"The film brings you up close inside Cornel West's and Bob Avakian's dialogue: the passion, the audacity, the science, the morality, the revolutionary substance. Two courageous voices modeling a morality that refuses to accept injustice – pouring heart and soul into standing together challenging all of us to fight for a world worthy of humanity."

Andy Zee,
co-director of the film


BA Speaks

"This is Bob Avakian,
Chairman of the
Revolutionary Communist Party, with a New Year's message—




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There will never be a revolutionary movement in this country that doesn't fully unleash and give expression to the sometimes openly expressed, sometimes expressed in partial ways, sometimes expressed in wrong ways, but deeply, deeply felt desire to be rid of these long centuries of oppression [of Black people]. There's never gonna be a revolution in this country, and there never should be, that doesn't make that one key foundation of what it's all about.

BAsics 3:19

Do you know anyone else—any person or organization—that has managed to bring forth an actual PLAN for a radically different society, in all its dimensions, and a CONSTITUTION to codify all this? — A different world IS possible — Check out and order online the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).



A14—Going Back on the Offensive to Stop Murder by Police

April 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The demonstrations against police murder on April 14 marked a new beginning for the struggle against this outrage. This is crucially important, for without mass struggle there can be no progress whatsoever and the powers-that-be will just hammer people into the ground. Further, these demonstrations had important potential significance for revolution—for finally getting free of a society in which murder by police continues to go on daily and more, and people continue to be oppressed more generally... a society in which the lives of Black and other oppressed people are treated as if they do not matter.  A14 was a great day, a great beginning—and now the challenge is to learn the lessons and take it further.

Last fall, sparked by the actions of the “defiant ones" in Ferguson, Missouri, thousands rose up. They took over the streets against the outrageous decisions to NOT indict the police responsible for murdering first, Eric Garner in New York and then, not even a month later, Michael Brown in Ferguson. Then the powers-that-be hit back. They took advantage of the killings of police in New York to silence people. The police in New York City and around the country used those killings to “flex their muscles” and threaten people, and the politicians who had temporarily posed as allying with the movement suddenly began to call for moratoriums on demonstrations. In January, demonstrators who attempted to block traffic in Massachusetts and Stanford students who did the same in California were hit with very heavy charges. Then the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder—who many had told the people to put their faith in—not only failed to indict the murderer of Michael Brown, but fabricated an identical story to that of the original prosecutor, essentially blaming the unarmed Brown for his own murder.

All this put a pall on the movement. Even though masses of people had NOT stopped rising up—in Washington, in Madison, in Philly and elsewhere—there was not a nationwide retaking of the offensive. Things were in danger of being bottled back up, with masses forced off the streets and the activists burrowed into micro-projects that did not challenge things on a scale where all society had to take notice. The powers-that-be were trying to lock tight the door that had been burst open in the fall, and—to be perfectly frank—they were having some success at this. Meanwhile, one murder by police followed another, one more outrageous than the last.

Spanish language media, especially La Opinión in Los Angeles and El Diario in New York played an important role in publicizing April 14, and in covering what happened that day. See La Opinión, "Desde Los Ángeles convocan a paro nacional por tiroteos de policías"

La Opinion April 10

In the face of all that, these actions on April 14 kicked that door back open! The several thousands who took the streets, braving police attacks and arrests, stated by their actions that “no, we are NOT going back. We ARE going forward, to STOP these outrageous murders.” These were not as big as the demonstrations in the fall; nor were they as big, and defiant, as they need to be... and can become. But, again, the people on A14 DID kick the door back open and they opened up the possibility for many many more people to surge through that door—that is, to go back on the offensive. To use a metaphor, it’s as if an army that is hemmed in suddenly opens a breach in the enemy’s lines—now the question is how to push on through and change the whole momentum of things.

This must be done. And the work to do that—and to make that count toward a revolution — must begin now. From that very standpoint of now going forward, we want to emphasize a few points:

On the Offensive

It is very important to go on the political and legal offensive against any brutality perpetrated by police and any arrests they made. This is an absolutely necessary part of the fight, and an important way to draw in new people. At the same time, it is even more important to stay on the offensive against the overall outrage of murders by police.

The Role of the Youth

A major element—you could even say the driving force—in the success of A14 were the youth who are fed up with this and refuse to be bottled up, or put in the pen of protest-as-usual. These youth came with a moral certitude that was really refreshing and has to be fostered. Those who flooded into the streets blocking traffic... those who stood firm against threats and brutality... those who showed real determination—all that has to be defended and, more than that, built on. These youth included people from all sections of society, including the most oppressed. In addition, and related to that, the kinds of things done by students at UC Berkeley who refused to let other students go through the gate to school, and grew in numbers through doing that... the students in the ghetto high schools of Chicago and LA who defied authorities—and in some cases were arrested—to walk out of school... the young man at De Paul who lay down with a Stolen Lives poster the day before A14 and thereby challenged other students—this too has to be built on, given more expression and more initiative. This spirit is a major positive good thing and we need more of it!

Three Strikes

This System Is Illegitimate

It is very important to continue to hammer at the legitimacy of the crimes of murder by police and the criminals who inflict them, and what it says about the legitimacy of the whole system which defends and requires those crimes. The Stolen Lives poster, and the larger installations that were made of that, were a key way in which people were re-polarized and given strength and determination for A14. These should be used even more in the months to come.

At the same time, these posters point to something deeper—to a whole history of this country and this system... a whole current-day reality in which “white supremacy”—a way of life whose viciousness and horror cannot be captured in those two words—has been interwoven with the development of capitalism-imperialism. Today that development and that interweaving have given rise to a program with a genocidal thrust. People need to be given the ways to dig more deeply into that. And they need to be exposed to the fact that this Party has an answer to that, and a way for people to really get free.

One important lesson of this struggle was the role played by the premieres of REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, the film of the dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. This film raised the sights and strengthened the initiative of most of those who saw it; and while this film plays and must play a far larger role than that, it is still important to note the connection. Similarly, not only carried out exposure of this outrage, but showed its source in society and its links to other struggles, here and around the world; exposed the need for revolution, and showed how this battle contributed to that; and gave guidance to the movement as to how to meet the challenges it encountered. And Revolution Clubs played an important role building for and on April 14. All this must be built on and linked even more closely to this struggle.

Build on—and Keep Fighting for—the Unity

One real strength of A14 was the breadth of those who supported it and came out to it. People came from all different parts of society, from homeless to more comfortable, as well as  prominent people from the clergy, the arts, the sciences, and elsewhere spoke out in support. A few days before April 14, La Opinión, the largest Spanish-language paper in the U.S., featured a major story on the Shut It Down protests, including a big front-page photo of the Stolen Lives banner. Activists in the struggle around the 43 Mexican students kidnapped by the government were a part of the day in NYC, and they marched with a banner with the faces of the missing youth, alongside the huge banners of victims of police murder in the U.S. This presented people very broadly with the fact they need to take a stand—and it gave them a way in to do so. Very important within that was the powerful role played by the relatives of those who have been murdered by the police. This unity should be further forged and their voice in society must be more powerfully amplified. In addition, a small but significant number of people associated with the “street life” called on people to not fight each other but to fight the system on this day.

This unity and this will needs to be organized. Without organization, what is needed cannot happen. But the Stop Mass Incarceration Network has tremendous potential to grow off A14, and grow it must—the time is now to seize that opportunity. There are all kinds of things that SMIN could do if those who actually support its mission could be organized and given things to do. In addition, there is a real need to raise money—aren’t there  all kinds of people who supported what was done on A14 who would donate to increase the capacity of the organization that worked, struggled, stayed up all night and threw all they had into making it happen?

But even if organized, this unity cannot go forward in a straight line nor can it be preserved in a static way. But it CAN advance and it MUST advance. This will require us to confront new challenges which will be posed to this unity by both the powers-that-be and forces who, for their own reasons, don’t like that unity. Bob Avakian’s work “Freedom and Necessity, and Proceeding from a Strategic Standpoint: Some Thoughts on Methods and Leadership” provides very good guidance on understanding those dynamics; as does Ardea Skybreak's discussion of the concept of being a “strategic commander” in the interview “Science and Revolution: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian.”

Get Organized for an Actual Revolution

In our New Year’s editorial we said that the upsurge against this outrage had changed things to the point where a revolutionary situation could possibly arise out of the further unfolding of this social contradiction, in concert with other developments. This remains true, and will be truer still if A14 turns out to be the first step in weathering the counter-offensive of the rulers and coming back harder. (And A14 must be that step!)

That won’t happen without hard and creative work by people who want to see that revolutionary situation arise as soon as possible. Now some of that work involves building this struggle even more powerfully.

Yet getting to a revolutionary situation—and then being able to make good on that situation and actually WIN — will require much more than that.

There is first of all the question of really getting what Bob Avakian has brought forward—the new synthesis of communism, the strategy for revolution—way out there into society, and raising big funds to do that. Getting this out there—familiar to millions and actively taken up by thousands—is fundamental to really being able to seize on, or even recognize, any opening for revolution. Huge advances must be made on that this summer. And there are other important struggles as well that have to be built—against the oppression of women that is interwoven into the core of this system… against the ecological depredations of this system… against the wars and war crimes it carries out… and against the oppression and demonization of immigrants.

There is also the need for people to get organized for an actual revolution—actually drawing people into forms of organization, including but not limited to the Party, which would be key to both getting to a situation where a revolution could be made, and then carrying through and actually making and winning such a revolution. And people should be building and joining Revolution Clubs.

So, with all that in mind, take a moment to savor the sweetness of having burst the pall that the powers tried to put on things… celebrate the courage of those who stood up… and then get ready to go back on the offensive!


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