Revolution #148, November 23, 2008

A Call to Youth – Get Down With Revolution

Dear Revolution Newspaper,

The first time I ever heard about revolution was through the pages of Revolution newspaper. I was already somewhat conscious and considered myself a communist, but I did not know about revolution.

I first saw the newspaper at last year’s immigrant rights marches in Los Angeles. It was the special issue on Bob Avakian. Later, my friend and I decided to go to downtown and check out the Libros Revolución where one of the people there asked if we wanted to “do something cool” [and go out] to talk to people on the street and film their reactions to Bob Avakian’s DVD “Revolution: why it’s necessary, why it’s possible, what it’s all about.” It was the first time I met these revolutionaries but my friend and I decided to go ahead and jump in the car with them as we followed the buses with the ads all over L.A.

Little did I know that this was only the beginning of a life changing journey.

It was in the pages of Revolution newspaper that I first heard about the Jena 6 and being outraged by what was going on there. I knew I had to go to Jena for the big September 20th protest. After much back and forth, my mom allowed me to go, and it helped that my homey was going too. He and I were so excited we stayed up until 2 AM talking about the coming trip.

The next day at school I told my history teacher I was going to Jena and he had me tell the whole class about why I was going. I let them know about the Jena 6 and put a challenge to them, I said “I’m going to Jena but you need to do something here at this school.” So off we went to Jena, Louisiana. In the bus we read Revolution newspaper and got into lively debate with people around immigration, revolution and communism.

The moment I got back to L.A., I knew things had changed. I saw things in a different way. I heard everyone talking about Jena and people were talking about racism. I realized people could unite for something different. Coming from a school like mine, this was a big deal.

This made me think about the future and how when we make revolution people could unite, I used to think that was not possible. Some of my friends saw me differently, they said I was “hard core” because I did something for someone I didn’t even know. They thought I was crazy, but it made me feel good, I could finally say I did something important. My friend and I would talk to others about our experience in Jena every chance we had. Following that, students knew they could ask me about the “latest political news.” Even my teachers would ask me about Revolution newspaper.

One day, as I was sitting in my history class reading the latest issue of the paper, my teacher yelled out for me to “teach the class, tell the students about Revolution newspaper.” Although I was nervous, I went in the front of class and opened up the newspaper for all to see. I told them how the newspaper talks about revolution, communism and even about religion. At a certain point the students had gotten in a circle, all bunched up, and were passing around the newspaper and my copy of Away With All Gods! by Bob Avakian.

As I observed from the front of the class I saw something very beautiful, something that gave me a glimpse of how things could be in a socialist society. Students, including the gangsters, you know the cholos, and the quietest student in class, were excitedly talking about science and religion, and trying to understand how the world really works. They were flipping through the pages of Revolution newspaper and commenting on what they thought of the world. You just don’t see that happening much, cholos talking about science and the world in the classroom! It was tight! Students who believe in god spoke as well as those of us who don’t.

I told them about the horrors in the bible and my teacher said that the bible says we “should love our children.” I jumped at this opportunity and quickly referenced Psalm 137 (“Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!”) I said, “so THAT is loving your children, bashing the heads of the children!” The students yelled out an “OOHHH” like I had challenged my teacher with the truth. This went up against the idea that only the teacher is supposed to be the one teaching, not the other way around.

Seeing those students get into the newspaper and get into such lively discussion (that lasted through lunch time) made me realize the potential of the people. It was really moving to see these youth educating themselves about stuff they don’t find out about in school. People want to know about the world and they want to talk about that. But what stands in the way is this system which doesn’t really educate the youth, they don’t teach us shit. In school they don’t teach you cause and effect or how things evolve, just 2 + 2 = 4.

In a socialist society we will have an opportunity to educate and to learn about the world. Imagine this: You go into a classroom and ask “what do you think about religion?” In reading Bob Avakian’s writings I know that he is really encouraging people to get into discussion and debate, and that is really important. Since that moment, I started speaking out more in class and to different people I would meet on the street.

We have to get people talking. People sometimes avoid it, but when you actually talk to them, you will see that there is potential for them to change. In that classroom I saw things in a whole different light. Reading Revolution newspaper and my experience in Jena has given me courage to go against the tide. I’m no longer scared to say that I am a communist and an atheist. I even find myself debating people on the street. So I want to let the youth know that it does not matter what age you are, you should step up to the plate. We’re the next generation and we have an important role to play in making revolution.

This system does not have a future for us, but Revolution definitely does. Get down with Revolution! It could change your life, I know it changed mine.

From a high school student

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