"REVOLUTION: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About" Premieres in Los Angeles

by Luciente, with Nikolai Garcia and Joaquin Cienfuegos

Revolutionary Worker #1247, July 25, 2004, posted at http://rwor.org

July 8, 2004. As the sun began to set in Los Angeles, the marquee at the Santa Monica Laemmle Theater that read "Revolution With Bob Avakian" was the brightest thing along the horizon--even brighter than the reflection of the sun along the beach only a few blocks away. It was the world premiere of REVOLUTION, Why It's Possible, Why It's Necessary, What It's All About , a film of a talk Bob Avakian delivered in 2003.*

For weeks we had been building for the premiere on college and high school campuses, at concerts and at movie lines where people were waiting to see Fahrenheit 9/11. We held video showings with our friends and contacts, giving them a taste of who Bob Avakian is, and worked with them to bring their circles of friends to the premiere.

More than 270 people from all corners of L.A. filled the seats in the theater to hear what Bob Avakian, a wide-ranging and creative communist thinker and leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, had to say about the big questions that burn in the hearts of many people who hate the way things are and are searching for a way out.

As people were arriving, it was clear that people had serious questions and wanted serious answers. As people lined up to get into the theater there was already discussion of what had drawn people to the film. A couple of students from Mexico were excited to hear someone putting forward revolution in the United States. Others said that they were tired of the same old "anything but Bush" talk--they wanted to hear a really radical alternative point of view. A group of high school students wanted Bob Avakian to break all the communist stereotypes they've learned from their teachers and books.

When the words REVOLUTION, Why It's Possible, Why It's Necessary, What It's All About appeared in bright red letters and Bob Avakian entered the room--on screen that is--my heart swelled with excitement because I knew the audience was about to connect with a leader unlike any other.

The premiere featured the first 2-1/2 hours of this amazing talk--which gives us a chance to really get to know Bob Avakian--an experience that Three Q Productions describes as a ".wide-ranging revolutionary journey, covering many topics. It breaks down the very nature of the society we live in and how humanity has come to a time where a radically different society is possible."

From the minute he walked onto the stage on the screen to the minute he stepped off for an intermission, Bob Avakian set himself apart as a rare and unique individual--he surprised and held the audience captivated as he unexpectedly broke into song, Richard Pryor routines, or twisted his face up to ridicule monstrous and brutal criminals like that "vampire motherfucker Ronald Reagan" and that "crooked mouth" Dick Cheney. And the audience was feeling it as they walked with him and kept saying "Fuck yeah!" and "That's right!" and broke out in roaring applause.

Like Three Q says, "He takes us deep into the heart of the horrors we see around us--from the oppression of whole peoples and parts of the world to what underlies brutal wars of domination: why we live in a world where profound poverty, starvation, and exploitation co-exists with unprecedented wealth. From the American nightmare to a sweeping vision of a whole new world, he breaks it all down, and shows how and why a radically different world can be brought forward."

Just as you feel that the history and the present-day reality of this system is intolerable he asks (and soon you begin to ask) "What kind of system?" "What kind of society?" could perpetuate all the oppression we see around us--against people of the oppressed nationalities, women, gays, the youth, and so on. He reminds you of the mocking words you've heard all your life: "This is the greatest country in the world." "This is the leader of the free world." "This is the home of freedom and democracy."

And through all this, he's bringing it to life that this system can't be reformed and that it has to be done in and done away with. He's making it clear that nothing short of a revolution can do away with all this. No other leader in this country is putting this forward.

One example that really crystallized for me how the system works and the way it controls and shapes people's lives, is when he talks about how people from Mexico and Black people end up living alongside each other in a city like Watts or New York. Now, I've read history books and studied progressive history books like People's History of the United States in school, but no one has ever brought together the history of Black people and Mexican people like this.

On the one hand he describes a brutal history of kidnapping, the torture of the middle passage, slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and the continued present-day oppression and exploitation and murder at the hands of the police. And on the other he describes the history of Mexican people, a brutal history of conquest, theft of half of Mexico's land, continued imperialist domination of the Mexican economy by way of things like the North American Free Trade Agreement that is making it impossible for peasants to work their land, and forces them to make the journey to El Norte and across the border hunted down by la Migra. Two peoples from opposite sides of the planet have been brought together by the same capitalist forces with the constant need to expand their empire-- by way of exploiting people and resources. So, they end up living next to each other in a place like Watts or New York--without knowing each other's histories and at each other's throats fighting over crumbs, but within that there is great potential to transform that into a force that can do away with and sweep away the source of all that misery--the system.


After the film, discussions filled every corner of the theater lobby. A Latino youth who has done work around pro-immigrant rights issues said, "The film touches on issues I didn't know he was going to talk about, like the queer issue, heterosexism in our society, male domination, and it touched heavily on racism--the experience of the African-American communities.

"He doesn't only talk about what happens within the framework of the United States but goes outside the borders, what has happened historically as the consequence of United States imperialism--the chain reaction to that in other countries like in Chile, Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala.

"He leaves you with the sentiment that this is what the people has been through. but then at the end he leaves you with the taste of `What now?' "

A psychologist who attended the premiere said, "I was very inspired because his indictment and description of the system is extremely accurate.. I bought the 5-VHS set to see what the solution is because my great question is given how brainwashed and ignorant and propagandized most Americans are due to an education and mass media etc. How do you deal with people who have been brainwashed to think that this is the `greatest of all countries in the world'?

"The fact is that I have heard leftist analysis before, but it has been academic. It's good to intellectually appreciate it, but I've never heard somebody put together the passion with the intellectual analysis..Bob Avakian seems to get the two together. That really impresses me a lot. You need people who have intellectual and emotional integrity. It's very rare that you get someone like this.

"I'm looking forward to watching these tapes because I've gotten depressed in this country. I came of age in the '60s and I saw that my background was white bread middle class.. I was expecting revolution to happen in the late '60s and it didn't. A large part of my life has been depressed because of that. The kind of talking that Avakian is doing is really inspirational."

"He's the only one talking about anything of substance," a Black woman said. "I haven't heard anything like it. People say our Black leaders are Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, but neither of them are leading me. They're not talking about what Bob Avakian is talking about."

"It's great to see a leader like Bob Avakian, a UC Berkeley professor told the RW."Going back historically and talking about this system pre and post 9/11 is really important. After 9/11, most of the people on the left were really defensive. Bob Avakian took the long historical point of view--I really appreciated that. Most people have this historical amnesia. There's many 9/11s in the U.S. and in the third world. I really appreciate that he put it all together like that.

"When you make the connections on how slavery and how African Americans ended up in cities like Detroit and Oakland. And you connect it to why immigrants are in the same cities. We talk about race, class, and gender, but nobody makes those connections in academia. People in identity politics only talk about national oppression and don't look at it in its larger imperialist colonial sense. That's what people need--to see the connections."

A young Chicano proletarian was beaming with excitement. He had so many things going through his mind and was so nervous to be interviewed that he chose instead to write his thoughts on paper. "Revolution is my dream," he wrote, "and with Bob Avakian leading the revolution.my dream will come true sooner or later."

As the theater lights were turned off--discussions spilled outside and into sidewalks, restaurants, and bars. People had taken the first part of this journey with the Chairman and it left them thirsting for more.


* The film of the entire talk is now available in a 4-DVD or 5-VHS set from Three Q Productions, 2038 W. Chicago Ave, Suite 126, Chicago, IL 60622. Visit the Three Q website for more information and to order online: threeQvideo.com.

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