"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

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).

What Humanity Needs

At the beginning of 2012, an in-depth interview with Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, was conducted over a period of several days by A. Brooks, a youngergeneration revolutionary who has been inspired by the leadership and body of work of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism this has brought forward.


Interviews from around the country

Standing up to murder by police

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following is a selection of voices from among the thousands who took action on April 14 to Shut It Down to stop murder and brutality by police.


High school student, San Francisco
I remember thinking to myself... what difference am I going to make? A single powerless high school student? I wasn’t sure if my voice mattered, but as time went on I realized if not me then who? I am a part of the youth whose voices have been muted for too long. As I arrived at 24th and Mission I felt a sense of unity and experienced a moment of great accomplishment. Seeing so many young people come together for a very important cause motivated me and ignited something indescribable inside of me. I remember feeling anger for the injustices that police around the nation have caused, but a part of me also felt pride and happiness seeing so many people that I didn’t know but somehow trusted them... The highlight of my day was when we were being pushed off of the block in front of the police station. I had to make a choice of walking away or showing the police that they couldn’t intimidate me. I felt fear but once I interlocked arms with people next to me I felt strength and I realized that together we can make our voices heard... we will defeat this era of unjustified police murders.

Middle-aged Black man who goes to Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem
What compelled me to come out today was because we have a string of events that’s been going on with police brutality and police killings. It’s unfortunate that we still, in 2015, still going through this. You’d think that we’d be at peace, but we’re not. So we need to come together to find some solution. We try to sit down and talk—it’s not working. So I think that the goal—everyone’s purpose out here is to let everyone know that we need to stand up... and fight. Period. We need to let these cops know that we will not tolerate any more of this.

16-year-old female high school student in Brooklyn, interviewed on April 16
Did you try to get other people to come on April 14?
I tried to get my friends to go, but they wanted to go to school. They said school was more important. I said, no it wasn’t.
Why did you think it was important?
It was important because if people don’t stand up, then nothing will change.
And you felt strongly about police brutality and murder...
Yeah, I’ve been seeing it on the news and I know it happens a lot. This is the first time I heard somebody doing something about it. So I wanted to join and support.
How did you get arrested?
I was in the front, and I was on the bridge. And when the cops came, they started arresting people. They cuffed me really tight. I still have the marks...
I heard you saying it was the best day of your life.
It was the best day of my life! It felt good even though I was arrested. I didn’t really care because it was for a good cause. And just knowing I did something—it’s really nice... I saw it happened all over, and it makes me feel so proud to be part of it.

Three Black students who walked out of their school with a dozen others in Chicago
What compelled you guys to come out here today?
Female student #1: Police brutality.
Male student: And we’re tired of it.
Female student #2: And racial profiling.

Latina woman who helped organize a walkout at the LA high school her children attend
Stop the violence already. So many youth dead at their hands. I came because I support my children, so that they see that I support them. And because I wouldn’t want this to happen to them. We are all human beings.

Middle-aged woman marching in LA with an American Friends Service Committee sign
I’m here today for justice for the young people. They are so courageous, so committed, so disciplined... This is the civil rights movement of today, this together with defense of immigrants, because it is the same struggle about the same issue.

Obdulio Oliva, father of Carlos Oliva, killed by LA County Sheriffs in 2013 with eight shots in the back
This is called genocide. Because they are armed commandos of the government who are terrorizing the community. It’s because of capitalism, which is based on money.

A Latino man whose son was killed by police
The [Mexican] government is washing its hands [of the case of 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa]. The army, the narco-politics, they’re all involved. They are committing a lot of crimes there... Here, they killed my son in broad daylight. It’s too much, it’s unjust... The governments don’t want rights, they don’t want justice. You have to go out in the streets to make your voice heard.

Black youth in late teens, Oakland
We’re out here because it’s important to stand here with the people, the community, because the police are taking out our people. What we’re doing right now, we’re taking a stand against the wrongs against us, talking about the real situation and letting our voice be heard, and we need a lot more people. I think this will rattle up a lot of the big political forces all over the world. But that’s what it’s supposed to do.

Middle-aged white lawyer, Oakland
I came here because I am occasionally shocked by the amount of privilege I have and I’m reminded by events that impinge on that privilege how most of the people in this country have to live day by day, and I realize the contrast between my life which is filled with invisible privilege versus what the youth and people of color have to put up with on a daily basis their whole lives... There’s youth, there’s youth, there are beautiful, beautiful youth out here.

Latina student, San Francisco
What did Martin Luther King do? He tried his whole life to make change. We should do the same thing. Continue with what we got to do and don’t let anything stop us. Society is fucked up but you know what? We have to defeat that. The government is telling us what to do and no one sees that so they go along with it. This is our time to show who we really are and say what we got to say. Everybody has to stop just being quiet. We have to have our word out there now so people can see how we really think.

Black woman, Cleveland
The police are out of control, I don’t understand what’s going on, everyone is a statistic. Today, the passion and determination of people, we weren’t afraid today. We all desire a right to talk. I don’t feel protected when I see a police... It has to stop.

Protestor in Springfield, Massachusetts, quoted in a local news report
The mayor needs to be here, see this, be arm-in-arm with us and standing up with this to let the system know we are no longer going to sit back and watch our Black and Brown children get killed. [Question from interviewer: “You saw a lot of people with you that got arrested, what did that mean?”] That’s why we did it, that’s how much it means to us, that’s why we put our lives on the line. This means so much to us. We’re fighting to survive.

Young Black man who says he’s a “justice advocate,” New York City
Well we have a Black president... and he ain’t done nothing. Young Black people are dying every day by the hands of these cops. And we’re putting that on the mayor, too. We got the president of the United States—he’s a Black man, he’s a Black man... President Obama... he’s a Black man. We got our young Black people dying, Hispanic people. It’s our youth. This is our future. It’s like there’s no potential. We got no laws to protect us.

White student from a Manhattan college-prep high school

Why did you feel you yourself had to join in?
I felt like I had to come because it’s a movement that not only my friends are, but I also firmly believe in. I think it was important that I act and that I was part of the march rather than just talking about it with my friends, which we do a lot in school.

What kind of things do you talk about?
Well we actually had a day which we talked about equality and racism and how Black lives matter and all lives matter. We talked about that, and how these types of things apply to this movement that’s happening in our city.

What do you think it’s going to take to actually stop this?
I think it’s not going to take just one march but a lot. And I think that even though a lot of people are getting arrested, I think that people will still keep on fighting and fighting. And I think it’s going to take a long time but eventually it’ll be accomplished.

A social media post from aunt of a Black high school student arrested in Chicago
My niece did that... so proud of her.

High school student, Los Angeles
We all decided to come over because we’re tired of all this injustice that is happening. At any time it could happen to us. We’re teenagers, and we don’t know what’s gonna happen. We live in a neighborhood that’s not the greatest, so anything could happen. We’re scared. We’re scared for our lives. The teachers were like no, we don’t want you guys to go. We’re seniors, and they took away prom, but it doesn’t matter because we want to stand up for what we believe.

And our school is a school that teaches us something called “Facing History,” so we have to stand up for our rights, at the same time when we want to stand up for our rights they don’t let us. So it’s kinda hypocritical of the teachers, of the school that isn’t letting us do what we want to do. Around 100, 150 students walked out. Juniors, sophomores, freshmen, seniors, we all got people to come.

I personally thought of it, and then we started organizing it. I told them how to get out; what’s the process of getting out; how we were gonna do it; how we were gonna walk; so I got them organized.

How long did it take you to organize it?
One day!

High school student, Los Angeles
We were actually stopped from walking out, so we went around the security guard and went out the attendance office.

Did you plan this ahead of time?

How’d you do that?
By gathering all my peers, and telling them to walk out as well, for a good cause.

And why did they think it’s a good cause?
Because people are getting shot for no apparent reason.

Do you think this is going to have an impact? This took place all over the country.
I think it SHOULD have an impact. Because people get pulled over for dumb reasons. Just because you’re Hispanic, or Black, or because you have a hat on, or because of stupid stuff.

When you go back to school what are you going to tell your friends?
That you should have come and support the cause. More of us should have came and support the cause, because I think for a GOOD cause, because as we get older, we’re the ones that are going to have nephews, nieces, granddaughters, daughters, sons, everything, cousins, and you might never know. One of their lives can be taken instantly by the police, for a dumb reason... This [demonstration] is just a beginning.

High school student, San Francisco
What the cops are doing, killing all these people is wrong and it needs to stop. Most of them are unarmed. And there’s the mass incarceration. They are targeting young people of color, and it’s just not right. Recently my nephew was incarcerated for a month, and he has been on house arrest for eight months for something petty that he didn’t do. He’s an African-American male and what they did to him was wrong. They don’t help us. They just try to bring us down. It’s like another genocide. They can’t put us back in slavery, so they are just going to find a way to lock us up... We all need to stand up. We all need to say something. This can’t go on. Us as a whole, we are stronger than those who are trying to bring us down. If we all just come together we can stop it.

Latino student from a San Francisco high school
I’m a senior so I’m taking a big risk right now. I believe that it’s time to take a step to notify people that it’s not OK what’s happening and that we’re not blindfolded any more. These deaths are unjustified and can’t keep going on. I’m a youth. I’m Latino. I’m 17 years old and I’m tired of watching my brothers and sisters of a lot of races just go down like that. It starts me thinking, who is going to be next? Will it be a family member? One of my friends? I just can’t handle that anymore. We never know when it is going to happen with us. So it’s time to take a step in and put an end to this.

Young man in San Francisco holding a banner for Amilcar Perez and Alex Nieto (both killed by police in the last year
We all need to get together as one. It’s unity. That’s what’s going to stop this. Not just one person and not just one community. We all got to get together, the brown community, the Black community. Actually, all communities—the Asian community, the white community. If we keep on letting police kill people of one race, then it’s going to happen next to a person of another race. They shouldn’t wait for that. They should just join in today so we can stop this shit... They shot Amilcar Perez in the back. Alex, they fired more than 50 shots and hit him with 20. That’s outrageous... They are supposed to be here to serve and protect, not shoot us and kill us.

High school student, San Francisco
The day of April 14, I felt nervous. My friends and I were still deciding how and when we would walk out, but we were sure we were going to make it memorable. At 11, a group of us walked out of math class with our fists up saying “Black Lives Matter!” From there we felt ready to hit the streets. Starting at 24th and Mission, listening to the guy speak made me feel strongly about the cause. Then when we began marching together, I felt enormous vibes and unity. I felt powerful and like change is possible and near.

UC Berkeley student, at A14 action on campus
Several people have asked me, what are you doing, you’re just blocking Sather Gate, you’re just making students mad. And we’re like, no, look around, you see all these students standing around here? We’re raising solidarity... They say another “thug” was murdered, another “illegal alien” like myself crossed the border or something. What we’re doing is we’re dehumanizing people. We’re rationalizing whatever action we take against them. And that’s not OK.


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