BA Everywhere Dinners, February 15:
Warm, Enthusiastic, Determined... and Breathing with Revolution

February 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Gatherings were held on February 15 in several cities across the country to celebrate and raise funds for the upcoming release of REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Film of a Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN. On March 28, the film will be launched with screenings in major cities across the U.S. and online.

The February 15 gatherings were sponsored by BA Everywhere—the national campaign to raise funds to make Bob Avakian (BA) and the work he has done known throughout society. The gatherings were joyous and serious, and involved people from all walks of life. The centerpiece of the events was special advance clips from the forthcoming film. Programs also included viewing Carl Dix’s video on the call for millions to act on April 14 to STOP police brutality, a talk on making the film a big deal in society, and cultural performances—and people enjoyed good food. People made beginning plans for raising big funds.

Here are brief reports we have received from some of the February 15 gatherings:

New York

On the coldest day of the year, the burning desire to get to another and better world was felt by all. A man who had spent decades in prison and who had attended the live Dialogue in November commented, "It's so cold outside but so warm in here," referring to the atmosphere and the beautiful room.

About 90 people came to enjoy community and good food—but most of all they came looking forward to seeing the clips from the forthcoming film and to find out more about the Dialogue, about Bob Avakian and this revolution. Most of the audience had been at the live Dialogue at Riverside Church in November; but quite a few others had just recently learned about this, including a couple of people who had seen the trailer for the upcoming film earlier that same day on smart phones after church services. They were curious and challenged by what they saw and stayed for the whole program. A “revolution van” had picked people up from the neighborhoods, including families and several children, to bring them to the dinner hosted at a church in a wealthy area of Manhattan. One man who missed the van stop took a bus across town to get to the church, despite using a walker on the icy sidewalk. Two people came from New England and are returning with ideas of how to spread this and organize a showing of the new film there.

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Re-broadcast of the November 15 Simulcast

A number of restaurants donated food, from a high-end vegetarian café nearby to chicken and bread from Harlem. Two musical performances set off the early evening dinner: a passionate and beautiful rendition of Bob Marley's “Redemption Song” and powerful Afro-Caribbean drumming.

People from the projects mixed it up with college students and artists; lawyers shared conversation and dinner with parents whose children were murdered by the police. What most moved the people—including folks from prominent church congregations—who were new to this to come to the dinner was having been “woken up” in the past few months to seriously thinking and agonizing and wanting to ACT about the situation of Black people in this country. People from one church described how they had participated together, with T-shirts identifying their church, in the demonstrations after the non-indictment of the cop who killed Eric Garner with a chokehold in Staten Island.

People who were just learning about the Dialogue and the movement for revolution were both shocked and excited by this audacious projection of revolution as the solution. Is it really possible? Weren't the past revolutions disasters? What is this new synthesis of revolution and communism of Bob Avakian's? Do you need leaders? Why does it have to be called communism, shouldn't the name be changed? Folks who came from a neighborhood of basic people wanted to know: "How can we convince those in power to give up their power?" Someone commented that people couldn't hear the Dialogue without getting more interested in BA. There was wrangling with all this and reference back to the rich exchange on just these questions between BA and Cornel West. Some people went home with materials to dig into on these big questions from the Revolution Books and BA Everywhere tables.

The film clips had a deep impact. The hustle and bustle of serving a meal to a big roomful of people quieted as the church staff along with BA Everywhere volunteers sat and watched. The audience was excited to hear after the clips were shown that the major first screening of the film in NYC on March 28 will be at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, an internationally prominent center for scholarship on Black history and culture. After listening to the talk from the BA Everywhere campaign given by Raymond Lotta, people gathered in meet-up groups. Everyone from brand-new people to longtime revolutionary activists got involved in brainstorming and making plans for spreading and fundraising for the launch of the film in all kinds of ways.

Los Angeles

Twilight on the rooftop of Revolution Books had an air of excitement and freshness as people of diverse ages, nationalities, and backgrounds gathered to celebrate and raise funds for the launch of the new film. Many college-age students, family members of those murdered by the police or imprisoned in the hellholes of this country, veterans of the movement for revolution and people brand new to it, along with Revolution Club and BA Everywhere Committee members, and others met each other, mixed it up together and experienced, or re-experienced, the Dialogue and the welcome atmosphere it generates of a whole different way the world and people can be. About 55 people came, and over $500 was raised.

A professional cook went all-out to prepare the spaghetti meal with vegetarian, meatball and clam sauces. A neighbor of the bookstore opened up his kitchen for the cooking. A young filmmaker, new to BA and the revolution, volunteered to work for his dinner ticket, and together with BA Everywhere Committee members transformed the roof into a large, candle-lit dining area.

A family member of a woman killed by the police in Compton was visibly moved by BA as he spoke about what they do to our youth, and how it doesn't have to be this way. He repeated several times that he wants to get more involved.

A woman professional from Eastern Europe who works with prisoners said prisoners need to transform themselves out of the life they are leading—they need something like this Dialogue. Her college-age son, who hates capitalism, was searching the Internet for communism and came across this bookstore and dinner, amazed there is something like this in the U.S. After seeing the Dialogue clips, her son asked how he can join, and met up with the Revolution Club.

A BA Everywhere Committee volunteer said the excerpt from the interview with Ardea Skybreak, which was put on all the tables at the dinner, was amazing. He thought it was especially important and true when she talks about the Dialogue as a beginning “strategic alliance,” which he thinks is critical for the revolution.

A man from a Middle East country had read Bob Avakian's memoir (From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist) before but had not seen the Dialogue, and decided to check out the dinner and the movement for revolution. He is against capitalism and thinks we need a revolution, but is not sure about what kind, and is open to learning more. Following up with him a couple days after the dinner, he had gone to and watched some YouTube clips by Avakian, and said he loved how BA answered the question, “If this country is so bad, why do people come here from all over the world?” He said he had never known how to answer that question until now. He is planning to start watching the Dialogue this week.

Many at the dinner commented with excitement on the announcement of the March 28 premiere of the new film. A Black woman said the film should be shown in public libraries. Several people who had heard parts of the Dialogue on KPFK radio want to help promote the premiere. Various other plans and proposals were raised. There was a sense of the potential for the movement around BA and this Dialogue to grow in leaps in the next few weeks and beyond.


Thirty people, including five children and two carloads from Detroit, came together at an Ethiopian restaurant in the middle of the Black community. Though it was bitter cold outside, the spirit was warm, enthusiastic, interesting, and very determined. The owner of the restaurant not only contributed space and food, but when there was a roof leak they immediately fixed it so we could have the celebration there. There was a wonderful blend of excerpts from the Dialogue, a talk about the BA Everywhere campaign, music, conversation, collecting funds, and plans to raise more funds. A Black revolutionary musician sang “I Can’t Breathe” (by The Peace Poets) accompanied by his guitar. Those words and those sounds rang out with beauty and meaning, filling the room with lots of soul. It was announced that $523 had been collected and pledged, getting a big applause. That set off some brainstorming about how to raise more money for BA Everywhere and for the high-quality film of the Dialogue.


An enthusiastic group of people attended a BA Everywhere fundraiser lunch. Some who came had been a part of the upsurge this past fall against police murder, and others have been active in different ways in the movement for revolution. It really was an internationalist feast. Five restaurants from different parts of Houston donated food and drinks for the luncheon. The video clips of the upcoming film of the Dialogue generated a great deal of excitement and anticipation. Everyone there was excited at the announcement that the Houston launch will be at the Encore Theater, a major Black theater just south of downtown. After expenses, we raised $190. And off the dinner, there is some momentum building with a core of people actively taking up BA Everywhere and building for the Dialogue film launch.

San Francisco Bay Area

About 50 people came together in Oakland to get involved in spreading the new film societywide. After a potluck dinner, to which many brought delicious food, the trailer and the excerpts of the new film riveted the audience. The crowd included a few who got involved in the fight against police murders, some immigrants, as well as a young woman we had just met the night before, protesting the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, and some college students. Everyone enjoyed sharing food and the conversation, reflecting on what they got out of seeing the Dialogue or the simulcast. People donated at the door and again after the speech, which brought in a total of over $1,000 towards the completion and promotion of the film. Some people came prepared to donate with $100 bills.

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