Revolution Online Edition, August 17, 2009
Bringing "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have" to Leimert Park in L.A.
This past weekend, a bilingual DVD showing of "Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About," a film of a talk by Bob Avakian, was held in a well-known breakfast and dinner/jazz club in Leimert Park which is the center of the African-American arts scene in LA. Outside on the sidewalk, facing the street, a large vinyl banner of the cover of the DVD announced the showing. A diverse group of 20 people came to watch the DVD including 2 Spanish-speaking people, store owners from the area and younger people from different parts of the region.
We presented a special selection of excerpts which played in both Spanish and English simultaneously (with Spanish language translation run through headphones). It included sections of "They're selling postcards of the hanging," "A world of rape and sexual assault," "Not fit caretakers of the earth," "Why do people come here?" and "Imagine.. a new society." One of the themes of the selections was how communist revolution could not only end national oppression but emancipate all of humanity. The program was hosted by Clyde Young of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and Michael Slate, writer for Revolution newspaper and KPFK (Pacifica) radio show host. After the showing, Clyde challenged people to get with "The Revolution We Need… The Leadership We Have" and we got into it.
The people who showed up were serious and some had come from quite a distance. It was the younger folks who jumped in: One young white man took a 3-hour bus ride to get to the showing. We had met him in an area where we had taken a sound truck, done a DVD showing in a park, went back the next week and met a number of youth at a free jazz festival at the same park. He wanted to know, "what will you do with all the wealthy people, because they won’t want to give it up?" Another white student just out of City College studying public policy asked how you go from a situation of doing a lot of education, to a revolutionary situation?" A Spanish-speaking immigrant invited people to join this revolutionary movement and engage with Bob Avakian’s works more deeply.
A middle-aged Chicano former musician wondered later what you do with investment brokers in the new society and how do you get people to not just think of themselves? He was very interested in Avakian’s new thinking around middle class people and how to incorporate them into the dictatorship of the proletariat. Two young Black men came later in the showing. They said that they had known Mobile Shaw and spent many hours up at his house watching the DVD and talking about revolution (See "Statement by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, on the Occasion of the Death of Willie 'Mobile' Shaw" on the back page of Revolution issue no. 171). They stayed for the whole discussion and one bought a bundle of the special issue afterwards, saying he used to be into this, and hasn’t been active for a while, but wants to get back involved.
One shop owner came to the showing to support it and to dig deeper into Bob Avakian’s works herself, and a friend of hers, another shop owner, came as well, though left very early saying she had just wanted to check it out. The shop owner who stayed for most of the showing kept crying out "That’s right!" during parts of the beginning section on "They're selling postcards of the hanging." The next day, she thanked us for inviting her, and said that Avakian was both "extremely intelligent" and "very down to earth" and she said she liked all of what she saw, and agreed with all of it. She repeated "he was so sincere and down to earth" and said this world "is so crazy" that you lose sight of many things. She said she went home and told her sister that they weren’t going to have any Buffalo Soldier stuff in their shop (which they had almost ordered because some folks had been telling her she should). She said she told her sister "Buffalo Soldiers carried out murder and we should know this, but then with all the craziness you lose sight of that...it’s very good to have Bob Avakian out here telling people the truth about this."
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