Revolution Club Chicago:

Representing for the Revolution at the Bud Billiken Parade

| Revolution Newspaper |


From a member of the Revolution Club Chicago:

August 11 was the 89th Bud Billiken parade, an end of the summer back to school parade that draws people from throughout Chicago and beyond, and is the biggest Black parade in the city. What gets focused up for people on this day, and part of why it is such a big deal, is the question of what future for the youth, in a city where the oppression of Black people is as sharp and urgent as its history is long and ugly. This year it was happening right on the heels of a weekend of intense shootings and killings among the people who have the hardest life; a string of outrageous, cold-blooded murders by police and inspiring resistance that emerged especially in response to the murder of Harith Augustus; the major upcoming trial of Jason Van Dyke, the pig who murdered Laquan McDonald, as well as other high-profile exposures and legal battles around the criminality of the Chicago PD; and it comes the day before white supremacist KKK fascist thugs intend to run amok in DC for the anniversary of them doing the same in Charlottesville.

So the Revolution Club put out a call for people to come out this weekend to represent for the revolution at the parade, and also in DC. As our comrades were going to DC to represent for the revolution, we in Chicago were doing that here at the Bud Billiken parade. Putting the needs of the revolution to broad numbers of people provided the way to come out in even greater force here AND in DC. This included talking to everyone about everything, what both things had to do with How We Can WIN.

The roughly 25 people who formed our revolutionary presence, both in the marching contingent and an additional presence of a table and tent set up amidst the crowd, included neighbors to the Revolution Club Organizing Center who had passed and heard the buzz; people who came out and stood bravely against the attacks on the people after Harith Augustus’ murder; family of Aquoness “Quono” Cathery, who was murdered by Chicago police; family of Darius Pinex, also murdered by Chicago police; as well as core club members and supporters.

A large banner saying “The System Cannot Be Reformed. It Must Be OVERTHROWN!” framed our marching contingent, and a banner with faces of some of the thousands murdered by police held by the family of Quono along with enlarged portraits of Quono headed our motley-crew-turned-organized-force for revolution.

We chanted revolutionary chants to the throngs of people along the 10-block march who were sitting in chairs, barbecuing, and the like. At times people chanted right with us—people who would get right on the edge of the fence pumping their fists. There were people who we were marching by for only brief moments who learned and repeated chants such as “The system can’t be reformed. It must be overthrown!” and “How do we get out of this mess? Revolution—Nothing Less!”

Many people all along really connected with the message on the banners, and when we would periodically stop chanting to speak to the crowd about the 5 STOPS of why we need revolution, that we are organizing people now for that because we have a strategy and the leadership of Bob Avakian, and what is needed is to organize thousands into the revolution now. Some were particularly grabbed when we spoke about how in the wake of last weekend’s 70 or so shootings, many people are agonizing over the future for the youth and raising “stop the violence,” but we say “stop the violence and do WHAT?” and how this system has put people in this situation, and we need to direct the anger into the fight against the real enemy, not killing each other but making revolution.

Earlier as we started in the parade, this little boy yelled at us, “Y’all are gonna make my dreams come true.” I didn’t know what to think then but to smile. But when you think (this was mentioned in the agitation) about all the suffering and the killings just this past weekend, it can make it hard to go on. But the fact is we have a real way to stop it: the leadership of BA and the party he leads, the bright daring of the Revolution Club that people can hook up with from Day 1, and a vision of how to implement the society beyond masters and slaves already in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. Shit, that fact gives people the backing they need to fight for this world we can get to. Lol in people’s faces along the march who not only shouted but wanted to make known to us and people around them they were with it and the contingent itself marching and getting hype, too, reflected that. The banner of the stolen lives was heavy, and the family’s pictures of Quono... it was crazy to hear callbacks of people saying they were part of the family or shaking hands and pointing others to see it, too, as we marched. HWCW, palm cards for BA’s talk THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! and flyers to get hooked up with the club were distributed throughout the parade and at the table.

And we didn’t stop there. After the march, which was tiring as fuck, we stopped to catch our breath, mingle, eat a bit, and watch a battle of rival dance troupes before connecting with the people who had been at the table. On the way back, people were still barbecuing and enjoying the sun together. A beautiful sight in a city so damn desolate most of the time, with too many fearing letting their kids out to play because of the real shit the youth are caught up in, shooting each other during the summer; at least for the parade they put it to the side. When we got to the table, a small team walked back through the route of the parade to get out flyers. As they walked the route (even though many people had left by then because a heavy police presence had come in to clear the streets and make sure Black people were not allowed to gather for too long and enjoy themselves), they ran into many people who had seen us in the march and remembered what we were saying and dug it, wanting to get more info about the revolution. This was part of our goal, to bring together people who had been meeting and learning about the revolution, and to have a big impact that could draw more people to relate to the revolution. Another example of this: After we packed up and went to unload our supplies at our organizing center, a young woman came by to get more information. She said she had seen the office many times but never checked it out until she saw us that day at the parade.

Finally, a couple of shout-outs:

  1. Shout-out to Refuse Fascism Chicago, who also had a lively contingent in the parade and got out the important word about the movement to drive out this fascist Trump/Pence regime in the name of humanity.
  2. A “Cheers” to Vic Mensa. I didn’t know this until afterwards, but he was Grand Marshal of the parade this year and got into a confrontation with police who threatened him with arrest for re-entering the parade to join a contingent of activists holding a “Convict Van Dyke” banner. The contingent had been outrageously surrounded by so many police (for taking too long to march) that at one point an announcer introduced them as a CPD contingent. Cheers for not backing down in calling out these murderous police.

Revolution Club contingent at the Bud Biliken Day Parade. As pictured here, contingent included family of Quono who was murdered by Chicago Pigs earlier this year. (Photo: Special to

As the Revolution Club marches by, a row of onlookers get How We Can Win and read it on the spot. (Photo: Special to

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