Andy Zee: I want to welcome Joe Veale, a frequent guest to The RNL Show, a long-time revolutionary. Joe was a rank-and-file member of the Black Panther Party, and after a stint in prison he became a revolutionary communist and a follower of the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian. Today Joe plays an active role in promoting Bob Avakian’s leadership and the new communism. And we invited Joe to The RNL Show’s studio today to talk about the Points of Attention (POA) for the Revolution. So, welcome Joe Veale.
Joe Veale: I’m really happy to be here.
AZ: Good. I know you have a lot to say about the Points of Attention, about what we live by in the revolution, what we fight for today, and how these POAs concentrate the kind of relationships between people in the new society that the revolution is going to bring about. But before we get into a conversation about what these points say and what they’re all about, let’s actually listen to a reading of the Six Points of Attention.
AZ: So, Joe, let’s get into these. How do you see it?
JV: It’s critical, it’s very important, the Points of Attention for the Revolution—points to live by and fight for, it’s the code of the revolution. And people see you developing a force, leading a force out in society that’s based on this code which represents a whole new way of living, which represent what the revolution is all about—the emancipation of humanity. People representing like that today, and fighting the power, standing up against the power, and transforming themselves and others for revolution—this has a tremendous impact on helping to develop the situation into one that is more fully developed to be able to go for revolution and go for a whole new society. So we base ourselves on these Points of Attention, and we strive to represent the highest interests of humanity—which is revolution and communism. We do not use the revolution for any personal gain—for me me me, my my my, get mine—whatever. This is about something much bigger, much more fundamental. It’s about humanity, and humanity getting free from the bullshit, the madness of this capitalist-imperialist system here and all over the world. That’s a very big deal.
And I think back… it’s not the same thing but there are lessons to learn. I think back to seeing the Panthers, the Black Panther Party, out there. They had their codes that they lived by, and they were a disciplined, organized force that were out there standing up against, especially the police murder and brutality against Black people. They did it in a very organized and disciplined way—they were in uniform, and they moved together, and they looked out for each other, and they looked out for the masses. When you saw this, it had a big impact on you because you never seen something like this here before. What is this about? What do they represent? What do they understand that I don’t understand but what I need to understand? It challenged you and it inspired you in that way. So, that was really powerful and impactful, just seeing that—it was really electrifying. It lit up the sky—hey, there’s something new here, there’s a new authority that’s on the scene. And it was a revolutionary authority on the scene.
Today we got something way beyond anything the Panthers had with these Points of Attention and with the leadership of Bob Avakian. We never had anything like this here before—on this level, with this understanding, and so thoroughly scientific about the whole revolutionary process from beginning to end. Being able to see it and guide it all the way through. We had leaders before but we never had a leader like Bob Avakian—this is really historic, it’s epic in this society. You know, there’s only been a few like him in world history and we got him now here today with us, leading us. These Points of Attention are based on the vision and understanding that has been developed by Bob Avakian.
AZ: I think it’s important, Joe. Pick one of these... I just think this 4th Point of Attention: “We stand with the most oppressed and never lose sight of their potential to emancipate humanity, nor our responsibility to lead them to do that. We work to win people of all backgrounds to take part in the revolution, and do not tolerate revenge among the people.” This is part of that newness that you were talking about.
JV: This is way beyond anything that has existed before. But this is very challenging, and it’s also inspiring. Because people cannot on their own emancipate, liberate themselves. It takes leadership. On their own people will go for revenge. You see it… it was really inspiring when you see youth caught up in the gang shit try to do a truce... they try to come together because they aspire for something different, something better. But they aspire on the same principles, the same points of attention, so to say, that come from this system—where they try to become entrepreneurs, get some business going, where if you are successful you’re going to have to end up exploiting, using some other people in order for you to get ahead. Or especially, some youth get caught up all into their identity—I got my truth, you got your truth—and then what does that leave? To you trying to impose what you think on the rest of society, your experience, and make everybody bow down and go along with that. That’s just another form of revenge, of “the last shall be first and the first shall be last”—instead of getting to the roots of oppression, getting to the roots of it and being able to uproot it, eliminate it and overthrow it. That’s really the key thing.
11:42: AZ: Joe, when we started talking, you spoke about Point of Attention #1 and the point of “we do not tolerate using the revolution for personal gain.” When we were chatting before we began filming, you told a story about how you had to confront that in your experience in getting into the Black Panther Party, and a lot of the crew found that like whoa!—that’s a pretty good story. So maybe you could just tell that again for our audience.
12:10: JV: Yeah, well, at that time the Black Panther Party they had these points of attention that they got from Mao Zedong, the leader of the Communist Revolution in China. I remember them very vividly, because they presented them to me. One of them said: do not take anything from the masses, not even a needle or a piece of thread. And I just remember responding to them that there’s no way that I’m going to be part of anything about that because the only thing I will NOT take from the masses is a needle or a piece of thread.
So that was a big struggle for me to rupture. I had to change how I was, because the Panthers didn’t stop, they continued out there representing in that way. They were putting their lives on the line for that, and that’s what they were saying the revolution was about—serving the people. And through a lot of struggle, and then seeing them out there, how serious they were about that, and they really were an organized force that was beginning to grow with that—it made me stop and think and question about what I was doing with my life in comparison to what they were doing. There was something they understood that I needed to understand… that I needed to change what the fuck I was doing. Because I could see, in comparison to them, what I was doing was just going along and basically reinforcing relations amongst people that were very destructive and harmful to people being able to make revolution and get free from all the oppression. That was a struggle—that was a leap, that was a change, that I had to make. I had to make it not just once, I had to repeatedly make it because it came up again and again and again—as I changed once, I had to change even further, I had to continue that until finally, when I ran into Bob Avakian's work in prison. I saw how he approached revolution, how scientific and how systematic he was about it, and that’s when I made the final rupture with that way of thinking. Because up until that point, I was still kinda conflicted—even though I wanted revolution, I still wanted to rip off some motherfuckers too. That’s the way I was looking at things.
15:10 AZ: Following up on that, Joe, I want to play a clip from Bob Avakian, Why We Need a Revolution and How We Could Really Make Revolution, where he’s speaking about the gangs. Let’s watch this.
AZ: So, Joe, I think that’s really spot on in terms of the kind of force we’re trying to build out in the neighborhoods and all through society with these Points of Attention as modeling a different way to live and a different future to fight for.
JV: In doing that, we can’t give any quarter to this bullshit about “Me, I got to get paid, I got to get mine,” degrading women, all the misogyny, the hatred of women and using women and turning everything into property and shit like this here—and justifying it like, “I’m just trying to come up, I’m just trying to get over,” or whatever. We need a force for revolution, nothing less. A force that’s out there in contention with everything else—that everybody has to relate to this.
This is about revolution, this is about overthrowing this monster of a system, this is about bringing about a whole different, a whole new system where people relate to each other in whole different ways without all that dog-eat-dog, without dogging each other and shit, giving no quarter to anything else. Not being liberal, not going along with—that shit has no place in the revolution. It does no good in terms of helping to strengthen, helping to build up the forces for revolution. Actually, it helps to weaken—if we bow down to that shit then we're weakening revolution. But if you have a force that’s out here, that everybody has to relate to, that’s about this, about these Points of Attention and nothing else—then that changes everything, that challenges everybody. Everybody has to take notice, everybody has to decide how are they going to relate to this, and nothing else, how each and everybody, even the people that’s caught up in the bullshit today, have to do what I did—begin to question that shit and say what the fuck am I doing?! This shit is harmful to the masses of people, harmful to them being able to get emancipated. I need to do something else with my life, and I can, because I see these people out here organizing and representing in this way.
AZ: Alright. So, Joe, you said that—and now let’s go.