March 28, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


20 people attended the opening of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! at Revolution Books in Honolulu. In spite of the relatively small number attending, the audience was remarkably diverse and included proletarians and professionals, '60s activists and college students, former prisoners and veterans.

About 30 percent of the audience had never heard BA speak or seriously read what he had written but said they were attracted by the palm card and advertisements. Some were apprehensive but all talked about the horrors of the society we live in and the necessity to open up a broader conversation about the solution.

During the short intermission for lunch, many people were meeting each other for the first time. Some talked about how the experiences related by BA in the film had resonated in their own lives. Some reminisced about their own experiences in the '60s; a young proletarian woman remarked that she'd never heard much about the '60s and it was great to hear it, but that she didn't think most "'60s people" could really understand how hard it is on the streets now.

The audience remained attentive throughout the film. A few said they had to leave but would be checking out the film in its entirety. Some took copious notes. Some just listened—often nodding in approval or making remarks to their neighbors. During the first part of the film there were a number of gasps or comments as BA talked about the reality of the world we live in; during the second part many leaned forward and the room was hushed as BA got into the possibility of revolution.

When the film ended a little after 6 pm, about half of the audience stayed to talk together about what they had heard and how the film had related to their own experiences.

One older Hawaiian nationalist, filled with rage about his personal experiences and the oppression of his own peoples, struggled with urges toward revenge and "just getting ours." A college student who had read a lot by BA said he especially liked how BA broke down "hastening while awaiting" and really bringing that alive. A young Filipina woman said that what BA said about the difficulty oppressed people have in overcoming divisions among themselves and becoming revolutionaries really resonated with her. She kept repeating again and again: "It's hard…it's just really hard…" Several of the people hearing BA for the first time kept repeating that what they liked was that he was a "real revolutionary"—that he had never sold out and keeps fighting for revolution.

 Discussion and debate continued for hours after the film ended. The differences were often sharp but the unity was a deep desire to really dig into and understand why the world is the way it is, and how it can be changed. When the discussion finally broke up there was a sense of beginning something new—of creating an atmosphere where people could openly talk about the things that "nobody talks about," where people could openly disagree and debate about what it really means to be a "revolutionary" and what a communist future would look like. One woman remarked as she left: "I don't know what it all means yet, but I want to be a part of this movement for revolution."

 Since the showing several people who came to the film have dropped into the store to comment on the film and dig into their own questions. There will be a gathering at the store to discuss the film on Wednesday evening (March 28) and segments of the film will be shown each Friday afternoon from 3-6pm beginning April 6.

The day of our opening also marked the beginning of spring break at the university and many contacts who said they wanted to see the film had already left the area for other islands or the continent. Plans are being made to follow up to arrange for film showings at the university, as well as film sales, when classes resume on April 1.

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