Some Initial Experience

Setting Terms with Revolution and the Need to Follow BA if You Want to Get Free
“Okay, who is this leader?”



From Member of the Revolution Tour:

This last weekend, a few of us went out to various neighborhood parks with an important toolkit for winning people to revolution and organizing them into it: the New Year’s Statement by Bob Avakian, “A New Year, The Urgent Need for a Radically New World – For The Emancipation of All Humanity,” and the pamphlet, “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity.”

We went to oppressed communities where especially Black and Latino youth are, important sections of people that need to lift their sights and turn their heads to revolution and the leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), as part of working on the thousands needed to get organized for revolution in this time period.

We are just beginning the process, but there was some important experience to learn from our initial forays with this. We were doing active social investigation, putting up posters, and had some important practice after wrestling with how to set terms with the basic points of orientation about the need to work now for an actual revolution and the importance of BA’s leadership (instead of chasing people's questions and differences). We also were trying to have an impact and begin to “create a scene” because trying to talk to everybody just one by one isn't the right dynamic to build up the movement for revolution. We set up our truck with a big screen TV to play video of an illustrated segment from the article, “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity” (which aired in episode 43 of The RNL Show).

At one skate park, we had some discussions with a group of Black men (different ages, mainly older). One guy was arguing that we can deal with oppression by putting Black faces in high places. We re-set the terms with what BA represents: getting to the root of the problem, making revolution that uproots this system and replaces it, that BA has written a Constitution laying out how we would rebuild a different society. This guy then said: “Okay who is this leader?” He didn’t want to give us a way to reach him, but donated $10 and was going to look more into BA.

One important thing someone on our team was doing was reading the quote (see right) with people from BA on unspeakable ugliness/unprecedented beauty. One guy responded, “Wow! That's powerful! This sounds like someone who wants to give people freedom.”

These discussions were going straight at BA and everything he concentrates, including the point “We are followers of BA. And you need to become followers of BA too. He is an old white guy—yes, deal with it!”  On that basis, we’d open up discussion and try to learn what people knew about the Derek Chauvin/George Floyd trial. We learned that not many people are really paying attention to what’s happening. Only some knew about the trial, and we’d return to what it's going to take for murder by police to actually end.

We went to a busy skate park and talked to a number of Latino youth, ranging from 8-16 years old. Again, we started with “We are actively working on making revolution to uproot this system which is the source of all these forms of oppression and we follow the leadership of Bob Avakian because he’s forged a path to putting an end to all this oppression and you need to follow him too, if you want to get free.” The youth were all very talkative and wanted to know what we were about with a lot of interest and curiosity. A number of people asked: “What do you mean revolution?”

We had one heavy discussion about a point in BA’s New Year statement that “the time we have must not be squandered.” One 11-year-old responded that he thought future generations “probably won’t make it,” and, “We might not make it because of Covid.” An 8-year-old said “gangs, killing and shooting each other” and another said “police killing people.” The 11-year-old said, “20 years ago a Black man was hung on that tree over there, in this park.” The 8-year-old said, “My uncle used to skate in this park and he witnessed it.” We brought it back to why this leadership – BA – is so crucial: the unnecessary horrors coming from this system, the possibility to have a different society where kids their age wouldn’t be concerned about being killed by the police or with people fighting and killing each other. The 11-year-old said, “When I’m 18 maybe I can do something.” We put the challenge to them that anyone who wants to get free needs to take this up and work on this now, no matter their age.

Some people we talked to argued that “might makes right” and justified the U.S. slaughter around the world and the fact that this country was built on genocide. At one point, they asked why we thought we could change things when we can’t change how people think and act. We challenged them to go beneath the surface and understand that it's this system that shapes how people think and act. This is why we’re followers of BA and if you want to see a different world, that’s what you need to do too.

An older Latino vendor started to read the New Year's statement in Spanish on the spot because he was appreciative that we were talking to these youth, saying that we needed to organize them. We went back and forth with him about how, “Yes we do, but everyone needs to become followers of BA and work now to make revolution, whatever their age,” and talked more about who BA is and the important breakthroughs he’s made. The vendor said he wanted to seriously dig into the pamphlet because he’s seen different things said about the Capitol attack but hadn’t read anything like this, linking it back to the history of this country. He pointed to where BA says: “This fascism is deeply rooted, in the underlying dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system that rules in this country and in the whole history of this country, from its founding in slavery and genocide.” He's reading a lot of books, including one about how this country was founded and the ways the land was stolen through slaughtering people who occupied those lands. He said he’s there every weekend and can help by handing out flyers while he continues to learn more and get into BA.

At another park, we ran into a group of African (mainly) men partying in the parking lot with a loud sound system. The emcee saw our shirts and, after asking what we were about, invited us to speak on the mic. We ran down a basic thing of who we are, who BA is and why they should get with this, and invited people to talk to us and come to the truck to watch the clips.

Almost everyone was appreciative and took both pamphlets. A few people told us they were just trying to chill and didn’t want to get into a whole discussion, but took the pamphlet to read later. Two guys we talked to more were from Cameroon and spent time in ICE detention. One said that at first he felt like we were interrupting their good time, but when he heard what we were saying, he’s glad we did. He agreed with the point that now’s the time to get with this, pointing to the murder of the women in Atlanta and said it’s not just Black people this is happening to. He was feeling us on the need to break out of the bounds of this system and make revolution. 

We said more about the importance of BA, then he and his friend came over to watch the BA segment on the truck. He was moved by it, saying he had seen other things about the civil rights era, Selma, and white people standing with MLK, but watching this gave him goosebumps. He had never heard of Bob Avakian before, and wanted to know how to be involved.

We think our agitation needed to do better at bringing to life the urgency of the situation we are facing—why is it that time isn’t on our side and must not be squandered? We were wrestling with the way BA discusses the sharp polarization and struggle around fascism and why nothing short of an actual revolution can deal with this. We also need to more “go to town” on the leadership we have in BA and why you should become a follower too: who is this person, what is the work he’s done and what it means that we have this leader.


1) This system of capitalism-imperialism is the source of endless horrors for the majority of people in this country and all around the world, and it is increasingly threatening the very existence of humanity. We are actively working for an actual revolution—to bring down, to overthrow and completely abolish, this whole system as soon as possible and replace it with something radically different and much better, a new society built on an entirely different foundation...

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2) We are followers of Bob Avakian. And you need to become followers of BA too...

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There is the powerful positive potential …. Go here for a further important point of orientation

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Let's get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit...

—Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:1

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There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

Bob Avakian



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