Three showings in one week done in a way that shows the potential to do many, many more—

Developing a MOVEMENT of Showings of the Film of BA’s Talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!...

April 30, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

After doing showings in a Caribbean immigrant community and a showing to an African immigrant organization over the winter, this week there were three showings in churches in different parts of the city. Our approach was centered around discussing and working with the ministers and their congregations, confident that this film speaks with science and passion to the big questions that are deeply troubling to people about the Trump/Pence fascist juggernaut—where did it come from, what does it represent and what can and must we urgently do to stop it?

Proposals to these churches were not aimed mainly at getting a space for us to use to organize a showing in their community—but to engage their congregations and people in their larger networks with this film. One showing was entirely organized by the people in the church, and in the two others there was a combination of engaging the congregations AND some outreach to people broadly from the neighboring communities. Through this, a number of people came to the showings AND important connections were made with two other ministers and others in their communities, opening doors for a number of other showings of various kinds, as well as for mobilizing people to drive out this fascist regime. There were knotty problems to resolve with each, but they were resolved, leading to successful showings, though each had a very different character. Here is a brief summary of each:


The first was at a church surrounded by housing projects in an African-American neighborhood, but close to a crossroads of many different strata of people, a church with a long history of taking up and supporting progressive causes. Twenty people came to see the film. Most of them were Black people over 40 years old, and a few of them were immigrants. Three people came from getting the flyer promoting the showing just before it happened.

We introduced the film by telling people who BA is and letting them know that they were about to hear him address how we got into the situation of having a fascist in the White House, what this had to do with the history of this country and what needs to be and can be done about the danger the Trump/Pence regime poses to humanity.

After watching the film, we read the 2018 Call to Action that Refuse Fascism had just issued, and then opened up the discussion of the film. The first person spoke bitterly about how bad Trump was for poor people and how we needed to get him and Pence out of there. A few others leapt in to make their own points about why Trump was bad for the people. Then someone raised a question that was also on other people’s minds: if we did get Trump and the rest of them out of there, what would replace them? Was there a grouping of people who had the experience to guide society that could take over and direct things in a way that would be good for the people?

This jumped off a lively discussion. Another person asked, “Hearing Bob Avakian speak was awesome, but what are the actual steps for doing this?” He raised the examples of two sustained forms of resistance—the Dakota pipeline protests and Occupy Wall Street—and said they were met with heavy repression from the state. “How can we survive that and continue to expand?” Partly in response, a woman said, “Being educated about what is really going on is a very important step. This was a very educational video. I learned a lot from this.”

Off of this, questions were raised. How could the force necessary to do something as big as driving the regime from office be brought into being? How could you overcome the apathy and the fear that keeps many people from doing anything? Here the discussion began to take the form of different people who were meeting BA through watching the talk for the first time speaking to questions that others raised, while raising their own questions.

While the discussion was good, it would’ve been greatly enriched by going to the Question and Answer sections of the film on questions BA had spoken to in the film. In fact, it may be a good idea to show some parts of the Question and Answer sections of the film before beginning the discussion.

As we neared the end, a band that had come to see the film did a song they had written called “Overcome,” which was inspired by the old civil rights song “We Shall Overcome” and by the work of Refuse Fascism. We wound things up by stressing the need for people who had just seen the film to get organized to reach out to and organize others to watch the film and to take up the Call to Action from Refuse Fascism. People grabbed up all the copies of the film we had on DVD to show it to others and to watch it again themselves. Everybody took the new call from Refuse Fascism. Five copies of the BA biography and a copy of BAsics also got out to people.

A weak point of the showing was the lack of people from the church’s congregation—which had been an important goal leading us to propose the showing. We look forward to discussion with the minister, who seemed to really engage and enjoy what she saw that night, and to learning more about ways that this film and the movement to drive out this fascist regime can really connect with more people in her congregation.


The second showing was at a Black church in Queens that is very involved in work among poor people in that neighborhood. Almost 20 people came to this showing too. Most of them were older African-American women, and all were either in the congregation or among the church’s circle of contacts. In her introduction before the film was shown, the minister said, “I respect Bob Avakian. He has courage. He is brave. He is speaking for us.”

There was a raucous discussion after the showing, started off by one person who questioned why BA had put so much focus on what happened to Black people. She even denied there was a particular history of Black people being oppressed, saying white people in this country had suffered too, both in the past. She thought the indentured servitude that Irish and Scottish people were subjected to had been slavery and this goes on down to today, citing poor whites in West Virginia. In the face of the controversy this kicked up, the strong support for the film from the minister and others shined through. Several people responded by saying, “The Trump regime wants to turn back time. Bring things backwards. The film shows us that.” The minister quickly built on that saying, “Trump wants to take us back to slavery. That is when Trump thinks America was great.”

A sharp challenge was made to join and work with Refuse Fascism and to spread this film. Everyone there got the new Refuse Fascism Call to Action, palm cards for the film and some got extra copies. Seven copies of the BA official biography got out (including a bundle of five to the minister). In terms of building organization—at this showing, overwhelmingly people wanted to act but didn’t want to give their contact information, saying that they preferred to act as part of a group, their church, which had organized the showing. This was significant. And in fact the minister had us leave a stack of 75 copies of the Refuse Fascism call and 75 of the palm cards for this purpose, and the minister and one other person got copies of the DVD of the talk to use for showing the film to others—and the minister said she will be reaching out to people in several other churches in the area.

At the end, the minister did a video testimonial for the film, calling for other churches to also be organizing showings of the film.


This was at a church with a predominantly Spanish-speaking, and active, congregation—in fact, they had organized a significant contingent to come to a July 15, 2017 march called by Refuse Fascism. There was a sense from the minister and some key people that people in their congregation and the surrounding community urgently needed to engage with what is in this film—but the question was how, given that the film is in English, while most of their parishioners and neighbors speak Spanish. So what emerged was somewhat “experimental”—perhaps others can learn from this experience.

Fifteen people came to the showing, including 12 from the church and three from the community, and all but one mainly spoke Spanish. A representative of the church introduced the showing, praising BA for the work he has done over the years and saying that he is a longtime revolutionary.

Three left after seeing only a little of the film, due to language barrier issues. Six others left after seeing about half of the film—but as they were leaving, they expressed appreciation for the film, saying that with effort/concentration, they were able to understand most of what they heard, while also expressing exhaustion in various ways after seeing 30 minutes of it. It is taxing trying to understand something in a language which you are not conversant in. Six stayed for the whole film, and there was a rich discussion afterwards, almost all in Spanish.

All of those who spoke expressed deep bitterness for the crimes that the U.S. has committed in Latin America and around the world and appreciated BA’s presentation of the long criminal history of this country. Several people pointed out how this has gone on under both Democratic and Republican administrations, and remarked on the point that Obama said about Trump, “We are on the same team,” which resonated strongly with them. So a big question was: what is different about this regime? Answers emerged: The Trump/Pence regime is brazenly whipping up of a fascist social base to demonize and unleash attacks against Muslims, immigrants, and others, while preparing for even worse. Another was how a fascist regime moves to wipe out civil liberties and any space for resistance. People in the room have experienced or know about experiences with regimes that have done that in Latin America, and there was a real fear of coming to the U.S. and now facing the same thing here.

Several people raised that they appreciated what BA said in the film about North Korea, talking about  how the media all talked about how bad the leader of North Korea is while saying nothing about the crimes and danger of the U.S. there, and how that leads people to side with the U.S.

But what to do about the Trump/Pence regime and the danger it poses to humanity? The leader of the discussion sharply presented the new Call to Action from Refuse Fascism and went into the need for sustained, determined action—and examples of what happened in South Korea and Egypt were mentioned—in the way called for in the film and which is at the heart of the Refuse Fascism Call to Action. Copies of the new call were distributed in Spanish, and people took quantities. It was proposed that there be a chapter of Refuse Fascism forged in that immigrant community, but much more will be needed to turn the general agreement with that which was expressed into a reality.

It is great to hear that volunteers have stepped forward to translate the text of BA’s film into Spanish and that this is being published as a special issue of Revolution newspaper in Spanish and for prisoners. Now when we have showings of and discussions on the film, people whose principal language is Spanish will be able to dig into what BA is saying in depth. With this issue, we will enable people to get this out to their friends and colleagues, to their congregations and families and to organize showings and discussions themselves.

And we call on all those reading this to generously contribute to the publication of this special issue. See here for more about this special issue and to donate for it.




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