Organizing at NYU:

How We Should Be Stepping

September 24, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader

A volunteer for Rise Up October/Which Side Are You On?/Stop Police Terror and I were going out for dinner near NYU and we stumbled upon a panel titled "THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT, RACIAL INEQUALITY, AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE UNITED STATES." We looked at each other and quickly realized we could not pass this up. We called the Rise Up October national office and had someone bring us materials.

The panel had already started but we were determined to intervene and organize people for Rise Up October. We listened closely. When the floor opened up for Q&A we raised our hands (high in the air). Eventually, I was picked to ask a question. I posed two questions and said something along the lines of: "I am firmly convinced that we cannot achieve any human rights under this system of exploitation and oppression—capitalism-imperialism. This is why we don't have the right to eat, the right to housing... And this is why we need a Revolution Nothing Less...." I then went on to briefly expose the role of white supremacy in shaping the rights that get enforced with brute force under this system.

The second part of my question put forward a challenge to the panel and the audience to get with Rise Up October. I said something along the lines of: "No change has ever come about without mass resistance and everybody who is sick and tired of this genocide has to act to stop it—this is why you have to get with and organize for Rise Up October/Which Side Are You On?/Stop Police Terror."

As I spoke a lot of heads were nodding—especially when I spoke about revolution.

One of the panelists spoke to my question and said: "I agree with your second point that no social change has ever come about without mass resistance. But, I don't agree with your first point about revolution." He then went on to explain that the rights that have been fought for (for the people) need to be implemented. 

Both before and immediately after the panel ended a lot of people came up to thank me for my comments. They said they agreed with what I had to say.

We talked with circles of people: challenged them to get organized and began to make plans for how to do so. We were invited to a “disorientation” event for law students and to an informal dinner (this weekend).

After the crowd thinned out, I went up to the panelist who spoke to my question. I posed Bob Avakian’s question of "Through which mode of production will any social problem be addressed?" and said if this system is fundamentally rooted on exploitation and oppression; and if rights are used to maintain and reinforce that system...why would we want any part of that?

The panelist went on to say that he's not for working within the system. But he's speaking to law students and they have to work to reinforce the laws that have been won for the people. I heard what he said. And then returned to Rise Up October/Which Side Are You On?/Stop Police Terror and said if you agree that no social change has ever come about without mass resistance then you need to get with Rise Up October and you need to organize your networks to be part of this powerful manifestation. He agreed and gave me his business card to follow up.

We learned a lot through this brief experience. And struggled with each other and others to get organized for Rise Up October. There's more to sum up, including sharpening up our agitation. But we thought it'd be important to share and as a contribution to how we should be stepping. 



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