Teach-in About Ferguson:

It’s Time to Be Talking About Revolution

November 4, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


A couple of us who are working on getting students to come out to the Cornel West & Bob Avakian Dialogue went to a teach-in about Ferguson at a community college in New York. The teach-in was 4 separate sessions, each with a different panel. A number of professors brought their classes to the teach-in or required that their classes attend it. Each session had at least 200 people, and we ended up getting out about 600 flyers for the Dialogue. The organizers of the teach-in were sympathetic to what we were doing so they let us flyer outside and inside the event, without any problems. 

We got there for the 2nd session. The main speaker went on and on, talking about how things are bad for African-Americans today but they’re much better than they were 50 years ago, and the fact that the U.S. has a functioning electoral system and a Black president were his proof. He even had the nerve to talk about how Black people in the U.S. are better off than anywhere else in the Diaspora. Unfortunately there was no time to speak from the floor at this panel. 

The next panel was much better. It consisted of an activist who had traveled to Ferguson to join the protests, and a young Black woman from St. Louis who described her transformation after the murder of Mike Brown from a relatively non-political person, into a hardcore and fearless protester, organizer, and agitator against police brutality. She described in detail the militarized police repression that they went up against in Ferguson and expressed great determination to continue the struggle for justice for Mike Brown and others, regardless of the Grand Jury decision.

Afterwards, I got to speak from the floor. I started by thanking the two speakers and everyone else who has been fighting back for 86 days in Ferguson and traveling there from around the country. I talked about how the police killing of another unarmed young Black man was not unique, something which happens almost every 28 hours in this country, but what was unique was that people finally stood up, and that spirit needs to spread and infect people all over the country. Then I posed the question, isn’t now the time to be talking about revolution? I referenced the speaker from the previous panel’s comments about Obama, and did exposure about what the reality is of this epidemic of police murder, mass incarceration, and deportations, and how Obama has been used to bamboozle people into going along with all this. Then I talked about how this much-needed conversation about revolution will be opened up in a big way on Nov. 15, and I announced the Bob Avakian/Cornell West Dialogue event and told people they needed to be there and can get tickets from us. The response from the speaker was appreciative for raising the idea of revolution, and emphasized that it is a word with a lot of different meanings, and people have to get clear on it. Afterwards, two students came up to us and bought tickets. Another student leader of the Black Student Union said he was going to look into getting some of the BSU budget allotted for a block of tickets. 

The last panel focused on the “Black Lives Matter” campaign. The other revolutionary I was with spoke during the Q&A about the history of this country founded in slavery and genocide and mass slaughter around the world, which continues to today. She talked about how many people have been killed by the police since Eric Garner, and raised the question of what it’s gonna take to be free of all this, and linked that to the Dialogue. Many people applauded in the audience. 

The next day we heard that one of the professors that heard us speak at the Ferguson event is giving students extra credit for coming to the Dialogue.

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