Cleveland Fundraising Potluck and Celebration of the Release of the Film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

May 1, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


On April 13, twenty or so people gathered in Revolution Books Cleveland for a fundraising potluck and celebration of the release of the film, BA Speaks, REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! The store was filled—several Black men from a homeless shelter, a few long term supporters of BA, a student, an activist and a few Black youths.

As soon as the homeless men sat down to eat they saw a poster with BAsics 1:24 (“The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people…”) and pictures of Melissa Williams and Timothy Russell who were shot 137 times by 13 Cleveland cops. There was lots of passionate and loud talk about the role of the police and how to fight back against these killings when the police are rarely even charged. Several of the men knew Melissa and Timothy from the shelters so the shock and anger ran deep; besides, they told how they are constantly harassed by cops.

There were conversations about the role of the military. A student was in the military and thought his experience was positive in providing fraternity and friendships with other soldiers. He was challenged to look at the reality that the U.S. military kills and oppresses common people in other countries. A homeless man with a lot of feeling said, “The U.S. fucked over Korea and it’s not out to help people but to help big U.S. companies make money off of people.”

There was debate over whether big protests could stop the horrors that people experience or whether it would take something more than that.

The clip “Emancipating Humanity …Transforming Conditions & Transforming Human Nature” from the DVD BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! was played, followed by the host reading Andy Zee’s statement “Raising Big Funds and Spreading the DVD.” The room was silent as people watched and listened to what BA had to say.

People then had lots to say. One Black man said, “Change is overdue. We need a leader; where are they at? Everyone is out of order; the police are taking out people. All our leaders are gone; there is just protest. Bob Avakian tells it like it is, real smooth, came real smart. Yes, I am already thinking about getting it to children and others and no matter what color, it is how you represent.” A college student jumped in with “Bob Avakian has the information, his history and experience for change, and he gets people’s attention.” A homeless Black man said, “I have to be convinced…This [U.S.] is not a democracy, or freedom of speech. You say certain things and soon they lock you up. This is what the Constitution is about really. Would you just follow anyone, I have to see, have to look into it. I think no one should be brought into the revolution without knowing.” He said how he came in thinking that communism is bad but with an open mind, and after watching the clip from BA he knows he was lied to. He added, “Not this revolution, it will not be televised.” A homeless white man said, “It is a choice you have to make. Bob Avakian is saying open your eyes to what is going on today, people getting messed by the police. I know a Black guy was working for Central Cadillac, took a car out to cash his check and the cop pulled him over because of the Cadillac and because his cap was put on backwards. Avakian is trying to show it is the system and calling for change. Revolution has gone on for years, Roman times people revolting. It may not be in my time. I would like it to happen.” The homeless Black man quoted earlier said he wants to get involved but said the police will come at them, the homeless, because “most of us have records and they will be on our ass.” A Black man who was on last summer’s BAsics bus tour talked about Noche, saying “Noche is one of my heroes. He is now facing adversity and we need to fight to have him not go to jail. He stands up for the people.”

There was a sentiment that we need to raise money and show the film at the shelters, churches, and all over. Individuals volunteered to get the film shown at a shelter, others volunteered to organize a car wash especially in warmer weather, some volunteered to take out penny jars and talked about having a bake sale. $87.57 was raised with a $5.00 pledge from a homeless man to be paid at the first of May. At the end of the night, a young Black man said, “This tonight is a great start.” Throughout the evening, especially after watching the clips, there was a transforming feeling that BA opened up people’s eyes to the cause of the horrors many experience day to day and provided a glimpse of the pathway and goal of human emancipation.


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