the film about what the title meant to her, "There's no more time for destruction, no more time for loss of life... no more fucking time... we already ran out of time, there's nothing left to do but a revolution."

 


 

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Revolution #298 March 17, 2013

From the Premieres

New York

March 23, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Saturday, March 16, the Magic Johnson Theater in the heart of Harlem buzzed with excitement as people started streaming in for the premiere of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! A multinational grouping of over 220 people gathered and watched the film. The excitement was palpable as you entered the theater, with greeters pointing people to where the movie was and talking to everyone entering the theater about what all the buzz was about. People commented that they had never seen anything quite like this, from the greeters out front, the large visuals of the film poster, the tables with literature and introductory packets for everyone who attended. People welcoming them to step into the revolution—by getting into and getting with BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

As soon as you stepped into the theater and looked around, it was clear—this was a very mixed crowd, and very diverse in age, from middle school kids from Harlem all the way to a 90-year-old woman. The majority of the people there were young, teenagers through early 30s, or in their 60s and older, and it was noticeable that there was a section of people from those this system has cast off—people who had heard about and were being organized to experience this film by the Revolution Club and others from all over the city.

Once the movie started, people were riveted—one person described "how BA was able to bring the masses along with him—that people were listening and talking to the screen and that this was very impressive." He said it made him feel coming out of the premiere that he had to do more—mentioning how BA said that everybody from 9 to 90 could play a role. He said, "I've got to play my 60-year-old-plus role." Although some people left early, around 200 people experienced most of the film—and this event. Sitting in this room with all these people really felt like what one of the filmmakers described—"a daring, scientific, substantive summoning to revolution." And this crowd responded seriously to this summoning.

Throughout, you got a real sense of a community of people deeply engaging with the film—from the laughter, the clapping, people talking back. There was noticeable reaction from the audience, for instance, when BA tells a story in the film about the three-card monte (comparing how people get duped by this hustle with how they are drawn into the dead-end of elections under this system) and how if you play you lose, and then when he talked about Obama. One young man who was newly introduced to BA remarked that he "greatly appreciated" the exposure of Obama, which he felt made a lot of sense because people are conditioned to think that anyone speaking against Obama is some kind of racist. "It's extremely important for Black people to hear this."

A proletarian woman who was active in the build-up for the event—including by distributing palm cards for the premiere with her own telephone number so she could organize with friends and others to come together—was very exhilarated by the film. She could be heard talking back to the screen during the showing, responding favorably to the parts on Obama, especially the point about how those running this system say now that there's a Black president, so all the horrors that people face are "your own fault."  She said that everybody in Harlem needed to hear this. "What's wrong with our people? They're off playing video games when they should have been here." She very much wants many more people to hear BA. "It's unbelievable that he has so much to say."

A high point of the day, which many people commented on, came during the intermission. After a brief speech from the Party, members of the Revolution Club went up to the front of the theater as a disciplined group, all wearing BA-image T-shirts, projecting a real force for Revolution—Nothing Less! and inviting people to get with them. At the end, too, as many clusters of people talked and exchanged their thinking about what they had just experienced, the club got together and put out a call for people to get with them.

A lot more needs to be learned about how people's thinking changed off of seeing the film, and then their second and third viewings of it. And a lot more needs to be learned about all the ways that people took up spreading the word about the film, including to friends, relatives, and coworkers. Several people who had previously either watched a rough cut or attended one of the talks came with at least one new person—a partner, a friend, or a relative.

One major theme in the questionnaire that more 50 people filled out after watching the film was how important it is for many other people to see the film, and various ideas for how they would use it. People talked of buying one or two copies of the DVD right away (120 DVDs were sold at the event) so they could start showing it to their friends, at their community centers, etc. One person who's at a homeless shelter said, "I'm going to play this DVD... at the shelter. Instead of listening to Maury Povich and who's the daddy, not the baby daddy—things that we can do."

Below is a sampling from what people wrote in their questionnaires:

"Great film I think everyone needs to see!"

"Definitely needed!"

"Great film. Needs mass exposure. Hope more people get exposed to the revolution."

"Excellent—it tells you all the information you need about the problem, and about changing the system, and it's true and to the point."

"I really enjoyed the movie and to get more involved."

"Extremely informative and has raised my awareness of the tremendous need of change in our system and my role in it which is yet to be decided."

"He brought the large issues of the current ills of society into context in a concise manner that all can understand. BA is a great speaker that can break down societal challenges that can be digested and understood. This helps to really understand the system and why things need to change. GREAT film."