Two Snapshots on Response of Students in South Loop to the New Film

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Columbia College

A team went to a downtown college in Chicago to build for the preview of the new film of a talk by Bob Avakian, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Could Really Make Revolution this coming weekend.

The building for this preview is also taking place during the trial of Jason Van Dyke, the pig who murdered Laquan McDonald in 2014 and whose murder was covered up by both the cops at the scene as well as the CPD brass and Mayor Rahm Emanuel for over a year until the video of Van Dyke shooting Laquan 16 times in less than a minute was released to the public—sparking weeks of protest against police murder and brutality.

The team had a large poster announcing the previews (there are two in Chicago) and also a poster exposing the murder of Laquan—Justice for Laquan! Convict Van Dyke! The Whole Damn System Is Guilty! From the slave catchers, to the KKK lynch mobs, to the heavily armed police of today this system has always terrorized the masses of Black people as a whole.

A Few Examples of the Impact of Building for the Previews in the Context of the Trial of Jason Van Dyke

One person, a white kid from a military family, was talking about how he could see some of the outrages committed by some of the police killings, but he didn’t agree with everything we were saying. While we were talking, a woman student and one of her classmates came up and she started in: “In October 2014—I wrote a poem about Laquan McDonald being murdered. ‘Sixteen shots.’”

She began breaking down to the white kid and the Black kid about Laquan. “It was covered up for a year including by Rahm Emanuel. We had big protests for days. Everyone knew about Laquan. It made a big difference that a famous rapper like Vic Mensa had written a rap about it.” She said this film is right on time. She and her classmate took pluggers to get out at the school and ran off.

At another corner, another student from the same school came up. She had gotten the plugger for the film and the flyer about Laquan and she came up and said, “I want to thank you for this. I will come to the film this weekend. What you are doing and saying about Laquan McDonald is so true and it is really good, and really positive and really important. I want to be part of this. Yes, I think there needs to be a revolution. Not just because of Laquan. There is all this terror against Black people. And people killing each other. And no one knows what to do. You have a solution. I get mad at people who complain and then they don’t do what they could to solve it. Like they hate this but they didn’t vote, you can’t complain if you don’t vote. But I will be part of this and build for this film.”

South Loop

I was struck by the percentage of students who stopped to talk about this film and on some level were drawn towards its message. I got contact info from 11 people, but it wasn’t like I had handed out many hundreds of pluggers to meet these folks. I don’t think I got out 100 total the whole afternoon. And there was a level of seriousness among those who stopped. Over and over, when asked how serious is the situation we face, they would say something like “15 on a scale of 10” or another student said, “my parents say this is the worst ever in their lifetimes.”

And the sense of extreme seriousness was generally accompanied by an openness to—a looking for—big, radical solutions, like revolution. A number of the people I talked to said straight out that voting wasn’t going to solve this—the problem was with the whole system. One young woman who started out saying she was going to vote was shocked when I asked her “why?”—like voting was just a given. But when she tried to answer why, she started saying things like “I know this hasn’t really changed things for centuries” and pretty soon she had talked herself out of what she had originally said. We talked about how this society fills people’s head with baseless bullshit that everyone just repeats like it is true.

Talking to professors. I went to the class of a prof I knew from the past and caught her just before it started. She had been very sympathetic to BA in the past, but then left the school. But I was glad to discover she is back. She took material about the film and said she would announce it to her class. We just had a few minutes and I will follow up with her—I emailed her last night again encouraging her to come to the preview.

I met an English prof in front of the school who is very concerned about police murder of Black people (he is Black). He was also interested in the film and said he would help promote it at the school. I texted him last night again encouraging him to come to the preview. I also emailed another five profs last night who were friends of someone who used to teach there. And I have a contact to follow up in the film school. These could be some important building blocks for getting a showing at Columbia after this weekend’s preview.

I got one text response from a student that said that she had already RSVPd for Sunday’s film preview.

A final point on Columbia. A number of people have told me that the student organizations there are not political, rather they are social clubs of different types. This fall there is one new exception—a campus socialist group (we need to find out more about it). But for a school that is “not political” on the surface, there sure were a lot of students who were quite politically aware.

Trailer for

Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution

A speech by Bob Avakian

Spread this trailer today. Let people know they have a chance to be among the first to see this speech.

Then join the movement to put this before all of society, toward the online premiere October 19.

Revolution Club, Chicago, organizing for revolution, inviting people to previews this weekend in Chicago


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