Reports from the Field:

Anti-Memorial Day Picnics…BA Film Showing, NYC…Agitating at a Transit Hub

June 4, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


Anti-Memorial Day Picnics: Standing Against America—and Organizing for an Actual Revolution

New York City Memorial Day Picnic
Memorial Day Picnic in NYC

On Memorial Day weekend—when the whole country is supposed to be celebrating the “greatness” of this country and remembering the “sacrifice” of the troops who invaded and slaughtered around the world for this empire—people who want to overthrow this rotten system held “America Was Never Great—We Need Revolution” picnics in a number of cities. Revolution Clubs and people being newly drawn to the movement for an actual revolution came together to have fun and break bread—and at the same time this was part of the serious nationwide movement to organize for that revolution and to actively recruit people into its ranks.

New York City Memorial Day Picnic
Memorial Day Picnic in NYC

In the gathering at Marcus Garvey Park in New York’s Harlem, Club members gave lively examples of how they are going out all over to agitate to expose the system and call on people to get into the revolution—agitation, as the Club members said, that others can do themselves or by joining with the Revolution Club crews.

Chicago Memorial Day Picnic Memorial Day Picnic in Chicago.

At the Chicago picnic on the lakefront, Club members did a full reading of HOW WE CAN WINHow We Can Really Make Revolution, the strategy for this revolution, now being distributed, grappled with, and acted on across the country. According to a report from the picnic, one young man who came “was more seriously thinking about revolution by the end of it. He had been part of protests against police murder and as a child had been involved in or very close to the street life. He liked that this was about actively standing up against the crimes of this system, but in particular that it was not just about one kind of people but about humanity, about fighting this system for real.”

On this disgusting holiday for this bloody empire, a big theme of the revolutionary anti-Memorial Day picnics and other activities that weekend was “Thank You for Your Service? HELL NO! Fuck You for Your Service!” In Chicago, the Saturday before the picnic, the Revolution Club disrupted the “wreath-laying ceremony” that usually opens the big Memorial Day parade by kneeling on the American flag and chanting “1, 2, 3, 4, Slavery, Genocide, and War; 5, 6, 7, 8, America was NEVER great!”

Revolution Club Chicago disrupts Memorial Day ceremony.

Los Angeles Memorial Day Picnic
Memorial Day Picnic in Los Angeles

At the Los Angeles picnic, a Club member who is an Iraq War vet pointed to Bob Avakian’s quote “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives” (BAsics 5:7) and talked about how “That is the orientation we got to take up if we’re going to get to an emancipatory society where we could actually throw off these shackles of oppression the United States brings down on people on a daily basis.” In New York, a young man made sure to wipe his feet on the flag when he stepped up to speak at the open mic.

A report from the New York picnic noted, “It was important to find the ways for people to express their unity with this revolutionary message, to cross the threshold and actually join this in beginning ways, whether through call-and-response chants/agitation, holding a sign, helping with set-up, bringing food, speaking out on the open mic, signing a banner, or being part of the group picture we did at the end.”  [back to top]

Some lessons from agitating and organizing on the basis of the strategy for revolution

Agitating and organizing at a transit hub

Last week, the Revolution Club went out to a busy transit hub. One person got on the microphone and started off speaking to some of the immediate outrages of this system, like what the Trump/Pence regime is doing to immigrants and how that is part of the functioning of this system and that we don’t have to live in a world like this. He grabbed the attention of one or two people as he talked about how the idea of voting to change this is an illusion, that what is needed is to overthrow this system, and how people stepping in to go to work on this revolution now is what needs to be done to get to the point where millions could be led in an all-out fight with a real chance to win. There was a dynamic that got going where some people were listening to him, others were stopped by hearing him and then entered into conversations with some of the other comrades there, getting copies of HOW WE CAN WIN––How We Can Really Make Revolution.

One person, who listened a bit and then said he had to go pick up his son, ended up in a serious discussion of making revolution, including wrestling with how the youth in the street life could be challenged in a serious way to step forward into doing this, and some of the real work the Revolutionary Communist Party has done to understand how to fight in a way that could deal with the strength of the enemy, and what we are doing now and need to do now—including himself—to advance the revolution now. He went through part of How We Can WIN and watched BA Through the Years, and ended up putting off picking up his son for an hour. He said he saw this as very real and that it could get somewhere and compared it to how the Black Panther Party started with a few but it caught hold. He had ideas for people he wanted to go take this to, and we made preliminary plans for getting some people together to get into this.

Part of the dynamic at this place was that the more some people stopped to listen, others wanted to find out what was going on. At one point, a woman who had met the Revolution Club somewhere else two weeks before and is starting to get into this, came to join up with the team. At the same time, a high school student who was attracted to the idea of doing something good for the people grabbed a stack of How We Can WIN and started passing them out. As the two of them passed out How We Can WIN next to each other this was another dynamic factor, drawing more people to reach out to grab a copy or stop and listen to the agitation. People were also coming over to look at the visual displays of the 5 Stops.

5 Stops Display at transit hub

Afterwards, we gathered together to sum up our experience, including the woman who had come to join in. We used the Observations article to help us. It says there, “Every time we go out we should be including people first getting involved in mass summations—teaching people basic scientific methods by summing up how what we did today or this week contributed to preparing the ground, preparing the people and preparing the vanguard—getting ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win. What did we learn, what mistakes do we need to learn from and correct, and—very importantly—what advances did we make that we have to get up on the website right away so the whole national movement for revolution can learn from it and the whole process is hastened and accelerated.”

One thing we summed up is that we had created a scene where it was coming across clearly to people that they were being called on to take part in something. And it was also pretty clear that the “something” they were being enlisted into was related to making an actual revolution to overthrow this system. We at least were able to say, in summing up what we knew of the thinking of particular individuals we interacted with, which people understood that we were really working to make an actual revolution and who were the people attracted to a serious force that is actually DOING SOMETHING about what is happening to people, but not necessarily clear yet on what that something is.

We summed up that the agitation being done was overall good, but that it could still be honed. In particular, we identified the need to get better at showing not just the intolerability of the 5 Stops, but why they are UNNECESSARY, how they are a result of the workings of this capitalist-imperialist system, that revolution really is the solution to that, and we have a battle plan we are implementing now to get to a point where millions really could be led to go all-out with a chance to win.

We also summed up that we can further develop a situation where people ARE actively enlisted on the spot by working more consciously to bring people together to listen to the agitation being done over the loudspeaker and interact collectively with that, rather than hearing a piece of the agitation and then splitting off into individual discussions.

One thing we talked about doing, but did not actually do, is write a report about this right away to send in to as is emphasized in the last part of that paragraph above about getting important experiences on the website right away so the whole national movement for revolution can learn from it and the whole process is hastened and accelerated. We are writing in now, but want to recognize and point out that this kind of reporting is really needed in real time to contribute to advancing the whole thing—which means not just looking at what we are doing in any particular area, but thinking as strategic commanders with the whole revolution in mind.

Finally, for now, there are a couple other points that are important to draw from this experience, and the experiences we’ve been having since then. One is that it is important to speak in the agitation to what is in the first paragraph of “What We Need To Do Now” in HOW WE CAN WIN addressing the first question that comes to mind for anyone who is seriously thinking about revolution: “To make this revolution, we need to be serious, and scientific. We need to take into account the actual strengths of this system, but more than that its strategic weaknesses, based in its deep and defining contradictions.” It matters to be able to speak to the fact that what we’re up against is not all-powerful, that in fact it does have strategic weaknesses and we can understand this and act on it.

The other thing that is vitally important, to end where this report began, is that the leadership of BA comes clearly through in the agitation and in the immediate discussions with people. The new communism IS a game-changer, and BA’s leadership is the biggest strength we have. People need to know this and they need to know BA directly right away. Showing BA Through the Years, using BAsics and selling copies of it, getting into parts of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, all are important ways people can engage BA right on the spot and get a whole other level of understanding of what this revolution is all about and the leadership we have.  [back to top]



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