Film Showing at Church Provokes Discussion and Debate:

“There was so much packed into the talk.”

March 19, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

This past weekend, a group of 17 of us gathered in the sanctuary of a local progressive church to watch BA’s film THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible.

About half the audience was from the church and the other half came off of Refuse Fascism building for the showing. There is social significance in the quality and breadth of people who came, as we learned from the comments and discussion after the showing.

In response to revcom’s call to show BA’s film to a wide circle of people in society, I made a cold call to this Christian church that has a history of anti-racism and pro-LGBT activism. It is also known for its philosophy of inclusion of different religions, sexual orientation, and progressive political perspectives. After hearing the contents on the film’s palm card, some church members volunteered to help organize the event.

At the showing, one of the volunteers gave a brief welcome, and an introduction to the film and BA was given by a supporter of BA’s new synthesis. We watched the hour-long speech, plus a section of Q&A #1 on “if successful in driving out...” and a section of Q&A #3 on “as a revolutionary Christian...” One of the most audible responses was to BA’s comment on why they (e.g., mainstream media) don’t ever ask Pence how old the Earth is; and when BA said if people voted for Trump, they are OK with his racism, which makes them racists.

The audience closely watched the film and Q&As. In the discussion, people expressed a lot of anxiety and urgency about the state of the world with the Trump/Pence regime, even as many were coming at it politically as Democratic Party followers and therefore still had much faith in electoral politics. Several people expressed being pro-Bernie, and one argued strongly for the 2018 elections.

One church member commented that “Rarely have I seen the term Christian fundamentalist used, and who Trump’s base is, these elements of Christian fundamentalists. I agree that white nationalism is the basis of this fascism and is rooted in Christian fundamentalism that further creates deep divisions in this nation, and that it was already there. Black preachers who are successful and in the spotlight have not disavowed any of it. I stand on shoulders of others such as Malcolm X who was religious and turned his life around, and Nat Turner. Communists are atheists; what role [is there] for people of faith to contribute to this movement?”

Another church member said she was familiar with everything BA talked about. She said that after the November elections, someone came in with the 12 points of fascism and they discussed them. Another church member chimed in that she was concerned because it was not helpful right now to just talk about these issues, including revolution, without “talking politics, negative politics,” as she put it, referring to the criticisms made of the Democrats. She went on to say we had to really mobilize people to pressure their congressmen to prevent the criminalizing of anyone calling for boycott campaigns against Israel—she had just returned from the California Democratic Party convention. When asked about specific points made by BA with regard to the difference between leadership of the Democratic Party and people like herself, she agreed. She wanted to get back into the film. She spoke passionately about how the ground is being cut from under us with this regime, and the urgency to act, and was frustrated that groups were not working together more.

Another person said, I am glad to hear him say you have to work in coalitions. I am from the ’60s generation when people said the revolution was coming. Does Refuse Fascism work with others like Our Revolution, Bernie Sanders, MoveOn, various things trying to bring folks together?”

Someone from Refuse Fascism made a couple of comments during the discussion. He shared with them that he “was a Berner but I’ve lost all hope in the system. I work with people who vote, don’t brush them aside or not work with them. From my own perspective, [the] system [was] built the way it is, not built for us. At the Democratic National Convention, when Bernie did not walk out, that was the moment for the revolution and it didn’t happen. They robbed us, stomped us down—once again. I voted for Jimmy Carter, but I have evolved. I agree with what BA says about the system, we can’t fix it or work within it.” He went on to challenge people in the room: “Look, if we don’t drive out this regime and work for that, all the hard work you are doing to stop the different things like the attacks on health care, the criminalizing of calling for boycotts vs. Israel, we will be rolled over,” emphasizing humanity and the planet.

Several people expressed curiosity as to what BA meant by revolution. One person commented, “Bernie voted for every war. I oppose war and violence all over the world. Humanity’s got a huge problem and needs revolution but has to affect consciousness. I am concerned with all injustices. Electoral process is corrupted, doesn’t matter who runs, nothing will change. I am concerned with BA’s concept of revolution; as he said, in order to revolt, it is a serious matter requiring sacrifices, and you have to have a significant majority.”

One person was very excited about the film. He said BA made so many important points, like the GTF [Great Tautological Fallacy], and as he was trying to wrap his mind about one point, BA was onto the next, that there was so much packed into the talk. We wholeheartedly agreed and encouraged him to go back and watch the film again, including all the Q&As. He was very glad to hear that it was online and he could watch it at his own pace. Throughout our discussions, we would bring people back to the content of the talk, referencing points made by BA so people would go back to watch the talk or the Q&A sections.

There was lively discussion and debate that was provoked by the film and the situation we are confronted by and what to do about it; everyone welcomed and appreciated the controversy and discussion.

This experience shows the kind of wide audience that needs to encounter BA’s speech and engage. It was important that the church hosted this showing. Some of the church volunteers had seen the film before the group gathering, and knew that BA was a contended question (including among church members), but united over the need for this film being seen by others with a spirit and insistence to make it happen based on their own expressed sentiment that “what unites us is greater than what divides us.” We shared copies of BA’s official biography and “BA: A Contended Question” with everyone at the showing.

Refuse Fascism volunteers are going to follow up with the church members about having another showing of the talk and Q&A and to work together with Refuse Fascism to drive out this regime.

As the February article on revcom stated: “Some people will just want to digest it and think it over. They may or may not spread it through social media or talk to friends about it... but whatever they do or don’t do immediately, it’ll be circulating in their minds as things continue to develop. Don’t underestimate the importance of that. Others are going to want to get active in Refuse Fascism—make sure that they have a way to do that. Try to find a way to stay in touch, even with those who are ‘too busy’ right now to get active.”


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