Field Notes from the Tour:

Taking BA’s article “Conspiracy Theories, Fascist ‘Certitude,’ Liberal Paralysis OR A Scientific Approach To Changing The World” to the people



This week after the tour discussed BA’s article “Conspiracy Theories, Fascist ‘Certitude,’ Liberal Paralysis OR A Scientific Approach To Changing The World” via conference calls, which is a form of collectivity we’ve had to adapt to in this time of social distancing—we took the next exhilarating step in a scientific process of changing the world by taking revolution straight up to the people who most need this. We plastered walls and poles with a copy of BA’s short version of the article, “The Simple and Basic Truth,” designed as a poster and as flyers to several hospitals in Los Angeles and to two neighborhoods.

As this article begins, “The coronavirus has brought home very sharply the importance of science—the scientific method and approach to understanding and changing the world. But there is a big problem in how people have been trained and conditioned to think (or not think).”

So many people in the neighborhoods have told us they don’t know who to trust or how to tell what is true and what isn’t. As BA says, “many of the basic masses, who are bitterly oppressed under this system, also are suspicions of science or even inclined to reject science and scientifically-grounded analysis. But this also leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of unfounded ‘conspiracy theories’ and other wrong and harmful ideas, including the notion that nothing people do will make a difference because ‘it’s all in god’s hands.’

“The answer to all this is not giving up on understanding reality, or simply believing what sounds like it makes sense, or what is said by someone you know, or what gives you comfort (at least for a while)....

“Truth is objective—which means: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality.

Something to note is that in going forward, we are coupling postering and distributing the recent BA articles with the statement about BA—“BOB AVAKIAN: A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION”—provoking not only discussion of the actual content of the articles themselves, but also setting forth the necessary process for masses of people to know who the author, BA, is, and the content and importance of his leadership. This shortcoming was highlighted as we were excerpting our field notes for the site, and summing up the experience and process.

Field Notes for the week from some of our team members

I was trying to engage people with the quote we had put on a big sign from Ardea Skybreak, “Without science, you are at the mercy of being manipulated, of having your thinking manipulated and not being able to tell what’s right from what’s wrong, what’s true from what’s false.” One guy read the whole short version of the article, and when I asked him what he thought he said, “I think this is right, I think this is what people need, and then I said, “OK, then follow that through, we’re for a movement for an actual revolution,” and he said, “a revolution!? You’re gonna need millions of people to think critically for that!” then ran off.

There was a doctor who didn’t want to take a flyer because he didn’t want to touch it. But I read him the same quote, and he said, “Yeah, but there’s also science that isn’t good!” and I said, “Well yeah! There is bad science but you can use good science to disprove that bad science!” and then he said, “How do you have scientists and government officials going along with what Trump is doing and saying?” and I asked him well why do you think? We then talked about BAsics 4:10. I attempted to wield the 5 Stops and the quote from Ardea Skybreak that “Whether you want to cure a disease [like this coronavirus] or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence-based process.” The idea was to pivot around the scientific method, between the realm of biology and revolution/leadership. I talked to a man who worked as a security guard. Early on in the course of our talk, he told me that this pandemic thing was nothing more than the “common flu.” He repeated his statement and nodded to himself in satisfaction.

So I asked him very politely, “If someone, like me, was really interested and wanted to know how you came to be so sure of that, how would you prove what your saying is true?” He was such a good sport about it; he paused for a second and said he had no way of proving it. This kind of questioning, I explained, is crucially important to finding out what’s true and what’s not. It’s part of being scientific, seeking out the evidence. “Isn’t that what we need?” I asked. “Yeah.” He smiled and paused again. He was thinking. I gave him time. Then he started to muse about this question of vaccinations. “It can’t be the flu. People who are vaccinated are dying from the virus too,” he said. I hadn’t thought about that. I felt like we were really relating to each other and were about to go on a journey together. Before he left I got his number and listened for a moment as he mused more about how the virus jumped from animals to humans, specifically bats. “Now If you want to get to a radically better society, don’t you also need that method?” He agreed, and agreed that we should keep in contact and learn from each other, specifically about the leadership we have. I pointed out the new communism in the flyer. He nodded, smiled and left.


We set up phone conferences with people we’ve met to talk about the article and we developed some short questions for how to lead people to get into the article:

First was the title and the beginning: the sentence about the coronavirus crisis bringing home sharply the importance of science and the sentence about those who have the most certitude are those most out of touch with reality. The question was what does this look like, trying to get people to grapple with some of the features of the objective terrain. The second question was digging into the method and epistemology, that the answer is not giving up on understanding reality... and without science, you’re at the mercy of having your thinking manipulated and not being able to tell what’s right from wrong, true from false. So, is that statement true or not and why and how do you figure out what’s true? The third question was the Jonas Salk example and what people think of that and the analogy of BA’s new communism and how the liberals in particular approach this. Finally, the last question was about how to take this to people and what kind of debate do we need to get going on social media.

A student we met at a Bernie rally described that she’s the first in her family to get an education, so her family comes to her to understand things. She said at first they didn’t understand what was going on with the virus and she didn’t really either, but she looked into it and when she saw people posting videos of losing their loved ones, and then Trump calling this the “Chinese virus” she was spurred to learn more and told her family this is real and helped them learn more about it and what to do for their safety.

When we probed more on how does she sort through what’s true, she talked about both her own lived experience and studying the history of this country. And in particular all of this was starting with the experience of how Black and Brown people are treated and have been treated throughout this history—which shows you things about what is happening today. She said she has a particular focus of concern on mass incarceration and she herself comes from the experience of having been incarcerated and then treated as a second-class citizen.

One thing important early on is she was wrestling with the problem that people who do not have a lot of education don’t have an easy way to get fact-based information. They are getting their information from mainstream media, 55 percent of Americans are not educated, and are not looking for fact-based information. She raised that the word “science” is intimidating to people who are not educated, it was intimidating to her before she got educated. We came back to this question of science and method and read together the whole quote from the longer version about, “Whether you’re talking about the material reality of a disease ... you need that scientific evidence-based process.” She said evidence-based process is “a global term that anyone can understand,” and said it is a way for people broadly to “understand the basis of knowledge.”

At the end of the discussion, we arranged to do the Instagram interview she’s been wanting to do with the tour. The questions are very good and flowing out of her wanting to widen the audience for this movement, which she doesn’t all agree with, but does feel there’s nobody else dealing with what is happening to Black and Brown people like this group.

I will explain about how I feel about Bernie losing and then ask you: What do you think about Bernie Sanders losing? Explain why.

On the website there is a quote that says: “Without a revolutionary party, you can’t have a revolution.” Elaborate.

Are you the same communist party from the 1920s? How are you different?

About the coronavirus, I’ve talked with someone from the New Communist Party you are from, we talked about the “conspiracy theories behind COVID-19” and how many Americans are misinformed, even to the point where God is being used as an explanation for our troubles, how does your scientific approach use evidence to explain these problems instead? Why is this a better approach than claiming that this is all God’s plan?

Another quote that interested me is: “The truth of something does not depend on who says it, or how it makes you feel. Because something comes from a source you like does not make it true; and because something comes from a source you do not like does not make it untrue. And truth is not a ‘popularity contest.’” Elaborate on this.

How would you guys make the following concept work? “Without science you are at the mercy of being manipulated, of having your thinking manipulated and not being able to tell what’s right from what’s wrong, what’s true from what’s false.”

If we lived under a New Communist Society, how would COVID-19 be approached?


There was definitely a buzz in the air, as we embarked on our outing last Sunday at MacArthur Park. People who talked with us and even some who didn’t identify us as the people who put up the posters and handed out flyers (e.g.) a woman telling another guy next to her, “Hey do you know that they’re atheist?” Another vendor saying, “You guys gave out flyers last week!” There were many people we talked with, many of them vendors or homeless (mainly many people at the very bottom of society) and they had a lot to talk about, a lot of questions or comments, it was definitely a day like no other.

This is a place where on a typical day you find preachers or religious forces talking about getting into god or burn in hell. This is what we ran up against right off the bat and we were wondering if it was worthwhile to take them on. Something surprising happened. An immigrant man took them on after we handed him a flyer, about a scientific approach to reality and the need for revolution, and he said, “Yes, come on guys we need to wake up. God is not going to come and save us!” The preachers started to pack up at that point, “Yes Revolution, come on, I’m ready let’s go! Come on people, there are kids dying right now.” He was agitating for a few minutes trying to grab people’s attention with tears in his eyes. He did say there is a god but god is not going to save us this time, it has to be us.

We talked to many people by wielding the article and getting into the fact that religion is not based on reality and has no evidence to prove it; on the flip side science is a tool people can use to tell what’s true from what’s false. It was the beginning of a lot of wrangling, two women talking about whether the Bible was written by a person or not and whether god is real, vendors warning other vendors about us being atheists but digging into the science anyway, vendors deciding they both would donate, homeless people looking for a way out and what revolution actually is but what was missing is digging into the ruthless system, how it functions and the leadership we do have.

We raised $18.61 in two outings at this location which is significant because of the conditions and section of people we were interacting with but also the fact that the people donating donated often without being asked because they wanted to be a part of it and saw the need. Some heard our orientation about the society that could be if we make revolution and donated. Another donated because they agreed with the need for science and the new communism.

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian is a book of quotations and short essays that speaks powerfully to questions of revolution and human emancipation.

“You can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics.”

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

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