It's ALL about Getting Free:

The Forest and the Trees

September 18, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


To the editor:

I went to a meeting this week on building the dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West coming up on November 15. The meeting had a really good short talk on the importance of this Dialogue and then people broke down into groups to get into how to build it. There was a good spirit in the air. But that’s not what I’m writing about here.

Instead, I’m writing about a conversation I had with a friend right before the meeting, as people were hanging around. This comrade told me he had gone to a big rally of hundreds of students against police murder and mass incarceration. He told me how he had talked about the Month of Resistance against Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation at this rally, and really got into some good points on that, but that he didn’t get into the dialogue until the end and he was running out of time. He felt bad about this and he asked my advice.

I told him honestly that it sounded like he was losing sight of how things were related in reality. If you keep reality in mind, it really shouldn’t be that hard. If I were at that rally, I told him, even if I only had a few minutes to talk to people, I would tell them that I was there to talk about getting FREE of the horrors that this system just can’t seem to get rid of. I’m talking about ENDING this shit, and I’m talking about emancipation, and if YOU want to get free I’m here to recruit you into a movement to do that. Right now this movement is working to make a giant leap, and it’s doing two huge things this fall as part of that.

One big thing is working with hundreds and even thousands of other people all over to make October a whole month of resistance against this genocidal system of the “New Jim Crow,” to change the very way that people think, talk and act about these questions and to actually move to STOP all this. And then, right after that, we’re building a major Dialogue on November 15 between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.”

Then you could talk about the Month—and this could be very simple, along the lines of the short new piece that is on page one of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network home page about how this month is going to be like a giant STOP sign to society. I would make sure to let people know how they can get hooked in, and that however they want to act, there is room for them. You could even at this point lead people in the oral part of the pledge (that is also on the first page of the Stop Mass Incarceration website).

Then, right away, you get back to the Dialogue. You say that many people know about Cornel West, but you could still say a little about him just the same—what a unique and invaluable role he plays in fighting for a just and meaningful life, and fighting for the people, up against the dominant culture and ethos of this society. And then you could say that not enough people know about Bob Avakian—yet—but that’s gotta change and it’s gonna change. 'Cuz BA is the leader who’s actually developed a strategy for REVOLUTION right here in this country as part of a world revolution AND a plan for a new society where these horrific outrages are done away with and we build a new society where ALL people can flourish and be free. And this dialogue is gonna be all about that: Can we get free? Can we really do away with this monstrous way of life, which is nothing but a way of death? Can we get to a different world? You’re going to hear BA—someone who’s done the work on this on a whole other level, who’s developed the science of revolution and gone way beyond what has been done before and has been leading a party that is built on that foundation—in dialogue with Cornel West, who from his own standpoint has also been right there on the front lines, fearlessly telling the truth and standing with the people and never settling in. You’re going to see two people who share a deep love for the masses of people. I would tell people to definitely listen to the interview that Cornel did with BA at to get a sense of what this was going to be getting very deeply into. And you tell people how there’s nothing like seeing BA live and in person, and this is definitely NOT to be missed if you are at all interested in getting free.

You could say that we are gonna build up the love to defend these leaders against all the attacks that we know this system brings down on leaders who do lead people to stand against it, especially as they begin to get a hearing and a following, attacks that are coming down even now. If you’re speaking to an audience of those the system has cast off and dogged, you can make the point that this dialogue is for YOU, that you will be WELCOME there, and we will work with you to make sure that you can get there—because you have a crucial role and special role to play in this whole revolution we’re talking about and you need to know this leader. And you could tell people they need to stay plugged into to know all about this, to get the real deal in real time. And that again, you are here to recruit people into a movement that is going for a whole different way of life.

Now you might not have enough time to do all that. Or you might have time and freedom to do more. But you make that big point about what is fundamentally needed—getting free, revolution—and who you are and that we got something for people to do right now to make a big leap in getting there. And you get into those two big things that are going into the big leap. And if you’ve been asked to speak representing a specific organization—like Stop Mass Incarceration, the level of unity of which is around that specific goal—you make clear that “speaking for yourself” you are down with making a revolution to get free and you see fighting to stop this horrific genocidal program as part and parcel of that, laying out that people need to be making plans for and telling people about this Dialogue.

It shouldn’t be—it isn’t—that hard. But we get bollixed up when we lose sight of the basic relationship in reality of the different things we are doing. We lose sight of the forest for the trees, and begin treating each tree like a boxed-off thing unto itself. But in reality, a tree is part of a larger eco-system. And everything people are up against in society, and wanting and needing to fight, springs from—or at least is maintained, reinforced and driven forward—by a social system, an OPPRESSIVE social system. Everything we do is about leading people to get free of that system and is part of a plan to do that—to get free, through revolution. That means uniting with people in resistance and taking that resistance higher. It means showing, as we do, that there’s a way out of all this insanity and needless oppression. And if you’re doing that—if you’re “living there”—then you’re gonna see both how important it is that this Month of Resistance involve tens and even hundreds of thousands of people in resistance, AND how crucially important and potentially impactful this November Dialogue could be—the unique chance to hear BA live and in person and in dialogue with Cornel West, and the very rare and absolutely-not-to-be-missed opportunity that it is.

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