Letter on BA Everywhere:

Will People Go for Something That Will Disrupt Their Whole Lives?

October 14, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

Recently, I was in a discussion with some people about the BA Everywhere campaign and one of the questions posed was: Is it really possible to win over people with a lot of means to support this campaign? Are people going to give money to a movement going for changing all of society? Will people donate to a campaign that will disrupt their whole lives?

I think it’s a very important question to get into for two main reasons: First, the BA Everywhere campaign is about raising BIG money to truly push BA’s work and vision into all corners of society, and raising BIG money means that we will need to do a lot of work reaching out to the people that have those kinds of means. And second, because this question really gets at: Can people of all strata come to understand and appreciate BA’s work and the role that he plays, and what’s the basis for winning them over? So, I wanted to share some thinking on this question.

What’s really framing my thinking in relation to this question is this quote from the book BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian:

“There is a place where epistemology and morality meet. There is a place where you have to stand and say: It is not acceptable to refuse to look at something—or to refuse to believe something—because it makes you uncomfortable. And: It is not acceptable to believe something just because it makes you feel comfortable.”—BAsics 5:11

So I want to dig into a little bit here how I see the meaning of epistemology and morality meeting and how this relates to the campaign. First, there is the realm of epistemology, and I would say that this means the realm of knowledge: what people know about the world, how they understand it and what they think is possible. Then morality, a basic sense of right and wrong, people acting in accordance to what they believe is the right thing to do, that will benefit others and that corresponds to the kind of world they want to live in. So when epistemology meets morality it means that people’s sense of what is right and wrong is directly connected to and relates to what they know and understand about the world.

When it comes to people of means, it is objectively true that these people live in the same world as the people who are catching hell under the boot of this system all over the world and in the worst possible ways. Not only is it true that people of means live in this same world, but it is true that this reality is shaping their thinking and understanding of the world, and in many cases leading them to feel outraged about the horrors of this system. Take a moment to think about the movie Fruitvale Station, which depicted the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, a Black youth who was viciously murdered by the transit police in Oakland on a platform in front of a train full of passengers, many of whom captured the murder with their cell phone cameras. This movie Fruitvale Station was made in response to this horror and is a poignant and moving depiction of the full humanity of Oscar Grant. Think about the fact that many of the people who made, produced and backed this movie are people with larger means and what this reveals about what these people are thinking about the world we live in and what they find intolerable and outrageous. Think about the Miami Heat basketball team that took a defiant and important team picture donning hoodies after the murder of Trayvon Martin, and think about the many, many angry tweets from celebrities and intellectuals after the outrageous “Not Guilty” verdict for Trayvon’s murderer George Zimmerman, with everyone from QuestLove to Miley Cyrus expressing contempt for the verdict. And think about the recent open letter written by Sinead O’Connor in which she grapples with the role women are expected to play in the entertainment industry after Miley Cyrus’ performance on MTV.

There are people today in every strata, including the very wealthiest, that are looking out into the world, seeing the horrors and wondering, as BA poses in the film REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! “How long?” How long will this nightmare continue for humanity?

And while these people are rightly angered and upset about the horrors of this world, the biggest contradiction here lies in the fact that these same people don’t yet know about Bob Avakian, and so they don’t yet know that the world could be a radically better place. And this is our responsibility with the BA Everywhere campaign: to bring to ever growing numbers of people the understanding that because of BA and the work he has done, it truly is possible to throw off the shackles of this system and work for a world that can bring the emancipation of all of humanity!

When you open up the possibility of a radically different world for people, the terms of what people want in their lives and what they want their lives to be about can become very different. And when we bring to people the understanding that BA has brought forward, it will influence what they see as right and wrong and what they want their money to support.

Now, that’s not to say it will be easy. And you can never say ahead of time where people will fall out in relation to this: Some people will staunchly disagree with you, some will be interested and want to know more and some will become very attracted. And there are definite questions that will be struggled out: Would an actual revolution, which could only come about under radically different future conditions, involve disruption? Yes, but for what? For a radically better world! The “permanent necessity” of this world that BA has spoken about does weigh heavily on people, and right now far too many people are locked into thinking that the world could never be different. But we have to crack through that!

We cannot underestimate the realm of morality and how people will feel compelled to act once their understanding of the world is opened up. And we have to have the strategic confidence and broad arms that BA models in his piece “An Invitation.” We need to lead people to have courage to pursue their convictions, to see them through to their logical conclusions and lead them not to turn away from that, but to learn more and act accordingly. Because fundraising is really a process of leading. Leading people to see that because of BA we do have an understanding of the way the world is and how it could be different, leading people to confront reality as it actually is, with all its comfortable and uncomfortable implications, and leading them to act on that knowledge: To support this campaign, to donate big funds and be part of a process where millions of people throughout society are digging into BA’s work and grappling with the very biggest questions of what kind of world is possible for all of humanity.

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