Voices from the Premieres

March 31, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


At the March 16-17 premieres of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, Revolution interviewed dozens of audience members during the intermissions and at the end of the showings. The following are excerpts from some of those interviews.

21-year-old Black man from Harlem

Q: Is there anything so far that has surprised you?

One thing—I wasn't surprised, but in America, a lot of people do say this is the land of the free, land of this. But people like me, it's just totally the opposite because I'm the definition of America's enemy. I'm a young Black youth in the inner city. They wrote us off before we was born. We was convicted at birth, that's how I feel sometimes. But one thing that surprised me—the whole thing is a surprise to me, actually. Because I'm not—me, myself, I'm not used to actually engaging in real issues that may be in society. So this is being real direct, just talking about stuff that makes sense, really engage me as a person.

Q: He talks a lot about how you can't reform the system and the name of the talk is BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! What is your response to that?

My response is, we need it. How it's gonna happen, I'm thinking the big picture. I know it's needed. I can't see a revolution without blood being spilled. Because any revolution that has happened—the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, in Hispaniola, it won't happen without people being willing to sacrifice. And that's what I feel like we have to do. Slavery never ended. There's a new form of slavery. And they attack your mind psychologically. I live in the community where you see it being done every day. There's a high mental illness where I live at but there's no treatment. So you see, we been to war and people are not in their right minds out there. It's crazy but I know there's a change needed. Personally from my own studies... there has to be something better. I just want to see the rest—I see he identifies the problem, but I want to know the solution.

Latina student

Q: How did you hear about this?

So I actually came into Revolution Books to buy a book. They had the book and then I asked one of the people working there what was their favorite book and they recommended BAsics so I ended up buying it... And then the lady was saying, oh, what are you doing Saturday and I said, I'm working and she said, don't go to work, call in. I said I can't do that and she said, you have to, this is so important, and you really seem like you're into these kinds of things, just come. And I was like, ok, fine, I'll take two tickets. So then I called into work and got into trouble but it was definitely worth it.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you or shocked you or that you didn't expect?

He was very raw and very honest. I feel like he can relate to the younger crowd because he does talk about things that people pay attention to that are younger—hip-hop, music, movies. I love that he sees beyond the superficial things that the movies display. Like he goes into like this is what they're really trying to tell you. And I feel like whoever watches this will definitely now look at movies and be like, wait, why is that being played this way, why is this being said? You won't be naive about to what is being put out there.

Q: You didn't know anything about Bob Avakian before this, so what is your impression of him as a revolutionary leader now?

I think he's awesome. I think he's someone that a lot of people would connect with. He definitely has charisma and he's very intelligent. In the film he goes from so many different things, like from ancient history to modern day and I think that's something that shows his intelligence and he seems like he knows what he's doing.

Q: The title and main theme of the movie is BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Do you think he makes the case for this and what do you think about this?

I definitely think he does make a case for that. I think that he basically, towards the end of the movie, he promotes a challenge and I think that's what he's saying, that if you saw this film and you're not moved by it, then he's not doing his job and neither are we as people because he does speak about basic human rights and things that any human would feel strong against or strongly for and passionate about. Yeah, I think he just wants you to wake up.

Q: He really does, at the end, say, if you hear this talk, the point is to change the world.

I definitely am into these kinds of social things, I'm very politically aware. I try to be at these and I think that is something he promotes and I think I would be into and will keep reading. I have the books and I want to read even more. I will definitely promote this to all of my friends, my professors. I think this should probably be in the curriculum of high school students. It's very significant. ... I will get the DVD as well.

Q: One last question: In the movie, he says, "Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity." What do you think about this?

That's very in-depth. I think he's basically trying to say that, us as people who are being oppressed, we basically have the power, like we have the strength. Personally I think that if you have the strength to endure all of these situations from day-to-day life, like police brutality or even basic human rights that are taken from you, I think you definitely have the strength to fight back and if we all were to join together then I feel like the ruling class, they would definitely not exist.

Young African-American man

Q: What do you think is the most important thing that you got from the film?

I think the most important thing that I got from the film is to realize that for any revolution or any type of real change to take place that it has to be a collective effort and not just a certain section of rights that needs to be enabled but rights for everyone, including, like how he talked about for women's rights, lesbian, bisexual, homosexual, all of those rights and pretty much all the countries around the Third World. Cuz at first, I had a very small idea of revolution because I only understood the position that I was in. After watching this film, I have a way better understanding of revolution. As a young African male. Now I don't have a small or microscopic idea of revolution, now I have a really expanded idea.

Q: Most important thing that you learned about BA?

I think that one of the things that was really important to me is that he actually has been. I've seen a couple of videos of him from '69, '79, 2003 all the way up until now. And seeing his longevity and his continuation and his effort to revolution I think that was one of the most important things. After seeing that it gave him a lot of credibility...there's no hesitation in me going further to learn things from him.

Q: Most surprising thing about the film and/or about him?

One of the things that was really surprising to me was when he said blatantly that there is no right to eat within the Constitution. Cuz I didn't really think about that. That's true, but it doesn't really occur to me. And the way he explained how it is and if we went to try to get food, we deserve food, then they would react with hostile forces. That was one of the most shocking things to me.

Q: The title was BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! What do you think of that?

I think the title suits itself. Cuz for a lot of organizations and a lot of things that when people say revolution it doesn't really include everyone, in this sense revolution—nothing less is perfect because there's nothing less than revolution.

Q: Are you joining the revolution?

I am definitely joining the revolution.

Homeless man, member of the Revolution Club

Q: You are someone who has read a lot of BA and followed him. Compared with what you knew about BA before the film, did you come away with any new impressions?

I really enjoyed it. After seeing the film, I come away with a confidence that a revolution really could happen in a country like this. It really made me want to get out with more literature, be more straightforward with what Bob's talking about, and really help people understand what communism is all about.

Q: The title of the film is BA Speaks: REVOLUTION–NOTHING LESS! Do you have any thoughts about that whole approach?

I agree with him. I believe that's the only way we can go. Any other way is just helping this country stay the way it is and that's not cool.

Q: The quote on the literature about "Those that this system has cast off…" Any thoughts on that?

Yeah, that's what we need. Those that the system has cast off, we need to introduce them to Bob. Because they struggle with the things that the system do, and they just don't know what to do about it. And the Party do. So I feel like if we can get it out to these people and help build them up, it could be the fighting force to stop these things. I think the Revolution Club, we really need to get that off the ground. Not get it off the ground, but come together and come up with a plan to help people develop the concept that we are trying to get them to understand. I think that is a great way to help the youth learn about the Party and Bob and I think it's a great thing to take it throughout the city, to the high schools, and get them to understand the science.

White woman and man

Q: The name of the film was BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! What do you think of that?

M: I thought he was really forceful in—and needed to be. There's no—I kept thinking of Bush's old mantra, you're either with us or against us. It feels like that's the reality here. There's not two ways about it. If you turn your back on this, then you're allowing everything to proceed as is. And we all know that that just simply can't stand. Are we to survive, even as a species, in what's going on now?

Q: So that's what you thought about when you heard the challenge he put out at the end where he was basically calling on us, are you going to be with it, or what?

M: Exactly, right. There's no two ways about it. You really have to stand up for something. Otherwise, you're letting it all happen.

W: Well, the title I think was very—really stated the viewpoint right from the start: that nothing less than revolution is going to solve the problem, is going to give us the solution that we need. And I agree with that. I don't think, you know, this system can be tweaked and, you know, reformed around the margins as he called it, and turn out successful. That really the very basis—I'm in agreement that the very basis of the system in place is not workable. Not only it's not just, it's simply not workable. We're coming up against the limitations of the planet. It's a finite planet. But this capitalistic system, the way it works, is as if there are no boundaries. It has to ever, ever expand and consume and the profits are never enough to people at the top that are collecting them.

34-year-old Black student

Q: Well, so far, what has stood out to you?

I think Avakian reminds me a lot of Malcolm X. That they both have a genius to address critical issues, urgent issues that on many levels are very complex, complicated things to understand. But they have such a grasp of them that they are able to articulate them in a lucid manner in which everybody can understand and get what they're saying. So he's dealing with complex issues about politics, around history, around economics, around philosophy, and those such things. But he's putting it in a way in which people who aren't learned in these areas can listen what he's saying, get what he's saying, get the importance and the urgency of what he's saying and the urgency and necessity to try and address these critical issues of our day.

Q: Was there anything that surprised you or that took you aback?

That's a good question. I mean, I think he, I think personally speaking, there's a lot that I agree with Avakian on. And then there are some fundamental differences that we have, talk about religion for instance. I'm studying at a Christian seminary, I'm a Christian. And it's those values that bring me to engage in the struggle against injustice in society. And certainly we obviously have different takes on religion and its role. But I think a lot of the critiques he's putting forth are critiques that I share of religion. I would emphasize some of what I consider some of the positive revolutionary aspects to it. But those critiques that he has of it I think are accurate. And I think, for some people those may be very jarring. Certain things, he's right at you, he pulls no punches, whether it's religion, or something like the election of Barack Obama, which on many levels was a great thing given the history of racism and white supremacy in the country. At the same time it's problematic...

Q: In the first part of the speech he has this quote, "Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity." What do you think of that quote?

I look at it simultaneously from a historical and from a contemporary place. Historically speaking that's something that's kind of part and parcel to the Marxist tradition, looking at those most affected, the masses, them being the revolutionary force. But then also, kind of just saying, Avakian is part of that tradition, he's kind of a great thinker of today. So we say, ok, how does that apply to current politics, current-day situation. We have so many people today struggling financially. We have the new Jim Crow prison-industrial complex. We have the destruction of the environment. We have all these things going on. And what does it mean for those of us who are being affected, which is the masses of us? What does it mean for us to seriously think about our condition and what we can possibly do about it.

Two young Black women students from a local university

Q: Tell me a little about yourself and how you heard about this.

A1: We were walking from class on campus and someone just stopped us. We saw a poster of this Black man being pinned down by a bunch of police. I saw it and it intrigued me so was just like I kinda wanna go. So I didn't hesitate, bought my ticket and I'm here. Yeah, I'm here.

Q: What stood out to you most about the film so far?

A1: What stood out to me the most was when he was talking about the fact that how Obama is basically a figure of entertainment. He's a figure of ... he has an agenda assigned to him by the—not the masses that are supposed to be democracy—but he's assigned by the supremacies of this nation. And that's what stood out to me the most, the fact that a lot of Black people nowadays are so happy and so relieved that our president's Black but he's just not doing anything. He is a Black puppet and that's what stood out to me and I kinda came here to broaden my knowledge of really what's going on because my mom really sheltered me from it. She was a Black Christian. She's like, 'it's in God's hands so just forget about it.' But I didn't really know about anything so that's why I'm really here.

Q: What has stood out to you most about Avakian so far?

A1: Honestly, it really surprised me that he knows so much. Mainly because he is white. He's different from what I am, and how come I don't know about these things and I'm Black and it's happening to me.

Q: Same question. What has stood out to you the most about Avakian?

A2: Well, for me, the fact that he's so passionate. I know he described certain people in neighborhoods where they're like...where they see these white people taking part in these revolutionary acts and then when the pressure hits they leave and for me that's my biggest problem with those types of people and I don't know much about him but you guys said he's been around forever and he hasn't stopped when the pressure hits and for me that's what I really like to see in people. When I first heard about this, I did ask myself what ethnicity is he? They said white and then right off the bat I'm just like alright, let me not jump to conclusions or judgments or stuff because when I see ... when you see these movies there's always like a white savior and I really hate it...I really hate it. So for me that's where I come in as being kinda stand-offish. Not even stand-offish but what is this all about? Skeptical. I don't want somebody to be my white savior. I think another thing that I'm still kinda like, okay..., is the whole fact that he's really against Christians and religion in general. Just because I'm a Christian and ... the whole thing of wait until Jesus comes back? That is not what Jesus...that's not what this is about. That's not what Christianity is about and you know to a large extent that's what people have made God's word out to be and so I don't blame him or many other people for being, yeah, skeptical or atheist or whatever they are....  So the whole being Christian thing it's kind of like... okay, we're for the same thing.

A1: I have a story to tell. It was 2009 when the Haiti earthquake struck. So I was sitting there watching the news because it was all over the news, right? And I was sitting there watching with my mom. I happened to see this little girl. They said that she was trapped under a whole bunch of rubble and she was crying and just in tears and she had blood coming from her head. I was just terribly struck, I was just shocked and I couldn't move and I was crying and I looked back at my mom and she was just sitting there basically, she was just watching it. And I'm looking like, who are you? Why aren't you like, you know. And it struck me to the point where she was like, 'it's all in God's hands.' It's for a reason. Everything happens for a reason and she was trying to comfort me with that. So I just walked out the room, really. And I was crying to myself and I just realized just now that that's where my desensitization stems from when it comes to human impoverishment and deaths and stuff like that. My mom is just like, 'oh, you know, it's in God's hands' and she even told me that it was supposed to happen, really, like because people in Haiti worship idols so she was just like...and that really pissed me off. She was just like, 'oh, you know, they did this so that's why they're suffering now.' I looked at the little girl and I'm just like 'are you really sitting up here and telling me like this is her fault' 'And so that's what really hurt me the most, and from then on I was just like, maybe, hey, it's not in my hands, it's in God's hands, basically.

I think it's just so funny that Christianity has become like this when God definitely says that we're supposed to be loving the poor and loving the oppressed and doing his work and not just sitting back waiting until he comes back. I really hate that. That's not what it's about...

Q: What did you know about Bob Avakian before and what's your impression of him now?

A2: Oh, absolutely nothing, actually. Like nobody knows about him and he's been around forever, right? Before today I didn't. Well before when I was watching, I was like, wow, he should be president. But I was like, hell no. Because so many people of this country, something would happen to him. So no he can't, he can't. But I think a number of people should know about him to the point where he should be a leader, a really big leader in this country. Can I tell you about the whole communism thing?

Before I came...  So what was taught in the history books when I was growing up: communism is a bad thing. I was oh, it's all about, you know, we're sharing toothbrushes and I don't want to share my stuff with that person. I didn't know about communism because I was taught that communism was bad, a red scare, these are bad people. And then I'm trained to believe that capitalism is the only way to go. I buy things, you give me things in return, that type of thing. But he opened up a new modernized socialism and that's what stood out to me the most, I think. So if you're saying bad stuff about capitalism, and then when people are just so scared of communism, then what the hell are you going to do? So like he said that strategy and I like that.

Q: One more thing, BA says, Revolution—Nothing Less. What do you think about that, or are we not ready to talk about that?

A2: I'll tell you what I think about it so far. To be honest, I am sort of doubting the whole spreading of it because you really have to change people's psyches and that's going to take so much work and that work is intimidating. It really is, mainly because of the people that I grew up with they're so focused on pop culture; they're so focused on the Housewives of wherever, that they don't really want to deal with this because it's boring, it's nothing ... to the point where people are so desensitized. To the point where it's just oh, 5,000 people are killed...blah, blah, blah and you are just 'oh, okay.' So the revolution, nothing less—I think it's going to take a lot of work because you have to change a lot of people's psyches.

Black man

Q: So far what has stood out the most?

Oh my god. What stood out to me the most is that the entire system cannot be changed from working within the system for change. I have to agree with that. I have to agree with the fact that so many people follow the voting system, and would love to bring up facts like 'What proof do you have that the voting system is not honest and real?' But in reality, this is something I've talked about behind closed doors for years. How the voting system has two sides, it's a plague against both. It represents the ruling elite remaining in power. These are very real facts. Hearing things about Blacks and the civil rights struggle. Things that led up to—things that have been covered up. Police brutality. I love what I'm hearing here. The oppression of women (laughs)! These things are real. The fact that I do agree that we do need a revolution in thought...

Q: What surprised you the most so far?

That's a good question. The biggest surprise was the discussion on the election, and how the president is put in power. That's something I have agreed with, something I concur with 100 percent, but very few people, very few people have I heard come out and say something like that publicly. It takes a lot to actually speak on that. So many people are afraid to even go into that. And then some of the people who are the biggest proponents for peace, justice, and equality, when you bring up that type of issue they're offended. That's a totally offensive issue. I have a lot of friends who are into a lot of different things, politics in different ways, and they're like, 'Oh my god! How can you say something like that?' But it's obvious—there are so many signs to show how this is real, not just in movies, but so many truths that come up when you hear a politician speak, if you really pay attention. But people like to look the other way. We're all living within a bunch of contradictions. At the same time you have to be able to look at truth for truth. Very few people will come out and step beyond all the contradictions like the gentleman speaking in the film. And that is the interesting thing to me. I got to say on a lot of levels, the man is a lot braver than I. Because I'm not able to take the reins in the way I want to take them in my own reality because of so many threats to my freedom, my position, things I've worked hard for. And many other people feel the same way. And this is a way for you to get around somebody who is speaking those truths... That's my opinion.

Q: What do you think about this quote from the film: "Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity."

I agree with that quote. I think that actually is not only true, but he said something in the film: he said we don't have to look at the lower classes as simply stupid, we need to be able to approach them in a way that is open and honest about what we believe. We need to be able to approach them in a way that lets them know they can be part of something that can change things. Because a lot of people feel hopeless—they feel there is no way to change it. That doesn't mean you have to change by violent means. These are all stereotypes placed, placed, I believe, by the ruling class. They'll go 'it can be violent' but in reality it's more of a thought revolution. If people begin to think a different way, that's what I think they fear the most—people will begin to think a different way. It's almost kind of how Gandhi was doing it, we're not gonna deal with that, we're not gonna deal with these conditions, slander always comes out of vehicles like the media of course. So I love the quote. I think it's honest, I think everyone can make a difference. It comes down to how you think. It comes down to grouping up with other people and doing it in a non-violent way, to bring more attention to it. You look at the 99 percent movement, I agree with what he said. That was done within the confines of the system. But what really destroyed it was the fact that it couldn't really centralize. And people began to think, this isn't gonna work. The scattering. The media spin on it destroyed it. Something has to continue to happen. I don't know the ultimate solution, I don't think any of us do. But I think it's definitely a thought revolution.

Q: We're only midway through, he's going to address this. Let's check in afterwards...

Q: [from another filmgoer] Can you actually share what you mentioned about anger, because what you said was so eloquent? And I felt the exact same way but I can't put it into words the way you were.

A lot of the anger I personally have, you really don't have a way to express these feelings. And when you come to a place where someone is speaking this level of truth and embodies how you feel, it's almost a way to help vent your frustrations.

White woman artist

Q: What stood out to you in the movie?

It just made you feel like there is a chance. Like there's really a chance that we can do this. I never had seen him speak before.

Q: What made you think that? Before you came to this movie you were thinking one way and now you're thinking another...

Well, before I came I was thinking revolution in terms of people starting to starve and not being able to feed their children and that kind of really bloody revolution. But now here is an organization to start more, hopefully a more peaceful one, but it might not be peaceful... . That's what made me think more about that way of doing it, than having a really knock down bloody revolution, which I think is coming anyway. But when people can't feed their kids they're going to get desperate.

Q: What do you think about the theme and the title of the movie, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Do you think he made a case for that?

Oh, yes. I worked with Code Pink for a long time and that's why I stopped hanging around with them because they want to work within the system, call your congressman and all that, and I just felt like it was becoming a wasted effort. So he did make the case, it's not going to work to work within the system. 'Cause this system just has to come down...

Q: Did you get a copy of the DVD?

I bought two.

Q: So what is your plan?

My plan is to have little house parties.

Black woman singer

Q: What stood out to you in the movie?

His frankness. And he's so accurate about a lot of things. I mean, wow. What were the most poignant points, there were so many things, that's why I had to buy the DVD. The Rodney King references, there were so many references. The point that I'm bringing back with me is that we can't make the system better. This system needs to be changed, period. We need a new system.

Q: So does the title of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! resonate with you?

Oh, yes it does. Because nothing less will do. It has to change, it cannot stay this way. And I wasn't even aware, like I said. We're so busy living our lives we're not even aware of the atrocities. Like I wasn't even aware of the prostitution still being so, I didn't know the numbers were like that. I'm just astounded. But whatever we have to do. I'm going to play this DVD, I bought it, at the shelter. Instead of listening to Maury Povich and who's the daddy, not the baby daddy, things that we can do. Because a lot of us down there, there are people down there, we don't qualify for this, we don't qualify for that, we can't get help...

Q: There's a quote, "Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity." What do you think about this?

That's me. There were certain points in this movie where I was moved to tears because I identified with it. And that quote right there, that's exactly how I feel... [starts to get really choked up] I feel cast aside. But hopefully getting involved with this group, learning more, actually learning how to apply this, changing my political affiliation, I'm going to, and working from there, whatever I can do to help. I also have a sister who I think will be very interested in this. So I'm going to play the DVD as much as I can.

Young Latino freshman from a local university

Q: What did you think was the most important thing you got out of the film?

A: I guess it would be like a sort of liberation from the negative connotations of communism. Because I personally started reading the Manifesto but I kinda stopped because I was like, hold on, I'm trying to be an engineer, the government won't...

Q: You're talking about the original Marx's Manifesto?

I was kind of gave up on the idea even though some of it felt right to me. Because I was thinking, well, the government doesn't really like this, and I'm striving to be a government position. I was thinking they're probably not going to hire an engineer that's a communist. So that's kinda what killed it for me. But coming here I keep thinking like, first of all no one should be able to decide your views on life and I think it's completely unfair that the government gets to choose what you can and cannot have as a view because that's like they get to tell you who you are, who you're not.

Q: Tell me what you knew about Bob Avakian going in and what you think about him now.

Well, I hadn't even heard of him coming in. But coming out very interested. I'm going to start reading his website. I agree with him on a lot of things. I always had thoughts that there's no need for people to have an exponential amount of money compared to the poorest. I feel like there shouldn't be poverty. I feel like at least there should be, everyone should be at low middle class because the wealth is so huge that it can be shared where the people in the one percent can still have enough to have homes everywhere. There's no need for that excessive amount of greediness and in the end if you open up your eyes, it's killing a lot of people.

Q: What surprised you most about the film?

His statistics. His statistics about death in Third World countries. I was always open to that and I always knew that there was starvation and a lot of things happening, but to hear that actual number, to hear that number, to hear the amount of lives that are being lost and to know that there is somebody out there that has over a hundred homes and he doesn't even think, 'maybe I sell one and give it to those people' or put up a church. I don't necessarily agree with churches, but I do see the church around my community and it does feed people that are homeless. It does do a good impact on the communities so why not spread that wealth.

Q: There was a lot of emphasis in this on the system of capitalism and imperialism. Did you come out of that with a deeper sense of what that means in terms of being at the root of all of this? In other words, there's the statistics and then there's the why and what do you do about it?

I feel like after watching this film it's like that little shield that everyone has of ignorance it's lifted, after watching that film. And you make a conscious decision whether you want to go on and act about it, or you want to continue hiding under your shield. But if you do, it's kinda on you, because someone already told you what's the reality and what's going on and just because it's not necessarily affecting you doesn't mean that you shouldn't care about others. It's kinda like saying I could care less about cancer because no one in my family's ever had a cancer. That to me sounds worse than anyone else can say. Just because you're not starving doesn't mean you shouldn't care about those kids that are starving.

Q: How do you feel about the part that in a certain sense the way you live being at the expense of the rest of the world. In other words, the relationship between those conditions—you turn on your iPad and you see the blood pouring out.

I don't necessarily like that all about the system, but before this film I had no idea to even begin to how to change it. It was like he said, revolution was never even a possibility. And it was the way I grew up and the way I was trained by the media to just look at the system and say these are my only possibilities and that's all I can do. They train you to say, 'oh, well, there was already a revolution, America's already the greatest country in the world' but the thing is that, like he points it out, the revolution was about a bunch of slave owners that didn't want to pay taxes. So where's the morality in their actions? All they cared about is their money.

Q: The title of the film is BA Speaks: REVOLUTION–NOTHING LESS! Do you have a sense about the point of that or what did you get from that?

I feel like that title encompasses the whole idea of this film. You watch this film and you either demand revolution and nothing less. You have to demand it. You either demand it or, like I said, you go back to your shield you go back to living your consumerist life.

Q: You're not going back under the shield?

I don't think so...

Q: You want to learn more.

Yeah, I want to learn more. That way, when I am confronted with people that are challenging my ideas, I don't just stand there and say 'well, let me get back to you,' I want to confront them dead on and actually be able to convince them and say 'don't hide behind your shield. It's okay to come out.'...

Well to me, I love the fact that he is not scared to be doing what he's doing. He's not hiding and like he said, he didn't go back from the '60s. He wasn't one of those guys that just went back and said, 'I'm just going to find a nice little job in the system and I'm just going to forget about this. It was just one of my college days, it was just a dumb idea I had once and it's gone now.' I love his perseverance and even though he may have been alone, I doubt he'll be alone now.


I heard about this from Revolution Books. My parents are from India.

What I liked a lot was the fact that he can just pull you into his aura and he makes you listen. And if you feel like you don't understand something he gives you so many examples. He stands there and he gets really deep, he doesn't just say something and move on. He'll give you a full analysis.

The thing that really stood out, what really touched me was when he was talking about gangs and how they had tried to come together and the oppressing powers try to separate them, and this is just a cycle. Also about George Bush and how he lies, how he said Iraq had WMDs [weapons of mass destruction] and they didn't have anything.

Another thing I liked was the stuff about the iPhone, that when you buy something you are buying all of this labor that went into the product. The kids who buy things, like shoes, all they know is the brand, but they don't know about the Asian kids who put in hours and hours of work to feed their families. The kids here don't know this. I don't know about the iPhone but I know Microsoft is set up in India. Kids here buy these $200 shoes and they don't even think that hey, hard labor was put into these shoes—kids were beaten and abused in the making of this damn product.

Two students... a man and a woman

Q: What stood out to you most about the film and BA?

W: I like the comparison drawn between how undocumented immigrant families are separated, and this is like how the children of Black slaves were sold, and how the tears and suffering of the people mean nothing. If you don't take action—then this is just talk and we let the suffering continue, when in fact we can make a difference.

Q: What did you know about BA before and what's your impression of him now?

W: I knew before the film that BA is the leader of the RCP. After the film, I see more how serious he is about revolution, and spoke at length on this. I like how he uses so many examples.

Q: BA says, "Revolution—Nothing Less!" What do you think about that?

M: I think it's appropriate. That is what is needed.

W: Initially I thought the title was too pushy. Now I think it is appropriate. What he says about the youth, that there is only a bad future for the youth under this system is true. Revolution has a future for the youth. The suffering of the people and crimes of the system are so extreme, revolution—nothing less is what is needed.

Q: What did you think about the challenge to people at the end?

M: I want to let more people know about the revolution.

W: I feel a responsibility to make revolution. Before when I met the Revolution Club, I felt a sense of responsibility but now it is stronger. You need to make a difference.

Q: Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression and emancipate all of the humanity?

M: I agree that is true.

W: That's true and we need to realize it.

22-year-old man

Q: So what stood out to you about the movie?

In general, a lot of truths. He was speaking a lot of truths...

Q: Was there anything that surprised you or shocked you?

The one thing that did shock me about it was some of his views on Obama. I'm not going to lie, it kind of wakes you up to some of the truths. That's the thing because you know and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person that stood here and had their views on Obama and you know he's doing good, and don't get me wrong, I think he's still doing good with certain things. But he did mention a lot of truths of things that he could be doing better and things that he could be helping out more and the truths about the government and everything.

Q: You obviously didn't know anything about Bob Avakian before this, what is your impression of him now?

He's a very, very smart man. He's a very smart man. He's a very smart man and he wants something good in this world. And I see the changes that he's trying to make. And I'm going all for it. And especially hearing everything that he has to say, I like his sense of humor, I really do like his sense of humor. His sense of humor really comes out and it's still truth in his sense of humor. That's one thing I like about him. He's a very good man and I like what he's going for...

Q: What about the challenge at the end? That this will come to nothing unless people take this up and change the world with it?

That's also something that is very true. I see the effort that he's putting in and all the effort that everybody else is putting in to this. And at the end of the day if this doesn't work and people don't listen and hear something like this or go forward, it will all be for nothing.

Q: How do you look at this challenge personally?

How did I take the challenge personally? I think I'm willing to step up to the challenge. I want to do something now, especially after seeing this film. I want to do something to help.

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