March 28, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Over 40 people gathered at a shop in Third Ward, one of the oldest and largest Black communities in Houston, for Houston's initial showing of the film BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less!

People from countries on several continents were there, as were people who had lived their entire lives in Third Ward. Students from three different colleges were there, along with a couple of professors. The crowd was multinational and multilingual, and more than half of it was youth. There were participants from the Occupy movement, veteran peace activists, long-time revolutionaries; there were people who had participated in intense struggles in their home countries and people from impoverished projects and neighborhoods constantly terrorized by police.

Word about the film had gotten out widely, particularly in the Third Ward/Sunnyside area and on a couple of key campuses. Posters blanketed the University of Houston as students returned from spring break; Carl Dix spoke on a couple of local radio shows; a veteran revolutionary and a woman from Sunnyside newly involved in the movement for revolution spoke in several classes, and a crew of revolutionaries promoting the film and the premieres, and building for the Houston opening of the movie, were a consistent presence in Third Ward/Sunnyside with their banners, their sound truck, and their challenging message.

Among the comments people wrote on their "Get Connected" sheet:

"I truly enjoyed the film. There are so many reasons to be optimistic about this movement."

"I bought the DVD … I'm going to send clips of film out via my networks and my Facebook page."

"This film is definitely a wake-up call. It makes me want to study and research to learn more about the truth of this imperialist beast. I am all for revolution and the destruction of this capitalist society."

"I agree with most of the issues that were presented in the film but I also believe that nothing will get done until 'the people' get on one accord. Which is also a challenge b/c the U.S. as a people are conditioned to be separate."

Several people bought DVDs, and some were taken on consignment. During the intermission and as they left, many people commented on how they were trying to take in and absorb everything that BA runs down in the movie. As a revolutionary staffing the literature table said, people were "uplifted by the experience … even as people took different things away from it."

A couple of people who had been subjected to, and to an extent influenced by, some of the anti-BA, anti-RCP slander, were very favorably impressed by the movie. One older woman, a veteran activist, said her respect for BA had risen "1,000%" from seeing the film. Another young guy, an artist, said "Oh, I'm so over that" (meaning the accusation that the RCP is a "cult"), while he still has many questions, especially about democracy. Something that really seemed to hit home with people who have been active in recent movements like Occupy was that they were confronted with a deep presentation of a strategy for fighting and winning.

A white youth who identified himself as a libertarian said that the film had given him a whole other conception of BA, and that it was important that people who are trying to get out the message of communism utilize this film as much as possible. He had read some quotes from BAsics but wasn't sure how much he could "trust" BA until he saw this speech.

A young Black man said during the intermission that a lot of things that BA said had hit him hard and make him think he needs to look at even ordinary things differently. "A lot of what he was saying, like about mass incarceration, the inner-city minority youth, and how they're criminalized and oppressed, and how when they're killed by police it's always justifiable homicide. How police officers kill innocent Black and Latino men. Also he spoke about the degradation of women here in the United States and internationally. He spoke about for instance, like the clothes we wear, they're made in Bangladesh, or China, and we don't realize the child labor and the forced labor of women that goes into that. He spoke about that thing with, I believe the iPhone, and how the blood of the people who make it should gush out when you push one of its buttons. So we're ignorant in this country of a lot of the exploitation that goes into these things.

"And he got into what this country is really founded on, like four of the first five presidents owning slaves. We're so tied up on this American Dream, but what is that American Dream? This country is built on slavery. And Obama, I'm paraphrasing here, but he isn't speaking out against any of the injustices. People gotta stop going along with a party that just justifies all the exploitation and oppression."

There's a lot for the core of revolutionaries to learn more deeply off this showing, and a lot to do: to get the DVD of BA's speech out much more broadly, and to build the movement for revolution in all its aspects. People who were exposed to this talk really had their sights lifted, their preconceptions challenged, their understanding deepened. Many people were impressed with the turnout in sleepy old Houston, and the range of people who were there, attracted to hear a full-on revolutionary communist leader give a lengthy speech. Some people signed up for the activities already planned for taking this movement further, but there is a lot of learning, leading, and unleashing to do in the days ahead among everyone who came, people who expressed interest but didn't come for one reason or another, people who bought tickets but didn't make it, and many other people who still don't know about this movement for revolution, this Party, and this leader, BA.

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