Revolution #207, July 18, 2010

A cab ride with the revolution at the U.S. Social Forum

At the end of one day at the USSF, a bunch of revolutionaries piled into a van-sized cab for a ride back to the Detroit Revolution Books outlet. The mainstream media in Detroit, overall, had painted a nasty and ridiculous picture of the USSF—a bunch of anarchists and trouble-makers coming from out of town to "mess up our city." (This from mouthpieces of a capitalist system that has pretty much destroyed Detroit.) The cab driver, a Black man in his 30s, hadn't bought into that particular hype, but he did consider any idea that you could make things better pretty much a pipe dream.

When we told him how shocking and insane it was that so much of Detroit had simply been abandoned, he replied that it's all about lowering your expectations. "I'm making minimum wage driving a cab here," he told us, but "back in Flint [a nearby rust-belt town] there are no jobs at all. At least here I know I won't starve." We had some back and forth on whether things have to be this way, with the cab driver basically telling us we were well meaning, but out of our minds if we thought anything could really change.

Then a loud and insistent voice from the back row of the van cut in: "You don't get it, man, we're talking about a REAL revolution." The guy in the back of the van—someone newer to the revolution—explained what that was about, making it clear we were NOT talking about doing any of this within the capitalist system, and how we were at the USSF building a movement FOR REVOLUTION.

"Oh…," the driver said, "You mean… actually…?"

Yes, we said, we are talking about making a real revolution.  Now is not the time to go all out for the seizure of power, but when the time is right it will mean meeting and defeating all they will use to stop the revolution.  But that is possible. A fight could be waged, with a real chance to win, and bring a new power into being. 

This definitely changed the tone of the conversation.

"But is anyone going to listen? Nobody wants to hear it."

Again the guy in the back row of the van—"I started reading this paper when I was in prison, and I knew a lot of guys there who would be into this."

The tone changed more, the conversation got more serious. By the time we got to our destination, the driver asked for a copy of the RCP's Message and Call, and got a copy of Revolution. He noted the address of the Revolution Books outlet, and said he'd definitely be by to talk more about all this.

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