The Time Is Now!

Experience, dig into, spread, and support this Dialogue getting out in the world

December 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


This is the text of a talk given at the December 14 BA Everywhere Dinner Celebrations in cities across the country. The talk followed the showing of segments of the video of the November 15 Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.”


The preacher put the key under John Coltrane’s door, giving Trane the backing to develop. Not too many years later, Coltrane blew A Love Supreme out of his tenor sax, an inspiring gift to the world giving expression to the pain, the aspirations, and the beauty in the hearts of Black America and all who yearned for something more than what was, in the soulful and tumultuous 1960s. Cornel West made the point that together we can bring forth the new.

What humanity needs, what Cornel West and Bob Avakian came together to dialogue about, and what we are here for tonight, is to support and be a part of the great struggle to emancipate humanity. And as Bob Avakian brought out in the story at the end of the Dialogue, recalling the words of Mao Zedong spoken to W.E.B. Du Bois, is that while mistakes have been made on the path to liberation, the one mistake we have not made, and will not make, is the mistake of giving up. Indeed, a major point that BA made in his presentation and in the Q&A is that for humanity to be free, we must win, and that there is the framework and the leadership to do so, and he invited people to be a part of this great endeavor.

At a moment like this, aroused first by the actions of the determined ones in Ferguson, and now as tens of thousands are out in the streets; when people from every section of society are defiantly speaking out and acting in new ways... In a time like this, you can see in a beginning way what has been put forward in the RCP’s statement, “On the Strategy for Revolution”: that all this system does to the people, all the contradictions in the workings of the capitalist-imperialist system we live under, periodically erupts, jolting its normal workings; so that which people ordinarily tolerate, the feelings and anger so long held inside, and what all too many from better-off strata have closed their eyes to, bursts into the open—with people standing up, opening their eyes, saying Enough! And acting so that the whole world can see.

These are times when the pompous ruling tyrants of America who carry out inhuman torture and murder in the ’hoods and prisons of this country and who do the same around the world, all while proclaiming that this is the greatest country in the world, stand exposed in the eyes of millions for the murderous brutality that is the way of their system... A time when their inability to provide anything remotely close to a just world in which people could live like human beings stands nakedly exposed and their legitimacy begins to be called into question. This is a moment when people begin to sense their own potential.

No President Obama... the Torture Report is who and what America is... this was not an aberration—from the genocide of Native Americans to enshrining slavery down to today you can not find a year when the U.S. is not committing and justifying unspeakable crimes. At a moment like we are living through right now, the potential for far deeper change, for building the understanding and the organization to bring about a radically better world through revolution seems more possible, more real, to more people.

We break bread tonight, we celebrate, and we plan so that in 2015 what has begun over the summer and fall of this year continues—with people’s understanding, determination, and organized strength growing in leaps.

We just watched a small taste of the historic Dialogue that took place on November 15, 2014 between the revolutionary Christian, Cornel West, and the revolutionary communist leader, Bob Avakian. The world has not seen an event like this... 1,900 people at Riverside Church in NYC... from the projects of Harlem and Chicago; front-line fighters from Ferguson; parents whose children’s lives have been stolen by murdering police... high school and college students... and people from all walks of life, including world-renowned musicians, professors, actors, and filmmakers. Think about how unique this mix of people is, and the potential it represents. And for what? About what? For a rare opportunity to hear Bob Avakian in dialogue with Cornel West digging into REVOLUTION and Religion... The FIGHT for EMANCIPATION and the Role of Religion. At this moment. At this place. With these people.

BA and Cornel West electrified the room with a fire of intolerance for oppression, a deep palpable love of the people, and a passionate belief in people’s potential to change themselves and the world. No quarter was given to accept, acquiesce, or be complicit with the crimes and outrages of this system. BA and Cornel West struggled with the audience for a morality and a moral courage that these times demand. They fought for people to see the need for radical, revolutionary change—each of them coming from different philosophical frameworks. There was, as Cornel West forecast, transgression and convergence. They modeled and challenged the audience to think and to act on their convictions and to do so with courage.

This comes alive in an up-close way on the video of the simulcast that is available on You can feel Cornel West’s and Bob Avakian’s chemistry with each other and the audience—the rapport, respect and love, even when they disagree. All of this will be even more evident when a high-quality film is made of the event with the financial support that we are going to go forward from this celebration today to raise.

Right now, when hundreds of thousands of people do not want to go back, when eyes and hearts are opening, when people are finding their voice and their courage, when so much could be possible, when people are posing big questions like what will it take to end the oppression of Black people and the murder and incarceration of our youth... with all this in the air, people need to experience, dig into, spread, and support this Dialogue getting out in the world. It can have a big transformative impact on how people understand why all the horrors of the world today keep happening, and how they could be radically transformed and a new society, a new world, forged through revolution.

Bob Avakian’s opening presentation was a full-out, no-holds-barred, passionate presentation of why we need a revolution to overcome ALL forms of oppression and exploitation. Addressing the role of religion in the fight for emancipation, he broke down why we need to understand reality—that is, the world we live in—as it actually is. With great humor he made a scientific approach to reality understandable; and he brought forward a profound communist morality—of how the world ought to and could be through a revolution where all the divisions that this system sows between people could be overcome.

Think about the strategic potential in the audience’s powerful response to BA’s “What If’s” that we saw tonight in the excerpt from his talk. BA reframed all the horrors of the world as it torments and confines life today as questions of what could be, providing people with a materialist morality and a vision of what could be, posing: “What if the world doesn’t have to be this way?”

At this moment of upsurge, there is a tremendous basis and an urgent necessity to reach hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to see this Dialogue. For people here to be finding out what people think about it, and unleashing a social movement around the revolutionary content and the questions that are concentrated in the Dialogue.

The invitation to today’s dinner said: “Come together to celebrate the victories and achievements of the past year, even as we remember the outrages and horrors that people faced.”

When Eric Garner said to the pigs who were harassing him on July 17: “THIS STOPS TODAY,” a chain of events seems to have started, beginning with his murder, captured for the world to see on video. Then three weeks later, on August 9, Michael Brown was shot in a town few had heard of, but by the actions of the masses begun that night, Ferguson became a rallying cry the world over. Yet, these events concentrated a whole history that continues to be lived today.

These events are the legacy of what Bob Avakian has called the “simple and basic truth” that “There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery,” a legacy that has continued, and morphed into new forms of white supremacy, still central to this society.

Six years into Obama and people’s hope for change has run up against the reality that he is the commander in chief of the whole system, and a war criminal to boot. And, it’s not just the oppression of Black people. Just this past year, tens of thousands of immigrant children were imprisoned on the border and many deported; a woman’s right to abortion was stripped away in state after state; and the environmental crisis grew even more dire.

Stepping into that situation this summer, the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride put forward a program of determined struggle for the right of women to control their own destinies. September saw the biggest demonstration against global warming in U.S. history. This too was a summer when the Call for a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration issued by Cornel West and Carl Dix was spreading, culminating in defiant demonstrations on October 22.

The current upsurge, which seems to have come out of nowhere, did not come from nothing. All of this, from the nature of the system and its workings, the responses and anger of people, and the conscious work of revolutionaries and others contribute to the mix. What is even more important at moments and junctures like this is raising people’s sights to a radically different world, grappling with what is the underlying problem, and what is the solution to all the madness and horrors that people are confronting, resisting and rising up against, in the thousands and in the millions.

This speaks to the immediate and long-term import of people coming to know about Bob Avakian and the work he has done. This is the purpose and mission of the BA Everywhere campaign. It is a mass, multifaceted fundraising campaign to make BA and the work he has done known in every corner of the country.

From the excerpts we watched earlier from the November 15 Dialogue, you got a living sense of BA’s love and feeling for the masses of people, his sense of outrage and hatred for all the ways in which people suffer needlessly, and his fire for revolution. This is the product of decades of work, sacrifice, and risk to develop the scientific method, the strategy, and the vision that humanity needs to get free. Bob Avakian has developed a new synthesis of communism which is a scientific method for knowing and changing the world. Communism is method, it is a revolutionary political movement, and it is an actual goal of a society that really could be... free of all forms of oppression and exploitation. And BA’s work has put this on a more scientific foundation, made it more viable and visionary.

With a combination of far-sighted vision and great practicality, BA leads the RCP, USA so that it is out in the world, standing with the people, FIGHTING THE POWER, AND TRANSFORMING THE PEOPLE, FOR REVOLUTION. Bringing to people the understanding they need through Revolution newspaper and Working concretely today to GET ORGANIZED FOR AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION.

We have just made an enormous step in making BA known on a whole other level through the November 15 Dialogue. But, we have just begun. The video of the simulcast has been watched by thousands online. Tens and hundreds of thousands need to see it. Now, in the thick of the upsurge, and in ongoing way.

For the next two months, getting this Dialogue seen, watched, and discussed will be the central focus of the BA Everywhere campaign. Tens of thousands of dollars need to be raised to make and promote a high-quality film of the event.

Today we are putting forward some basic elements of a plan that can be enriched and developed by growing BA Everywhere Committees around the country, by Revolution Clubs where they exist, by Revolution Books stores, and by everyone who recognizes the difference it could make if people saw this Dialogue, engaged the content of it, and involved others in supporting and making it a big deal. Here we go:

# 1) A reader wrote “we have to bring people back to, and bring them forward from, this Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West,” watching it together, asking them what they think of it, what their questions are, and digging into it. We are in a moment when people are out all day and often into the night fighting the power. What a great way to raise and deepen understanding of why these outrages keep happening and what is to be done today in preparation for tomorrow than for people to watch and dig into “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, A Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian.”

# 2) What better time to do this than over the holidays? Watch it with everyone you can. House parties and showings. Send the link out to everyone. Distribute 100,000 palm cards starting now and on through January. Raise funds. Use the new donation cards to raise funds from relatives, friends, and people you meet.

# 3) As soon as school starts after the new year, set up showings in classes, in dorms, in high school and college clubs. Palm cards and posters for the Dialogue should be everywhere on campuses.

# 4) Reach out to people who could donate big money to make a high-quality film of the event. The event was professionally filmed and great footage exists, different from what is in the simulcast. Show the simulcast so people get a sense of its power and potential.

# 5) The movement for BA Everywhere needs to grow, and spreading the Dialogue holds the potential for many people to take it up. BA Everywhere Committees should broaden and involve all of those who see, or who can be won to see, that it would make a very big difference if what is represented by Bob Avakian and the new synthesis were to be a point of reference, the subject of discussion and debate throughout society—even as they are themselves coming to know more about it, and are working out their thinking. Alive with discussions of the Dialogue and the responses to it, the BA Everywhere Committees will reach out to all sections of the people. In the projects and the neighborhoods... involving people experienced in social media, film production and/or the graphic arts... lawyers, doctors, social workers and teachers... prominent and wealthy people financially supporting and using their public platform to make this known.


In conclusion, we have spoken of bringing people back to this Dialogue and we have looked briefly back at 2014 and what has changed and what is changing. All of this is for the purpose of moving forward—to enable tens and hundreds of thousands and even millions to come to see and feel that, indeed, humanity does not have to live like this. BA, Bob Avakian, and the Party he leads, and this Dialogue are about getting free. People need to know that there is a viable vision, plan, and leadership to bring forward a radically different and far better world through revolution. Today, more than ever they have ears to hear this message. Let’s bring it.

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