At a Busy Transit Hub: Agitate, Agitate, Agitate—Organize, Organize, Organize

May 13, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a Revolution Club member:

The scene is a busy transit hub, with large numbers of people (mostly Black, some Latino) coming from work, and high school students getting out of school. We had been out here before in different ways in the past, but this time we came out with the orientation in the last issue of in short, agitate, agitate, agitate!—organize, organize, organize!

At many points in our time there (about two hours) we had scenes where most of our team was engaged in conversations with three to six different people who had stopped off of the agitation. There were some deep engagements on what an actual revolution is and why it is needed, and there was also a focus on the need for people to get organized into the revolution now. We were reading HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution (HWCW) with people, giving people assignments to spread the HWCW pamphlet or the cards of Bob Avakian’s talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!

There was one point when a woman we had just met, after talking with one of the revolutionaries, was given the mic and did some of her own agitation about why people need to wake up and look at what this system is doing to people.

There was another point when a religious fundamentalist was getting into a heated exchange with some revolutionaries and this got taken up in the agitation and got centered around this guy’s Dark Ages view toward women, and contrasting that with the values and approach of the revolution where women and men stand shoulder to shoulder in the struggle to emancipate humanity, and the need to break men out of this bullshit of wanting to dog and oppress women. This drew some people into standing with the revolutionaries or cheer us on, including a couple of young men from a high school.

There was another time when a Black man in his 30s came up to read the enlargement of HWCW that was being held by the agitator. He stood there reading it for a minute before saying, “You know, this isn’t going be peaceful.” As the agitator took him through some of the points in HWCW, about what an actual revolution is and why we need a revolution, he then said he had been in the military, and he has seen the way they fight and that he decided not to fight for them anymore, but that this force was part of what would be brought against people if there was an actual revolution. So we gave him a shout out in the agitation, telling people walking by how no one should be thanking the troops for their murderous service and instead people should uphold the examples of people like this who decide to break with this system and side with the people.

There were four times people got a copy of the book BAsics after being drawn in by the agitation and engaging with people. This includes one younger guy, high school age, who thumbed through the book on his own and read two quotes with one of the revolutionaries. He didn’t have the money for the book but we were able to show him how to download it online.

Another was a middle-aged man from another part of the world who is very politically aware and pays attention to what goes on in the world. He felt compelled by the need for revolution, but also saw the book in one of our boxes and asked “What is that?”

Another was a Nigerian woman who, when coming upon us, went straight to the donation bucket and dropped something in. When someone from the club approached her to ask why she donated, she said she had been an activist with Amnesty International, and that she has seen how bad things are, agrees we need some kind of revolution and that she even considers herself socialist. When the person from the club was showing her HWCW to be able to read some of it with her, this woman asked about the book that was in their hand and before too long that book was in her hand.

The other person who got BAsics was the vet (described earlier). He engaged for quite a while with one of the revolutionaries about a range of things, including what tasks he could take up right now to be part of working on revolution, and the role of spirituality in all this. When the club member read from BAsics the quote 4:1, he immediately decided he needed to get that book and so he did.

We don’t always have scenes like this where we are having bold revolutionary agitation AND deep engagements with people, AND where we are concentrating on ORGANIZING people, AND where we are able to get the leadership we have for this revolution right into people’s hands. This is part of what we are working on getting the right dynamism on, and in this case we hadn’t worked out exactly how to wield BAsics on the spot with people and get it in their hands as part of organizing them, but how this experience unfolded may point to some things about the potential for BAsics to really get out broadly in conjunction with this “Agitate/Organize” approach, and how there shouldn’t be artificial stages created between people responding on the spot to agitation, getting organized with meaningful tasks and ways to report back, and people getting into BA. That said, remember 1) To take the books out of the box!!! 2) When you’re holding the book and people see multiple copies, you do not need to “get to that part” or remember to reach into a bag to show them. Having multiple copies visible conveys to people that this is part of what we’re doing. We still have to do the work in the agitation (both in speaking to masses, and speaking to the ones and twos) as it is talked about in the “Agitate/Organize” piece, but this contributes to the scene. 3) We are still learning, so this is not “the model” and we should be trying things, sharing experiences and lessons, and seeking ways to break through with creativity AND radical simplicity.



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