In the neighborhood with the BA Everywhere... "Damn... I never thought of it like that before."

June 29, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Dear Revolution,

I got to go out with youths from the Revolution Club Summer this past weekend as part of the BA Everywhere Summer Solstice and I want to share two discussions and some observations I had that I thought people could learn from.

First, I was on a mission to show people a clip from the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion. It’s easy sometimes when you’re talking to people about revolution to get caught up in just answering what they raise. And while it’s important to listen to and learn from people, it makes a big difference if they’re able to encounter and take in BA directly. There’s just no one like him in terms of really laying bare that the problem is this system of capitalism-imperialism, the reality and serious potential of revolution and raising people’s sights to a whole better world that is possible. But it can also take a struggle for people to commit—on the spot—to really taking the time for this.

I talked with a middle-aged Black man who stopped when I handed him a palm card for the Dialogue and said this is about a movement to make a revolution and we’re out here spreading the word, and raising funds to spread the word more, about the leadership we have for that revolution in Bob Avakian. Did he want to watch a clip of BA talking about what this revolution makes possible from this Dialogue? He looked at the palm card and agreed we needed a revolution, he said he didn’t want to take the time right then to watch the clip but talked positively about the need for people to wake up and come together. I told him this was a part of it, but a revolution is when a revolutionary people in their millions meets, defeats, and dismantles their whole state power and repressive apparatus when conditions come into being to make that possible. I said that we are right now working on a strategy for revolution and a big part of that is for people to know about, and get into, the leadership we have for that revolution in BA and the Party he leads, and involving people right now in carrying out this strategy, in bringing forward others who are getting more deeply into this themselves and bringing forward even more people. That people coming forward into this revolution and taking it out to others is a key part of working to bring closer the time when we can go all out to make revolution. And I repeated to him one of the slogans that concentrate the strategy for revolution: “Prepare the ground, prepare the people, and prepare the vanguard—get ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all out, with a real chance to win.” He said he liked how that sounded.

I repeated that the best way to introduce him to this was for him to watch a clip of BA. He again declined but continued to engage the discussion. He said if we were serious, we had to figure out how to defend ourselves against the state—they’ll come after people who speak out, and they especially come after the leaders. And he cited examples throughout history. I agreed with him and told him this was a very important insight, that they do come after our leadership, but two things: 1) they’re not all powerful; and 2) it is all of our responsibility to come forward to protect and defend our leadership. Right now, we have a leader in BA who comes along very rarely. I said that he’s given his whole heart and life and abilities to the masses of people, that he’s developed a strategy, vision, and concrete framework for how to make a real revolution and emancipate humanity. He is very precious and is someone this system has gone after before, is going after now in different ways, and will go after even more intensely in the future—it is on us to build a real wall of people saying he shouldn’t be fucked with.

The man was hearing me in all this but still didn’t really have a sense of what I was saying. I said again, “Look, the best way for you to have any idea of what I’m saying is to get introduced to BA himself and watch this video clip.” He said, “Maybe some other time, I’m in a crazy space right now,” and went on to explain how he’s juggling real financial difficulties, personal problems, that he might be on the verge of homelessness and he hadn’t been able to take a shower so felt embarrassed standing here and talking to me for so long. I said that I appreciated what he was saying but part of how this system maintains its power is that the very people who most need this revolution have real obstacles in getting into this revolution because of the chaos and conditions of their life; this system works hard to keep everyone’s head down and sights lowered just in the struggle for survival. BA has flipped that around and argued that the very things that make it difficult for people to get into the revolution are some of the very reasons we need the revolution... and be determined to lift our heads above the chaos and bullshit and get into it. I argued that he was hearing me out right then and there and his sights were lifted in a way they hadn’t been, right? He agreed. Instead of walking away with good intentions to get more into this that get swallowed up later, just take the time now to get introduced to this in a way that us talking isn’t going to do. At that point, he agreed and watched all seven minutes of the clip from BA titled “What If...?” from the Dialogue. He was very moved and responded vocally throughout.

Right after he watched it, his phone rang and he had to rush off to meet someone, but he thanked me for showing him that and took a small stack of palm cards to get out to others. I also told him about the website and what it was, and where he could see us regularly. I emphasized that he was needed in this revolution right now to work on making revolution.

The second exchange I had was much shorter and speaks to the need, and importance, of sharply challenging people’s fucked up assumptions and thinking. A young Latino man walked by and took a palm card and paused for a quick second, which gave me a chance to ask him what he thought of what I’d just said, that “we are building a movement for revolution and are out here to let people know about the leader we have for that revolution, Bob Avakian.” He said he didn’t know what he thought, that “I’m just focused on myself, I gotta do for me and my family.” I said, in a friendly but serious way, that was not just fucked up, but actually impossible. I asked him who he thought made his clothes. He said he didn’t know. I asked if he knew what sweatshops were and he did. I explained that his clothes are made in sweatshops by people all over the world like Bangladesh and Indonesia, Vietnam and, other places. And I said there was actually a major fire last year in a sweatshop in Bangladesh which killed over 100 women who were sewing things just like the T-shirt he was wearing. He said that was fucked up.

I then asked him if he knew who farmed his food. He said he didn’t. I said a lot of the food he eats comes from Mexico, where children spend all their days working in the hot fields. I went on, “You think you’re just doing for self, but what you’re actually saying is I’m going to live off all these people all around the world who are working in slave-like conditions and I don’t give a fuck.” He was quiet for a second and I asked him what he thought of what I just said. He answered, “Damn, I never thought about it like that before.” I went on that things are the way they are because of a system of capitalism-imperialism, but that system can be overthrown through revolution and a whole different world brought into being. I said briefly that this leader I mentioned, BA, has developed a strategy and vision to make a revolution so that all that can change, so we can emancipate humanity. Essential in this strategy is involving people now. He said he felt like he had to find out more and that he had to go but would go to the website. He also thanked me for talking to him. I don’t know where exactly that person will end up, but it made me appreciate how most people never have their thinking challenged in this kind of way. It’s not that everyone will be open to it but, 1) we’re never going to make a revolution with people’s thinking the way it is; and 2) if you can actually provide evidence for what you’re arguing, many people are open to having their thinking shaken up.

A final observation: we’re in a city where there aren’t a lot of people on the street most of the time, but we still decided to march through a residential area. This looked good: the Revolution Club all in their BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts announcing to everyone who could hear, “We are the revcoms, the mighty mighty revcoms!” While it didn’t look on the surface like we were having an impact (because there were very few people out on the street), later that day as the sun started to set, a number of people stopped at a nearby corner and excitedly said they’d seen us. They had either driven by or peered out of their windows. This underscored the importance of really stepping out consistently as an attractive revolutionary force.

There will be a lot more to learn and share by carrying the new, different and exciting orientation put up on revcom on Monday [June 22], “In the wake of the Charleston Massacre... Getting Organized for an Actual Revolution.”


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"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 younger generation 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.