A Day with the Revolution Club—Full of the Revolution We Are Urgently Working to Bring into Being

July 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

In the past week, the Revolution Club made a push to make revolutionary communism and the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian much more of an attractive pole, including on the South Side of Chicago, where if this were to be out there in a much more powerful way, growing and contending, it could have a real effect on the whole political terrain in the country... at a very crucial and politically explosive time nationally.

We started out this push with a potluck where the message from the Central Committee of the RCP, “Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution,” was read and the discussion got into the role of people getting it out. THIS is what we have focused on getting out in the thousands.

The Revolution Club has been posting up in neighborhoods where conflicts among the people and the murderous ways of the police are some of the sharpest in the city. It represented in the crowds at the Gay Pride Parade. It challenged rush hour commuters about the criminal reality of the red-white-blue rag (see “DO Try This at Home... Matter of Fact, We Will Tread on Your Nasty-Ass Imperialist Rag“) in the land of the thief and the home of the slave. The Revolution Club, together with families and friends of at least five loved ones murdered in cold blood by police, called out their crimes in front of the notorious 17th District Chicago pig sty right in the heart of Engelwood. This station was the home base of a serial killer in blue, Gildardo Sierra, and many other murdering and brutalizing cops. (See “Chicago Press Conference Demands: Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail.”)

Throughout the week, during informal and formal discussions at the potluck, during dinners, and in between outings, we returned to the message from the RCP Central Committee, in particular the question of how we intended to actually make the revolution it calls for, the kind of revolution it is, the leadership for this revolution, and the kind of responsibility that demands from each of us. We spent an evening watching parts of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and discussing what BA was saying about what goes into the emergence of a revolutionary situation, the strategy for revolution, and could we really win, really, when we got to that point. Another evening, while informally just hanging, one of the younger people brought up two quotes from BAsics to get into, which led to interesting discussion about what would it take to put the world revolution first for real and what breakthroughs in understanding did BA make on that really difficult problem.

Here I want to share with your readers just one of these days with the Revolution Club. It started out early in the morning in front of the Cook County Courthouse, which abuts Cook County Jail. This jail sits on 96 acres and holds 9,000–10,000 people. It is the biggest jail in the U.S. At the courthouse, there is a river of human beings being swallowed up by this unjust system, their lives ground up, their dreams crushed. Their families and loved ones go through the agony, too. As an April 14 New York Times op-ed by Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, the author of Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court, describes it straight out: “... [the] rottenness is not confined to the Police Department. Racist practices extend far into the criminal courts, indeed they are the very foundation of the cases that enter into the court system. The hands of many judges and prosecutors are just as dirty as the bigots in blue.”

So when a half-dozen members of the Revolution Club spread out at the base of the stairs leading into the courthouse, everyone took notice. Here was a multinational group calling on people to get organized for an actual revolution—letting people know that there was a way out of this madness. It was a challenge to the ugly day-to-day reality of what goes on in Amerikkka.

A veteran revolutionary agitated. Then a new Revolution Club member got on the mic and said, “We can do this, people, we can make a revolution.” And he challenged: “You’re not ready right now but we are here to get you prepared.” Over and over he told people, go to www.revcom.us to learn more. We had 900 copies of the RCP Central Committee message and ran out before leaving three hours later. More than 1,000 palm cards got out for the anti-4th of July picnic. And we were not giving flyers to pigs or court personnel who are there in droves, some taunting ... one even spitting as the song, “16 Shots and a Coverup” by local rapper Vic Mensa blared over the sound system.

This rally shows the potential for people to take up the “Time To Get Organized For an ACTUAL Revolution” message on their own and as their own, everywhere.

We heard from someone coming out of the courthouse that somehow there were copies of the RCP Central Committee message taped up in the courthouse bathroom stalls!!!

A steady stream of people got off buses and out of cars to head into the courthouse. A woman with a small child came over and asked a young revolutionary if he would hold her phone while she went into the courthouse where the guards hold your phone. She and others trust the revolutionaries she had never met. People confided to us about what they are facing. A young man in college caught a case for something he didn’t do and has spent almost two years on house arrest, his dreams ripped up. He mentioned in passing that his girlfriend is in the county hospital with sickle cell but there is a shortage of the medicine she needs and the hospital is trying to get it from Iowa! It just fills you with rage. I argued with him to stop saying he just has to trust god will somehow make it right and to get with the revolution. A young man with dreads cruised by, windows down, Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” filling the street. A coincidence? Five minutes later, there he was slowing, driving by, going in the other direction... same song blasting. The third time he cruised by we knew—this is not a coincidence, it’s a statement!

The crew headed to nearby Pilsen for lunch. Pilsen is traditionally a Mexican neighborhood, now also home to many artists and college students. In a Mexican restaurant, we were joined by more members of the Club and other revolutionaries. The Revolution Club T-shirts on the back declared in Spanish “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” Heads turned as the multi-national group filled a long table. The waitress smiled when a young Black club member said he loves horchata (a Mexican rice drink). Over the meal, we rehashed the morning.

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP is written with the future in mind. It is intended to set forth a basic model, and fundamental principles and guidelines, for the nature and functioning of a vastly different society and government than now exists: the New Socialist Republic in North America, a socialist state which would embody, institutionalize and promote radically different relations and values among people; a socialist state whose final and fundamental aim would be to achieve, together with the revolutionary struggle throughout the world, the emancipation of humanity as a whole and the opening of a whole new epoch in human history–communism–with the final abolition of all exploitative and oppressive relations among human beings and the destructive antagonistic conflicts to which these relations give rise.

Read the entire Constitution For The New Socialist Republic In North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP at revcom.us/rcp.

Then on to the nearby National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. We were there to appreciate and learn about the culture and art of the Mexican people and their descendants; especially important in light of the anti-immigrant sentiment being whipped up by reactionaries like Trump. We were all struck by the beauty and depth of what was in the art, some with direct political messages and other works that drew you in and made you ponder the culture and history of a people. One large painting showed vibrant, healthy native people in a celebration, maybe before a hunt, while faded pictures of descendants rose behind them, some in bondage, some with glittering chokers/necklaces on the pale outlines of their bodies, rising up to descendants who look like they could be resisters. A former prisoner helped me to appreciate all that was going on in this painting.

We were struck by maps showing how much of the U.S. used to be part of Mexico, and people took pictures to show friends. Questions arose—after the revolution, would we give this territory back to Mexico? We are going to read that part of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America to see how it approaches it. As we saw paintings of the Alamo—a hated symbol of oppression—we talked about Damián Garcia, a Chicano member of the RCP who was murdered in LA at the instigation of authorities a month after he stood on top of the Alamo, took down the American flag and raised the red flag in its place in 1980. His act at the Alamo became an international incident, an act beloved by many people in Mexico and their descendants in the U.S., and hated by the rulers of this country. We also came upon several prominent paintings in the museum’s permanent collection by Richard Duardo, a pivotal figure in the Chicano art scene who died in 2014. We recounted the story of how he came to create the image of BA so the world would know about this great revolutionary leader. This is the image on revcom.us, on T-shirts and in BAsics.

Revolution Club at Rise Up October

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While we were going through the museum, taking in the art, discussing things we were finding and learning... others were also observing the Revolution Club with growing curiosity. Who are these people? Here was a mixed group—Black, white, Latino—exhibiting a deep interest and appreciation for what is in the museum. A young Latina, working as a museum guide, quietly approached and asked, “Who are you?” Next thing I noticed was this young docent at her post, a copy of Revolution newspaper tucked in her arms.

It was a full day... full of the revolution we are urgently working to bring into being. This is the life and work of the Revolution Club that needs to grow and spread and be supported, financially and in many other ways, by all those who long for a different world.


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