2014: Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian: An Unprecedented Event

January 5, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us



Photo: revcom.us



The Dialogue on November 15 at Riverside Church in New York City between Bob Avakian and Cornel West—"Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion" was a truly unprecedented event.  Nearly 2,000 people packed one of the most famous churches, one of the most prominent and historic venues in the country, to experience—live and in person—Bob Avakian in dialogue with Cornel West. It was the first public appearance in decades by Bob Avakian, the revolutionary leader and architect of a whole new framework for the emancipation of all of humanity, who spoke directly and in depth to the need and basis for revolution; in dialogue with Cornel West, one of the most important and provocative public intellectuals of our time and who spoke and engaged in dialogue from the perspective of Christian and Black prophetic traditions, and as an uncompromising champion for the oppressed.

People came from New York, Ferguson, Chicago, as far away as Hawai'i—and included people from the housing projects, the high schools and college campuses, the religious communities, the arts, the front lines of political struggle, and more.

The audience experienced a substantial, electrifying presentation by BA, a revolutionary leader who was completely on fire with both the scientific understanding and visceral feeling that the world doesn't have to be this way, that people don't have to live this way, that a radically different world is possible, and who has a plan for how to get to that world. Thousands of people got an up-close and personal introduction to Bob Avakian, everything he's about, and the revolution that he's leading, and an up-close and personal invitation and challenge to step forward and be part of this revolution.

After BA spoke, the audience experienced an impassioned exposition of a revolutionary Christian approach to changing the world from Cornel West, his point of departure being the cross and the meaning of the cross in the story of Jesus and especially in Black people’s lives, while doing so in the context of a passionate call for and unity based on integrity, honesty, and commitment to struggle that stems from a deep love for “the least of these” and a deep calling to end injustice.

The presentations were followed by an extremely warm, principled, provocative, thoughtful, and moving exchange, which included speaking to questions from the audience, and exploration of key points of unity and disagreement on the major themes of revolution, religion, and human emancipation, along with a wide range of burning questions related to those themes.

Watch a re-run of the livestream video of the entire event at www.revcom.us

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