After Hearing BA... Thoughts and a Response

February 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


We want to share with our readers some thoughts and comments from someone who saw the rough cut of the film: BA Speaks: REVOLUTION – NOTHING LESS! and the response of a teacher after listening to the interview Cornel West did with BA.  


Why Non-Communists (You and I) Should See the Film BA Speaks: Revolution—NOTHING LESS!

Here's what I have to say. Feel free to use it.

I have just seen the first two hours, of six, of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! It was like plunging into a very blue, very icy pool. I got out shivering, sad, angry, and very worried. About my life and all of our lives.

Two wildly strange things came into my mind during the hours afterward. The first is from John 8:32: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The second is Plato's allegory of the cave, in which Socrates describes a group of people who have been chained to the wall of a cave all their lives, facing the stone. These people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them. The shadows are as close as the prisoners ever get to reality. Socrates tells us that the philosopher is like a prisoner freed from the cave, who can step outside, at last, into the freshness of truth, the real world.

Bob Avakian's analysis breaks apart the small framework in which we are manipulated. He presents the big picture of Western Civilization and Capitalism—and a corrupted and tragic history it is. Mr. Avakian tell us the truth, wakes us to reality. He urges us to notice how the culture, which we breathe like air, really is in business of blinding, numbing, binding, and using us by its entertainments, diversions, and coercions. How frightening to acknowledge how we have become so enthralled by getting and spending. How we are kept fighting each other instead of the grotesque matrix that holds all of us.

So, the first step toward liberty is to know reality. And reality stings us, because we can begin to see how we have been fooled, how we've let ourselves be gulled and manipulated. But there it is. In the beginning is the adult satisfaction of facing reality. This is good in politics, art, and personal life. Real living and real freedom have to start with the real.

Then what? Well, there are four more hours of Bob Avakian live that I haven't seen yet. And I'm terribly interested to see what he thinks can be done, once reality is grasped. I don't have a clue yet. I confess that I'm temperamentally unsuited to "masses." Masses scare me, and the individual, I worry, shrinks into nothing there. I don't know what a "revolution" means, or how it could be accomplished without anarchy. But, as Mr. Avakian says (and I agree with him): the world is not writ in stone; things can be different than they have been; history and the future are not the will of God.

In the end, I'm open to hear and consider. It seems crucial. We'll all benefit by a splash of the clean, cold water of reality.


Thoughts From a Teacher After Listening to the Interview Cornel West Did with BA:

Every working person should be outraged, it should be obvious to everyone who wants a decent life, they should be outraged. He [BA] is calling attention to the obvious. We don’t have to tell people about the banks, the foreclosures, police brutality, the educational system, the unequal distribution of wealth, the unemployment in the inner cities, this should be obvious. And it isn’t just happening in the U.S.—look at Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy: 50% of the youth are unemployed, they’re taking their social security and dismantling the whole economic & social safety net. This is a global phenomenon. This is not a ‘mistake,’ but a well- organized plan to cripple these economies. It’s not just happening spontaneously, and it’s not because capitalism has failed, but capitalism may be entering a new phase which involves destroying the middle class, disempowering the middle class worldwide. It’s going in a different direction which includes the control and privatization of public education and health care.

This system teaches us to be “servants of the empire,” how it’s ok to kill people in the name of American safety. What about the safety of the people being killed? Ask the kids in Palestine. We have been taught to go along with this, the economic embargo of Iran that’s strangling the Iranian people, the genocidal policy that resulted in a million people being killed in Iraq. We bomb, then invade, and most Americans say, “I have too many problems of my own, I have to worry about my own resources.” This is a well-organized, world-wide phenomenon, and a most important aspect is fear. We are losing our jobs, our livelihood, our benefits. This is happening around the world. We have been brainwashed, we should be outraged.

Look at how we have justified mass incarceration, how Black people and Latinos are targeted and “guilty;” Look at education, how teachers are supposed to teach how to be “more productive,” to serve the economic system; Look at the role of religion, how it has alienated people. They have magic at their disposal, heavenly promise. They try to teach us to live in an imaginary future, not teaching people to question their earthly experience: to question that set of beliefs is revolutionary (try to understand how rape is the will of god!).

He [BA ] is bringing out the point that this communist revolution is based on science, opposed to faith and dogma, and that things don’t need to be like this. What about equality and caring among people, not “I’m going to take care of my own!” BA’s central message is to educate people about what’s happening and what to do about it. Like Frederick Douglass and Che, they were demanding a just society. People do have to be led: this means “showing” the way forward. He [BA] is saying that if you don’t wake-up you’re going to be in chains. People in the U.S. have been so indoctrinated with anti-communist, anti-socialist propaganda—it’s a major hurdle to developing a movement. This kind of broadcast is badly needed, can help change the atmosphere. We need a revolution. Nothing short of revolution is going to put a stop to the road the capitalists are headed down. How is this going to get done? We need more concrete details, more understanding of how it’s going to happen.


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