From a reader:

This Type of Dialogue Is Desperately Needed

January 5, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


I have watched most of the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion, and the first part of the Q&A. My brother Jay has watched some of it as well. We both agreed that this is the type of dialogue that is so desperately needed in today’s society. It represents the type of unity we should be embracing, especially after the recent uprisings throughout the world and in this country itself. Jay felt that all people should put their differences aside and come together and struggle together for one ultimate goal; to emancipate all of humanity from oppression and exploitation. It’s easy to get caught up in our differences, especially when it comes to our beliefs, but BA’s and CW’s talk is definitely something to learn from because it teaches us and serves as the perfect learning tool to achieve this type of dialogue. “Revolution and Religion” is a film I encourage everyone to watch.

Jay and our brother Rob have been following along with the uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri, and they have both really been impacted by the outbreak of resistance taking place around the country, and by the work of the Party [RCP]. They have each experienced police brutality first hand, so they feel a deep sense of unity with those who take a stand against it. They watched the live streams from Ferguson shortly after the rebellion and saw when Carl Dix was attacked by the “peacekeepers” for marching forward with the masses to challenge the cops’ refusal to let them continue to march, and was labeled as an outside agitator for doing so. One of the things my two brothers point to that shows how significant this uprising is to them is how the Crips and Bloods – two historically rival gangs, had come together in Ferguson. Aside from everything, they feel that Michael Brown’s murder was unjust and that it was right for people in Ferguson to take a stand against it. Ferguson, the world’s got your back!!  

Both Jay and Rob are highly influenced by BA’s work and the work of the Party. They have watched parts of BA Speaks: REVOLUTIONNOTHING LESS! and “Revolution and Religion.” These works have allowed them to take a step back and view a bigger picture of what was once a limited reality. “When you’re in a gang, you only see what’s in front of you, on your block. You don’t step back and make the connection that you’re acting just like the capitalists,” said Jay. They both mentioned how big an impact it has on you when you understand why you are who you are, and why you do what you do and how liberating it is when you take a step back and truly grasp that the conditions you live in: no job; poverty; no real future; all of this shapes you. Even the neighborhood you live in can shape you.

They especially like the “what ifs?” section of BA’s speech in the Dialogue, when BA speaks on what if women could be able to walk down the street at night and look into any man’s eyes and not be afraid, as well as BA’s concept of the saying “man up” and the need to change that way of thinking in society. This has come up in our conversations especially because just the other day, a 14-year-old girl had been raped just a couple of blocks down from our house and in broad daylight. There have also been a number of shootings where young people from the community have lost their lives or are facing hard time.

Like I mentioned before, they have both encountered some of the cruelest treatment by police. Jay once told me a story of how late one night he was walking home and he saw a car driving towards him with its lights off. He began to run home because he knew very well that in our neighborhood, drive-by shootings are fairly common and a car with its lights off can be a sign that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It turns out that the car was a police car, and they shined their lights at him and pulled him over. When this happened he felt so relieved. He felt that it was the one time he was actually glad to see the police. The cops asked him why he ran and what he was doing out so late. “Aren’t you afraid of the rival gangs?” they said. He explained he was headed home and that when he saw the car he was afraid it was gang related so he began to rush home. The cops then asked him to cross his hands behind his back and searched him. One cop whispered to him, “Do you want to go to heaven?” while he held Jay’s hands back. At that very moment, Jay feared for his life. He explained to them that he worked for the county’s Parks and Rec in hopes that they would see him as a professional person who worked with kids and had no previous record and no affiliation with gang activity. They immediately changed their tune (like he’d gone from being one of the punks to being a good guy) and let him go.

All of this and more has impacted my brothers and it has forced them to take that necessary step back to see what is really going on around them and then to take a huge leap forward with aims to change it. They both feel that making this leap is necessary because otherwise they take the risk of becoming victims to this system and of this system continuing to make victims of the people around us and all over the world.

I feel very fortunate to have this type of influence surrounding me. From BA’s works to the interactions and conversations I have with the people I encounter, I know now that we can stop this injustice together. We just have to take a stand. Take advantage of all of the knowledge we have available to us about communism and apply it to reality and see how we can make a better world possible. A world free of exploitation and oppression. A world free from police brutality and racism. Share the newspaper Revolution with people around you, contribute in any way you can! Don’t hold back, unite with anyone who stands against police brutality and other injustices caused by this system, whether that be family, coworkers, peers, etc. And never underestimate the power of the youth; they are truly capable of understanding reality and of envisioning a better future. Together we can ALL make this happen! Demand Justice! This stops today!

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