Revolution #61, September 17 2006
Building For October 5th in the Projects and Engaging with the New Talks by Bob Avakian
Inspired by the article in Revolution #60—”Building For October 5th in the Projects”—I want to share a little of the flavor and feel from some of our experience.
We have been taking out the Chairman’s New Presentations, as well as the Call for mass resistance on October 5th from the World Can’t Wait—Drive Out The Bush Regime! in Watts, Los Angeles. We’ve been taking out both these things to the proletarian masses and small shop owners there. A number of these stores carry Revolution, Oct 5th flyers, postcards on new Presentation, and black armbands.
It’s been a trip. A good trip. Of course the road needs to be broadened quickly so that others can begin to take this trip. Here are a few examples.
Dewayne is a proletarian in South Central L.A. He thinks a lot about world affairs, history and likes dealing with general principles and conceptualization. We’ve had ongoing discussions on the New Presentations and he was the first person in this area to buy Ardea Skybreak’s new book, The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism.
After listening to the track on “Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy,” Dewayne exclaimed: “Why have I not ever heard this before! They don’t teach you this in school. Jefferson was atrocious. They are all hypocrites with a double standard.”
Dewayne tended to see it as the intentions of the rulers to trick people, and missed how their words and actions come out of the production (economic) relations that they represent. We struggled over this and bourgeois democracy in general, and over urgent questions like how to drive out the Bush Regime and why we cannot rely on the Democrats.
We also struggled over the Chairman. Dewayne said he’s “very radical for a white man.” I told him, “The radicalism that you like is because he is a communist leader.” I made comparison to Mao, Lenin and how Avakian is standing on their shoulders and going beyond what they were able to understand and see. Someone like this is rare, unique, and special.
Dewayne thought about this: “You know I’m very intrigued about the things he is saying. He is very visionary. I want to study more. I’m not ready just yet. But we should continue these discussions so I can learn more.” He wanted to know what would be different if he joined the party. We ended up talking about the life of comrade Mobile—what his life inside the party and out amongst the masses was about. He said he had to learn more before doing that.
Rob is someone else I listen to the New Presentations with. We listen to “Conservatism, Christian Fundamentalism, Liberalism, and Paternalism: Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton—Not All ‘Right’ But All Wrong! “
Rob laughed and voiced agreement at different parts on “…the youth with pants sagging did not fire themselves…,” agreeing and adding that Muhammad Ali’s former name came from a slave master.
He thought there is much truth in what Avakian was saying. He started talking about how he had worked in a chemical plant in the area and now it had closed down and moved out of the country, relating it to the point that he did not fire himself. He now survives by fixing up old cars in front of his house.
He spoke bitterly about how those in power don’t care about what happens to people like him, and is angry over being trapped in his jobless situation. We struggled over his anger being misdirected towards immigrants, blaming them for doing work at wages that he finds degrading and impossible to live on. We also struggled over him saying that people make “bad choices” as he disagreed some with what was said about this in the New Presentation.
We got more into why some people attend $10K a plate dinners and make decisions about what country to make war against, or how many billions of dollars of investment to take out of some place like Mexico and invest it in Thailand to pay people even cheaper. I told him about a PBS show I saw where people in the Congo (I think) work for less than 2 dollars a day digging out minerals that people in imperialist countries like U.S., Europe, Japan and other countries used for their cell phones.
I asked him why is it that these people are making these kinds of choices of working like this or starving or stealing something to survive—why those on top are making these other choices? We went back and forth on this. What does that have to do with how human society is organized? With him having to choose between fixing up old cars or going hungry?
He admitted he was wrong about immigrants and they’re not to blame for his situation, but he didn’t budge on the question of “choices.” He ended up saying it was both things. It’s the system and the choices people make.
Some other young proletarians, Steve and Rahsad, listened to the same Presentation and were very excited. They thought it all was true. They’re from the generation that seems to infuriate Bill Cosby and Clinton.
Yet they tended to see Cosby as someone who’s “made it” and is now looking down on those who are being eaten up by this meat grinder system. They had a tougher time grasping how what the 2 Bills are doing is an ideological assault on the people. Seeking to rob them of the truthfulness that masses have about their condition. They did not create it, something and somebody else did. This assault is designed to take people’s eyesight from them so that they cannot see clearly what the problem and solution is—and act to change those circumstances and themselves in the process.
It took a little struggle and further discussion to get them to key in on this. But once they did they also asked for literature on immigrants. According to Rashad, 9 out 10 Blacks he talks to take the wrong side on this.
While getting down with people in this way, we’ve also been getting down with them about Oct 5th. A group of us got together and watched the Spike Lee movie When the Levees Broke. Black armbands that say “Katrina: Never Forgive! Never Forget! Drive Out The Bush Regime! Oct 5th”—have been circulating.
People have said things like: “This is a crime. Something should be done about it. This is how the ‘white man,’ and sometimes it is said Bush, has always treated Black people…I’m upset about it…people are still suffering…but I’m not shocked.” Then we would get into that people should be shocked because this represents a new twist to the oppression of Black people, especially the poor and those considered “disposable” people, like gays and the disabled. This is all part of a plan to cleanse society of those who’ve brought a “stain” on society, in the view of the Christian fascists grouped around Bush.
At other times we would break down how they are waging war for empire, and sometimes people would come back with: the war is because Bush is against all “third world” people. People then link Katrina up with the Bush Regime being against all “third world” people. So we would struggle and debate over these points as we would make plans to do something on the anniversary of Katrina, get out the armbands, pass out flyers, and listen to more of the New Presentation by Avakian.
One immigrant proletarian was very excited about doing something on the anniversary of Katrina. He was very upset about how they left people to die. It was his hope that this would encourage Black people to rise up and struggle because he saw Katrina shows how this system has always treated Black people—they lie and try to turn Blacks against immigrants. He saw it as an opportunity to bring out the commonality of the struggle.
So on the 3rd of September a little more than a dozen of us got together in a local park and had a picnic under the theme: Katrina: Never Forgive! Never Forget! Drive out the Bush Regime! Oct 5th, with giant “Wanted” posters of Bush Regime and pictures from Katrina. Flyers for the 5th and armbands went out to those passing through the park, and also the “Wanted” t-shirts, Revolution newspapers, and the New Presentations CDs.
I gave a talk on Katrina, Oct 5th and the relation of all this to making revolution. We listened to music, ate, and informally talked about there being a way and day to build a movement to drive out this regime. People had questions about could we get and keep enough people in the streets to do this. Could the required upheaval in society sustain itself and be broad enough to do this? Is there something to learn in this connection from the recent upsurge of immigrants? Bush has a lot of people who support him—what are we going to do about that? Don’t we need someone from the “inside” to help us?
We discussed and debated these and other questions--with some feeling very inspired, encouraged, and uplifted off of this to reach out to others, taking flyers and making plans to build for October 5th.
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