"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

"No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that."

BAsics 1:13



April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On April 7 and April 9, the film of the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, was shown in two parts at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The UCLA screenings were introduced by Annie Day, who is from The Bob Avakian Institute and a co-producer of the film. Day gave people background on the Dialogue and talked with great urgency about the (then) impending national day of protest against the murder and brutalization by police of Black and Latino people.

Some 25 students from diverse departments attended on the first night. The screening was followed by informal discussion. A philosophy major responded this way: “Avakian put very big and important ideas before people, ideas people had not likely encountered before. It was demanding and I particularly appreciated the fact that Avakian took the necessary time to meticulously explain and elaborate on these ideas. West was different. It was a very concise but existential presentation that went right to the heart. If you think about it, the two presentations were complementary.” A student whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico wanted to get more deeply into issues of revolution vs. reform, wondering if you could rule out the possibility of really fundamental reform under capitalism. Someone from a nearby community college said that this was the first time that he had heard anyone—he was referring to Bob Avakian—discuss an actual plan for revolution.

The second night’s screening was of the question-and-answer portion of the Dialogue. The original plan was to have another informal discussion afterward. But several students (and this was largely a different crowd) wanted a more structured discussion. So Annie Day and political economist Raymond Lotta, who was at UCLA that week speaking to students and professors about Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism, led what turned out to be a very lively back and forth with the audience.

An African-American science student, clearly provoked by the film, posed a series of questions that opened into wider discussion: How would a socialist economy actually be able to distribute resources and overcome inequality? Isn’t there a danger that people in a socialist society would themselves stop being revolutionary once their living conditions improved? In organizing for revolution, how do you reach more mainstream people? Day and Lotta spoke to these questions, drawing from the Revolutionary Communist Party’s “On the Strategy for Revolution” and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). A political science major said he totally agreed with the need to step out around the killings by cops but vehemently disagreed on revolution—and that led into discussion about elections and “citizenship” under the current system.

Two students from China talked with Lotta. One was especially touched by what Bob Avakian and Cornel West had to say about the role of art and culture in the revolution (she was “air-clapping” at the remarks made by BA in that part of the film) and the other eagerly got the new compilation of writings by Avakian on law and constitutions in capitalist and socialist societies and the special issue of Revolution on the history of communist revolution. A student who attended both screenings commented later that the film helped her understand what revolution is about and the importance of fighting right now and coming out to the April 14 Shutdown Against Police Murder.



Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.