"If you care about the horrific state of the world, if you yearn for humanity to be free, you are in the right place"

Fundraising Dinners Across the Country Kick Off BA Everywhere Campaign for 2016

April 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


If you care about the horrific state of the world, if you yearn for humanity to be free, you are in the right place.

With these words, people were welcomed to dinners held around the country the weekend of March 19 to kick off the BA Everywhere campaign for 2016. BA Everywhere is a mass campaign to involve hundreds and thousands of people in working together to raise the big money necessary to make Bob Avakian (BA), his work, and leadership known to millions here and around the world.

The dinners brought together people of all nationalities, ages, and backgrounds to break bread together and to experience a program that challenged, inspired, and provoked people to see just what a tremendous thing it is for the people of the world to have this revolutionary leader, Bob Avakian. The dinners aimed to build community, raise funds, and inspire new efforts to bring BA and his revolutionary vision and work to people everywhere... everywhere that people are questioning why the world is the horror that it is, everywhere that people are raising their heads and fighting back—because BA and the new synthesis of communism is what is needed for the emancipation of humanity, for people to transform themselves and to radically change the world.

“We can change the whole world together with people all over the world.” This is a bedrock understanding of the revolutionary potential of the masses of people that Bob Avakian has been working on all these years. And, he has kept at it, making breakthroughs in the revolutionary theory the masses of people need to make the revolution they need.

Building off of these opening words, the presentation given at the dinners walked people through who BA is and how the work that he has been doing provides people all over the world with the science and pathways to free themselves—through revolutionary struggle—from the oppression, degradation, and ignorance that the vast majority of humanity has been subjected to for centuries. The presentation talked about the 40+ years of work BA has done, building on the work of the great revolutionary leaders like Marx, Lenin, and Mao, deeply summing up and synthesizing the pathbreaking positive as well as the negative lessons from the first socialist revolutions of the 20th century, and bringing forward a new synthesis of communism that breaks with conventional thinking and opens up a new vision and understanding of how to emancipate humanity:

We … can say without hesitation that BA is the Marx of our time. This is why BA must really be everywhere.

People at the dinners got to experience BA himself. Through watching video clips and hearing excerpts from his important new work, The Science, The Strategy, The Leadership for An Actual Revolution, And A Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation, people were able to get a small taste of his revolutionary passion and scientific approach, his humor, and the way that he connects deeply with people but also provokes them to think in a radically different way about why the world is the way it is and how a different and liberating future is possible.

The responses and discussions that this program provoked in the different gatherings across the country give a sense in microcosm of what it can mean to get BA out into the world on the broad scale that is truly needed—what can get opened up when BA is put before people and how it can change the whole terms of the discussion. The video clips of BA speaking challenged people to look at things differently than how they’d been seeing them. A few examples:

* A young Black woman who had seen BA Through the Years—a short compilation video that shows BA speaking in the 1960s, through his development as a revolutionary leader to the current times—said, “I have never heard anybody say that they have a plan and vision to get rid of this and I am interested in knowing about that.” It really struck her that he has been working for revolution for going on 50 years, that someone who was a revolutionary as a young man is still a leader and still fighting for revolution. She was moved to want to get some of the people together that she lives with and do a showing of one of BA’s films, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live! as well as REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN.

* A progressive journalist from another country who has been reading BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, said she was so happy to have made it to the event and to have learned more about BA. What struck her was how clear and uncompromising he is on what the problem is, and what has to be done about it, and she was struck by the confidence he has that people can understand all this and take it up. She said: “I have read Lenin, Trotsky, all of them, but this is different. He is embracing humanity. People in other countries need to know this.” She immediately started thinking about other people who need to engage his work and get involved with this campaign.

* A man around the movement for revolution commented on watching the clips that “not everyone in the movement is trying to go on the same path. There are different doors. One door is modifying the system, changing the existing system from within.” But because of BA he has been enlightened to know that there is another door—that if you go through it, it will give you an understanding of why the world is the way it is and how it could be changed, that you can’t modify the system, that it needs total change. “You have to contrast and think about these two doors,” he said. People don’t even know that there is this other door. This is precisely what BA Everywhere is seeking to change, so people increasingly know about this radical alternative.

* A young woman said she was struck by the way BA sharply takes on the use of the word “bitch,” but said she had not thought about the ways that he connects the use of that word to the situation of the oppressed. What he said about how people are conditioned to think in certain ways really resonated with her. She was commenting on an excerpt from BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! in which BA talks about the need for a radical revolt against a revolting culture. Another young woman, remarking on the same clip, said she hadn’t realized just how deep the degradation and oppression of women went, and how it’s so ingrained in the culture. She said that she herself has used some of the same patriarchal terms he talks about, like “man up,” not realizing or thinking about what it means. She said that she cannot fathom what would happen if people began to understand what BA is saying, and what a great thing that would be for revolution.

The discussions were vigorous. A veteran of the 1960s said that he sees the importance of getting BA and his new synthesis known to many, many people—in particular, BA’s “solid core with a lot of elasticity, based on the solid core.” But he expressed doubts that putting “too much emphasis” on this one person could lead to failure if for some reason he is no longer with us. Two young women who are students joined the discussion. One drew on the “Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and in particular on the importance of BA’s emphasis on “for whom and for what” this is all about. People got into how key the scientific method that BA has further developed is—and the great need for masses of people to be trained in and applying this method and on that basis become leaders themselves. And how can we do this if the millions of people who need this leadership don’t even know who BA is, and what he has brought forward, and how can they have his back and defend him if they don’t even know he exists?

The presentation challenged people to think beyond the bounds of the current suffocating atmosphere and see the possibilities of how things could change if BA and the new synthesis of communism were out there in the swirls of debate going on throughout society:

Imagine the difference if a new generation of young people around the globe actually had real hope in the future—hope and daring rooted in a scientific understanding of the potential for revolution that exists in the sharp situation we face—in the very contradictions of the system itself. Think about the difference in the whole atmosphere if people were thinking not about how I can get “mine” at the expense of everyone else, but instead were inspired with a morality of the “whole world comes first” and being a fighter for the emancipation of humanity—two of the cornerstones of the vision and work of BA.

Big money needs to be raised to make this vision real, to get BA out into all different sections of society, and realize the potential described above. A call was made for a movement of house parties where people all over the country gather their friends and family, raise funds, show clips of BA films—and let people experience BA for themselves. The launch of this movement is planned for the weekend of April 22-25.

The build-up to these dinners raised funds and led to actual engagement with BA. Groupings of immigrants made tamales and ceviche to sell. At one of the dinners, a Latina woman read a statement about working together with other women to make tamales, discussing BA’s new work as they assembled them, and then reaching out to the campuses to sell them, to challenge the students to donate and let them know that there is support for the BA Everywhere campaign from among the immigrants. A statement was also read from a Black man who had been part of a penny jar project where 18 people in the neighborhood had pooled their pocket change and reached out to others to raise funds for BA Everywhere. (See statements in column at right.)

A man very active in the environmental movement was moved to donate. He said that while he hasn’t read a lot of BA’s works, he has come to see that there needs to be a major systemic change in the world. He agonizes that he does so much but accomplishes so little because to actually solve all the problems with the environment would take something like a revolution. He was drawn to start reading the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by BA, because it looked to him that this plan is comprehensive and serious.

The dinners marked a step in the ongoing and much-needed efforts to involve different sections of society, including students, academics, intellectuals, and activists. Those involved in the BA Everywhere campaign are also learning through the process, not only about the mood of the people but also correct methods and approaches.

One person commented on different ways of approaching people. Remarking that he previously had been satisfied with an “exchange of ideas,” he contrasted this with proceeding from and being grounded in what is true and needed, and on that basis, struggling with people that they really need to engage with BA and his work for what it is, the pathbreaking work and leadership necessary to give humanity a fighting chance at emancipation. In particular, in talking with an academic he has known for a while, who is agonizing over the state of the world including mainstream electoral politics, he struggled for the fact that “it is not simply a question of not voting but of working for something radically different and fundamentally more liberating—the emancipation of all humanity.” He made the case that it was high time the professor joined him in watching BA together, to really get into who BA is and what is so emancipatory about the new synthesis.

The presentation at the dinners invited people to be part of the BA Everywhere campaign and spoke to how this kind of engagement and struggle with people is at the heart of the campaign:

If you are at this dinner today and if you feel that others need to hear what you’ve experienced today, you can and need to be a part of BA Everywhere. Yes, there’s going to be and there really needs to be a big ideological struggle in society about this new synthesis—because this is so radically different than how people have been taught to think about the world. Yet, just because this is a struggle does not mean that many people can’t be won to be involved in this campaign—and be won to see the importance of BA being known, discussed, and debated. Why? Because the questions raised by what’s concentrated in BA Everywhere are questions that a tremendous number of people have, but yet are not a part of what is discussed and debated throughout society.

While the dinners, as a whole nationally, did not meet the campaign goals quantitatively in terms of donations and attendees, and qualitatively in terms of representation from different sections of the people, they gave a sense of the potential that we can and have to realize to get BA Everywhere. Those of us who have and are getting a sense of who BA is and what he represents, or can see what a difference it makes, have to take up this “great need” and challenge—at a moment of great agonizing among sections of people over the state of the planet and humanity, and an electoral circus ranging from fascistic lunacy to promises of a political revolution for a vote and a $27 donation.

The movement of house parties showing films of BA speaking that is being envisioned for the weekend of April 22-25 is part of an effort to expand the BA Everywhere campaign geometrically—introducing many more people to BA and raising significantly more funds.

Each of these films can open up a window for people to get a sense of who BA is and of the sweeping and provocative analysis he brings of why life for billions of people on this planet is a living nightmare and how, through communist revolution, there is the possibility of an emancipatory future for humanity. In these films he both connects deeply with the people and also challenges them.

Gather your friends and family to sit down and watch the films and ask them to donate funds. Or if you’re new to this, work together with someone who knows more about BA and figure out a plan to get some people together to watch the films and get into it. To get involved contact the BA Everywhere Campaign: (917) 741-6716, BAEverywhere@gmail.com.



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