From a Black College Student:

Compelling People to Act on What They Know to Be True

November 11, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


I think this Dialogue is very important because for one, the goal of the Dialogue, the ultimate goal is to get people involved, to get more people aware of and thus compel them to act on what they know to be true.

The interesting thing is that the very presence of the Dialogue fosters what we want to happen. You have an outspoken Christian and you have an outspoken atheist both meeting at a church to discuss how they can unify in their interests, how their differences can be reconciled in the face of such powerful unity that we need to have.

I think that this is also a very interesting way of getting people involved that have a very strong potential to get involved. We need to reach everyone, but a way to do that is to have someone like Cornel West whose involved in a spectrum of different issues impacting society. Many people are Cornel West fans because they like how he talks about a specific issue, maybe philosophy, religion, music, or just cultural criticism in general. To see that what’s driving all the viewpoints they so cherish is actually something that resonates deeply with someone who has a fundamental difference in their worldview from him, but just the love of people is the same. Basically, people who are West fans are being introduced to another side of Cornel West which is more fundamental and how he has that in common with an atheist. And people from Bob Avakian’s side, it allows them to be more accepting of people who hold religious beliefs and understand that all these occurrences in the world, we can use them to our advantage. So obviously if they view religion as a bad thing, they can say, well the reality is that religion is here to stay so how do we point religious people toward acting on the ultimate end of things. From the presence to the purpose in how it’s done, it all points toward that unity that we need to have in order to get things done which have wrecked... so many organizations have been torn apart because of fundamental differences being highlighted and it’s a reality that we’re going to have people from diverse backgrounds and opinions working together, very powerful from many different angles.

What do you think of the title? And what makes you feel it’s important enough you want to go build for it to have the impact it needs?

Revolution and religion are both very emotionally charged words with a lot of implications throughout history. Any time you say revolution, it’s a word that catches people. Because people either have strong views against it or for it. A lot of passion clouds around those two terms. Religion of course because any time you call religion religion and just set it out there, people assume that you’re taking a stance of critiquing religion. So those are two terms that alert people. Revolution and Religion, the fight for emancipation. Very strong and viscerally so. The title I think is really excellent, and its short and concise, really excellent at capturing people’s interest. Because basically in order to get more people revolving around an issue, you have to create some kind of controversy, some kind of stir, and that’s what this dialogue is, it’s juxtaposing two opposites, it’s like a paradox, and that’s what drawing, that’s one of the things that helps in drawing people toward it.

Speaking on why I’d like to get involved, something like this I think is very fulfilling. I attended a protest on October 22nd, that was my first protest. And during the protest I noticed that I had to have a different state of mind to protest, state of mind of anger, and awareness, but at the same time very thoughtful, so it really employed a different side of my mind, and challenged a lot of the stuff that I say, actually putting it into practice. So, I think that something like that, after the fact, was very fulfilling, to go home or to eat and know that I actually made a difference, actually let my voice be heard about the struggling that’s going on in the world. It’s a very noble, very noble, very lofty pursuit, that unfortunately is overlooked in the midst of all this dross and materialism and me, me, me. It’s actually very fulfilling, no matter which way you look at it. For atheists, you see it’s fulfilling for Bob Avakian and the communists, you see it’s fulfilling for Christians, or Muslims or whatever, so I think it would very fulfilling, it would be something to look back on, and actually give a concrete example of how the struggle that happened in the 60s to make things how they are today is continuing. To say that you’re involved, it’s kind of like saying you were involved in protesting the Vietnam war, it’s so historic. Whether things change or not, you’re actually a force, you participated in one of the largest issues concerning the world today. It’s historical.

What do you think about the opportunity to hear Bob Avakian and see Bob Avakian live and in person?

Seeing Bob Avakian, I’m just being introduced to him, and like I said, just for the reasons I spoke of before, it’s historic, and this guy I hear has strategies for revolution, so just to say that I saw Bob Avakian speak. And to really understand and see first-hand, hearing him explain his ideas to me, because I’m not too familiar with him, and seeing in person his passion, because I hear he’s very... I heard about "Watching Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian," about how he was in tears after he saw what happened to Oscar Grant, some guy that he doesn’t even know. Just to see that passion in person, something completely different from... I mean, I’ve seen Cornel West in person, I’m like wow, you could feel his level of passion, similarly with someone like Bob Avakian. It’s one thing to read his books, but so much more of language is body language and things like that that can only be captured when you’re actually in front of someone, so I definitely think because of that it would be better to hear someone like that speak in person.

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