Going to All Kinds of People with BA Everywhere

December 9, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

I was really glad to see the editorial posted online in the last issue, "BA Everywhere—Imagine the Difference It Could Make! Why and how it is key to changing the world—to making revolution." There's a lot in it, but I wanted to share an experience related to the point in the second half about "the very real objective basis, and need for broad numbers of people, from many different parts of society, to take part in and contribute to BA Everywhere."

First off, this point is hardly "obvious." Ask most people who have learned something about the BA Everywhere campaign and the work of the RCP about who else should be approached with this campaign and their first reaction is often "can't think of very many people." Too many people initially think that "this is only for revolutionaries," or at least those who have already firmly decided that the current capitalist-imperialist system needs to be overturned. But just because people think this doesn't mean it's true.

I recently had dinner with some friends who are longtime supporters of the Party and who have already decided that only revolution can finally put an end to the horrors of how society currently operates. They had already decided to contribute several hundred dollars to the BA Everywhere campaign and the other work the Party is doing. I was anxious to see them and to share some of the things we're doing.

I also told them beforehand that I wanted to ask their help in reaching out with the campaign to raise the "BIG money" that we need to succeed, and specifically wanted to ask them to help set up a get-together with someone else they know to see if she would also donate. She apparently doesn't share their revolutionary sentiments (at least as far as I know), but from what they've told me she does see a lot of the terrible suffering in the world and doesn't like the way things are.

She's a small-business person who was born in another part of the world and came to the U.S. later in life. She has a much more real-world understanding of the role the U.S. plays around the globe and she's not so inclined to excuse America's international crimes or the way it treats huge sections of the population here at home. At the same time, she is also very influenced by a political viewpoint that argues for slow, incremental change within the capitalist system. For example, she has been a supporter of President Obama, even in the face of the horrendous crimes that his administration has carried out like the widespread use of military drones to kill people in the Middle East or the massive spying by the National Security Agency, arguing that Obama is at least better than the Republicans.

The point is, she's contradictory. Yes, she made a small donation to the Obama campaign in 2008, but she's also helped raise funds for programs dealing with the problems of AIDS and homelessness, and from what I know she supports people fighting against the inequalities in society. In other words, there's a part of her that thinks (or at least hopes) that this system can solve the problems of the world, but her starting point is that she's concerned about those problems and wants to do something about them.

When I first saw my friends, they were anxious to hear how the work of building the movement for revolution was going. But they were also doubtful about whether it would be worth it to approach their friend. As one of them said, there wasn't really much basis to even talk to her about this until she's repudiated her support for Obama and the Democrats. I tried to get them to look at the things more scientifically, especially the fact that a lot of people in the middle strata of society are very contradictory—part of them is attracted to the system's promises of "democracy," they'd really like to see that work, and it seems much more "realistic" than revolution. But another part of them looks at the real world and hates the fact that people are suffering, and on some level they see that this system is responsible.

Okay, I said, they support the Democrats. That's not good, and there should be a lot of struggle over this question with them. But at the same time, think about how this might start to change if the movement for revolution became a more significant force on the scene. And think what a difference it would make if more of them knew about BA, if they were exposed to his revolutionary analysis, and if this was much more a part of what they were considering as they formed political opinions about how to tackle the problems of the world!

Anyway, we wrestled with this for a while, then I told them I'd brought a copy of the film Stepping Into the Future about the April 2011 celebration in New York on the occasion of the publication of Bob Avakian's book BAsics. We popped the disk into their DVD player and the screen came alive with all kinds of musicians, poets, visual artists, and longtime activists who participated in the celebration, but for all kinds of reasons.

Some of the people interviewed or performing in the film are clearly drawn to Avakian's message of revolution. Others don't seem as sure but they want to see his message get out there as a necessary part of what broad numbers of people are encountering and discussing. And still others seemed really new to the whole scene, but wanted to be part of a program celebrating "the vision of a new world."

In short, the film is sort of a snapshot of what difference it starts to make when people are exposed to BA and given the chance to consider a radical, revolutionary communist position on what is causing all the terrible things in the world that they hate, and what could happen if a revolutionary society were brought into being.

My friends loved the film and they kept making comments about different parts on the screen. Halfway through it, the one who was somewhat pessimistic about the basis to get their woman friend to consider supporting the BA Everywhere campaign turned to me and said, "Let's send her this when we invite her to get together to talk!" It was clear that he thought the film would have a very positive impact on her, and might very well help persuade her to contribute.

We sent her a copy of the DVD, as he suggested, along with a letter explaining why we want to get together. We haven't heard back from her yet and I'm sure there will be further back and forth before we finally sit down together. But I'm confident it will lead to a very productive discussion, and potentially a significant contribution to the campaign. I'll keep you informed.

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