Go Now to See 12 Years a Slave... and Bring Plenty of Copies of Revolution Newspaper!

October 22, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

Some friends and I went to see the new movie 12 Years a Slave, which opened in select theaters this past Friday, and will open more generally soon. I will say that at the earliest opportunity, go see this movie and bring some friends. Make sure no one has to run home right away afterwards. You'll want to be with others to digest this one. I'm not writing a review here, but I will say that this is one of the most powerful major movies I've seen in a long time, and the artistry it's done with is just outstanding. It's already having a powerful effect on people who see it. Slavery... godDAMN these motherfuckers! But no spoilers here, just go see it.

At the theater where we saw it, the audience was mainly solidly middle class, mostly (but not all) white, and predominantly (but not only) older than 40 or so, in an area of the city mainly characterized by progressive Democratic politics. We got the last four tickets to the third show of the night. Every showing was sold out, and people were turned away.

After the movie, as the music died down (it took that long for me to find my voice—yes, the movie is that powerful), as my comrades headed to the door to distribute leaflets with the October 22 centerfold in Revolution newspaper and local info for events that day, I got up and said to the whole audience, "That is the foundation of this country, what this country was first built on. And it is not over. Michelle Alexander is right, slavery, Jim Crow, and now the New Jim Crow. Dred Scot, Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin. This is still a profound problem to solve." Someone up front called out, "They need reparations." I responded, "We need revolution! And we can do that, too! This system won't solve this, and can't solve it. Stop and get into Revolution newspaper on your way out. And this Tuesday is the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. The section of people facing this New Jim Crow need everyone here standing with them that day. This needs to stop. Get the info about that on your way out, too."

For anyone thinking of doing something like this, I would urge you to say it more accurately: After the part about Michelle Alexander is right, say, "And Bob Avakian is right, this can't be ended under this system. Three strikes and they're out. We need revolution." BA is actually taking the point where it needs to go, where Alexander didn't go with her very powerful work.

Before I finished talking, a woman was tapping me on the back reaching for Revolution newspaper. She said she's in the middle of Alexander's book. Before I could say anything, others were coming up. I tried holding up the front and back covers so people could see them. We sold 11 Revolution newspapers in maybe five minutes there and four others outside, and distributed a lot of leaflets.

Unfortunately, this was a crowd on the move and for the most part I don't know what was on people's minds. I can tell you the response we got is different than usually happens from this section of people. This movie moves people. What's depicted objectively challenges the programs and solutions people usually look to and even insist upon. It's an important moment to pose to them to dig for real into BA and this revolution, and to really stand with those under the gun today. One white woman said something about Trayvon Martin as she got the paper. Another said, "Some in government want to go back to this now." I asked if she meant these fascist forces, and she said yes. I pointed to the ad for the film REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! as someone else reached out with their dollar.

A Black man we spoke with outside traced for me his family history going back to slaves in North Carolina. He described himself now as a libertarian, opposed to communism, but got the paper and plans to watch the film REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! in case it does have a better solution. A white man with his college-age daughters told us about his previous experience with campus socialist movements. He was the one that had yelled out, "They need reparations." After buying the paper he half-jokingly said he told his daughters about the danger of getting into movements like this. I said this movement has a place for everyone, and they need to contribute as they see is appropriate for them. And while that happens we're going to get deeper into what the problem and solution is, and if they find they become communists, all the better. We're working it out for them to see REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and take part in October 22.

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