Big Questions, Deep Engagement, and Beginning Organization Sparked by Carl Dix and Sunsara Taylor Tour at a State University in California

March 6, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Recently Sunsara Taylor and Carl Dix spoke at a State University campus in California. Below a member of the Revolution Club reports on the work to build for this, and gives their impressions of the dialogue at the event.

We had done weeks of outreach, from club and class announcements, fliering to putting up posters, and people were talking about being interested in going to the event but not committing to it. Days before the event, it was announced that there would be a 40 percent cut to the Ethnic Studies department. This was a major blow to the students and faculty causing protest; and put a whole different attitude towards people’s perspectives on real change and progress.

We fliered at the protest and one of the original strikers from the battle for ethnic studies in '68 announced at the rally that a lot of people protested in the '60s but that what they didn't do then was make revolution and that revolution is what is needed and invited them to hear Carl Dix and Sunsara Taylor at the upcoming event. The day of the event, there was a hip-hop and breakdance event at the plaza in support of the battle for Ethnic Studies. The original striker from '68 again called for students to go to the event with Sunsara Taylor and Carl Dix. Carl arrived; one of the people hosting the hip hop event asked Carl, "You are the speaker at the event right? You want to say something?" Carl spoke about fighting these same struggles in the '60s (how people shouldn't have to fight to learn this history, how it should be a given), how he doesn't want to live in a world where these same battles continue but actual creating a whole different world, the need for revolution and that there is a leader for that revolution, Bob Avakian, and also inviting people to dig into this by coming to the event.

Minutes before the event, members of the Revolution Club made an announcement about the event at one of the dining halls. We talked about the wars for empire and how one in three women will be raped in her lifetime saying, "That’s a billion women.” Three Muslim women came off of that. About 80 people came to the event and about 60 of them were students. It was a diverse group, people from the Black Liberation Movement, math majors, an Ethiopian student, a break dancer and a woman who recently arrived from China.

Everything that was said is not mentioned here but these are some of the key points given during the engagement as I recall them.

The questions were sharply posed by Sunsara and Carl, "Who are we to talk about a certain type of oppression if we ourselves have not experienced it?" Sunsara pointed out that it is important to know where it started, Carl even pointed out how it's important to operate from the framework of the place we are aiming for regardless of where we are at any given point in time (how that was BA's framework when he met him). Some of this came up in the question and answer where students asked, "Are you afraid of death?" "I've watched violent porn before and my friends still do but not all porn is like that so do you think all porn is sexist?" "What do you mean by BA looking at things from where we are going?" "Didn't previous revolutions get corrupted, doesn't power corrupt, is that human nature?" "Shouldn't we vote for Sanders; in regards to deportations can't he do better than Obama?"

Answers to these questions were very in depth. When asked, "Are you afraid of death?" Carl said that he thought about this when he was drafted to go to Vietnam and that he was more scared of becoming a mindless fighting machine for this empire than death. Sunsara said yes, all forms of porn are sexist because the portrayal of women has always been to dehumanize and degrade them. She says that nowhere in porn when a woman says NO! is that respected. She also talked about how in Bangladesh young girls are given hormones to develop and even if that is not what you see in everyday porn that is what is happening and this is what mainstream porn is causing. Sunsara, in regards to looking at things from what we are aiming for, talked about how in China, socialism was not reversed because “power corrupts” even though that is what most people are taught. Rather, there was a military coup that drove people back to capitalism. Additionally, there were mistakes made by the communists, e.g. not teaching enough Marxist theory and work towards a revolutionary road, and some in power thought it was a good idea to work with imperialist rulers. The person with the, "Are you afraid of death?" question participated in the, "Is that human nature?" question by saying humans are only born knowing how to suck and grasp everything else is taught by society. Sunsara said that was an important contribution but also that there is more to it than that, she talked about humans knowing how to organize themselves, and that people are taught through this system to only care about themselves but that in a socialist society, people's outlook changes and a "serve the people" ethos is adopted.

A New Theoretical Framework for a New Stage of Communist Revolution What is New in the New Synthesis? An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA; Understanding the World, And Changing It For the Better, In the Interests of Humanity Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud Order the book here Download the full interview in PDF format here

In the whole argument about voting for Sanders, Carl told people directly not to get played, that it’s not that the system needs your vote to do what they do but that they are going to do what the system needs to do. He gave the example that during the Vietnam War the U.S. imperialists had make a grand exit because soldiers were refusing orders and even at times killing their officers who tried to make them go out and fight a losing battle and because people here were protesting; promoting the need and righteousness of rebelling, going against business as usual. In regards to Obama being the commander and chief of deportations, he mentioned how Obama was going to be the president about positive change for immigrant people and yet he had deported more people than any other president so it’s not about who you vote for, its about what this system wants. The last point about why it is necessary to not vote for Sanders and not vote at all included letting students know that Sanders voted in support of the bombing of Gaza in 2014 by the Israeli military backed by the U.S. and that voting for him would not only grant your support of those types of horrors but also grant legitimacy to this illegitimate system.

Some people stayed for 3 1/2 hours. For those who left before the whole event was over, their comments ranged from enjoying how the speakers talked about different cultures, how they agreed with everything that the speakers said, one person didn't like how when one person in the revcom shirt would begin clapping others would follow which he felt gave the feeling of a “cult,” and the most necessary question at this point and time, “I liked everything that was said but how are we going to get more people involved?”

During the mingling time, mainly Black students and some Asian students stuck around. The discussion was aimed at the sex industry in different countries, how women have a different worth depending on where they are from, why people might have valid points but that is not the same as having the most accurate overall understanding, the analogy of Ebola was given to demonstrate how you want the answer that most corresponds to really treating the disease or problem, BA's comparing the pictures of the hanging to the depiction of women through porn, imagining a world without America (BAsics 3:1), how there are all these military bases across the world, the militarization of the border, the need for a Rev Club at this campus, being a part of building for the Stolen Lives tour and even having a stepping on the flag event when the Rev Club gets started because like Carl said during the tour, "We need a radical revolt against this revolting culture!"

Below are some of the comments left on the sign-up forms from the event:

23 yr. old student: I believe that we as people who are of different color, different gender, different ways on how we view the world need to come together in order to show people that the world ain't black and white—it’s made of many colors.  The only way we can come together as a group is by communication, cooperation and positive attitude.

20 yr. old student: Really interesting! I really appreciate the different problems and perspective that was discussed.

18 yr. old student: Very moving!!

18 yr. old student: Thank you!

47yr. old student: I am with All of Us or None and Transgender Injustice Project

18 yr. old student: I've been a feminist and maybe a socialist since I was in high school in China. This meeting made me excited.

35 yr. old student: Looking to learn more. I agree with most of the lecture.

30 yr. old worker: I look forward to learn more about B.A.

20 yr. old student: The Communism and socialism part should be elaborated since the concepts are new to people to study in such a favorable point of view.



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