Revolution #265, April 8, 2012
Taking BA, Revolution, Communism, and Fight Against Mass Incarceration to a High School
Clyde Young and a person who rode on the BAsics Bus Tour (Pilot Project) went to an inner-city high school and spent two days in five classes talking about mass incarceration, showing clips of the "BA Everywhere" DVD (the part showing BA in '69 at a Black Panther Party rally, in '79, and from his Revolution Talk), reading quotes from BAsics, and getting into some amazing discussions with students.
As part of kicking off the presentations and getting the students' juices flowing the teacher asked a question in every class that students responded to. "When people go to jail/prison is it mostly their fault (personal responsibility) or mostly a result of their environmental circumstance?"
The class quickly got into discussing revolution and communism through using quotes from BAsics to illustrate and expand on some of what we were talking about. We would read the first quote and also read a few others including 1:18. This got the class into a really lively discussion with the students who articulated their positions. Some would say they agree with communism and chose it as their topic for the project they were doing. They wanted to know how it would be possible to accomplish something like that under current conditions where if given the chance people wouldn't want to work and everyone would get paid the same. One student said that the system was "prepared to smash the movement of people," having learned from what happened to the Black Panther Party. The teacher jumped in and said that "when you have a majority the system can't easily do that." One young Latina was very excited to have us in the class. She spoke up with her question, which was something that she had been thinking about since we started. "What about after the revolution?" she wanted to know. "What do you do when you are in power?" She mentioned Cuba and Fidel Castro and Venezuela and Hugo Chavez and said, "Do you want power to oppress people as they are doing?" She said she is "really into revolution" but is held back by how all this is going to get done. She asked, "Why don't you educate people to get out of the ghetto?" which got a positive response from the class.
After the classes the students wrote a paragraph of what they were thinking. These comments are very rich and show the depth of what these students are thinking when you bring them BA, revolution, and communism. Here are a few of the 70 statements we got (they have been slightly edited):
"I think that the youth of now in days feel that a lot of the things that you mentioned today will not change because we are used to not getting any real change around here. People in (this ghetto/barrio) are used to disappointment so they don't want to try anymore. Even though people know there is a problem going on they don't want to realize it because the fear of what might happen to them if they dared to change anything. Until people start standing up for themselves there is not going to be no change."
"This lecture was really interesting that was basically true because my family always have to run from the police and ICE. Sometimes I think about going to the marines but since after this (class discussion) im truly undecided now of what I truly want to do with my life, but I know I would take it in my mind."
"Does the revolution have to be communism? How do you fight the obstacles and still be a revolutionary?"
"I enjoyed this little lecture on communism. I would like there to be more people who are interested in this. Personally I would like to know more about this movement and where it is headed. I found myself in agreement with most of what the presenters beliefs were and I hope to learn more so maybe I could spread your message. If there is any newsletter or source of communication between you guys then I would like to be a part of it."
"I feel the ideas they have are goo(d). But the idea of having a communist revolution seems radical. My question is, will people actually go with this idea or will it be a few people? I like that Clyde told us about his history and did not sugar coat things. He came and said everything we should know about him. The ideas they had about communism made me think of a different view on the U.S."
"The lesson plan today was really good, the guy knew what he was saying and he had a whole lot of interesting facts that actually made sense to me. I thought obama was representing us but he is truly representing the rich people."
"We talked about which system of government would be better out of capitalism or communism. Me I personally said communism is better because everyone is equal though. But not all people get to own stuff but me I'm not into owning everything. We also talked on economics in the world today."
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.