Where We Are in the Revolution—Right NOW

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Editors' note: The following talk was given in a number of venues over the past 10 days. We are reprinting an edited version of it here.


I had dinner with someone last week who before he even got seated said to me that "it seems that we're so focused on 'what we're doing' that we've lost sight of what we're doing."

So... what ARE we doing?

Simply put, we are working to make revolution. It really IS the only solution—and on one level people get this. We just had this massive climate march in which the leadership and probably 99 percent of the people there fervently want this system to reform itself... yet at the same time, people were right and left slapping stickers on saying "Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet, We Need Revolution, Nothing Less." You have the Middle East and the horrors that the imperialist continue to visit on the people there: where there is upheaval and clash, but no side has any viable solutions. There is barbarism from the Israelis and ISIS, and the U.S., the most barbaric of all, sitting on top and murdering to stay there. You have this incredible fucking tragedy going on in West Africa with Ebola, where everybody is saying that the means exist to contain and deal with this, but only the barest minimum is being done—I mean, compare what is going on there with the effort and resources expended to launch more war in Syria and Iraq, or the fact that now it comes out that the U.S. is going to invest a trillion dollars in expanding and making more deadly their nuclear arsenal!

But the revolution does not seem real to most people. It is the crying contradiction pointed to by BA at the beginning of that first talk this summer,1 on the material basis for revolution: that the revolution seems acutely more needed than ever, that objectively there is actually a heightened basis for it, but it seems further away than 40 years ago. And we absolutely cannot afford to let that dynamic keep going in that way, as the consequences are truly horrific—they are horrific every day, and they will get more so by several orders of magnitude if this keeps going. Dispossessed people fighting and dying for something that is not only not emancipatory, but will end up actually just reinforcing the chains.

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So we are working on that, we are hammering on it, we are racing against time to radically change this situation. We are working to make revolution—actually going for seizing power, for dismantling their machinery of repression and bringing into being a whole new system—at the earliest possible moment, and we are actually implementing a strategy to get into position to do that. We are in everything we're doing preparing the ground, preparing the people and preparing the vanguard—getting ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win.

Which is the point of this talk tonight: both to strategically reground and get our sights on the wide world around us, and where we are in relation to that (rather than coming from our activities, or still more narrowly our problems, out)... and this very crucial phase with its key objectives...

If you go back to the article in June, "Making Advances... Toward Revolution," we laid out an ensemble of work, where everything is working together, like a good band: the BA Everywhere campaign, where we have to make real leaps in raising big funds to make BA's leadership known to people, involving hundreds and then thousands in doing this; strengthening the reach and content of the website; involving masses of people in fighting against mass incarceration and the enslavement and degradation of women; and also relating to things like the massive climate march that just happened in NYC, as well as actually getting much more of a solid foundation in the bedrock of society, where people catch hell every day. We talked about the importance of strengthening the Party while all that was going on, and we focused on the overall qualitative question of all this having societal impact.

And the point of all this was and is to serve what? To serve revolution, to getting to that point again where we can actually get rid of these oppressors and bring in a whole new power, working for a whole new society and ways of people relating. Very specifically, as a stage in that struggle, to rupture out of the trajectory where the movement for revolution is losing ground and in real danger, and onto one where we'll be, yes, up against much greater repressive attack but nevertheless gaining ground—with this revolution becoming more and more known, with BA becoming a household word, and with new initiators for a new stage of revolution stepping forward.

I'm not going to try to sum up what we did and didn't achieve this summer in depth. But you definitely can't say that things were static. On the international plane, we had the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the worldwide revulsion against that but more as well—with the U.S. finding itself more enmeshed in serious contradictions internationally, for which they have no answer other than more force, more suffering, more chaos. But there was also within all this a way in which the Party's position in the overall situation began to change—and this took shape around the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride in Texas (a five-week campaign through Texas against these horrible new restrictions against abortion there which included a lot of outreach and a lot militant struggle2), and then the upheaval around the murder of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri.

In the Freedom Ride, these young people were extremely heroic—they brought forward testimony from masses, they were arrested in the cause of calling this out, they made a huge stink about it at least in Texas. But I have to say that you really can't overstate the extent to which some people who claim to be part of the "pro-choice" movement went on a crusade not against the attacks in Texas, but against the ride itself: just the crudest kind of character assassination, threats to people's careers and reputations as well as physical threats against the revolutionary leader Sunsara Taylor, pulling strings to censor articles or coverage that was favorable to or neutral about the ride, distortion of positions, slander, undercutting... and then that going fairly quickly and directly to BA himself (all the while, by the way, refusing to have an actual face-to-face debate). In the face of this, the people on the ride and the people supporting the ride actually stood very firm and succeeded in bringing forth a two-sided polarization, and they actually went forward to mobilize masses against this attack in Texas, and had real impact both on the thinking of millions in Texas and in setting a different pole in the pro-choice movement, with the communists and revolutionary-minded people on the ride bringing out the whole systemic character of the problem, the need for revolution, and the leadership we have in that revolution, as concentrated in BA. And the people on the ride, in the face of all this shit, not only stood firm but advanced, including in their collective cohesion and their individual understandings of the world and their roles in changing that fucked-up world, and they set a different model for women and men who actually want to change the fucking world...

At the same time, you had the upheaval in Ferguson, which for a few weeks changed the whole discourse in society. And here, too, you could have been surprised by the vitriol and the repression against the Party which was qualitatively more intense than it had been in Texas—here again, singling out an individual associated with the Party, in particular Joey Johnson, though not only him (they also singled out Carl Dix and Travis Morales), and then very quickly unfolding out against the Party overall and, in particular, BA. Everyone from these people objectively acting as agents for the bourgeoisie right on the street and within the "movement," fomenting shit against our people and in some cases physically attacking and turning people over to pigs, up to assholes like Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo going after us. And here too the "big crime" of the Party was to a) actually fight this battle as if winning it really mattered (because it DOES), and b) to link this to the need for revolution and the need to build a movement for that revolution right now. By the way, there's no antagonism between those two things—in fact, they reinforce each other and come out of the same place: a deep and implacable hatred for what the masses go through and an understanding that it does not have to be this way. And it had to fill you with joy to see USA Today in the middle of Ferguson, with a picture of people on the front page standing up to the police, with the BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less T-shirt on. Here too the comrades and fighters in the movement for revolution stood very firm, stood with the defiant ones, as we said.

Now, let's step back and ask WHY these attacks on the Party were and are so sharp, so concerted, so seemingly co-coordinated... and what were the implications? Is this because the Party has no influence and no potential? Is this because the bourgeoisie has no concerns about whether this Party could actually begin to get a following among different sections of people, especially those on the bottom of society, and whether people from all different sections could begin to check out this movement and take up active roles within it? Is this because they feel that the system and those who run it are politically very strong right now? I think those questions actually answer themselves.

I want to talk briefly about this attack-dog component that was made up of people claiming to be in the movement, who were extremely focused and relentless in their attacks, and this viciousness and relentlessness threw some folks. You could call these people haters, you could call them snarkarazzi... but I myself prefer "jabberjays," which comes out of The Hunger Games—these attack birds with human voices that were deployed by the ruling forces in the Capitol to confuse, demoralize and attempt to kill the heroes of the story. One so-called movement person asshole over here in Brooklyn raised money to travel down to Texas and attack the Freedom Ride... I guess for being "outsiders."

What could account for this? With a lot of these people, this does flow out of a world outlook as being franchise managers of oppression, petty shopkeepers of dissent, and they view us both as standing rebukes to their whole thing AND they actually see the prospect of masses of people rising up, getting conscious, NOT being content with "the proper channels" as profoundly threatening to what they are all about. And again, are they doing this because they think our arguments and the kind of work we're modeling will have no influence among people looking to change things? I don't think so.

But be clear: it's not really about them. They objectively serve, and sometimes they are directly deployed or at minimum manipulated by, a more serious enemy. I want to urge people to get into that first talk by BA released this summer, on the material basis for revolution, to get a deeper understanding of this.

On the other hand, we should not lose sight of another phenomenon: those who are not themselves revolutionaries, or not revolutionary communists in any event, who took a stand and said NO to this shit. After all, there are those forces who DO want to get free not only for themselves but who have similar aspirations for all of humanity or at least a large section of it, who may not be won to communism but are willing to engage it, who are willing to look at who's fighting this and who is not, who has some serious ideas and who does not, and who want to see a largeness of mind and generosity in the culture broadly and in the movement itself, who stand on principle. Think about it: Who are the people taking principled stands to say "I support what is going on in this or that struggle, and I am going to be part of this, I am not going to indulge in these attacks on the RCP, and—in some cases—I am going to stand up for them?" Who are the people who are coming together to say "I want to lend my name to hosting this Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian and what's more, I'm committing myself to refuting and standing against the slanders that may very likely come its way"? Who are the people writing poems dedicated to Carl Dix and Cornel West at a time when Carl is clearly identified with this Party and everything it's doing that is under attack? Who are the people—who is the person—engaging in dialogue with BA? Do these people have any moral authority, any gravitas? This isn't about us, or "oh, look, people like us so I guess we must be right"—no. This is something to understand, objectively. This represents an important pole in society—this represents the basis for the revolution to engage with, work together with around common goals, learn from each other as doing so and, yes, win over a great many of those who in the final analysis represent the middle strata of society to revolution, as conditions change, to speak to their deepest or best aspirations and to unleash them and to learn from them as we do. This won't be a smooth highway or straight line, and it will require struggle, on a principled basis, and where needed—in the case of people who are dragging things down and participating in that—real boxing.

This struggle against the people attacking the vanguard is in no way a distraction, or optional, or the quirks of a few sickos; you have to box with these people, you have to take them on, and to the extent we did we advanced the movement for revolution through the polemics both on the spot but especially through our website... and to the extent we didn't, or were slow on the uptake... well, we should take a lesson and fight much better and harder, and we should definitely realize that this fight is intensifying and these people are still, even as we are here tonight, coming at us in all kinds of ways, including, I will say it again, focusing a LOT directly on BA. This kind of battling, as is pointed out in the second major talk from BA released this summer focusing on strategy,3 has big implications for the time later on when you are in a revolutionary situation and approaching the time when you could possibly lead millions to go up against these motherfuckers in the all-out struggle for power... at that point, the attacks are going to be sharper by several orders of magnitude, and the whole struggle will turn on how well people have been trained through a whole period to get to the essence of false flags.

The point in all this is that through the summer and through fighting to implement this strategy the position occupied by the movement for revolution in the overall objective situation changed. And that leads us to the juncture today, and two extremely important responsibilities that we have undertaken... and that we absolutely MUST make good on.

First, I want to very briefly talk about the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation which Carl Dix and Cornel West called for and then brought together 90 people in April to get it going.

This Month of Resistance has to take things to a whole other level. We are coming from behind on this, but there is plenty of basis in both reality itself and our work to do what has to be done here—to wave a giant stop sign in front of this society and say NO FUCKING MORE! There is a real basis to build on and to fan the feeling that this is not only unjust but it is illegitimate and intolerable and that this has to be STOPPED.

If we don't do this, then the heroic battles of the summer and all that rot and horror of this society that was forced into the light of day are in great danger of being squandered, of getting summed up and filed away in people's minds as "you just can't fight them." And believe me, right now the demands of the masses for justice in these egregious murders of Eric Garner in NYC, and Michael Brown—which we are learning ever more deeply are only the tip of the iceberg—are on track to being betrayed, yet again. You have, just yesterday, pigs wearing bracelets in Ferguson itself saying "I am Darren Wilson"—which on one level shines a big light on all this bullshit about bad apples. You have the memorial to Michael Brown burned down. You have, just two days ago, the pigs gang-tackling and beating a pregnant Latina woman in Brooklyn. You have the video, just yesterday, of the pigs in Ohio murdering a Black man for looking at an air gun that was for sale in a Walmart!!

Well... NO! The imperialists cannot get away with this!! We have to hammer at this very constantly and very simply—what does it tell you about this system that months have gone by and these killer pigs still walk free and even unindicted? What does it tell you that more Black people have been killed by police in the past 30 years than were lynched between 1880 and 1910? What does it tell you that in just the month after the murder of Eric Garner, scores of people were killed, many of them just like him—unarmed and essentially doing absolutely nothing? What does it mean when this system has no better future for 2.2 million people than to consign them to a life of crime or of just being thrown into prison... into a life "on the run" that often ends in an early grave...? It means that this is a rotten, illegitimate system that has to be done away with and that it has to be fought tooth and nail right now if people are even to survive this genocidal onslaught!

I'm not going to go a lot into this. There are plans where, if we really fight for these, I strongly feel we can reach this effect. We are coming from behind in terms of organization; but let's focus instead on the strengths that our movement DOES have and figure out how to parlay those into a winning combination. People are working right now on a vision for October 22 that is going to be very powerful and a way to really spread this. People are working on other fronts. There is the whole weekend that has been called for Ferguson, October 10-13, that has to be very mass and very determined. There is the powerful poem that Alice Walker did, "Gather," for Carl Dix and Cornel West," which could and should still go viral. There are people who have made a name for themselves over decades, like Carl Dix, for being fearless, principled, and dedicated and uncompromisingly revolutionary. There is the court date of Noche Diaz for what the pigs allege is his leadership role in the outpouring in New York around Ferguson that took over Times Square and for which they have hit him with six charges, which begins on October 14 and which must be made a boomerang that comes back to hit them in the face, politically speaking. There is the ferment on campuses, with the "mock" solitary confinement cells being built, which has to spread; and the ferment as well in religious communities and in the cultural spheres. All these and more can be part of a combination of things that can change the whole way in which people think, speak and act on this burning question of the new Jim Crow, the slow structural genocide that could become a fast one at any time. All this can be a way that people get stronger in their understanding and ability to resist, that the legitimacy of the system to rule over people and wreak their fucking shit suffers blows and cracks, and that the option for radical change and revolution gains reality in people's minds.

Next week on October 1, there will be a very important kickoff to the whole month, where people come together and recite the Pledge of Resistance—10 a.m. at City Hall. And I want to say right here that everyone in the movement for revolution and in the battle against the grinding, structural genocide of mass incarceration, police terror and the criminalization and demonization of a generation needs to be at this vigil and bringing people to it. And if you want to be part of building for this and fighting for it you need to get with people from the network to stop mass incarceration or from the Revolution Club, right after this talk.

Now to do this, and to do what I'm going to get to in a minute, the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West, we need people. Here I do want to bring to bear two stories that I heard the other night, that I think can help people in going out to build this in these next crucial days and weeks.

First story. Some years back the Party worked with others to mount a campaign to drive out the Bush regime and, as part of that, called major demonstrations in the middle of the day all over the country. Somebody who is now in the movement for revolution was at that point a young person in high school—he was intrigued by and wanted to work with the Party's youth group at that time, the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, but he was having a lot of trouble actually getting them to answer his calls. But he went into his high school with the materials that he did have about this demonstration and he ran into some resistance from his friends, and he got a bit discouraged and "took some time off" from school.

In the meantime, apparently a few people from the Brigade did materialize one day and got out some stickers and fliers to the people who this young person had been working with. And they took it up—they may have said, "Hey, we heard it from our friend, but now we're hearing it from others, this must be big." Then, when he came back, his friends were all going, "Hey, what happened, we went to that demonstration you called and we almost got arrested?"

Second story. Last week, someone had also been running into difficulties in taking what we were doing out to people. He raised these difficulties in a good and open way, and these were dug into and gone at, and the very next night, at a program on campus, he was able to agitate at a program of a few hundred people, polarizing and repolarizing the room around revolution and the ensemble I talked about at the beginning, and you can read the whole thing up online.4

Very important is that off his agitation, he and another revolutionary communist were asked to lead a workshop, and at that workshop he waged ideological struggle with someone who ran the line of "okay, but we DO have to live in America"—and this comrade pointed out strongly that one of the things we have to break out of are the limits and framework of "America as it is," and in that light brought in BA as someone who has shown how there can be a whole different and better way, and got into the Dialogue between BA and Cornel West that's coming up. And off of all this, a number of people did step forward wanting to take responsibility for different things at the campus where this occurred, and a few have apparently been emailing us on this and wanting to take responsibility, but sometimes those emails have languished.

Well, what are the lessons here?

First, on this second story, if you actually lay out the real terms of things, if you STRUGGLE with people in a good but sharp way that makes these terms clear, you will call forward those who do want to see real change, and you will inspire in them the desire to do things, and unleash their initiative.

Second, when people DO step forward, you can't leave them hanging. There are very many stories like the young guy who stepped out at his high school alone, and then ran into resistance, and most of them end with the person just giving up and getting lost to the revolution; we can't afford that. We may not be able to spend a lot of time with people who come forward, as these young women have at this campus, and work with them on the projects that they want to take up, but we DO have to be available to them to help them make sense of what they run into, to give them guidance to the extent we can, and to strongly encourage them and struggle with them to plug into the larger movement for revolution—to come to the store for the showings of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, to plug into revcom.us, and so on.

But we cannot repeat, as we too often do I suspect, what happened to the young guy in the first story—he stayed with it and bounced back, but that's one in 100 and a hell of a lot of people could tell us a similar story with an unhappy ending. We just cannot have that! Otherwise, what is the point?

Nor can we bounce back and forth between not really being available for people who take up projects, not even facilitating the things for them that we can, the counsel and contacts that we can offer... or else being all over the project and sinking ourselves into it. Think about what people actually need from us to contribute and provide that.

So that's one thing, this Month of Resistance and the need for a major impact on all of society, and it's very directly on the agenda. But also directly on the agenda is the very major move we announced on September 1: the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion. This is a very high-stakes move, extremely risky and at the same time with a great deal of potential. So, let's talk about this.

I don't think the positive potential for this Dialogue should in any way be mystified or minimized. From the standpoint of making revolution, it is big goddamn deal to have the leader of the revolution speaking, in dialogue with a rightfully respected public intellectual and freedom fighter, before over a thousand people and reaching, if we do our work right, many, many more than that. I mean, are you fucking kidding? This is someone who has been attacked, hounded, suppressed, slandered, threatened and to all intents and purposes censored right down to now... and now here he's gonna be. This is Bob Avakian—this is the person who not only still boldly upholds revolution and communism, but has taken it to a whole new place. Someone who's developed, yes, a strategy to make revolution in a country like this. Someone who's laid the framework for, yes, a strategy to deal with the overwhelming military might of the imperialists when and as that necessity comes to the fore, in a revolutionary situation. Someone who through studying the experience and ideas of literally hundreds of millions of people who fought to build new societies has, yes, developed the thinking undergirding the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, as a base area for the world to get free. Someone who's based himself on and further developed the scientific method, and its application to society, with a profound moral and poetic sense, a deep sense of humanity, at the same time. And someone who deeply, deeply "gets" the masses of people at the bedrock of this society. So to echo an article we just ran on our site, holy shit indeed! How could you miss it? How could you NOT want to contribute to this happening??

Second, it is a big deal to have a dialogue on THIS topic, especially when you think about everything that people identify about religion, or spirituality, or the moral dimension, in many different kinds of ways, and how they see that relating to revolution and getting free. There's never been a dialogue like this, on that topic, with speakers with these two very profoundly developed views, which actually does go to the core feelings and thoughts of millions of people, including those at the bottom of society who would have to be and would be in the front ranks of any revolution worth fighting.

Third, you have these two individuals as individuals. First of all, Cornel West plays a unique and invaluable role in this society, period. And just listen to the recording of the interview that Cornel did with BA and you really hear a certain chemistry that is just going to be amazing at this Dialogue and that can actually model a whole different way that this movement can be—where you have a movement and a community and, yeah, ultimately a society based on largeness of mind and generosity of spirit, where there is room for sincerity and humor that is the furthest thing from snark, room for honest and vigorous intellectual challenge of one another and unity around the urgent fights that must be undertaken and real respect and regard and, yes, love for each other's humanity. You get a sense of what this could mean to people, the hope it could give them, just by reading the contribution from Carol Downer on our website.5

Do you want to get a sense of what this is calling forward? Look at the Host Committee—and this is still in formation. Look at who this is drawing, already, and what this is drawing.

But that's far from enough. In a real sense, the needed work has barely begun. We've got to take this everywhere. We've got to raise big money for this, from all kinds of people, but including people who actually HAVE resources. We've got to take this to students, who are beginning to raise their heads in a whole new bigger way than they have in a long, long time. And we've got to take this very strongly to those who get hit with the hardest hell every day, to those who don't feel that they have "permission" to even think about these kinds of things, let alone come to something like this. Are we going to go out there and really build this, right down to making sure that people have their tickets, their transportation, their child care lined up? That we have groups going? That we get a thing going of "I'm going to the Dialogue, are you?" Yes, it's gonna be struggle—but we actually have to break through the thing of people can't do this, this ain't real, by making it real right now.

We got to build this, and we have to lead others to build this. We have to get the statements from all different kinds of people on why they're going to this. We've got to line up teachers and those who work with youth to get into this. We've got to report in on where we DO strike a chord... and where we don't... and figure out why and how to push forward on breakthroughs.

Can we get free? What's it gonna take to do that? Can you make a revolution? Where is religion in all that? People can be and gotta be buzzing about this, and this Dialogue will do this in a very lofty and very wild way.

Is there gonna be controversy? How could there not be? There will be controversy among the people and those who are sincerely grappling with the state of the world... and there will be controversy with the enemy, who will slander and attack this, on a scale way beyond what we've seen already this summer. There is no way that this is going to happen without a whole lot of struggle, without a whole lot of boxing and without a whole lot of risk.

And we have to confront this. The high stakes and the very high risks. We cannot have a situation similar to what happened to Malcolm X. Let me just divert into the history of what led to the assassination of Malcolm. In 1964 Malcolm had broken with the Nation of Islam and was working on a much more radical, much more internationalist, much more revolutionary project. He was beginning, in late 1964, to meet with members of SNCC, the most radical civil rights youth group at that time. He was traveling to Africa and meeting with people in the anti-colonial struggle. He was meeting with people like the young Muhammad Ali (known as Cassius Clay at the time), Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown the football player, with Black intellectuals.

And some people didn't like this. On the one hand, the bourgeoisie definitely did NOT like this, and they put the CIA on him in Africa to follow in his wake and they stepped up FBI surveillance and infiltration. And the Nation of Islam did not like this, either, and certain people within that began a whole campaign of character assassination and coming right up to the edge of calls for outright assassination. And good people said nothing. You had Malcolm's house firebombed that winter in the dead of night, with his family in it, and again good people said nothing—and some people began saying that he did it himself to attract attention, and this got into the press. You had people coming into his talks and disrupting, and noting how Malcolm's people did and did not respond—probing for weaknesses. You had the police suddenly disappear on the day when he was moved on. And then, finally, they cut him down—and did it in an atmosphere where who exactly did it and on what orders has to this day not been clarified. And then you had the crowning thing of it all: after Malcolm dies people bemoaning the fact that they had not appreciated Malcolm when he was alive, and bemoaning—way too fucking late—that good people had done nothing. 

In this light, I want to turn to the article "Watching Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian." This is a deep article for everyone—for longtime revolutionaries... and for people who are very new to this movement. And here I want to share a response of someone in the Revolution Club:

I read it four times. It brought tears to me. We have never had a leader like this, either Black or white. The bold way he goes at things, with the guts to call a spade a spade, to look at the situation for what it really is, to analyze it and call it out. This is what he does and there is no other leader like him, Black or white, with all of it, the philosophy, the analysis. He challenges you. And how to solve things in a radical way, a revolutionary way. He is bold enough to say what the reality is but also that you can grab hold of this, and telling people, you can help me do this. Each and every one of you is needed. Most leaders are bought. But he is very bold, a genius, we haven't seen a leader like this even though we have seen all these other leaders, Black, white, or anything, Someone who is for everyone. And then the other thing that I really thought about when I read this, in his radical way of what he does... he is putting himself in danger and that's what made me cry. A leader this passionate, this inspiring, inspiring other people, he is picking people up, especially the youth. That's what leadership is about, and to not protect him. NO we must protect him. He means that much to me and he should mean that much to everyone.

And this person immediately suggested a fundraising project of showing the film and getting into the article with people when they do—and if I might offer a suggestion, I think it might be good if you also show "BA Through the Years" at these events, or part of Revolution—Nothing Less! Or use quotes from BAsics. Because the fact is that there is enough in this article and in the process of people coming to know BA, even in beginning ways, that can actually play a very powerful role in building the wall we need around BA for this Dialogue.

All this brings home the last few paragraphs of that article, which I'm going to read from:

Furthermore, and very crucially, we must fully confront the reality of what it would mean for the people of the world to lose this leader, and take extremely seriously that there are people and forces—those officially part of the powers-that-be, as well as those willing to do the work of the powers-that-be—who hate what BA represents and would like nothing more than to tear him down, silence him, and take him from the masses of people. And we must be absolutely determined not to let that happen.

This means taking very seriously the need to do everything we can to protect and defend BA. This means denouncing and not giving a millimeter of space to those who slander and personally attack BA, because these attacks and slanders are part of creating the poisonous atmosphere and conditions that would make it easier for the powers-that-be, or those doing their bidding, to take BA from the people of the world. Protecting and defending BA, and building a wall around him, also means boldly and sharply challenging those who may not be part of the camp of the enemy, but who are wallowing in, or at least being influenced by, arrogance, cynicism and snark, and who seek to dismiss without seriously engaging what BA has brought forward; this arrogance, snark, cynicism, and dismissal, regardless of the intent of those who fall into it, stands in the way of BA and all that he has brought forward having the reach and societal influence that this urgently needs to have. And this, too, creates easier conditions for those who would try to silence and isolate BA and take him from the masses.

Few things in life are more tragic than a critical lesson learned too late. And it would truly be a tragedy if BA were taken from the people, and then people said: "Wow, I wish I had realized sooner what we had here."

But the good news is: It is not too late. We, and the masses of the planet, have BA right now. We had better realize, and let everyone know, what that means.

So we're gonna do this Dialogue and we're gonna do this right and everyone here has a crucial role to play in that. We are going, in the next weeks, to come out with further plans to carry forward all the dimensions of the needed work around this. Keep tuned to our site on all this.

And when we come out of it, you're going to have people on a whole other scale feeling, yeah, I need to know more about Bob Avakian and this revolution he's leading... and yeah, I want to be part of a movement where we can go back and forth over these questions like these two people did, wrangling over differences and digging in where we overlap and going deeper together and building unity for what has to be fought against.

So, just a few more final points. And these concern the Party, and the goal put forth in June, of bringing new people into this Party, as we transform the Party itself.

Now it would definitely be counterproductive for people to join the vanguard before they're ready. But you also can't hedge your bets and say, well, I hope things are gonna develop so that there's a revolution... and I'm gonna work real hard outside the vanguard to help make that happen... and if this thing gets going, well, then I'm gonna join up. I mean, I guess you can do that, but if everyone does that, the only thing that guarantees is that there never will even be a chance for a revolution. There has been the really good interview with the former prisoner we've been running where he goes into the kinds of ruptures you need to make to really get down with this, what it means to not be putting oneself first and coming all the time from "how does this make me feel, does this make me feel powerful, does this make me feel good" but what is the social effect of what I'm doing and what is my life going to be all about. We had the very important piece mentioned in the June editorial I referred to—the "passion paper," for short6—which actually is a further contribution on the relationship of individual creativity and collectivity. There was the piece last week7—simple and plain, the real deal. Like a lot of other things we've been talking about, yes this has a complex aspect but on one level it is really very simple.

I was told that someone pretty new to things was in a discussion of the passion paper, and some of the more experienced people were getting very deeply into what were really a lot of points which were in the paper and were interesting and not without importance, but weren't the heart of it. And this newer person says something to the effect that it seemed to her that the paper was basically saying you can either live your life pursuing what interests you individually and doing some good things as part of that... or you can devote your life to changing everything and putting everything in the context of that and following that out to its logical conclusion.

As sort of an interesting follow-up to that, which may help people grappling with this question, one of the people in that discussion who was having trouble that day, off that discussion and others studied Ardea Skybreak's book on evolution,8 and some of BA's work on materialism9 and said, "It's really not that complicated, but I kept overcomplicating it because of all the relativism in how I was thinking about it."

So, again, I'm not going to go into this a lot today: but I am going to say that people need to really come to grips with this and talk with the Party about how you see this world and your role in it. And these articles and questions have relevance for people who have been in the Party for a long time as well—being in the Party is not a "one-time commitment" but a question of continually rupturing, continually transforming yourself as you transform the world.

So, people: We really do have to reach for the heights in this next period, even as we are flying without a safety net on a whole other level. We are going to have to bring, fully to bear, our sharp scientific spirit and our sense of comradeship, our largeness of mind and our generosity of spirit. We're going to have to combine strengths to overcome weaknesses. We are going to have to, in a very real sense, live what BA has modeled. I'm calling on everyone, inside and outside the Party, to step up to new levels of responsibility... to share your experiences, positive and negative, and be part of a movement to rapidly analyze and synthesize what they mean and how to advance them, so that everyone can learn from them. We are all going to have to be better than we've ever been before.

For people who are new to all this, who are getting to know the Party for the first time, or getting to know it differently—get with this movement for revolution. Get involved in the Month of Resistance. Get involved in the Revolution Club. Get involved in working on the website. Get involved with Stop Patriarchy. Definitely, definitely, definitely get involved with BA Everywhere, the major campaign to raise big funds to get BA known everywhere, and with the Dialogue in particular.

One way or another, this movement and this Party and this extremely precious and irreplaceable leader are going to be on a different footing with the enemy, a different footing with the masses, and a different position in society overall. If we basically succeed in our objectives, the road will become even more intense and demanding, full of heightened danger but real opportunity to make a leap in the cause of revolution and the emancipation of humanity. So let's do this. Let's go all out. This is a great thing we're fighting for. Let's win this round. Let's make it so that there's going to be a whole different sense of possibility in the air we breathe Sunday morning, November 16.


1. "The Material Basis and the Method for Making Revolution" [back]

2. In 2011, there were 43 abortion clinics in Texas. With the enforcement of a new Texas law, that number has been cut to eight. The campaign to End Pornography and Patriarchy: Against the Degradation and Enslavement of Women (StopPatriarchy.org) called on everyone to fight this, and organized a Freedom Ride into Texas to call attention to this struggle. While raising the alarm, as of a court decision on October 2, this horrible attack has gone into full effect, depriving millions of women of their basic right to abortion, with serious consequences for every woman in the U.S. [back]

3. "The Strategic Approach to Revolution and Its Relation to Basic Questions of Epistemology and Method" [back]

4. "It's ALL About Getting Free: The Forest and the Trees" [back]

5. See statements from Carol Downer and other members of the Host Committee for the Dialogue here. [back]

6. "What the World Needs Now, More Than Anything Else, Is Communists: A Few Reflections on Individual Passion, Self, and the Revolutionary Process" [back]

7. "Why You Absolutely Need a Vanguard Party to Make Revolution" [back]

8. The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters—info on the book at the website of the publisher, Insight Press. [back]

9. See Chapter 4 of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian. [back]


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