If Humanity Is Going to Fight Its Way Out of This Nightmare, It's Going to Be Because of the Work and Leadership of Bob Avakian

by Andy Zee | February 3, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


The following is the transcript of a talk given by Andy Zee at Revolution Books, New York City, in early January to kick-off the BA Everywhere campaign for 2013. The text has been slightly edited for publication. The audio is available at www.revolutionbooksnyc.org/AZonBAE010813.mp3

Stop and think about this being a new year—a time of reflecting on the last and looking forward to the new. You are a kid playing and suddenly you hear a sound that you have been warned about and then moments later... the earth explodes, and if you are "lucky," it is the limbs and maybe the life of a friend that is blown apart, life bleeding into the dirt.

Who did this to you and why? It was the man put in office to quell the great anger brewing against the U.S. here and around the world—the man offered up as "Hope you can believe in" at a moment when the myth of the country as the bastion of freedom is deeply frayed... This harm came from Obama, deciding as he does every week who will live and die, checking off a kill list without any due process of law. In one week at the beginning of this new year, Obama prevailed in a federal court decision that upheld his killing by remote control without due process by invoking "executive privilege"—that even the judge had to say was Alice in Wonderland. In the same week he signed the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] and the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] laws allowing indefinite detention without charge or trial and which permitted state surveillance also without judicial process. Yesterday, he named the number one architect of drone policy to be the head of the CIA.

Is this the world that you should find your space and place within? Even as these changes sharpen the bloody hand of U.S. repression here and abroad, these changes also reveal deep problems for the imperialists as they shred their own principles to enforce their shaky empire. Hatred of the U.S. grows—resistance simmers and bursts through in one place then another around the world. Tremors are felt.

Football players in the Midwest brag about and Tweet a video of a young woman entering the prime of her life—drugged—they called her "dead," that they dragged from party to party, sexually violating her in dehumanizing and brutal ways, revealing their utter contempt for her humanity by urinating on her and bragging about it.

If this was the only rape that happened, it would be heinous enough. But in India, just weeks ago —and continuing to this day — there is outrage over three rapes. And again we could go on all night talking about the rapes. But this woman and her friend were in a bus, and men boarded the bus. They brutalized both of them, and then they repeatedly raped her including taking a rusty piece of rebar which is the steel that reinforces concrete, and jammed it up her vagina pulling out half her intestine. And then she was left on the street, and people walked by her for 45 minutes. And then the police argued about whose jurisdiction it was. And then she died. And in the same time period, another young woman was raped in India. I will commend to you a book by Katherine Boo, called Behind the Beautiful Forevers, because this is typical. Another woman was gang raped and the courts in India recommended that the way to deal with this is she needs to marry one of the rapists, so as to avoid the dishonor to her father and brothers. And then a freedom fighter in India was also raped. And they took her to the hospital and found rocks and stones in her vagina and rectum. But one thing that's different, that's happening in India, is that a long suppressed rage, a rage people didn't even know they had, has begun to traverse to the surface, and it's irrepressible.

Sunsara Taylor writes ("From Delhi to Ohio to Around the World: If You Are Not Fighting Rape, You Are Condoning It! We Need Revolution and a Whole New World!"):

There is no place—on the street or in one's home, in a rural Third World countryside or in the major cities of the imperialist citadels, from Delhi to Congo to Ohio and everywhere else—where women and girls are not in danger of being raped. Where women and very young girls are not then blamed and devalued for being raped. Where women and girls are not told to "get over it" when they are raped. Where women are not reduced to breeders of children—shamed, coerced or forced into bearing children against their will. Where abortion and even birth control is not either illegal or seriously under attack. Where women and very young girls are not oppressed, beaten, imprisoned, insulted, molested, abused, harassed, exploited, murdered, spat upon, thrown acid at, groped, shamed or otherwise systematically diminished. But this violence and degradation, all this cruelty and viciousness, is not just the depraved behavior of a handful of men. Nor is this just "human nature."

This is the nature of many men as they are shaped by the system we now live under, the global system of imperialism, which has patriarchy—the domination of women by men—woven into its foundation, its traditions, its "morals," and its culture. This violence is a direct and inevitable outgrowth of a system that feasts off of and requires the subjugated and degraded position of women in both its feudal/medieval forms and in its so-called "modern" forms.

One of the key things we should understand about the mass protest that is erupting across India—a country that is increasingly playing a major role in the world economy, is that only weeks ago women throughout India felt and largely suffered their oppression alone, and today a fury is rising that imperialist commentators worry is akin to the Arab Spring...

As we sit here tonight, 80,000 people in this country sit in impregnable boxes 23 hours a day with no furniture—just concrete shelves for a bed and a desk—deprived of all human contact for years on end... in what every major study has clearly defined as debilitating torture. This is the other end of the stop-and-frisk/mass incarceration pipeline that disproportionately targets Black and brown people. This is just one stark part of the reality that underlies our analysis that this system can not in any way liberate Black and brown people from the legacies of slavery and colonial conquest.

If all this was the necessary, if unfortunate, product of the only way that human beings with their self-interest could be organized—trapped in a capitalist-imperialist system that is rooted in the competitive pursuit of profit drained from the very lifeblood of humanity and the ripping off and despoliation of the planet, then what we are talking about tonight would not matter, or would amount to no more than being "our thing"—our set of beliefs that gets us through the night.

But, if we understand that humanity has done far better in the first experiences of socialism, that these experiences have been summed up through 30 years of work by Bob Avakian—mining their positive lessons as well as their shortcomings, looking at all this in relation to a wide breadth of human experience, and that this work, this new synthesis of communism makes possible a whole different and far better future, then tonight's discussion and plan making has enormous import and must be fought for.

To put it bluntly: If humanity is going to fight its way out of this nightmare, it's going to be because of the work and leadership of Bob Avakian—BA.

From the opening of the editorial in last week's Revolution—now available as a special BA Everywhere four-page broadsheet:

"This year, as horror upon horror pile up all over the world... as the web of life itself comes under increasing and unceasing stress... a different voice, posing a real alternative—a real revolution—can and must ring out.

"With new films and interviews and other new work... with bus tours of veteran revolutionaries and brand-new fighters continuing to take this all over the country... from the alienated campuses to the locked-down prisons to the communities of the oppressed... the words and work of the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian can and must hit with an impact like never before."

Stop and think about this—at this moment—with sharp divisions in the ruling class over how to address the deep inherent problems of the economy, with the world in increasing turmoil, with one half of humanity so outrageously oppressed, with their eyes on the women of India rising, with life lived on the edge in the ghettos of America, and in the wake of an election that saw fascistic lunacy battling the cynical vicious brutality of the status quo with Obama... and yet, at the same time, people's sights set low, not knowing that there is another way the world could be, up steps the leader of the revolution, BA, bringing forward new powerful work which can galvanize a movement for revolution right here in the heart of empire.

Following What Humanity Needs—Revolution and the New Synthesis of Communism, Cornel West projected BA's voice in a substantive highly accessible half-hour radio interview that is one of the best introductions for people to experience BA... And now, comes a five-part interview with BA on KPFK (Pacifica) by Michael Slate. Five parts, a discussion over several hours providing an opportunity for BA to go deep and reach out. The question here is: Are we going to reach out and fight for this interview to be a big deal—to reach all those who need this and don't yet know it? Are we going to set some terms far and wide letting people know that if you are not with all the shit that is going on in the world today—if all that people are going through in the world upsets you; if you think it is wrong; if you wish people could be better; if you voted for Obama in spite of your sensing deep down that this was no way out of the madness and horror; you need to hear this interview with Bob Avakian. If you are satisfied with the world... putting your snout in the trough or finding your peace by getting in on your little piece of the plunder, then this talk isn't for you.

There are people who are ready for the challenge... and, there are people we have to ready to hear and appreciate this challenge. The interview with BA on the Michael Slate Show will reach hundreds of thousands of people. Are we ready for that? Are we finding the ways to make sure that here in NYC people are getting on the web and coming together to hear this, discuss and debate it?

Are we going out to raise big money as we get this out so that thousands and hundreds of thousands know about this—from Google ads to mass literature going far and wide across the country while concentrating in NYC for saturation in Harlem and some of the key campuses?

On the heels of this interview with Michael Slate will come a film of a tour de force talk by Bob Avakian given right after the election. Six-and-a-half hours of heart and science—of an implacable hatred for the unnecessary misery of the world today combined with a deep scientific understanding that the very horrific contradictions that so oppress humanity today also contain the potential for revolutionary crisis and revolutionary transformation—with revolutionary leadership. The film of this gripping talk reveals there is such a leadership in Bob Avakian. This film will premier as an event—six-and-a-half hours of passion and science, of refusal to accept what is unacceptable and unnecessary, infused with the vision and plan for a far better revolutionary state power leading to a communist world without class oppression and antagonism, filled with daring and a scientific strategy for actually making a revolution. While tonight we are not going to take up as yet the concrete plans for the premier and then the wide distribution of the talk, it must be in our sights and if you are interested in working on this—as we get going with this, then sign up to work on this now.

As the centerfold on BA Everywhere for 2013 puts it: This film is "BA speaking to the greatest and most urgent need of our times, in a timely way—with fire, passion, urgency, humor, and science. It is a journey that anyone and everyone who is looking for answers needs to take. Imagine the national debut happening simultaneously in key theatrical venues across the country—this would be a societal "happening."

Funds raised from all kinds of people to make this possible—a national fundraising weekend in January with yard sales, car washes, food sales, arts and crafts sales, penny drives... as well as people of more means giving larger sums. Imagine the unity forged with blocks of tickets for people in the projects purchased by people in the middle strata. And the engagement fostered with this cross section of people experiencing and discussing the talk together."

These new works are the centerpieces kicking off a wide range of BA Everywhere plans for 2013 that include continuing the BAsics Bus Tours in new ways, really stepping up the distribution of BA behind the prison walls—a place where people in the most downpressed conditions are both standing up in important struggle in forging truces between Black and brown, as well as continuing protest against the outrageous solitary units and prison conditions and where there is a section of prisoners who are getting BA—appreciating what he is forging—and as such can play a major role in influencing broader sections of society to engage BA and take up the campaign.

Really fighting for BA to actually be everywhere involves struggle—ideological struggle—sharp struggle, debating two futures. This April 15 there will be a major debate between Raymond Lotta and Slavoj Žižek on the theme of "the history and prospects for communist revolution."

Integral to forging a movement for revolution and whole other way that humanity could be is through unleashing a whole new culture. This Spring the film of April 11, 2011 will come out with the potential to inspire cultural expression in many ways.

What all of BA Everywhere is about is that the people of the world desperately NEED a revolution. When people get into BA and they see and feel and learn more deeply that all these outrages and abuses actually come from the same source—from this system; they come to understand why it doesn't have to be this way—that there is an actual material basis for a different world. When they grapple with BAsics or one of the new talks people will get the theoretical tools—the deeper understanding of the roots of why the world is the way it is so that they can see why it is completely wrong and unrealistic to think that this system could be reformed or tinkered with.

In taking BA Everywhere and making him a household word and raising big money to do so, we are taking to people a big part of how and why an actual revolution would be possible; about how there is necessary leadership and a developed science and concrete strategy to apply that science. We are laying a foundation to struggle with people about their role and people like them taking this up, becoming part of the thousands to lead millions; so that this revolution becomes a contending pole in society, so that the party that leads this movement for revolution grows, so that we can shape the crisis that is coming into one where revolution could come on the agenda and then be in position to actually lead all the way through to win. If we are really making a big deal out of BA—so that BA Everywhere becomes a reality over the next year... and the more we actually fight for BA Everywhere as part of making revolution now, the more we will draw forward, and the more it will be clear how fucking indefensible it is to sit by and do nothing.

There is not a wall between BA Everywhere and the different ways people are carrying out the strategic orientation of "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution"; or, working to save the center of the movement that we have with Revolution Books; or especially getting way out in the world with Revolution newspaper/revcom.us. The simple of it is that everything we are doing is for and about making revolution for real.

BA Everywhere and the first mainstay of the party's work—building a culture of appreciation, popularization, and very importantly protection of BA—is a key part of the strategy for revolution. In Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, BA says that "this has everything to do with projecting a radically different vision, a radically different political and ideological pole and authority—with raising what have been the extremely lowered sights of people. Now, if we were about something other than revolution and communism, if we were just working to bring about some minor adjustments within the established order, as horrendous as it is, then there would not be much significance to the new synthesis, to what it is that BA has brought forward and represents, to his whole body of work and method and approach. There is not much significance to that divorced from what we really do need to be about: the recognition, and acting on the recognition, of both the necessity and the possibility of revolution leading to a radically different society, and ultimately a radically different, communist world. If that is, in fact, what we are all about, then not only should it not be hard to go about building this culture of appreciation, promotion and popularization, we should be fired with enthusiasm and with inspiration for doing this and finding creative ways to do it.

"To put it in very fundamental terms: People need to know about objective reality in order to transform it in their interests. And a decisive part of objective reality is that people need leadership, a certain kind of leadership, in order to transform society and the world through revolution.

"...This matters to—it is of profound importance for—the masses of people, even if most of them don't know it right now. Look, let's face it—to invoke once more that line from Bob Dylan, let us not talk falsely now—masses of people throughout the world don't know a lot of things that are very important for them to know. That doesn't mean they can't learn them—that's where the role of conscious, vanguard forces comes in. That's why we go back to 'for whom and for what': what is the objective and whose fundamental interests are involved in the work we are doing and the struggle we are waging? What this is all about and what we are basing ourselves on is not a 'secret temple of knowledge.' It is a scientific understanding of reality which others brought into being in the first place, which has been developed by others before us—and we're taking it, applying it, and developing it further. We should be very actively and energetically fighting for it everywhere we go, and in every arena into which we enter—in a living and a compelling way that expresses that dialectic of being 'completely outrageous and eminently reasonable.'"

So, let's do it—make plans and change the world.

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