Organizing for Two Important Dates—March 28 & April 14:


March 30, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From Revolution/ supporters, San Francisco Bay Area:

We gathered very early in the morning on Sunday, March 22, to begin our tent/table foray to take the two important events upcoming on March 28 and April 14 to the Oakland flea market. Tables were set up displaying leaflets, palm cards and copies of Revolution, and we passed out materials featuring the March 28 online launch and premiere of the film of the Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue and the April 14 national shutdown to STOP POLICE MURDER (#ShutDownA14). We displayed a big enlargement of the black and red poster announcing the online film launch and premiere, and also put up a big board displaying the Revolution centerfold of victims of police murder around the country, along with a banner about A14. Under a tent behind us, we set up a large TV screen with loudspeakers and showed the 20-minute clip of the Dialogue. Many people stopped to look, listen, chat, and buy items collected by supporters.

Highlights of the scene and some of the conversations:

It was a very good scene! There was a cross-section of nationalities—many Latinos, including immigrants from Mexico and Central America, mixed with Blacks, Southeast Asians, Chinese, and whites. We got out hundreds of cards and leaflets on March 28 and A14, distributed over 150 copies of Revolution (many in Spanish), and raised $250 to contribute toward the online launch and premiere of the Dialogue. And we also met some really great people who want to check out the Dialogue and/or take up April 14.

At the flea market in Oakland

There was a lot of focus on the board with the Revolution centerfold of victims of police murder displayed—many people stopped to look at it and read about the people murdered. Many Latinos as well as Black people were angry and even upset, shaking their heads. One of a number of Latino couples with kids stopped and were stunned to see the pictures of SO MANY Blacks and Latinos as well as women from all across the country, and it hit people hard that these faces were just a few of the people killed by police across the country. They said they knew about Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and Alex Nieto in San Francisco, but had no idea police murder was so widespread. After they stood there for a while looking at the pictures on the centerfold and also listening to the clip of the Dialogue, particularly Bob Avakian saying (referring to police murder), “It’s gotta stop!” the woman blurted out loudly, “Yes, this HAS to stop! This is NOT RIGHT! They think they can just shoot people down all over.” They were enthusiastic about April 14 and putting a stop to police murder, and said they would be there and spread the word. They took up leaflets and cards to take back to their neighborhood, and copies of Revolution. We encouraged them to take a few more copies of Revolution so that they could pull out the centerfold and post them it in various places which they, as well as others, were enthused about doing.

Conversations flowed from different directions—sometimes they would start out with A14 and then flow into the Dialogue, and sometimes it was the other way around. People bounced off the passionate words of Bob Avakian and Cornel West, and this led to discussions of police murder, the system behind these murders, what April 14 and the Dialogue were all about, who Bob Avakian and Cornel West are (some had heard of Avakian, more knew of West), and the revolutionary solution.

A Black man in his 30s, after looking at the centerfold and watching/listening to the Dialogue clip, came over and said he thought the issue of how religion had a hold on people’s ability to imagine a whole other (real) world was something he’d like to understand, and how to break this stranglehold—he was speaking of Christianity. He was very enthused about seeing the Dialogue, took a bunch of cards and leaflets, said he would tell people about the online launch, and would show up in Berkeley to see the premiere. A question that came up with several people was how would the revolutionary movement overcome the repression that will no doubt come down even as the revolution progresses, given the experience of the Black Panthers and Malcolm X in the 1960s, and in light of how the government dealt with the Occupy movement and the recent protests around Ferguson and Eric Garner.

A white woman in her 20s who works in the computer industry, after looking at the centerfold of the victims of police murder, came over and asked, “What can I do, we have to stop this shit!” She took a bunch of materials to get out to people and put up on walls where she worked and lived, and said she would spread the word of the upcoming online launch and premiere as well as the April 14 protests. She had never seen or heard of Revolution newspaper or Bob Avakian, but was interested in finding a revolutionary way out.

A graduate student in political science who, after looking at the centerfold and listening to the Dialogue, blurted out, “Aren’t there supposed to be laws to protect us [from police murder]?! There’s supposed to be a political structure, we talk about this [in his college classes] a lot, how can this be happening?! Shouldn’t there be investigations and charges and trials?” We talked about how there have been “investigations” for years of some of the most brutal police departments in the country, including New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Detroit, and yes, Oakland, to name only a few. And the police murders and brutality have not stopped. We got into how there were investigations of the Mike Brown and Eric Garner murders and both resulted in non-indictments—that this kind of injustice is built into the system. He expressed frustration with how these issues were covered in the media and in his college classes, and said he really wanted to be a part of stopping the murders and to understand why this was happening across the country—he said it was time for people like himself to do something, “to play a role.” He had a very serious look on his face when he said, “I’ll volunteer, we GOTTA DO SOMETHING TO STOP THIS!” He gave us his contact info, took a bunch of materials, said he’d take this all back to his college colleagues and friends, contact a lot of people, and “for sure” show up at the film showing in Berkeley on March 28 and on April 14 to protest in Oakland.

All in all, it was a lively day. Having been out to the scene a year ago, we noticed that the level of awareness of police murder was more pronounced, and many were aware of the protests in Ferguson and other places around the country. The desire to act and actually DO SOMETHING about these horrors on April 14 came through. We found many people not only angry about police murder, but also eager to learn how we can put an end to the system behind these murders, and looking forward to what Cornel West and Bob Avakian have to say on March 28.


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