Watching Bob Avakian at an Inner-City Carwash

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From a Revolution Club member:

Thursday October 18. Last night a group of people gathered to watch Part 1 of BA’s new talk, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, inside an inner-city carwash.

How this came together is a story in itself so I will begin there.

Revolution Club members had passed on some lists of older contacts to someone who was phone banking to raise funds for the film. The phone banker wound up having a pretty lengthy talk with one of the people on the list who was very concerned about the parallels between Trump and Hitler and very interested in the film, saying he could show it at his carwash. The phone banker passed this information on to the club. We jumped on this right away, even though I must say I initially had a hard time envisioning a film showing in a carwash—wouldn’t it be too cold and wet, noisy etc.?

I got with the guy at the carwash, which turned out to be a big indoor carwash with lots of room. He said he had spoken with a couple different club members at some point in the past and had seen what we were about and that in his view it was good and important. We watched the trailer of the film, which he really liked. This led to a pretty wide-ranging discussion about the prospects for revolution, the differences between now and the period of upheavals in the ’60s, BA’s history, the parallels between today and Hitler’s Germany, and more. In the course of the discussion he laid out how certain experiences in his life totally changed him and his views. As a youth he wanted to be a cop and believed in the system, but then wound up being wrongly incarcerated, doing time, and realizing that this whole system was about keeping Black people, especially youths like he was at the time, down. If this could happen to him, a middle class kid from a stable family, what did this show about how this system treats people who have nothing?

He thought people he knew might not be down for watching the full two plus hours all at once and decided to show it in two parts. Also rather than waiting until the carwash closed at 7 pm., he decided to do the showing at 6 pm. while the place was still open. He said he wanted to reach out to people who worked at the carwash and also some of his customers to attend. I made a little half-sheet announcement, which he got out to people over the next few days. The club also reached out to people, including a few we knew from the neighborhood around the carwash.

I have to admit I was still a little skeptical about this coming together and actually working, but it worked great. I had envisioned us setting up in the middle of the carwash, but when I got there a couple club members and the carwash owner had arranged a great space in a well-heated area on one side of the carwash where people wait for their vehicles and employees have lockers and take breaks. We had to turn up the volume pretty high and people could hear and watch it fine even while some cars were still being washed in the space nearby.

A club member gave a great and rousing introduction talking about how he came out of the time of the 1960s but how back then we did not have the leadership and understanding of how to make revolution but now we do. And he challenged people there that the revolution needs them. There were 25 or more people there, including some club members, mostly older Black men but also some youths and a couple of women.

A good core of people sat intensely engrossed through the film while some in the crew went in and out, including to continue taking care of the business of the carwash. At times there was clapping or verbal responses, but in the main the audience was serious and quiet.

As soon as it ended a man stood up and announced, “I thought this was really good. I am 60 years old and lived through a lot of what he talked about. I didn’t move from my seat once.” A club member made a short video with him about his response to the film. Another man commented that he thought maybe BA’s vocabulary was too hard for people, that he could understand it but he wondered if others would. The carwash owner kind of jumped in his shit, in a good way, and talked about how he shouldn’t underestimate people. People need to lift their heads, someone else said.

The club member who introduced the film called on people to get with the revolution, the online premier of the film on October 19 was announced, and people broke into little groups discussing the film and how to get with the revolution. People got copies of HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution and palm cards for the premier, and were encouraged to join in. Others filled out the survey about their thoughts about the film.

At the conclusion the owner of the carwash announced that he and I would work out when to show Part 2.

On the way home another club member and I were talking about how there needs to be a whole movement of film showings in places like this, barber shops and hair salons, community and rec centers, park houses, church basements, classrooms etc. Don’t rule out locations you never would have thought of. A couple years ago I had been in this same neighborhood trying to figure out a location for where we could hold events like a film showing. I saw the carwash but it didn’t even cross my mind that we could hold an event there. This was an important “new thing” that we need to learn from to grow into a real movement around this important talk.

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

A speech by Bob Avakian
In two parts:


Watch it, spread it, fund it

Find out more about this speech—and get organized to spread it »

Watching BA in a car wash. Photo: Special to

How Can We Win? How Can We Really Make Revolution?


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