This Spring

What WE do Matters a Great Deal!

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


In speaking to the youth in the inner cities and to people throughout society in his “Call To Revolution,” Bob Avakian made the point that “what we do matters a great deal.” In today’s situation, this truth is magnified. There is great potential right now for the fight against oppression and the fight for revolution to make very big advances. The things being called for over the next three weeks in this issue of Revolution—the premieres of the filmed dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion” and the massive nationwide “shut-it-down” actions against murder by police on April 14—are a huge part of that.

To get a hint of how that is so, let’s look at the situation we are acting on and working to change. This past Thursday, the police chief of Philadelphia called a community meeting to talk about why— yet again— criminal charges had not been filed against a cop who killed a young Black man. But in this case, something different happened. In the words of the New York Times, “instead of a conversation about the man’s death, the meeting descended into lawlessness. Residents angrily shouted at the commissioner and pointed fingers in his face. Metal folding chairs were hurled. Protesters tussled with police officers. There were 10 arrests.” (Here we’ll pause only to say that while the Times may find these actions “lawless,” they are definitely just— and especially when the authorities find murder after murder of Black and Latino youth by police “lawful”!)

The article goes on to say that this is all part of an effort of police to “break away from images of them as hostile, occupying armies.” Think about what that means for a minute— the pigs have to send their biggest honcho into a meeting where they are forced to listen to just a little bit of people’s righteous anger because they are worried that people are seeing their true nature and this freaks them out!

This comes right in the middle of a steady stream of actions, one after another, in which people stand up, protest, demonstrate, take over streets, and blow whistles in response to the wanton, racist murder and brutality of the police, making it unmistakably clear that “WE AIN’T HAVING THIS SHIT!” You can see it in the many articles we have in this issue and in issues over the past few months—there is a different mood. (Also see the "Stop Mass Incarceration" section of this site.)

In the face of this, those who rule this society have no answers. They talk about “body-cams” for pigs— and then just this week we see a video of cops in Dallas shooting down in cold blood yet another mentally disturbed Black man—and still nothing being done, even with their damn body-cam. They admit that the Ferguson police are little more than racist extortionist gangsters in one breath, and then immediately go on to justify the cold-blooded murder of the unarmed youth Michael Brown in the next, in an attempt to spread confusion. They talk about “we need better statistics, we need more studies”—and then someone comes up with a study that shows the government’s own statistics undercount murders by police by more than half. Think about that Times article we quoted—the police are worried that people view them “as hostile, occupying armies.” And those on top are in conflict over how to handle this, attacking one another not over whether to clamp down—but how best to do it. Again: they have no answers.

Our experience bears out tremendous potential, among all sections of people. Take just one story among hundreds. A man working as a professional at a ghetto hospital brushes by people leafleting for the premiere of “Revolution and Religion”— “I don’t need that stuff,” he says—but then he thinks twice, stops and comes back. He bares his heart to tell how last week, on a “dad date” with his 7-year-old daughter, the police pulled him over and his daughter clutched him and began crying, “please don’t kill my daddy.” “I can’t live in a society like this,” he said, and got materials for the premiere. Other people in the middle class tell us of their disillusionment with Obama and their desire to learn about revolution, and to do something about the horrible shit coming down. People very broadly are feeling a moral challenge—and they are in a mood to respond to it, if those who do have answers step to them.

To put it another way, over the past six months or so “the equation has changed”— and we must change it even more. By this we mean that the ways in which those who rule society had people on the bottom believing that it does no good to fight back, that nothing else is possible beyond what we have today… the ways in which they had people in the middle thinking things are pretty much okay… that is beginning— beginning—to break down. Those who are fighting for justice find people who want to fight with them, more and more—not in a straight line and not all at once, but these articles tell you it’s happening.  

And those who understand that revolution is the only answer to all this are finding a different response as well. The fact that nearly 2,000 people came to hear Bob Avakian and Cornel West in dialogue in November, and that thousands more have watched the live-streaming of it… that tells you that revolution, especially in the form of what BA brings, is striking a chord with people. The fact that the vast majority of those who were there found it gripping and totally absorbing tells you about the potential for this message to spread far and wide, and to begin to take hold deeply.

At the same time, the ways in which the movement for revolution fought in Ferguson and all over the country meant a whole lot. People saw the revolutionaries standing with defiant ones… spreading the spark of the struggle for justice all over… refusing to back down in the face of slanders, brutality and threats. This too had an impact—on friend and foe alike. Those actions, along with the Dialogue, are also “part of the equation” and should not be underestimated. For sure, those who want to maintain this oppressive system do not underestimate the potential, and neither must we.

We cannot miss this opening. We cannot fail to see the patterns before us, manifesting themselves in different ways. Yes, the situation is full of conflict and contradiction. Yes, we are going to have to put our heads together and figure out answers to a lot of hard problems. And yes, people who want change are going to have to struggle for that. Struggle in two senses: struggle against the powers-that-be… and struggle with the people over stepping out further and going deeper into the WHYs of this madness, and WHAT to do about it. This is not going to be easy—it's going to require sacrifices, sometimes very hard sacrifices, because those in power have their machinery of repression…but they are also not all-powerful.

If you read BA’s statement on the kind of situation you would need to make a revolution, you see that he starts out with a “deep crisis and sharpening conflicts in society and in the government and ruling circles, where they cannot find a way to resolve these conflicts—in society and among their own ranks—which do not make things worse for them and call forth more resistance and further undermine people's belief in their ‘right to rule’ and in the ‘legitimacy’ of their use of force to maintain their rule.” No, that’s not where we are yet—but can’t you see the embryos of that in the conflict around Israel that we talk about in the article "Israel's Ugly Election—Heightened Conflicts, New Challenges," or in the way the Times says that the police are worried that people see them as a “hostile, occupying army”? When you see those kinds of embryos, you don’t just sit back like a spectator and hope for the best—you work on it, you fight like hell to build up the people’s resistance AND to build up, to make huge leaps, in their understanding of what it will take to finally GET FREE AND TRULY EMANCIPATED. The whole piece by BA bears repeated study and reference.

With all that in mind, we call on those reading this to take up the struggle to build these premieres with new vigor, along the lines laid out in the article "4 POINTS to Launch the New Film of REVOLUTION AND RELIGION," to take up as you do so the battle to build Shutdown A14, again going off the guidance in this issue… to link both of these together as part of making big leaps toward getting free… and to bring people INTO the movement for revolution and the different critical fights against oppression, at whatever level they can.

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