Revolution #193, February 21, 2010
"...I can't overstate the potential power the Revolution DVD is capable of unleashing"
To the Editors of Revolution:
I work for and am also a client of a loose network of resource providers that is supposed to serve homeless and lower class heroin addicts "seeking recovery." My position is as an advocate, so I hear first hand, every day of rips and tatters in the so-called safety net that poor, mainly Black and Hispanic, people tend to fall or get pushed through more than others—usually landing in some jail cell.
Anyway, I asked another client and co-worker if I could show the Revolution DVD—parts of it—at his crib where lots of people where I work as well as people from the local rock-and-roll scene (a number of us are in local bands) congregate. So he said "maybe 10 minutes" he could probably tolerate and "if anyone visiting complains we'll just take it off." So we put on the part that starts right after the rap about religion on DVD #2.
We watched Part 2 until the end. In that time a couple of people came by and the dude who was going to listen "maybe 10 minutes" was hushing people up to listen to the DVD when they came in.
"Put the next one on!" So we watched about 45 minutes of DVD 3, during which time another musician came in. We started talking about outbreaks in the early '70s—people in the streets, many flags on fire, etc. He bought a paper with coverage of the global warming summit. I asked my friend how he liked the DVD and he said "Great! I'm into this. I have some questions. He (Bob Avakian) seems like a good guy. I am definitely with you on the goal of overthrowing the capitalist government but I don't know if communism is the way."
I was emboldened by the DVD and I said straight-up: "Well, that's what I want to persuade you to believe in—that communist revolution is the only way to get at the source of the problem." He didn't have to think about it long and said "ok, I'll be devil's advocate." Then we went back to the DVD for a while. Finally it got late and people had to get to wherever they had to be for the night but we were in agreement that the DVD really made us think about things like the Republicans and Democrats and the pyramid of power and how the voting scam fed into that dynamic and we were also in agreement the chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party has thought about this deeper than anyone we could think of. There was a lot of "It's good but don't call it communism" as well as "How could we ever beat them with all of their weapons and everything at their disposal?"
There were some very tough questions that compelled me to invite them to think, along with me and the RCP, to figure out the truth of how we see the world and the way to proceed. Just that little bit of bringing things in an epistemological direction got my friend, along with other things thinking about the need to take up the dialectical materialism in the DVD. Anyway, we all benefited from watching this and talking with each other and we hope to have another day soon of watching more.
I think it is great to promote this DVD and the parts of it that are on the website. I mean, especially at this time I can see people are seeming to really want to know of some workable alternative to this dominant system we're trying to help bring down. But there was a widespread sense (in this small group) that there needed to be some concrete plan for "taking power" and it showed me at least—that a lot of people don't have a sense about how huge our base really has to be. All of us in this group of people have had to "think outside the law" to survive at different times in life, so that habit of thinking of "a small group or gang is who we can rely on" is prevalent and deep it seems.
In short, I really got a sense of how much better we're going to have to get at analyzing the particulars as people bring them up—from our communist perspective, but most importantly this whole experience has had the effect of taking my understanding to a much higher level than it was previously to watching the Revolution DVD. I get the urgency. I get that this isn't a revolutionary situation at this time. And I get that there is tons and tons to do and prepare for to maximize the possibilities that we can help lead the vast masses to consciously take up this struggle in this way and really pull off a genuine revolutionary rupture from capitalism and imperialism.
The possibilities of making this long shot—if we do make it, the possibility we could end oppression that is at the heart of this system are too wild and liberating to disregard just because it seems like it is too complex or monumental to lead people in a successful communist revolution here in this home of U.S. imperialism. So I can't overstate the potential power the Revolution DVD is capable of unleashing. Anyone serious about revolution needs to study all the ideas put forth and then to share and promote the DVD in many ways to many people.
To bring this to a close, I have to say I was encouraged by the solid unity that everyone in this group that watched the DVD has with the RCP about the need and urgency to go all the way and overthrow this system of U.S. capitalism/imperialism. But there did seem to be kind of a vacuum shortly after this viewing and discussion, lasting about a week after the viewing. It's like we all got initially excited but almost none of us have maintained that and those of us who have maintained it have to figure out how to bring people back to where they want to talk about what they liked in the DVD and to review new parts they missed the first time. This is a real challenge.
The result of this, for me, has been to recognize that if the kind of revolution the world so desperately needs is actually going to even have a chance of happening, we've got to figure out a way—given the objective material circumstances of our lives and how much time we can put together for the study that needs to happen. There is so much to do... "the hour is getting late."
Join special efforts to spread Bob Avakian's Revolution talk during Black History Month:
New clips from Bob Avakian's talk, Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About are now posted online at revolutiontalk.net and youtube.com/revolutiontalk. These focus on the history and present day reality of the oppression of Black people, and the kind of revolution it will take to liberate Black people, as a part of emancipating all of humanity. This is an important opportunity to introduce people broadly to Bob Avakian and all the answers posed in this powerful talk concentrating "the revolution we need and the leadership we have." Everyone who wants to see this out there should begin now making plans to get these clips online—to campus list-servs, via email to Black studies or history profs, think about teachers you know who are in relevant academic associations, etc. Also, these should go out online to education and cultural blogs, and all over Facebook—talk with individuals you know about posting these on their FB pages every week or getting them out on other online social networks. Funds need to be raised for focused advertising.
Along with these online efforts, February 22-28 will be a week of concentrated on-the-ground promotion. There are stickers and postcards available online along with one-page sheets utilizing quotes from the talk itself. These are particularly powerful as these quotes concentrate powerful truths that can stop people in their tracks, provoke them to look at something in a new and different way and may inspire people to go check out the full talk. Finally, there will be a new flyer available about these clips for Black History Month this week at revcom.us and facebook.com/revolutiontalk. This week of focused on-the-ground promotion will build off other efforts at saturating areas with revolutionary materials but should focus on high schools and colleges. People should make plans and begin outreach now. There are all kinds of ways people can be involved but they need to be brought in on these plans right away. Contact student groups (in particular, though not only, Black student unions that will probably be very active during this month), professors and teachers you know or want to get to know about this. There are community groups and charter schools that would also want to schedule someone to come in, play a clip and open up discussion on these urgent questions.
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