Building the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West in Oppressed Communities in Chicago

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


This past weekend, most of the Revolution Club gathered for brunch still charged with the energy coming off O22.  Since some people do not have easy access to the internet, a computer with a mobile hotspot was used to show everyone coverage of O22 and the Dialogue. The slideshow was played – people were amazed that it was taken up in New Zealand. Together they took a tour of the page devoted to the Dialogue and played Joe Veale's reading of  the former prisoners' call:  “To the youth who this system has cast off:  this dialogue is for you.”  This was in preparation for a weekend of going out with the Dialogue to key neighborhoods and other events.  There was wide ranging discussion and thoughtful comments including some coming off the memorial for Clyde Young. (Someone said, “I started reading the interview with him and I couldn't put it down.”)

A few highlights from going out to the masses in a big way:

The playing over a sound system of Joe Veale's reading of the former prisoner's letter really grabbed people's attention. One woman recorded it right on the spot on her phone to play for others. (Later the revolutionaries showed her how to go to and she marked it as a favorite.) Right off the bat the former prisoner says in that letter, “this is a conversation between two people who have a deep love for people just like you.  With everything that keeps you fucked up and doing fucked up shit to each other, neither one of these two people are willing to turn their back on you.”  This really spoke to people in the park as there continues to be a lot of bad shit among the people in the immediate area.  At the same time, something new is contending… there is “more revolution in the air” as a result of people rising up around the murder of Mike Brown.  All the younger people knew about Mike Brown.  The people more familiar with the revolution “just knew” that the revolutionaries had gone there to stand with people.  

There was a lot of excitement about the possibility of going to see the leader of the revolution in this historic dialogue in New York City.   There were young women in the park, who really want to go and were trying to figure out whether they could make arrangements for their children (in one case 5 young children).  It struck the revolutionaries that if women from a park on the south side of Chicago can seriously tackle going, then this should be a challenge to women in NY City to be there too.  When a man was dismissive of one of the mothers, she boldly spoke up that she was with the revolution too. 

There were young men who know the revolution who wanted to make sure they could pronounce BA's name right.  One took up helping to raise money for the “revolutionary change jar” and asking for a dollar from every car driving down their block.  An older man challenged him to give the jar back as if he was just fronting.  When the revolutionaries vouched for his sincerity, the older man softened and donated.  The young guy told people we are raising money to go to NY to see the leader of the revolution and gave them the card for the Dialogue.  Some younger teenagers, the ones who are usually think they are “too hard” and “too busy” were listening hard when a Revolution Club member challenged them – “people need to stand up, the world can be different, you need to stand up, and we need you.” 

The next day they also went out into a more middle class area to the churches and restaurants to get the word out and raise money.  The amounts raised were small but this can accelerate as everyone takes it up and gets their revolutionary change jars going at work, school and neighborhood and as the revolutionaries carry out their plan to put up a thermometer with the goal (the idea is to put it on the side of the van or take it into the parks, etc.)

One creative fundraising idea came from a woman who has been part of O22 over the years and who wants to go to NY for the dialogue.  She is knitting orange cell phone covers to raise money!

This park is an area where a lot of people poured out to get whistles going into O22 and there was struggle to really use them as a form of organizing resistance to the police brutalizing and harassing people which is a constant in these neighborhoods.  Don't leave them at home … have them with you all the time.

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