Connecting People with BA at Protest vs Obama's Deportations and Support for Keystone Pipeline

April 21, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From readers:

When word got out that Obama was to attend a Democratic Party fundraiser in Houston, activists jumped at the opportunity to protest, focusing on his support for the Keystone pipeline, which will transport toxic tar sands oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast, and his role as "The Deportation President" (under his administration, the number of immigrants expelled from the U.S. has reached an unprecedented two million).

We in the movement for revolution attended a sign-making session, and as we painted, we aimed to connect people with BA and BA Everywhere. We got into some wide-ranging discussion about what is the problem and what is the solution to these horrors, including one young woman talking about how patriarchy is so embedded in the whole structure of capitalism. Most of those making signs were, in one way or another, anarchists. When we quoted BA in saying that the capitalist system is no fit caretaker of the planet, one middle-aged woman took issue, saying, "I'm a capitalist." Immediately a few others retorted, "But it's the capitalist system that is wrecking the planet." When we said that's right, and we need revolution, another woman asserted, "Yes, but we can't wait"—but then what she went on to describe was something we have heard a lot lately—that we need to, ourselves, model the "new society"—grow our own food, produce necessities, recycle, relate to people on a human level, etc., with the implication that somehow this would just evolve into a different society. We got into why that wouldn't work, why we need to seize power.

We brought out the special issue of Revolution on the environmental emergency and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). People were reading sections of both, and discussion focused on how a socialist society would function. Particularly controversial was the relationship between centralization and decentralization and the need for leadership. Again, the narrow view of "my collective" was posed against looking at the big picture. We brought up the point about the new socialist constitution: that if every locality just concerned itself with its own needs, that those with more resources, technology, etc would prosper, while those with less would suffer, and we would see a growing divide between the haves and have-nots...that with the new synthesis of communism developed by BA, you would have to have a central authority, but at the same time, bring all kinds of people into running society, and welcome dissent and opposition, including funding those who disagreed. And that this would include even opposition to socialism itself, as long as they weren't working to sabotage the new society. A young man who was taking this all very seriously, asked, "OK, but who decides?" At this point time had run out, but this engagement was an opening...

The day of the fundraiser, people gathered in a store parking lot with signs, banners, and body bags. Immigrants, who most likely ever step into this wealthy enclave only to cut grass or change diapers, were now marching boldly, holding up signs calling for the return of their deported family members. With messages: "Obama: Stop Deportations, Stop Keystone XL," and chants like "Deport the Pipeline—Not Our Families!" we marched along manicured lawns toward where the fundraiser was happening. In the face of hundreds of law enforcement just a few feet away, the spirit was fearless, especially among the immigrants, as expressed in one of the chants, "No Papeles—No Miedo!" ("Undocumented—Unafraid!") In the midst of all this, the banner saying "BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less" conveyed the message to both protesters and passersby that THIS is what it will take to end the deportations and to stop the destruction of the environment.

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