Revolution #359, October 27, 2014 (

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Three Reasons Why the Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on November 15 Is Something You ABSOLUTELY Won't Want to Miss

October 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


A historic Dialogue Between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion will take place at Riverside Church on November 15. 

Here are three reasons you should BUY YOUR TICKET AND GET TO THE DIALOGUE, why you should not want to miss this:

1. This is a chance to come see and hear Bob Avakian live!  This is a very rare opportunity to see him in person and hear what this revolutionary leader and architect of a whole new framework for the emancipation of all of humanity is saying about the prospects for revolution and what transformations have to be undertaken to truly get free of the confines and horrors of the present system.  How could you not want to be there?

2. This is a chance to see and hear Bob Avakian and Cornel West sharing a public stage together for the very first time, rolling up their sleeves and dialoguing together, exploring some of the important things they agree on and some of the important things they don’t agree on, no doubt surprising and challenging their audience to think more deeply, study more critically, reflect on how they might step up their own participation—with all this taking place in an atmosphere of love, mutual respect, and principled struggle, between these two people, with the shared passion for emancipation of the most oppressed and all of  humanity front and center.  How could you not want to be there?

3. This is a chance to experience what they have to say on a topic, Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, that is objectively very important.  Not so much because of what any of you, as individuals, may personally think about religion. Both believers and non-believers are very welcome at this Dialogue. But individual belief or non-belief is not the heart of the matter on this occasion.  The reason the subject of this particular Dialogue is so important right now is because the topic of religion (any religion, all the many different kinds of religion) matters deeply to hundreds of millions of people, and even billions of people, not only in this country but all around the world.  We all happen to be living at a moment in time where that is very much the reality: Religion really matters to a whole lot of people, and shapes many people’s thinking and actions.  But what is religion’s place, what is its role in relation to fighting injustices and in advancing towards truly emancipatory social revolution?  Can religion help with this? Or is it a hindrance and gets in the way?  These are some of the questions Bob Avakian and Cornel West are going to be batting around and exploring together, sharing their points of unity as well as their differences with a broad audience.  Again, how could you not want to be there?






Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Watching Fruitvale Station With Bob Avakian

August 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


This article was originally published in 2014.

For those who don’t know, Fruitvale Station is a very powerful, moving, and excruciating film that depicts the last day in the life of Oscar Grant.  Oscar was a 22-year-old, unarmed Black man murdered by Bay Area Rapid Transit police on New Year’s Day, 2009.  He was returning home from celebrating on New Year’s Eve, when police stopped Oscar and the friends he was with, harassed and brutalized them, straddled Oscar as he lay face down on a subway platform, and fatally shot him in the back. 

Not too long ago, I watched Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian (BA), chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.  Towards the very end of the film, agonizing, heartbreaking and infuriating scenes are shown: The cop shooting Oscar in the back; Oscar’s girlfriend frantically rushing to the scene, trying to find out what happened; Oscar’s loved ones gathering together and waiting desperately to find out if he would make it, only to find out he was gone forever.

As these scenes unfolded, I looked over at BA.  He was sobbing.  Not just misty-eyed. Sobbing.  And he continued to cry tears of heartbreak and rage for several minutes, as the closing credits rolled.

This made a very big impression on me.  BA did not know Oscar Grant personally. But he felt the sting of his murder in an extremely raw and visceral way. And I think his reaction speaks volumes about who Bob Avakian is, what he represents, and what he is all about. 

BA has literally been fighting against this system for 50 years.  He has been a revolutionary communist for about 45 years.  He has been shouldering the responsibility of leading the Revolutionary Communist Party for almost 40 years. And over the course of the last several decades, he has forged the theory and deepened the science for the revolution humanity needs to get free, while also providing practical leadership to the party and movement working for that revolution.  And all of this has involved not only tremendous work, but also tremendous risk and sacrifice on BA’s part as anyone with a sense of U.S. history, and/or BA’s personal history—specifically, what this reveals about the way the U.S. government viciously goes after revolutionary leaders—should well understand. And over all these decades, and through everything described above, BA has never lost an ounce of his love and feeling for the masses of people, his sense of outrage and hatred for all the ways in which the masses suffer needlessly, and his fire for revolution to emancipate the masses all over the world.  Not one bone in his body has become numb.  

There is a great deal more that could be said about the experience of watching Fruitvale Station with BA. But I want to highlight two points.

First, I think that in BA’s reaction to this movie, there is a lot for revolutionary communists, and anyone with concern for humanity and hatred for oppression and injustice, to reflect on and learn from.  Even with all the work BA has done and continues to do in the realm of theory, in order to forge a deeper understanding of why police murders like the execution of Oscar Grant and countless other outrages keep happening, the larger picture they are connected to, and how these outrages can be ended through revolution; even though BA has been at this for decades; and even with all of the horrors that pile up every single second that this system remains in place, there is absolutely no sense on BA’s part of world-weary detachment or defeatism when something like the murder of Oscar Grant goes down.  His reaction is decidedly not:  “Oh, well of course, this happens all the time, what do you expect?”   Rather, he cries tears of rage and anguish, both because he feels acutely the pain of Oscar’s life being stolen and because he knows that outrages like this are completely unnecessary and that humanity does not have to live this way.

This brings me to the second point I want to make here—and it is one I want to give even greater emphasis to, even while the first point above is very important and very related. The point I want to close this letter with is: We had better fully recognize and appreciate what we have in BA, and act accordingly.

I’ll say it again: We had better fully recognize and appreciate what we have in BA, and act accordingly.

And when I say “we had better,” that “we” is addressed to many different people and audiences.  Yes, I am most definitely speaking to revolutionaries and communists and to all those who are already deeply familiar with and supportive of BA.  But in saying “we,” I am also speaking to those who are just now—or just recently—learning about and getting introduced to this revolutionary leader—including, to quote BA, “Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human” who “can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity.”   

To all the masses of people, here and around the world, who suffer brutal oppression minute after minute, day after day... and to all those who may not directly suffer this oppression but ache for a world where this oppression is no more, I want to say this:  If you do not know about Bob Avakian, or just recently learned about him, that is not your fault.  But you, and millions of other people, need to understand how incredibly rare and precious it is for the people of the planet that we have this revolutionary leader and act in accordance with that reality.

BA is not only the leader of the revolution, he is also a best friend to the masses of people.  He is a leader who has done decades of work in the realm of theory to bring forward the scientific method, strategy and vision needed to make revolution and bring into being a radically new world where all the horrors that humanity suffers unnecessarily would be no more. He is continuing to develop the advanced scientific method that he has forged, and apply that method to all of the big questions and obstacles confronting the revolution. He is able to break all of this down for people, without even slightly watering it down, in a way that everyone can understand, take up, and be inspired by. He has taken on the daily responsibility of leading a party and a movement to make revolution right here in the most powerful imperialist country in the world. He has dedicated his life to the emancipation of humanity. And, through all of this, he maintains a deep, visceral connection to and feeling for the masses of people who most desperately need this revolution.

A leader like this comes along very, very rarely.  And when this does happen, the absolute worst thing we could do is fail to recognize this, fail to act in accordance with this, fail to take this seriously, or take this for granted.  Instead, all of us—whether we have known about BA for decades, are just learning about him and what he represents, or anywhere in between, and whether you agree with BA about everything or not—must fully recognize and embrace what BA means for the people of the world.  We must study, and learn all we can from his incredible body of work on the biggest questions of revolution and human emancipation, as well as the lessons of who he is and what he stands for as a revolutionary leader.  We must realize that it is not just us who need to know about BA, his work and vision, and the leadership he is providing to this party and movement for revolution:  millions of people must know about all of this, and this must impact all of society.    

Furthermore, and very crucially, we must fully confront the reality of what it would mean for the people of the world to lose this leader, and take extremely seriously that there are people and forces—those officially part of the powers-that-be, as well as those willing to do the work of the powers-that-be—who hate what BA represents and would like nothing more than to tear him down, silence him, and take him from the masses of people.  And we must be absolutely determined not to let that happen.

This means taking very seriously the need to do everything we can to protect and defend BA. This means denouncing and not giving a millimeter of space to those who slander and personally attack BA, because these attacks and slanders are part of creating the poisonous atmosphere and conditions that would make it easier for the powers-that-be, or those doing their bidding, to take BA from the people of the world.  Protecting and defending BA, and building a wall around him, also means boldly and sharply challenging those who may not be part of the camp of the enemy, but who are wallowing in, or at least being influenced by, arrogance, cynicism and snark, and who seek to dismiss without seriously engaging what BA has brought forward; this arrogance, snark, cynicism, and dismissal, regardless of the intent of those who fall into it, stands in the way of BA and all that he has brought forward having the reach and societal influence that this urgently needs to have.  And this, too, creates easier conditions for those who would try to silence and isolate BA and take him from the masses.

Few things in life are more tragic than a critical lesson learned too late. And it would truly be a tragedy if BA were taken from the people, and then people said: “Wow, I wish I had realized sooner what we had here.”

But the good news is: It is not too late.  We, and the masses of the planet, have BA right now.  We had better realize, and let everyone know, what that means.





Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Donate Now!

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


by November 11!

at Indiegogo campaign

Make a big difference by giving generously to make the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian known far and wide. Your donation will also make it possible for youths and those without funds from across the country to be a part of this historic Dialogue.

Consider these three reasons why this Dialogue is something people absolutely won’t want to miss. Then, decide how much you can give to make this possible.

1. This is a chance to see and hear Bob Avakian live! This is a very rare opportunity to see him in person and hear what this revolutionary leader and architect of a whole new framework for the emancipation of all of humanity is saying about the prospects for revolution and what transformations have to be undertaken to truly get free of the confines and horrors of the present system. How could you not want to be there?

2. This is a chance to see and hear Bob Avakian and Cornel West sharing a public stage together for the very first time, rolling up their sleeves and dialoguing together, exploring some of the important things they agree on and some of the important things they don’t agree on, no doubt surprising and challenging their audience to think more deeply, study more critically, reflect on how they might step up their own participation—with all this taking place in an atmosphere of love, mutual respect, and principled struggle, between these two people, with the shared passion for emancipation of the most oppressed and all of humanity front and center. How could you not want to be there?

3. This is a chance to experience what they have to say on a topic, Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, that is objectively very important. Not so much because of what any of you, as individuals, may personally think about religion. Both believers and non-believers are very welcome at this Dialogue. But individual belief or non-belief is not the heart of the matter on this occasion. The reason the subject of this particular Dialogue is so important right now is because the topic of religion (any religion, all the many different kinds of religion) matters deeply to hundreds of millions of people, and even billions of people, not only in this country but all around the world. We all happen to be living at a moment in time where that is very much the reality: Religion really matters to a whole lot of people, and shapes many people’s thinking and actions. But what is religion’s place, what is its role in relation to fighting injustices and in advancing towards truly emancipatory social revolution? Can religion help with this? Or is it a hindrance and gets in the way? These are some of the questions Bob Avakian and Cornel West are going to be batting around and exploring together, sharing their points of unity as well as their differences with a broad audience. Again, how could you not want to be there?

If this resonates with you... if you recognize the impact that this could have... if you feel the difference it would make if it were possible for hundreds of people who don't have the financial means to travel to New York, or even to pay for the full price of a ticket, then how could you not want to contribute all you can to make this possible?

For the 16 days leading up to the Dialogue, we are calling on you to be a part of raising $30,000 on IndieGoGo to accelerate fulfilling the $110,000 budget it will take to put on this event.

In addition to this online Indiegogo campaign, there are other important fundraising efforts underway. These include working to get large contributions from those who can afford it as well as street collections and community fundraising events involving hundreds of people all aimed at getting the word out about this Dialogue and guaranteeing its success.

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION is sponsored by The Bob Avakian Institute and Revolution Books NY. Individual and Group donations to help these efforts can also be made by contacting either sponsor online or by sending a check or money order to: The Bob Avakian Institute or Revolution Books NYC




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

What You Can Do...

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Buy your ticket NOW

Contribute and help raise funds

Spread the word

Organize a crew

Share your experience




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Ticket prices and transportation costs should not be a barrier for you to get to the November 15 Dialogue at Riverside Church in NYC between Cornel West and Bob Avakian--if you need help with these, contact Revolution Books NYC (212-691-3345) or Revolution Books near you (see left). If you thirst for human emancipation, you need to be at this historic Dialogue.

If you can, donate to subsidize ticket and transportation costs for those who need it—and call on others to donate too. Be a part of a movement to raise funds so that everyone who should and wants to be at the Dialogue can be there!



Brown Paper Tickets - buy online

Tickets available for direct purchase in New York and around the country. Click here for vendor information for direct sales.

Group discounts are available—call Revolution Books in NYC: 212-691-3345.

Sliding Scale:

* $25
* $15 Students/Youth/Unemployed/Underemployed
* $100 (premium seating)
* $250 (premium seating & gift TBA)

Ticket and Travel Arrangements

Get on the Bus and Get to the Dialogue!

Whether you are in New York or you are in California or anywhere in between: get your ticket, get your transportation, get to the Dialogue on November 15 at Riverside Church between Cornel West and Bob Avakian: REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.

Transportation is available—whether you are coming from six blocks away or from across the country. Contact organizers near you or contact Revolution Books in NYC (212-691-3345) if you need low-cost housing and financial support.

Dialogue tickets are HERE online or directly from one of the vendors listed below.


To Purchase Tickets in Person and to Arrange Transportation:


Dialogue Tickets available at:
Revolution Books
146 W. 26th St. (between 6th/7th Ave.)
New York, NY
Hours: 12-7 pm every day

Book Culture
536 W 112th St (btwn Broadway & Amsterdam)
#1 to 110th St stop
(212) 865-1588
9:00 AM to 10:00 PM

McNally Jackson Books
located in downtown Manhattan 52 Prince Street
(between Lafayette & Mulberry near Spring St. 6 stop, and N/R Prince St. stop) 

Harlem Record Shack
2361 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (between 126th/127th Sts.)
Harlem, New York, NY
Hours: Mon-Sat 10 am-9:30 pm; Sun 11 am-8 pm

Uptown Harlem Flava
445 W. 125th St. (between Amsterdam & Morningside Aves.)
Harlem, New York, NY
Hours: Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm; Sun. 12-6 pm

Van/bus transportation being arranged from South Bronx and Harlem. Call Revolution Books at 212‑691-3345 to sign up for transportation or to volunteer transportation.


Dialogue tickets available at Revolution Books at 1158 Mass Ave., Cambridge
Hours: Thurs. & Fri. 4-6 pm; Sat. 12-6 pm; Sun 12-4 pm.

Bus leaves from Cambridge on Saturday, November 15 at 9:30 am and returns Saturday night, November 15. Bus tickets to New York: $50.

For more information contact Revolution Books at or call 617‑309‑0767.


Dialogue tickets available at Revolution Books, 1103 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL
Hours: Wed-Fri: 4 pm-7 pm; Sat: noon-7 pm; Sun: 2 pm-5 pm

Buses leave from Chicago Friday evening, November 14 at 7 pm and return Sunday afternoon, November 16.
Bus tickets to New York: $100; Reduced price bus tickets $50 (for students, unemployed etc.)
Bus tickets can be purchased online at, and at Revolution Books Chicago.

For more information on Dialogue tickets and transportation, email or call 312-965-4570 or stop by Revolution Books. Additional information will be posted at:


Bus transportation available for people coming from Ferguson. For more information, email or call 312-965-4570.


Dialogue tickets available from Atlanta Revolution Books Outlet, 770-861-3339.

Vans leave from Atlanta early Fri., Nov. 14 and return late Sun., Nov. 16. For more information on transportation to the Dialogue, contact Atlanta Revolution Books Outlet at or call 770-861-3339 and leave a message.


Dialogue tickets available at Revolution Books Cleveland, 2804 Mayfield Rd. at Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, OH. 216-932-2543.
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, noon-6 pm.

Bus leaves from Cleveland at 4 am Sat., November 15 and returns early Sunday morning, November 16. Cost of the bus ticket is $70. For information on bus tickets and to reserve seats, or to purchase tickets for the Dialogue, contact Revolution Books, 216-932-2543 or at


Dialogue tickets available at Revolution Books, 4152 Woodward, Detroit 48201 or call 313-204-2906.

Current plan for transportation to the Dialogue is to leave from Detroit Revolution Books at 1 am, Saturday, Nov. 15, to Cleveland, and then get on the bus from Cleveland (see the info under Cleveland). For more information, contact 313-204-2906.


For Dialogue tickets and to arrange travel, contact 832-865-0408 or


For Dialogue tickets and to arrange travel, contact Revolution Books, 5726 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028, 323-463-3500,
Hours: Tues.-Sun., 12-7pm


For Dialogue tickets and to arrange travel, contact Revolution Books, 2425 Channing Way near Telegraph Ave., 510-848-1196,
Hours: 11 am–7 pm Mon.–Sat., 1 pm–6 pm Sun.


For Dialogue tickets and to arrange travel, contact Revolution Books at 89 S. Washington St.,
Seattle, WA 98104 (between Alaskan Way S. and 1st Ave. S.), 206-325-7415,
Hours: 11 am—6 pm Wednesday & Friday, 11 am—9 pm Thursday, 11 am—6 pm Saturday, and noon—5 pm Sunday


For Dialogue tickets and to arrange travel, contact Revolution books at 2626 South King Street, Honolulu, HI, 808-944-3106 or
Hours: 12 noon–6 pm every day





Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

October 22, 2014—Demonstrations in 70+ Cities:

STOP Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Coast-to-coast, border to border, October 22 was a day of defiant struggle. In eighty cities, towns, and campuses, it was a day of diversity and creativity. A day of courage – going right up in the face of the forces of brutality, injustice, and repression. Youth locked down in the inner cities joined with clerics and academics. Parents of children murdered by police and families of prisoners stood shoulder to shoulder with activists for LGBT equality and supporters of the struggle for liberation of Palestine. Students from inner city high schools and universities walked out. All saying: STOP police brutality, repression, and the criminalization of a generation.

Ferguson, MO, October 22Photo: Special to Revolution

Ferguson, Missouri.  A multinational crowd of hundreds marched on West Florissant, where protesters have been brutally attacked by police, and later that night to the Ferguson police station (site of regular nightly protests for 11 weeks).  A theme throughout the day: “Justice 4 Mike Brown / INDICT Now!” At night a giant “Wanted” poster was projected on a building across from the pig station: a picture of Darren Wilson with the words “Wanted for the murder of Mike Brown.” In nearby Clayton, people marched right into the St. Louis County police headquarters to protest the prosecutor’s blatant pro-police actions in the case. 

Photo: Revolution/

Left: Carl Dix from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and a co-initiator of October 22nd. Carl’s message to o22 said:
“[I]ntensified police murder is a concentration of an overall program of suppression that targets Black and Latino people.  This program includes warehousing more than 2 million people in prison, subjecting 80,000 people in prison to the torture of long term solitary confinement, stepped up detention and deportation of our immigrant sisters and brothers, and criminalizing young people.  All this amounts to a slow genocide that is breaking the bodies and crushing the spirits of tens of millions of Black and Latino people. These horrors are built into the very fabric of this system, and I’ll tell you, it’s going to take revolution nothing less to end them once and for all.  And everyone who sees these horrors for what they are needs to act now —to join in building powerful resistance to these horrors, resistance that can beat them back and ultimately can stop them.

Atlanta, October 22

Atlanta. A human blockade shut down I-75/85 protesting mass incarceration and police brutality. Photo: Special to Revolution

From Tallahassee, Florida to Portland, Oregon; from Boston, Mass. to Tucson, Arizona... In Lexington, Albuquerque, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Chattanooga,   “Streets and campuses across the country were alive with determined, militant protest on October 22nd. Thousands of people in dozens of cities and towns manifested with determination, anger, creativity and deep conviction: mass incarceration, the criminalization of generation after generation of Black and Latino youth must stop! Black Lives Matter! Latino Lives Matter! All Lives Matter!”   

Stop Mass Incarceration Network     

Seattle, October 22Photo: twitter/@local_maxima  

Seattle.  40 students from Garfield and other high schools marched to a police station after school to demand police stop targeting youth of color.  Later in the day some 100 people, including family members of people killed by police, immigrant rights supporters, and Jen Marlowe, co-author of the book I Am Troy Davis, marched and rallied in the pouring rain.  The mixed crowd of high school and college students, including Seattle Pacific University’s Black Student Union, middle class and homeless people, political activists and revolutionaries as well as first-time protesters confronted police and blocked busy intersections during rush hour. 

New York City, October 22.Photo: Special to Revolution    

New York City.  500-600 people rallied at Union Square, where one person after another with a relative murdered by police, including the sister of Eric Garner, spoke out.  Carl Dix declared his determination to march into Times Square, a symbol to the whole world, despite being denied a permit, and invited the crowd to join him.  The diverse crowd—whites, Latinos, Black people, gay and straight, students including from Columbia, NYU, Fordham, and the New School, marched through the heart of Manhattan, right past police barricades into Times Square, taking over the “red stairs” overlooking the plaza.   Left, Carl Dix on the stage, and Stolen Lives families at the rally at Union Square.

UC Berkeley, October 22

Oakland, October 22

Photos: Special to Revolution

SF Bay Area.  After 150 students rallied on campus, 60 UC Berkeley students marched to Oscar Grant Plaza in downtown Oakland.  Students from at least nine high schools and eight other colleges took part, including 50 San Francisco high school students who walked out from school. Two dozen members of a local Unitarian Church, led by their pastor, also marched to join the action.    

Students and clergy joined attorney John Burris, Jeralyn Blueford, whose son was murdered by Oakland police, Tef Poe and Tory Russell from Ferguson, and longtime revolutionary Joey Johnson at the rally.  Then more than 650 (with more joining in) took off with whistles blowing and drums beating.  At the Federal Building, there was a huge die-in and  rousing speeches. Over 500 copies of Revolution newspaper were distributed along the march.    

Chicago, October 22Photo:fjj

Chicago.  High school youth,  joined some 500 others, including parents whose children were murdered by police, college students, prisoner rights groups, and clergy were honored on the stage for an electric march through downtown Chicago.  Last week high school students wondered if they’d get killed coming downtown to march, but on O22 they picked up whistles and posters and made the base of the famous Picasso sculpture their own.

Los Angeles, October 22Photo: Special to Revolution

Los Angeles.  Over 400 people marched through downtown, including family and friends of more than 12 people killed by police and students from campuses across the area. At times the sound of blowing whistles was deafening. The march went to the LA Criminal Court, the LA jail and LAPD headquarters where Reverend Frank Wulf, pastor of the United University Church on the campus of USC, along with a leader of the Revolution Club co-mc’d a powerful rally. Speakers included family members of people murdered by police, Today Show analyst and author Lisa Bloom, Jim Lafferty of the National Lawyers Guild, and Joe Veale from the LA chapter of the RCP.   

Chicago, October 22 Chicago.  Contingent from Roosevelt University, where some 100 students walked out to join protesters at Daley Plaza.  Nationally, students played a key role in O22. Photo: Special to Revolution

Los Angeles, October 22Photo: Special to Revolution

Los Angeles: In front of LAPD headquarters, Los Angeles: Reverend Frank Wulf with family members of people who were killed by police. The rally truck is decorated with beautiful silkscreen posters of victims of police murder around the country, and Trayvon Martin, murdered by a wannabe cop in Sanford, Florida.

Rockford, IL, October 22Photo: Special to Revolution


ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS. One of more than 70 cities around the country where protests took place on October 22, including Albuquerque, New Mexico; Kansas City, Missouri; Salt Lake City; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Greenville, South Carolina.

Dread Scott, Times Square, New York City.

Artist Dread Scott, Times Square, New York City. Revolution photo


Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Statement by Carl Dix on October 22, 2014 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation

October 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Oct 22, 2014, the 19th annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, is occurring in a crucial time.  This is a time of intensifying attacks on the people by the criminal “injustice” system in this country.  We all burned with rage when we heard that a cop in Ferguson had gunned down Michael Brown and left his body laying in the street for 4½ hours. And we were sickened by the sight of Eric Garner being choked to death by cops in Staten Island, hearing him say, I can't breathe, again and again.  And these were only 2 of the many, many people whose lives were stolen by murdering cops in the past few months.  From July 17, the day Eric Garner was murdered, to Aug 17, at least 60 people were killed by law enforcement.  That's almost 2 people every day. And none of those killer cops have been punished for their crimes. This must STOP.

This intensified police murder is a concentration of an overall program of suppression that targets Black and Latino people.  This program includes warehousing more than 2 million people in prison, subjecting 80,000 people in prison to the torture of long term solitary confinement, stepped up detention and deportation of our immigrant sisters and brothers, and criminalizing young people.  All this amounts to a slow genocide that is breaking the bodies and crushing the spirits of tens of millions of Black and Latino people.

These horrors are built into the very fabric of this system, and I'll tell you, it's going to take revolution nothing less to end them once and for all.  And everyone who sees these horrors for what they are needs to act now – to join in building powerful resistance to these horrors, resistance that can beat them back and ultimately can stop them.

And this is a time when people are standing up in resistance to these horrors. The defiant youth of Ferguson poured into the streets the day Michael Brown was murdered, and they have been in the streets ever since, withstanding everything the authorities have thrown at them: tear gas, rubber bullets, militarized police, a national guard mobilization and more.  Their righteous stand drew people around the country into supporting them and standing up against police murder overall.

All this makes it crucially important that we mount powerful resistance on this October 22, and it creates great potential to do just that.  We must come together in cities all across the country and in a loud, powerful voice say: NO MORE to the horrors the criminal “injustice” system of this country enforces on people.  On this day, we must give a platform to those whose loved ones have been stolen from them by brutal murdering cops or have been warehoused in the torture chambers this system calls prisons.  They must be able to tell of the devastation this has inflicted on their lives and their families.  And people from many different backgrounds in society must stand with them and have their backs in the fight to stop police murder and mass incarceration.

And we are doing that today.  This 19th annual NDP is being marked in at least 68 cities across the US, more than have ever acted on October 22 before.  Saying in loud voices: Police Brutality – We Say No More. Mass Incarceration – We Say No More. Torture in the prisons – we say no more. Targeting of immigrants – we say no more. Criminalizing the youth – we say no more.

And this isn't about acting on this one day and going home, or about acting during the month of October and going back to business as usual.  Instead the resistance we mobilize on October 22 and the resistance we manifest during all of the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration has to become a springboard from which we continue to resist.  What we are doing today on October 22 and thruout the Month of October has been and must continue to be putting up a huge STOP sign in the face of US society;  making it so that everyone who suffers under the slow genocide of mass incarceration and police terror can see there's a movement they can join to fight to STOP these horrors.  And that no one can stand aside and say they don't know that these horrors are being perpetrated and everyone has to be challenged to take a stand on them and join the resistance to them.

Let me get practical about this. It means we need to get reports on everything that happens at October 22 actions around the country, so they can be posted on the web site.  It means that we have to promote people wearing orange on October 30 in solidarity with the struggle to stop mass incarceration.  It means that we have to be prepared to act when the grand juries come back when decisions in the cases of the cops who murdered Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

And it means continuing to build resistance to the horrors the criminal “injustice” system until mass incarceration and police terror are really no more.

Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide; and we must act now to STOP this genocide!


Stop Mass Incarceration Network
c/o P.O. Box 941 Knickerbocker Station
New York, NY 10002-0900
Twitter: @StopMassIncNet
347-979-SMIN (7646)

The "Stop Mass Incarceration: We're Better Than That!" Network is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice, a 501c3 tax-exempt organization.  Tax-deductible contributions accepted, and checks should be made payable to the "Alliance for Global Justice", with "Stop Mass Incarceration Network" in the memo line and sent to the address above.  Contributions also accepted online at




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

October 22 Breaking News

Updated, with new photos, October 23, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


October 22, National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and Criminalization of a Generation





Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

No Profit in Ebola So Thousands Die

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

A recent New York Times article is titled “Ebola Vaccine, Ready for Test, Sat on the Shelf” (October 23, 2014). It reports, “Almost a decade ago, scientists from Canada and the United States reported that they had created a vaccine that was 100 percent effective in protecting monkeys against the Ebola virus. The results were published in a respected journal, and health officials called them exciting. The researchers said tests in people might start within two years, and a product could potentially be ready for licensing by 2010 or 2011. It never happened. The vaccine sat on a shelf. Only now is it undergoing the most basic safety tests in humans—with nearly 5,000 people dead from Ebola and an epidemic raging out of control in West Africa.”


The Times goes on to report, "[T]the absence of follow-up on such a promising candidate reflects a broader failure to produce medicines and vaccines for diseases that afflict poor countries.” (My emphasis)

Only now—when Ebola is threatening to spread within the U.S. and other countries that have enslaved and plundered African people for centuries—are investments flowing into Ebola vaccines and drugs to treat Ebola.

This is “the market” at work. Next time someone starts talking about how great it is that “the market” drives things, tell them that market is responsible for unnecessary death, disease, and suffering all over the world, including the lack of vaccine and treatment for the horrors of Ebola—just for starters.

Ebola is a nightmare. The symptoms are horrific. And in conditions in Africa, where the legacy and present day reality of colonialism and imperialism has ravaged the continent, the disease spread quickly, wiping out whole villages. People have been dying from Ebola in Africa since the 1970s.

Revolution—here, or anywhere else—involves tortuous sacrifice and struggle. But think about what it would make possible: a world where the vast resources of this planet and the people on it are NOT twisted, and are only unleashed when and to the extent they serve the competitive mad scramble for profit. And where those resources can be directed to where there is the most need, from the standpoint of the interests of humanity.





Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Message of Support from Mexico for the Month of Resistance in the United States

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Revolution editors’ note: This message was posted at Aurora Roja (, voice of the the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico (OCR).

On the occasion of the protests against police brutality on October 22 in the United States, from Mexico we send warm greetings to the fighters of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and all participants in this October Month of Resistance Against Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Shoulder to shoulder with you, We Say No More! to all these crimes.

The U.S. government uses its police to kill many people, as in the recent case of the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson by a pig. Furthermore, they use their supposed “war on drugs” to criminalize, mass imprison and control youths and poor people, especially Blacks and Latinos, with the largest number of people in prison worldwide.

In Mexico, the government also kills, tortures and disappears many people, as in the recent case of the murder of six people and the disappearance of 43 students from a rural teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, in the State of Guerrero, by the police. Under the guidance and direction of the U.S. government, the Mexican government also tries to hide behind the supposed “fight against organized crime” to cast a smokescreen over its real war on the people which has led to more than 120,000 murders, 25,000 disappearances and 30,000 murders of women in recent years.

On both sides of the border, we face a murderous system and the governments of the two countries join forces in defense of the system against the people, under the command of the U.S. It is essential that people on both sides of “la Línea” [the border] firmly unite to fight our common oppressors.

We are inspired by the just struggle of the Month of Resistance in the United States that carries forward the spirit of defiance and rebellion in Ferguson. In Mexico we are celebrating a second National Week of Resistance “Stop the War on the People!” on October 20-26, as part of forging a torrent of mass struggle and resistance against the crimes committed or covered up by the State, and to put it on the bench of the accused.

We learn from the heroic example of Ferguson that when people stand up and challenge the repressive forces, they can awaken and inspire millions and can radically change the atmosphere in society. As a protester said in Ferguson: “There is no fear. It’s stand up or die.” The same feelings of anger, protest and defiant rebellion that have left a deep impression in the wake of state crimes in Ferguson and elsewhere, are spreading throughout Mexico in a new wave of protest and resistance against the crimes of the State against the Ayotzinapa students and many others.

Let’s unite the courage, conscience and resistance of the people against all the crimes of this murdering system and fight together for a very different and liberating new future!

—National Network of Resistance “Stop the War on the People!”




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Grand Jury Leaks: Michael Brown's Murderer Walks Free? No Way!

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Michael Brown

It has now been over TWO MONTHS since Michael Brown was shot down in cold blood by Ferguson, Missouri, cop Darren Wilson. This killer cop not only is still walking free, but the system is blatantly moving to whitewash Michael’s murder—and to try and get people ready to swallow this outrage on top of an outrage and do nothing.

That cannot happen. The truth remains the truth.

The evidence is that Darren Wilson executed Michael Brown in broad daylight, in front of witnesses. Cell phones captured the scene with photos, video, audio—recording key evidence of what happened. Mike was unarmed, he was already wounded and had run away from the cop, then turned around with his hands up in the universal signal of surrender when the cop shot him multiple times, killing him in cold blood. Once AGAIN, to send a message that a Black man’s life isn’t worth anything to the powers-that-be in AmeriKKKa.

Instead of indicting and arresting the murderer of Michael Brown, the system has been covering up what happened. They convened a grand jury, supposedly to decide if there’s a basis to indict Darren Wilson. That was bullshit right there—there was MORE than enough evidence, the day of the murder, to charge Wilson! Can you imagine what would have happened if the roles were reversed? Do you think Michael Brown would be walking the streets, while a grand jury was called to weigh evidence?!

Grand jury deliberations are secret, so nobody is supposed to know what is going on. But in this case, very selective and utterly unreliable “leaks” are being spread by people inside the IN-justice system about what is going on. The Washington Post, for instance, ran a headline: “Evidence supports officer’s account of shooting in Ferguson,” based on completely unsupportable, unverifiable “leaks.” These same ruling class media will demonize and convict a Black person based on just about anything, or nothing.

These grand jury leaks are a calculated move “to start getting some of the facts out there to kind of let people down slowly” (that’s a quote from Tim Fitch, St. Louis County’s former police chief).

Fuck that. The people in Ferguson have made clear since the day Mike Brown was gunned down—and thousands of others around the country and the world have made clear by standing with the people in Ferguson—that the system must not be allowed to GET AWAY WITH COLD-BLOODED MURDER OF YET ANOTHER BLACK YOUTH.

Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cop to Jail! The Whole System Is Guilty as Hell!




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

From Stop Mass Incarceration Network:

Bring the October Month of Resistance to a Powerful Conclusion
Wear Orange on October 30

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


On October 30 people across the country will be wearing orange—as a powerful visible symbol of opposition to mass incarceration.

On campuses, in the streets, in high schools, at work, on public transportation—everywhere you go that day, wear orange. Gather in public spots in your city, town, or campus with groups of people in orange, challenging others to join you and be part of the crew.

We will be wearing orange because it is the color prisoners are forced to wear—from the torture chambers in Guantánamo, to the infamous Segregated Housing Units (SHUs) in California, to the work gangs on Texas prison farms, to teeming youth detention centers coast to coast. We're wearing orange and turning this around—orange will become the color of resistance, and known for that far and wide in society. It will help galvanize and give expression to our opposition.

This country has the highest incarceration rate in world history: 2.2 million people, a huge number of them Black and Latino youth. Black men are incarcerated at a rate over six times that of white men, and usually given much higher sentences for the same offenses. We live in a society that offers no future to the masses of Black and Latino youth except prison and punishment.

This is unacceptable! Throughout October, resistance has been mobilized to the slow genocide of mass incarceration and police terror. The month was opened by people taking the Pledge of Resistance in cities across the country. This was followed by sermons in dozens of religious institutions; symposiums at Columbia University, UC Berkeley, and other campuses; more than 1,000 people gathered for Ferguson October; and now we're coming off a successful mobilization for October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. October 30 will be a day to make our resistance resonate further throughout society and deliver a message to one and all that mass incarceration and all its consequences must be stopped; and that we are determined to STOP it!

Be creative. Be bold. Be determined. Make a lot of noise, get a lot of attention.





Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


It is with great grief and aching hearts, and with profound love for a wonderful comrade, that the Central Committee of the RCP, USA announces the death of Clyde Young. Clyde Young, also known as Wayne Webb, was a communist for nearly 40 years...a leader of the people... and a member of the Party’s Central Committee. We extend our deepest condolences to Clyde’s partner of many years, to his immediate and extended family, to his comrades and his friends... and to that wide circle of those he counted as his brothers and sisters.

We, his comrades, will miss his earnest struggle for clarity and his unshakeable firmness and courage in the face of the enemy. We will miss his profound anger toward the enemy and his great gentleness toward the people and his comrades, and the love he so generously gave. We will miss his seriousness and his fierce spirit—and we will deeply miss his twinkling eyes, and his delicious and inclusive sense of humor and mischief. We will miss the joy he took in the struggle—both the political struggle, and the struggle for ideological and theoretical clarity. And we will carry him, always, in our hearts.

My heart is broken at the loss of Wayne Webb. His life was an inspiring example of how those this system treats as "the worst of the worst" can become the very best that humanity is capable of. He was not just a precious comrade, but also a great friend—someone I have known since the 1970s and loved hanging out with: grappling together with questions of philosophy, politics, and art, joking and laughing, singing doo wop songs we both loved. I miss him terribly.

Bob Avakian

Clyde Young came up the hard way, in the mean streets of the Midwestern ghettos. He was always rebellious—and from the age of 12 years old he was snatched up and put into the hellholes of this system, first in the juvenile jails and then the maximum security dungeons, spending his entire adolescence and young adulthood locked up. He was one of the many this system slated for death at an early age, one of the millions and tens of millions whom this system has cast off and cast down; yet he fought to rise above all that, and came to dedicate his life to the emancipation of all humanity. He embodied rising to the challenge put out by Bob Avakian, in BAsics 3:16, to those the system has cast off to become “the gravediggers of this system and the bearers of the future communist society.”

Clyde went into prison as one person, and came out as another. His rebelliousness and unbreakable spirit remained—indeed, it was tempered and grew stronger—but it found powerful direction. Inspired by the revolutionary struggles of the 1960s, Clyde helped lead a strike at an Indiana prison—one in which non-violent prisoners sitting in on a field were mowed down by guards, killing two and wounding scores. While in prison, he began studying—trying to figure out WHY these things happened and began to work with others, forming a revolutionary collective right under the eyes of the authorities and following the struggle in the movements for revolution—first the revolutionary nationalist movement, and then the communist movement. When Clyde got out in the mid-'70s, he got involved with the new communist movement...and never looked back. (To give people a fuller sense of Clyde’s life and how he became a communist, we are reprinting an interview he did in the early 1990s, under the name “Comrade X.”)

Clyde joined the Party shortly after it was formed. To do this, he had to break with—and he had to lead others to break with the outlook of nationalism.  Indeed, Clyde set an example—in what he believed and what he lived and fought for and practiced—for his internationalism and his firm opposition to patriarchy.  Clyde was truly about breaking every chain on humanity.

From the very first, he did not fear struggle—either against the enemy in very close-quarters battles, or to find out what was true and to struggle for that truth with comrades once he found it. And from the very first, he never wavered in the depth of his commitment; he was “all in” from the “git-go,” fighting for this Party and especially fighting for the leadership of Bob Avakian. Clyde had the chance in those years to work very closely with BA, and he cherished every opportunity to learn all he could...while having plenty of fun in the process!

The Constitution of the RCP, USA states that “the greatest responsibility of every party member is to struggle for the party’s line to remain, and develop further as, a revolutionary line.” Clyde lived this. He fought to contribute as much as he could, especially in the struggle for a revolutionary line, and played an important role in many crucial struggles inside and outside the Party. He did not shy from taking responsibility—he dared to lead, dared to “reach for the heights and fly without a safety net.” Clyde listened to and learned from criticism, wherever it came from, even as he would struggle for what he thought was right. Like all comrades, Clyde made mistakes; like all of us, he could at times become tired, or discouraged, or scared. But he never stopped relying on his comrades for strength, he never stopped struggling for understanding, and he never stopped fighting to contribute all he could to emancipating humanity—to changing the world. As a party leader, he inspired confidence in those he led, lending people courage and compassion at challenging junctures. He struggled to instill in all a spirit of collectivity, up against the constant pulls of capitalist society toward individualism and “me first.” As part of that, he fought for the organizational integrity of the Party, upholding and helping to strengthen its chain of knowledge and chain of command.

Clyde Young also led, or helped to lead, the Party’s work on many different fronts of struggle. To mention just a few, these included: building demonstrations on African Liberation Day in the mid-1970s against U.S. imperialist oppression in Africa; the fight to stop the legal railroad of Bob Avakian and other defendants in a mass political/legal campaign in 1979-1982, including helping to lead over 170 volunteers in Washington, D.C. in 1979; the Party’s work in Atlanta during the period of the Atlanta child murders, when forces that are to this day unknown kidnapped and ultimately murdered over 20 Black children in Atlanta in 1979-1981 and activists, revolutionaries, cultural figures, and masses worked to uncover what was at work and lead resistance to efforts of the authorities to cover things up; special efforts by the Party to develop a revolutionary political movement among the most dispossessed and despised in society; and many other particular battles in over half a dozen different cities. In recent years, Clyde gave major public speeches on revolution in LA, Chicago, Oakland, New York and DC; he played a key role in fighting through in different cities to hold the very important dialogues between Carl Dix and Cornel West in a number of cities; and he played a key role as well in the bus tour through the South promoting the work and leadership of Bob Avakian, as part of the BA Everywhere campaign.

A memorial honoring the life of Clyde Young/Wayne Webb was held in Chicago on Saturday, October 18th. Click here for details.

Memorial events were also held in:

Houston - October 26, Sunday, 2-5pm
Bar Boheme, 307 Fairview @Taft, in the Montrose

Los Angeles
Sat., Nov. 1st, 5 pm
Revolution Books, 5726 Hollywood Blvd., LA
(323) 463-3500 

Berkeley - November 2, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
at Revolution Books
2425 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

New York
Sunday, November 2nd, 3-6 pm
Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew,
263 West 86th Street
between Broadway and West End Avenue
info: 212-691-3345



If you would like to share remembrances, photographs or tributes please send to





  • As a kid, 1950s
  • Promoting BAsics by Bob Avakian, in Atlanta, 2012
  • Typing in prison, late 1960s
  • Posing (on the right) with a fellow revolutionary at the prison, early 1970s
  • 1980s
  • Shooting a rubber band
  • Clyde Young (right) with Carl Dix (left) and Cornel West (center), Los Angeles, April 2011
  • Taking out Bob Avakian's BAsics, 2012
  • 2012
  • Clyde Young / Wayne Webb: 1949-2014
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

























Through all this, Clyde still found the time to engage in his side passion: chess games with all comers, whether on the Internet, in tournaments or out on the street, taking on everyone from professors to veterans of the prison system. Though Clyde was a willing and gracious teacher, those who dared to underestimate his strategic breadth and tactical boldness across the chessboard were definitely doomed to defeat!

And he could turn around and break your heart—or lift your spirits—with his a cappella rendition of the Chi-Lites classic “Oh, Girl.”

There is a special hurt, a particular poignancy to Clyde’s death. For decades Clyde waged a courageous battle against very serious illness and disability. He fought the pull to yield to the individual torture of what it is to battle such disability under this system. He fought this not just with courage, but with science—by working together with and drawing on the expertise of a number of very compassionate health professionals as well as support and assistance of family members and many others and especially the collectivity of the Party. As the Resolution on Leaders and Leadership states, “Inside the Party, comrades share the good and the bad, and look out for each other: this too is an expression of our collectivity and our revolutionary outlook.”  More than once Clyde came close to death and this became very acute in the last year. Yet he continued this battle, continued fighting to get well, motivated by a desire to contribute all he could to the struggle. Finally, in the last few weeks, though still battling, Clyde seemed to have turned a corner. Right before he died, on the eve of the month of resistance against mass incarceration and police terror, Clyde wrote to Carl Dix to say that he was “freed up on things I have been focusing on and can now build for the Month of Resistance...I’m prepared to get into things immediately, so drop me a line right away...” The next day, tragically, Clyde died.

What we feel today—collectively and as individuals—is captured in the following passage from “Some Points on the Question of Revolutionary Leadership and Individual Leaders”:

...There is no denying it: The loss of a true revolutionary leader—and all the more so if this is an individual who plays a key and critical leadership role—is like having a heart ripped out of our collective chest. When such things happen, we should deal with it—new leaders must step forward and be brought forward to continue to guide the revolutionary cause. But we should first of all do everything in our power to prevent such things from happening.

We mourn our comrade’s death, on the eve of tremendous struggles he so hungered to be part of, struggles he so strove to give his all for. So we will remember Clyde Young as we fight the enemy, and we will turn our grief at his death and our inspiration from the example of his life into the compassion, courage, boldness, energy, and scientific approach required in the huge challenges we face—both in the years ahead and very immediately in these next weeks. We will draw strength from his memory all through the Month of Resistance in October and Clyde will definitely be “presente” in spirit during the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on November 15! The example of his life will find expression every time a new person—especially but not only from among those society has cast off—takes up the study of communism, or steps forward in struggle and defiance, or dares to join the vanguard of the revolution to which Clyde Young dedicated his life, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

So we will not only mourn our beloved comrade, we will celebrate his life and carry him in our hearts and minds—a life given over to the cause of humanity, the cause of emancipation...a life which enriched beyond measure all of us who were privileged to count him a comrade.

As we noted, Clyde stood staunchly beside Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the RCP, USA, in many different battles and many different kinds of battles over the course of decades. He deeply and fiercely loved BA. So it is especially fitting to end this tribute to Clyde Young with this quote from BA:

BAsics 5:23

If you have had a chance to see the world as it really is, there are profoundly different roads you can take with your life. You can just get into the dog-eat-dog, and most likely get swallowed up by that while trying to get ahead in it. You can put your snout into the trough and try to scarf up as much as you can, while scrambling desperately to get more than others. Or you can try to do something that would change the whole direction of society and the whole way the world is. When you put those things alongside each other, which one has any meaning, which one really contributes to anything worthwhile? Your life is going to be about something—or it’s going to be about nothing. And there is nothing greater your life can be about than contributing whatever you can to the revolutionary transformation of society and the world, to put an end to all systems and relations of oppression and exploitation and all the unnecessary suffering and destruction that goes along with them. I have learned that more and more deeply through all the twists and turns and even the great setbacks, as well as the great achievements, of the communist revolution so far, in what are really still its early stages historically.

From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist,
A Memoir by Bob Avakian
, 2005








Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

From A World to Win News Service:

"They were alive when you took them, we want them back alive!"—protests threaten political crisis in Mexico

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


October 20, 2014. A World to Win News Service. Students from a women's rural teachers' college in the city of Juarez in northern Mexico are on strike to demand that 43 kidnapped comrades in south-western Mexico be brought back alive. Police and civilian gunmen attacked the students from the Ayotzinapa teachers' training school as they returned from a protest in the city of Iguala on September 26, killing three students and three other people. Dozens of students were forced into police vehicles and have not been seen since then.

In Juarez, after seizing the school premises and then fanning out through the state to inform people about Iguala, the women students were joined by university students and others in seizing the entrance to the international bridge leading to El Paso, Texas. About 700 people blocked traffic with large banners reading, "They were alive when you took them, we want them back alive," according to the newspaper La Jornada.

Meanwhile, parents of the kidnapped students travelled to the cathedral in Mexico City where they were greeted with applause, embraces and tears as they entered during a service carrying religious signs and chanting, "We want them alive!" They were accompanied by a priest active in supporting migrants and a well-known poet, Javier Sicilia, who has condemned the government for the murder of his son in 2011.

Many thousands of students marched in Iguala and other states across Mexico on October 17 and 18 to mark three weeks since the kidnapping. In a large march in Acapulco, the biggest city of the state of Guerrero, where the murders and kidnappings took place, protesters chanted slogans denouncing the police and drug-gang gunmen as "the same filthy shit." They demanded the downfall of the state governor, who has tried to blame the killings and kidnappings on the corruption of the Iguala mayor, condemned the country's three main political parties as partners in organized crime, and proclaimed, "The terror comes from the state."

At the annual Mexico City International Book Fair, national university students, publishers and others collected more than 3,500 books for the Ayotzinapa rural teachers 'college.

More demonstrations around the country have been called for October 22.

Following is a leaflet by the Revolutionary Communist Organization of Mexico, which is leading a National Week of Resistance to the War Against the People October 20-26. (See, in Spanish.)

Ayotzinapa: Crime and crisis of a rotten, bestial state

The government's crimes in Iguala, Guerrero, are infuriating. Six unarmed, innocent people murdered by police and armed civilians, a young man with the skin peeled off his face. Twenty-five wounded, two of them seriously. Forty-three students from the Ayotzinapa teachers' college disappeared, at least 20 taken away by the municipal police. After a big spectacle about alleged confessions that led to secret mass graves, now we are told that at least the 28 bodies identified so far are not those of the students but victims of other savage crimes.

The federal government led by Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI [the governing party] and the state government of Angel Aguirre of the PRD ["left" opposition party] put off even the appearance of taking action as long as possible, giving Iguala mayor José Luis Abarca, also of the PRD, enough time to clean up the evidence and get away. The archives and computers of the municipal government and the public security forces were destroyed and the arms taken to a military facility.

The army arrived just minutes after the police shooting. They confiscated the students' phones and refused to call an ambulance for a wounded youth who had been shot in the face. They detained the survivors of the massacre, insulting them and telling the students, "You got what you asked for."

In June, 2013, town mayor Abarca personally murdered the leader of the People's Unity organization in Iguala, according to the testimony of others who had also been kidnapped but managed to escape. The tortured bodies of the leader and two of his comrades were later found lying along a road. Although an eyewitness testified before the state prosecutor and federal prosecutor assigned to this case, they did nothing, and now the attorney general is lying when he says that his office knew nothing about it. This shows that both the state and federal government covered up these previous political murders and protected the mayor.

Now, facing the massive protests sparked by the September 26 massacre in Iguala, they pretend to be "surprised" to have "found out" that the mayor was involved with organized crime. Their aim is to try and disguise this bloody act of police repression as an "organized crime problem," even though the attack was launched by the municipal police lead by the police chief, who like the mayor, has now fled. Although the whole truth about the Iguala massacre is not yet known, the involvement of gang hit men in political repression cases around the country shows that the problem is not "organized crime," but that the local, state and federal government all work with organized crime and use it to repress and kill political activists and the people in general.

The problem goes beyond the Mexican government: the government of the United States is the main architect of the so-called anti-crime campaign that has served to justify 125,000 murders, 25,000 disappearances and 30,000 feminicides [serial killings of women], among other crimes. This amounts to a war against the people. After the Ayotzinapa massacre, what is the U.S. government's advice to us, given by the State Department's anti-narcotics head? Patience—when what they have done has turned Mexico into a bloodbath. At the same time an article in The New York Times (October 6, 2014), the "liberal" organ of the U.S. ruling class, informs its readers that Mexico is "a country accustomed to mass murder," a racist comment refuted by the massive protests against the mass murder in Iguala that took place in many parts of the country on October 8.

The fact is that in the days after this murderous attack, no prominent government member and no major leader of any of the main political parties anywhere in Mexico unambiguously denounced these abominable crimes nor called on people to protest. In addressing the nation, President Peña Nieto could not even bring himself to use the word "murder." Instead, he referred to "people whose human rights were affected." Why? Because despite all the disputes among them based on their petty ambitions, they know that this state cannot do without political repression against the people, that such repression is essential to protect the capitalist state that is inevitably characterized by the wealth of a few and the poverty of the majority, the oppression of women, the domination of the indigenous peoples, the destruction of the environment and all the other evils that are endemic under this system.

The Iguala massacre is not an "anomaly." It is a continuation of the hounding and repression of the combative Ayotzinapa students that previously led to the police murder of two of them in 2011, and it is part of a long history of massacres, disappearances, rapes and tortures by the armed forces, police and paramilitaries since the massacres of 1968, 1971 and the "dirty war" [Mexican government war against student and guerrilla groups in '60s and '70s]—including the massacres in Acteal, El Bosque, El Charco y Aguas Blancas, the 2006 wave of murders in Oaxaca, the repression on Atenco carried out by all three major parties that left two dead and two dozen women raped by the police that year alone, and the army's execution of 21 people who had surrendered in Tlatlaya last June.

The basic problem is this criminal and illegitimate state, and the inhuman and oppressive capitalist system this state serves and protects. It is not simply a question of corruption, bad politicians or the policies of one or another of the main political parties that represent the ruling class.

The broad and indignant protests against the barbarity in Iguala have provoked a political crisis within the reactionary state that opens new perspectives for the struggle against this state and this system and to put an end to the war against the people. It has revealed, for all to see, the systematic terror that props up the system in Mexico, a country that "world leaders" recently proclaimed "exemplary" because of its anti-people structural reforms. On October 2 the streets of Chilpancingo [the capital of the state of Guerrero] resounded with a massive outpouring of indignation, a mega-march that drew people from other states. On October 8 angry protesters filled the Zócalo [Mexico City's central square] and surrounding streets. There were marches in at least 25 states, and other protests in more than 20 countries around the world.

It is essential to intensify and broaden these protests even more and carry the exposure and denunciation of the Iguala massacre and the war against the people far and wide and deeply, so that more and more people see that this state is not negligent, it is criminal, and strengthen their combativeness and organization, contributing to preparing the terrain to get rid of this illegitimate state through revolution.

Down with this state that tortures and murders to defend the unspeakable interests of a handful of people! We need a state that protects and serves the people, that encourages and nourishes people's creativity and their struggle to transform the world in the interests of the immense majority. To hell with this system of injustice, impunity, oppression and hunger! We need a new, socialist economic and social system committed to the emancipation of humanity. This great transformation can only be won by means of a conscious and determined struggle of the masses in their millions. "Impossible"? It's time to stop complaining about people's supposed "apathy." Once again the people are beginning to awaken. Every conscious person has the responsibility to spread the truth about this state's atrocities. It is the duty of every communist and revolutionary to help people develop the consciousness, combativeness and organization they need to liberate themselves.


A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.





Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Cornel West Interviews Bob Avakian on PRI Smiley & West radio show, October 2012.

October 6, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


Click here to play or download the audio file.
Transcript available in Spanish HERE.


In early October, the revolution crackled on the airwaves when the Smiley & West radio show on PRI (Public Radio International) across the country aired an interview that Cornel West recently conducted with Bob Avakian.

This interview is sharp and wide-ranging, challenging and inspiring. Cornel West, a prominent public intellectual, engages with Bob Avakian, the leader of a new stage of communist revolution. The importance of getting this exchange out broadly into society, and fundraising as we do so, should not be underestimated—and in fact, the reach and impact of this interview should be maximized in many different ways.





Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

CHECK IT OUT! Kill the Messenger

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Kill the Messenger—showing now in theaters—presents three interwoven intense, infuriating, and inspiring stories. One is the story of how, during the 1980s, the United States government facilitated flooding the inner cities of the United States with crack cocaine, destroying lives, and then used that to unleash a vicious "war on drugs" that was a war on poor Black and Latino people—a war that is more intense today than ever. And then the CIA used the profits from crack sales to finance a war of terror against the people of Nicaragua. The second story is that of the courageous journalist Gary Webb, how and why he risked and sacrificed everything to bring this story to light. And the third is the despicable and vicious ways the government moved to suppress this story, including through character assassination and orchestrated gossip campaigns, as reflected in the movie's title. The script is adapted in part from Gary Webb's book Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, and movie is powerfully done—you'll walk out of the theater shaken and furious. Go with friends, invite the audience to connect with, and make sure you have people to talk to afterwards—there's a lot in this movie to think about and act on.

Read "The CIA/Crack Connection: Interview with Gary Webb"—an interview with Gary Webb in 1997—at




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Revolution Interview:

The CIA/Crack Connection: Interview with Gary Webb

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Editors' note: The following interview with Gary Webb, by Revolution correspondent Alan Goodman, appeared in the Revolutionary Worker (the former name of Revolution) June 22, 1997.

The Revolution Interview is a special feature to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music, literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own, and they are not responsible for the views expressed elsewhere in Revolution.

* * * *

RW: First I just want to say, speaking for our paper and our readers, we want you to know how much we appreciate the important exposure you've done on the links between the Contras, the CIA and the explosion of crack in the inner cities. And how much we appreciate that you haven't backed down from that. What was it about what you exposed that created such a sensation, do you think? What was it that really caught people's attention and got the government so upset?

GW: The fact that we found out where this cocaine was going. Back in the '80s there had been a number of stories, some of them in the mainstream press, about Contras dealing cocaine in the United States. What we were able to show was where the stuff was being sold, which was the inner cities, in Los Angeles primarily. And we were able to show what the effect of that was. Which was to help spark this horrible crack epidemic that went from Los Angeles to hundreds of cities across the United States in the years after that. I think that's what made people the maddest.

RW:That's interesting, because at the beginning of your series you pointed out that thousands of young Black men were serving long prison sentences for selling cocaine, and that that drug was virtually unobtainable in Black neighborhoods before the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contras started bringing it into South Central L.A.

GW: And I think that was just a matter of timing, actually. You know, at that same time you had the cartels in Colombia gearing up. Suddenly there's a lot more cocaine. The volume was greater, the price was cheaper. So, I think that's part of the explanation for that. Before the early '80s it was expensive for everybody. After the cartels got going the price came down because the production went up. But still, that doesn't explain how it got to South Central. And what we explained was how this cheap cocaine got to South Central. And it was through this Contra drug ring that I wrote about.

RW:What did you learn about the relationship between that and the proliferation of crack in Black communities?

GW: Well, the technology to make crack had been around for a while. I found evidence that there were recipes floating around on how to do this conversion from powder to crack with baking soda in the late '70s. The problem was, there just wasn't enough cocaine out there to do it with. And it was too expensive. And what we found was that when you brought in a large quantity of very cheap cocaine, suddenly people that knew how to make crack had the wherewithal to make it. It was the raw material—these folks supplied the raw materials for this crack problem. And that was the connection. It wasn't a situation where the CIA invented crack, or the Contras were bringing in crack. They were just bringing in powder and the drug users on the street had had this knowledge of how to do it for a while but didn't have the material to do it with.

RW:One thing you document is the volume of cocaine that suddenly became available.

GW: The man that headed this drug ring, Norwin Meneses, was one of the biggest cocaine traffickers in Latin America. He was dealing directly with the cartels and he had unlimited access to cocaine, and was able to smuggle literally tons of it into the country. So, if you're gonna make a market like L.A. you've gotta have a lot of dope, and he had access to as much dope as he wanted.

RW:What have you learned, both in writing your original series and since, about how these guys were able to bring so much cocaine into the U.S.?

GW: They had a variety of ways that they did it and they shifted transportation routes whenever one would get discovered or somebody would get busted. Some ways they brought it in cars, some ways they brought it in trucks. During one time period, particularly in the early '80s, they were bringing it up on Colombian freighters and offloading it. And these freighters would stop in Los Angeles, they'd stop in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle. Just hit the coast and drop it off that way.

The one thing that we found most interesting was when they started using Salvadoran military planes. It was probably 1984, 1985 when they went to that mode of transportation. And what we found was that there was an airbase in El Salvador that was being used by the Contra resupply operation. Oliver North's Contra resupply operation. And, according to one of the men we interviewed, they were loading the cocaine on the Salvadoran aircraft and flying them into an airbase in Texas, where it was offloaded and shipped elsewhere.

But if you look at what the Senate's Kerry Committee found back in the '80s, there was testimony that drug planes were flying into Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. What better way to protect a cocaine shipment than to have it on a military transport, surrounded by war materials, which nobody was expecting? There was a very interesting story, I believe it was in the Boston Globe, about how there was a program set up by Customs, in which they would not inspect certain flights because they were CIA flights. And there was a great deal of suspicion that these were the planes that were bringing in this cocaine.

RW:What kind of volume are we talking about?

GW: When I interviewed the lawyer for one of these traffickers, he told me it was not uncommon for thousand-kilo shipments to come back to the United States. He said they had these transport planes, which he said they were using to fly humanitarian aid down to the Contras, which would put it in the NHAO Program that the State Department was running.

RW:What's this NHAO program?

GW: Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office. This was set up to distribute $27 million of humanitarian aid after Congress cut off the lethal aid. The Reagan administration went back in and set up the NHAO and proceeded to use these aircraft for what they called "mixed loads." Lethal and non-lethal supplies. And Danilo Blandón's attorney told me that when these planes were coming back, after having delivered the supplies, that they would routinely carry thousand-kilo loads back into the United States. Which is a hell of a lot of cocaine. I mean, you could fit a lot in those C-130s.

RW: And how many people had to turn their backs so that these huge shipments of cocaine could be unloaded at U.S. military bases? And then distributed?

GW: I don't think it would have been all that many, frankly. One of the most common descriptions of this cocaine that I've seen routinely through the Kerry Committee report is that it was packed in green military duffel bags. When you start off-loading military aircraft that have a lot of equipment on them, and you see duffel bags here and there, nobody's gonna question it. So I don't even think the people flying the planes needed to know they were on it. You just had to have somebody there at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador to load the stuff on the plane to get it into the country. And then nobody inspects military aircraft when they come in.

RW: Wasn't this the era of "Just Say No," as official government policy? Nancy Reagan and all? So what government agencies were involved in getting this cocaine into the United States and then distributing it?

GW: That's hard to tell because the people who were doing it weren't directly connected. They were always at arm's length. I'll tell you the agencies that I have found links to. It was the State Department, the National Security Council, the CIA and the DEA. And each agency was linked in different ways. There's a significant amount of evidence that shows members of this drug ring were in contact with agents of these agencies while this cocaine trafficking was going on. And they weren't being arrested. So it's kind of hard to explain why since we've gotten a lot of documentation that shows the federal government knew what was going on. At least some portion of it.

RW: What links did you find to the Drug Enforcement Agency?

GW: The DEA links were through Norwin Meneses, the head of the ring. He was working for the DEA. He's been working for the DEA for many years. Which is why it's so astonishing that he's never been arrested in the United States. But also may explain why. It's my opinion that he was protected. And that's the opinion of other people I've talked to—that he was protected.

RW: Have you learned anything since your original series about links between the CIA and this whole operation?

GW: One of the links we found was through an agent in Costa Rica. We talked to one of the couriers for this drug ring who was working for the Meneses organization in San Francisco. And he told us, and identified the agent, gave us the name of the agent, who he said was overseeing the distribution of the funds that he personally took down there. So, there's that.

There's the fact that, as I reported in the original series, they met with a CIA agent and essentially got their fundraising orders from this man, Enrique Bermúdez, who is the head of the FDN, the Contra Army called the FDN.

And we've also found evidence that people in Washington, at least one CIA official in Washington, had fairly specific information on the trafficking that was going on at the Salvadoran air base.

RW: Isn't there a certain deniability built into the way the CIA operates? Into everything they do?

GW: Right. You're never going to find the CIA doing anything directly. You know? You will find people who are on the payroll asking somebody else to do something, as you saw with this case. You had a foreign agent, Enrique Bermúdez, asking two men who were cocaine traffickers to go do something for a CIA-run army. And, interestingly enough, in furtherance of U.S. foreign policy. So it's hard to say that these guys were just out there on their own. I've never known cocaine traffickers to be a fairly charitable lot, and why they would want to give part of the proceeds away is an unanswered question.

RW: Do you have a sense of how much money ended up being funneled to the Contras through these cocaine dealing operations?

GW: I can tell you how much went to them in '82 and '83, which is when this courier was working for them. And he said that it was between $5 million and $6 million. As far as the money that went later, it looks to me as if they did it through '83, they did it from '82 to '83. The real CIA money started coming in to the Contras in '83. And it looks like they may have stopped for a while. But then when the Boland amendment came back in...

RW: The Boland Amendment...

GW: The Boland Amendment cut off CIA funding for the Contras back in '84. Then it appears that they geared up again and Meneses relocated to Costa Rica. Danilo Blandón started supplying Eden Pastora, one of the Contra commanders, with housing, trucks and money. And then the L.A. sheriffs found, not only the L.A. sheriffs but the FBI and the DEA had evidence they were doing it in 1986. So, I'm not sure it was a continuous operation. But we have no idea how much the latter years produced. I would doubt seriously that much of this money ever got to the Contras, because if you look at the conditions that they fought in—I mean if all this cocaine was sold here and all the money went to the Contras, they would have won the war and they would have taken over Central America. That's how big this drug operation was. So I'm not sure a whole lot of this money got to the Contras but some of it did.

RW: Millions?

GW: Five or six million dollars is nothing to sneeze at.

RW: And then you mentioned that you have found links to the State Department. Is that part of this picture?

GW: This is a part of the story that we haven't printed yet. But there was some very curious meetings with State Department officials who were involved in some very interesting things.

RW:< em>Really? Can you give us any more of a clue now?

GW: No.

RW: OK, we'll have to insist that the rest of your series gets printed.

GW: Well, you can insist, but I don't think you're gonna see it in the Mercury News

RW: Since your series appeared there's been quite an intense campaign to discredit you and your series, and to drum you out of mainstream journalism. Can you talk about that?

GW: I think it's been fairly successful. But it's not something that hasn't happened before. If you go back and look at the CIA scandals back in the '70s brought about by Seymour Hersh's exposé, Daniel Schorr's work for CBS. Schorr and Hersh were both subjected to the same sort of discrediting campaign.

RW: Tell our readers some about what you have been subjected to.

GW: Well, I've had stories written about how there's no evidence here. How there's no substantiation for what we say. We had the Washington Post claim that the stories were insinuating that the CIA had targeted Black America. It's been a very subtle disinformation campaign to try to tell people that these stories don't say what they say. Or that they say something else, other than what we said. So people can say, well, there's no evidence of this, you know. It's classic propaganda. You say, well, this story doesn't prove that top CIA officials knew about it. Well, since the stories never said they did, of course they don't. But that's the sort of arguments that were thrown at us. I was accused of signing movie deals with Rick Ross. I did a book proposal that was leaked to the L.A. Times. And the L.A. Times took one part of it and put it in the newspaper to make me look like a conspiracy theorist. My film agent's office was raided by the DEA.

RW: Really?

GW: Yeah, they were looking for evidence that I had made some sort of movie deal with Rick Ross. So they were gonna haul him before the grand jury and they had subpoenaed his records, and when he turned them over and they found out that there had been no such deal, they left it alone. But in the meantime, stories appeared in the L.A. Times and the Washington Post about how unethical this was. Rush Limbaugh has gone after me. Oliver North has gone after me. Reed Irvine and his band of merry pranksters over at Accuracy In Media have been just screaming for blood since this story came out.

RW: What did Oliver North have to say?

GW: Oliver North said I was the Janet Cook of the '90s. She was a Washington Post reporter who made up a story and won the Pulitzer Prize, and then they had to give it back. Remember "Jimmy's World"?

In the Nicaraguan press, Adolfo Calero, who is the former chief of the Contras, has come out and said that he has proof that I took money from Rick Ross' attorney to make up this story—which echoed a lot of what the Justice Department was claiming in court, that there had been some sort of unethical collusion between me and this fellow that I interviewed. They've made these claims in his sentencing memorandum.

So it's been a very sophisticated and very subtle effort to paint me either as a crook or as a lunatic. And if you look back to the '80s, and look at what happened to the reporters who did this story back then, it was the same sort of campaign, except then they were portrayed as communist sympathizers, Sandinista sympathizers. I think Martha Honey and Tony Avirgan who had done a lot of work on this topic down in Costa Rica were accused of being Sandinista agents in government documents. And you know, they were subjected to the same sort of rumor and innuendo campaign in the press down in Costa Rica that my friend Georg Hodel is going through now in Nicaragua, where people are saying it's open season on him, and that the Mercury News has invited people to sue us. It's really amazing to watch.

RW: What's this about the Mercury News has invited people to sue?

GW: That's what the story has said, in the Nicaraguan press, that now the Mercury News has backed off this story and admitted it was all made up, and that anybody who files a lawsuit against these reporters, the Mercury News won't defend. And that was reported in the press down in Nicaragua. All of it was made up.

The most recent thing that's happened is Georg Hodel, my partner, his brother-in-law and the attorney for the men we've interviewed down in Nicaragua, were run off the road the other night and threatened by armed men. When they went to the police and complained about it, the story appeared in the press that they had been drunk and driven off the road themselves. So, it's very interesting to watch. I've never been the center of a propaganda campaign before, but it's funny to watch it unfold.

RW: What did you make of CIA Director Deutch appearing at a meeting in South Central Los Angeles?

GW: It showed me how frightened the Agency was of this story—when has that ever happened? That the head of the CIA would ever go meet the public and answer questions? Not that he did answer them, but he at least appeared to try. That just gives you an indication how deeply this story frightened the people in Washington, that they thought one of the ways to do it was to send John Deutch on a roadshow and tell people that there's nothing here. So I'm not sure it worked. Actually, seeing what happened to him subsequent to that, I think people in Washington realize that might have been a mistake. Because it just fanned the flames even further.

RW: In talking about all the different kinds of attacks that have come down on you and others who have been involved in this series, you used the term "disinformation campaign." Can you explain that a little more?

GW: There was an effort in the '80s, that is fairly well documented, that was called Perception Management. This was a program that was set up inside the State Department by CIA propaganda experts to either (A) badger and bash reporters who were questioning the Contra war and raising issues about Contra cocaine trafficking, and (B) to frighten editors and frighten other reporters into not pursuing the story.

And it's very similar if you look at the results they achieved back in the '80s, to see what's going on here. It's the same sort of thing. Stories are planted about you. They have people, you can identify these people, the people with Accuracy In Media, Reed Irvine's organization, the same people pop up now saying there's nothing to this CIA story, it's all phony, it's all baloney. The same people popped up during the 1980s claiming that there was no massacre at El Mozote down in El Salvador, that it was made up, that Raymond Bonner for the Times was a communist sympathizer. Same people.

And one of the things you learn when you write about intelligence agencies is you learn pattern recognition. Because it may not be the same people all the time, but it's the same pattern. It's the same pattern as the Perception Management efforts of the 1980s. And you gotta hand it to them, it's worked. It has worked. The mainstream press is now convinced that there was nothing to this. Even though there hasn't been a single factual error found in any of those stories.

RW: So, in light of all these attacks on you and the series, why have you decided to stick to your guns, to take the risks. To tell the story and stick to it?

GW: Because it's true. And the bottom line is: it's true. And you get into journalism specifically for this reason. And if I thought the stories were wrong or I'd made a mistake, I would say yes, I was wrong. But I wasn't wrong. And this is a story that people need to know—(A) not only to understand what happened, but (B) I mean somebody needs to be held accountable for this. These were crimes that were committed. People get sent to jail for cocaine conspiracies all the time. And this was a conspiracy that brought in thousands and thousands and thousands of kilos of cocaine into the United States. Into the inner cities. And nobody has paid a price for it yet, except the people who are living in those neighborhoods.

RW: How have you found ways to fight back and get the story out? And how is that going?

GW: Well, I will say one thing. Every time one of these media attacks came, it generated more controversy. I was back out on the talk radio and I was back out on the Internet, and on television, responding to the latest attack. Frankly, this issue had gone away, I think, for the most part, until my executive editor decided to run his column backing away from the series. And now it's heated all back up again. This latest stunt, with killing the series and taking me off the story and reassigning me, has just added more fuel to the fire.

RW: You should explain what the deal is for our readers.

GW: I did an additional four stories on this topic. Sixteen thousand words. Turned them in in February. And the newspaper just sat on them. Didn't edit them. Didn't look at them. Didn't do anything. They told me they read them. OK, that's what I was told, that they did read them. They never edited them. They never asked me for any supporting documentation. They never asked me any questions about them.

And then I was told that the paper was going to run this column backing away from certain aspects of the story that was run in August. And I objected very strongly. I went out after the column went out and I defended my reporting and I defended what I'd written, and I would not take it back. So, the next move was to take me off the story, tell me they weren't going to run the follow-ups. And now they're trying to reassign me to a bureau about 150 miles from where I live because they need to keep a closer eye on me. They need me closer to the main office so they can keep a close eye on what I'm doing. So, that's where things are at right now. The problem is that according to our union contract you can't transfer somebody from city to city without their permission. You certainly can't do it for punitive reasons. And you absolutely can't do it because a reporter decides to defend his reporting. So that's the next issue to be sorted out.

RW: So you have four more episodes of this story that are sitting there?

GW: That are dead. They're not gonna run them.

RW: Can you talk about what general areas they cover?

GW: It was the general areas about who else in the United States government knew about it. The links between other agencies and members of drug rings. Their activities in Costa Rica. The activities in El Salvador. These abortive police efforts in Los Angeles to try to bring these guys to justice, and how those got screwed up and turned around. Oliver North's involvement with drug traffickers in Costa Rica, at least his network's involvement with drug traffickers in Costa Rica. There was a lot of information there. It took us several months to pull it all together. And nothing ever happened. This stuff just sat. And sat, and sat, and sat.

RW: Before the interview we were talking about the kinds of support you've gotten, including the postings at theMercury Newsweb site. What's that meant to you?

GW: It's been very interesting, because the reaction from the public has been uniformly supportive. I mean, I have not gotten more than one or two phone calls from people who say `I think this is crap and you're making it all up and you should be shot,' or something. The public reaction has been almost unanimous. People were horrified to read it but they were happy to see it out. They were very surprised to see it out. And the one thing it reinforced for me was how deeply the public mistrusts the mass media in this country. And not just on the left wing, and not just on the right wing. But across the spectrum people don't believe they're being told the truth. And I think when they see something like this happen, where sometimes the truth gets out accidentally, and you see this mad scramble to try to put it back in the bottle, it only reinforces their suspicions. And frankly, it should. This has been an extraordinary thing. You know, when this contra cocaine story first broke, back in '85, the only reason it broke is that the Associated Press put it on the Spanish wire by accident. They had been doing the same thing.

RW: Tell that story. That's an interesting story.

GW: In December of '85, two AP reporters in Washington, Brian Barger and Bob Parry, wrote a story about contra cocaine trafficking in Costa Rica. Again, they turned the story in, it was edited, and re-edited, and re-edited, and re-edited and watered down, and weakened and re-edited. And never run. It just sat in the system. And one day, one of the foreign service editors saw this story sitting there, thought it was an interesting story, translated it into Spanish, and sent it out on the Spanish-language wire and it appeared in newspapers in Venezuela, Colombia and Peru. And I talked to Parry about this, and he said the next day they came in and the phones were ringing and people were saying, what a wonderful story. And he didn't know how it had gotten out. And once it got out it was a little too late to put in. But the reaction from the American press was just the opposite. The Washington Post stuck it way inside. I don't think the New York Times even mentioned it. And Parry and Barger eventually lost their jobs at AP. Parry went to pick up the story at Newsweek, and eventually got run out of Newsweek. So again, it's pattern recognition. You see what happens when somebody does something like this.

RW: Anything else you wanted to say?

GW: I was talking to someone, a radio d.j. in Kansas the other day, and he said one of the interesting fall-outs of the series has been that the Kansas legislature repealed the sentencing differential between crack cocaine and powder cocaine, so now at least if you get caught with powder it's the same penalty as being caught with crack. And that was a direct result of the series. So at least there has been some improvement in the law. But you know, that was one of the most troubling aspects of this. When you look at where this cocaine went into, and the reaction it had. And the damage that it caused. And the Congressional reaction was to punish the people that were selling the stuff, even harder than the people who were bringing the powder in. What resulted was this vast disparity in the number, and race, of people who were going to jail on federal cocaine trafficking charges. Now most of them are Black. And you know, people are right. These folks in the neighborhood don't bring the stuff in. They don't have the planes. They don't have the boats. They don't grow it there. But they're the ones that are paying the heaviest price for it. Which, no matter what side of the political spectrum you're on, it's just not fair.




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Coming soon as an eBook!

Away With All Gods!
Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World

by Bob Avakian

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



Part One: Where Did God Come From...And Who Says We Need God?

Coming soon as an eBook!

Available now in paperback and hardcover through Insight Press, your favorite bookstore, or online retailer (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.).

Published by Insight Press
4044 N. Lincoln Ave., #264
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 329-1699

"God Works in Mysterious Ways" • A Cruel and Truly Monstrous God • The Bible, Taken Literally, Is a Horror • Christian Fundamentalists, Christian Fascists • Seeing Jesus in a True Light • What About the Ten Commandments? • No New Testament Without the Old • Fundamentalist and "Salad Bar" Christianity • Religion and Oppressive Ruling Classes • Evolution, the Scientific Method—and Religious Obscurantism • If Gods Do Not Exist, Why Do People Believe in Them? • Why Do People Believe in Different Gods?

Part Two: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—Rooted In The Past, Standing In the Way of the Future

The Historical Development and Role of Christianity: Doctrines and Power Politics • Christianity as a New Religion: The Pivotal Role and Influence of Paul • Demystifying Jesus and Christianity • Islam Is No Better (and No Worse) Than Christianity • Religious Fundamentalism, Imperialism, and the "War on Terror" • Why Is Religious Fundamentalism Growing in Today's World? • Rejecting the "Smug Arrogance of the Enlightened" • The Growth of Religion and Religious Fundamentalism: A Peculiar Expression of a Fundamental Contradiction

Part Three: Religion—a Heavy, Heavy Chain

Religion, Patriarchy, Male Supremacy and Sexual Repression • The Bible Belt Is the Lynching Belt: Slavery, White Supremacy and Religion in America • Christian Fascism and Genocide • Religion, Fundamentalism, and the Slave Mentality •

Part Four: God Does Not Exist—We Need Liberation Without Gods

The "Left Hand of God"—And the Right Way to Go About Winning Liberation • The Myth of the Truthfulness and Positive Role of Religious Myth • Reason Has Not "Failed Us"—Reason Is Absolutely Necessary—Though, In Itself, It Is Not Enough • Religious "Faith"—Let's Call It What It Is: Irrational • God Does Not Exist—And There Is No Good Reason to Believe In God • Religion as an Opiate of the People—And an Obstacle to Emancipation • There Is No Such Thing As Unchanging, and Unchangeable, Human Nature • Liberation Without Gods




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Stop the Lies and Slanders: Bob Avakian and the RCP Are the Exact Opposite of a "Cult"!

October 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


People who hate the Revolutionary Communist Party, its leader Bob Avakian, and the movement for revolution—who in fact hate actual revolution and communism, and even the idea of truly radical change, far more than they hate how the world is now—sometimes hurl the bullshit accusation that this party and movement for revolution is a “cult.” In addition, there are people who may not be firmly entrenched in an antagonistic stance, and who should—and could—know better, who are all too willing to uncritically accept and repeat this accusation. They do so because, whether they know it or not, they are heavily influenced by widespread distortions of and prejudices against communism, communist leaders, and leadership more generally. And they are also influenced by a general culture and society in which slander, snark, pettiness and personal attacks are broadly treated as an acceptable substitute for critical thinking and substantive engagement with points of content. 

As this article will briefly speak to, this charge of “cult” is complete and utter nonsense, and it is a charge that both reflects and feeds off this pervasive anticommunism and culture of snark.

The rampant anti-communist prejudices and distortions in our society originate from those who run the capitalist-imperialist system we live under now, which is a worldwide system based on vicious exploitation and oppression and monumental inequalities. Those who run this system have every reason to slander past efforts or future attempts to sweep this system away and organize society in a radically different way, and to slander people who are working towards this.  So, those who enforce and advocate for this capitalist-imperialist system constantly spread absurd lies and prejudices about communism that are then repeated over and over again in the media, educational system, popular culture, and—unfortunately—even by many who call themselves “progressives.” In fact, this very charge of “cult” is a reflection and expression of the sort of crude, unimaginative stereotypes of communism that could be pulled straight from a U.S. Cold War propaganda film, with depictions of communists as “mindless, brainwashed robots who all think the same way”...blah, blah, blah.

One key particular form that this type of anti-communist attack takes is slanders against communist leaders and the role that they play. If you think about it for a minute, people in this society—and those who run this society—follow and promote all kinds of leaders in all different spheres of society, whether in politics, the arts, sports, or elsewhere. But somehow, when people follow and promote a communist leader, they are a “cult.” NO. The way any leader should be evaluated is: What does that leader stand for? What is the content of that leader’s ideas? What will be the result if these ideas gain broad influence and are taken up? What overall role is that leader playing in society and in the world?    

It is also worth noting that it’s not even only against communists that the slander of “cult” has been leveled. In the radical and revolutionary upsurges of the 1960s and 1970s, the powers-that-be and their mouthpieces warned parents about their radical children joining “cults,” and while there were in fact some cults on the scene in the '60s and '70s just as there are today, very often what were being labeled as cults were far from that in reality—they were simply radical social and political movements whose influence the powers-that-be feared.

Haters: We’re calling you out. And to those who may not be haters, but are allowing themselves to swallow the lies spewed forth by the haters, we’re challenging you to be better than that. This accusation of “cult” is just bullshit. It is lazy. It is intellectually cowardly. And it is harmful, because it spreads lies and confusion about what Bob Avakian, and the party and movement for revolution he leads, are actually all about; stands in the way of the critically needed theoretical engagement and practical involvement with the movement for revolution to emancipate humanity; and perpetuates rotten standards in which people deal in lies, snark, slander, pettiness and personal attacks rather than principled discussion and debate over the substance of key questions. 

As the Revolutionary Communist Party, the movement for revolution, and its leadership continue to gain increasing influence in society and make significant advances, those who feel fundamentally threatened by what they represent will continue to spew their garbage out of desperation. For this reason, it’s worth speaking to this briefly.

Here are three very basic and key points on this: 

Point 1: The Revolutionary Communist Party, its leader Bob Avakian, and the movement for revolution represent the exact OPPOSITE of a cult. 

Think about it. What is a cult? Generally, it is a group of people who separate themselves from the rest of society, who literally or figuratively initiate members into some “secret society” or “secret temple of knowledge,” and who adopt an unthinking, uncritical and religious approach to reality. Cults encourage blind following, or religious worship, of their leaders. And yes, they also often adopt practices and rituals that are wacky, or truly horrific—such as mass suicide pacts. And cults have absolutely nothing to do with transforming society or emancipating humanity.

In complete contrast to all of that: The Revolutionary Communist Party, its chairman Bob Avakian, and the movement for revolution engage, and seek to learn from and transform, every sphere of society and society as a whole. They do this as part of the process of making revolution and then continuing that revolution all the way to communism. As a critical element of this process, they seek to reach and influence literally millions of people from all sections of society, unleashing them to take up a thoroughly scientific approach to all of reality, including thinking critically about everything. All of this is for the purpose of changing the entire world through revolution, bringing an end to all the horrific ways in which human beings unnecessarily suffer. It is for that purpose and on that basis that the party, and the movement for revolution, follows and promotes Avakian, based on a scientific and not a blind, religious approach and because of what Avakian, his work, and his leadership objectively represent in relation to the goal of revolution and human emancipation. 

All of these points are a matter of public record. For instance, you can read the Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and see for yourself the party’s purpose, principles, and basis of functioning. You can dig into Bob Avakian’s works and see for yourself his consistent, unwavering emphasis on the critical importance of taking a scientific approach to all of reality, thinking critically about everything, and learning very broadly. You can find these works, and more generally follow the theory and practice of the revolution, at

Point 2: Saying things like “you guys are a cult” is an awfully convenient way to avoid engaging and discussing—and doing the work of engaging and discussing—the content of what this leader, party, and movement represent.   

People need to have the principle, honesty and intellectual courage to go to the source, do the work, and see for themselves. And then let’s get into the content—as well as questions, and points of agreement and disagreement, regarding that content.   

This matters too much for humanity to allow any other standards to be accepted. Billions of people on this planet suffer terribly every day, the very future of the planet itself is in danger, and the tremendous potential of humanity as a whole is squashed and suppressed. When a leader, party, and movement step forward and—based on decades of work—present a way that humanity can break free of these horrors once and for all, people have a responsibility to at the very least engage this seriously. Petty, snarky, cynical and absurd dismissals without engagement just will not fly.

Point 3: We need to fight for much better standards within political and social movements, and within society as a whole.

We should be clear that it is especially vicious and harmful when those who have devoted their lives to, and done decades of work on, human emancipation are met with lies, slander and personal attacks. While the particular egregiousness of this should definitely not be overlooked or minimized, there is also a need to fight against the broader, overlapping culture and society of snark, nastiness and slander. A lot of this gets especially disgusting on the Internet, where people hide behind anonymity to spit forth lies and gossip; to degrade, taunt and bully others; and to engage in personal attacks. 

On any question, and especially when it comes to questions of what it will take for humanity to get free of oppression, people need to get out of the gutter...and loft things up to principled discussion and debate over matters of substance.

People very broadly need to raise their sights to the vantage point of what it will take to emancipate humanity. And then let’s talk about things on those terms




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Where We Are in the Revolution—Right NOW

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Editors' note: The following talk was given in a number of venues over the past 10 days. We are reprinting an edited version of it here.


I had dinner with someone last week who before he even got seated said to me that "it seems that we're so focused on 'what we're doing' that we've lost sight of what we're doing."

So... what ARE we doing?

Simply put, we are working to make revolution. It really IS the only solution—and on one level people get this. We just had this massive climate march in which the leadership and probably 99 percent of the people there fervently want this system to reform itself... yet at the same time, people were right and left slapping stickers on saying "Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet, We Need Revolution, Nothing Less." You have the Middle East and the horrors that the imperialist continue to visit on the people there: where there is upheaval and clash, but no side has any viable solutions. There is barbarism from the Israelis and ISIS, and the U.S., the most barbaric of all, sitting on top and murdering to stay there. You have this incredible fucking tragedy going on in West Africa with Ebola, where everybody is saying that the means exist to contain and deal with this, but only the barest minimum is being done—I mean, compare what is going on there with the effort and resources expended to launch more war in Syria and Iraq, or the fact that now it comes out that the U.S. is going to invest a trillion dollars in expanding and making more deadly their nuclear arsenal!

But the revolution does not seem real to most people. It is the crying contradiction pointed to by BA at the beginning of that first talk this summer,1 on the material basis for revolution: that the revolution seems acutely more needed than ever, that objectively there is actually a heightened basis for it, but it seems further away than 40 years ago. And we absolutely cannot afford to let that dynamic keep going in that way, as the consequences are truly horrific—they are horrific every day, and they will get more so by several orders of magnitude if this keeps going. Dispossessed people fighting and dying for something that is not only not emancipatory, but will end up actually just reinforcing the chains.

3 prepares

So we are working on that, we are hammering on it, we are racing against time to radically change this situation. We are working to make revolution—actually going for seizing power, for dismantling their machinery of repression and bringing into being a whole new system—at the earliest possible moment, and we are actually implementing a strategy to get into position to do that. We are in everything we're doing preparing the ground, preparing the people and preparing the vanguard—getting ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win.

Which is the point of this talk tonight: both to strategically reground and get our sights on the wide world around us, and where we are in relation to that (rather than coming from our activities, or still more narrowly our problems, out)... and this very crucial phase with its key objectives...

If you go back to the article in June, "Making Advances... Toward Revolution," we laid out an ensemble of work, where everything is working together, like a good band: the BA Everywhere campaign, where we have to make real leaps in raising big funds to make BA's leadership known to people, involving hundreds and then thousands in doing this; strengthening the reach and content of the website; involving masses of people in fighting against mass incarceration and the enslavement and degradation of women; and also relating to things like the massive climate march that just happened in NYC, as well as actually getting much more of a solid foundation in the bedrock of society, where people catch hell every day. We talked about the importance of strengthening the Party while all that was going on, and we focused on the overall qualitative question of all this having societal impact.

And the point of all this was and is to serve what? To serve revolution, to getting to that point again where we can actually get rid of these oppressors and bring in a whole new power, working for a whole new society and ways of people relating. Very specifically, as a stage in that struggle, to rupture out of the trajectory where the movement for revolution is losing ground and in real danger, and onto one where we'll be, yes, up against much greater repressive attack but nevertheless gaining ground—with this revolution becoming more and more known, with BA becoming a household word, and with new initiators for a new stage of revolution stepping forward.

I'm not going to try to sum up what we did and didn't achieve this summer in depth. But you definitely can't say that things were static. On the international plane, we had the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the worldwide revulsion against that but more as well—with the U.S. finding itself more enmeshed in serious contradictions internationally, for which they have no answer other than more force, more suffering, more chaos. But there was also within all this a way in which the Party's position in the overall situation began to change—and this took shape around the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride in Texas (a five-week campaign through Texas against these horrible new restrictions against abortion there which included a lot of outreach and a lot militant struggle2), and then the upheaval around the murder of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri.

In the Freedom Ride, these young people were extremely heroic—they brought forward testimony from masses, they were arrested in the cause of calling this out, they made a huge stink about it at least in Texas. But I have to say that you really can't overstate the extent to which some people who claim to be part of the "pro-choice" movement went on a crusade not against the attacks in Texas, but against the ride itself: just the crudest kind of character assassination, threats to people's careers and reputations as well as physical threats against the revolutionary leader Sunsara Taylor, pulling strings to censor articles or coverage that was favorable to or neutral about the ride, distortion of positions, slander, undercutting... and then that going fairly quickly and directly to BA himself (all the while, by the way, refusing to have an actual face-to-face debate). In the face of this, the people on the ride and the people supporting the ride actually stood very firm and succeeded in bringing forth a two-sided polarization, and they actually went forward to mobilize masses against this attack in Texas, and had real impact both on the thinking of millions in Texas and in setting a different pole in the pro-choice movement, with the communists and revolutionary-minded people on the ride bringing out the whole systemic character of the problem, the need for revolution, and the leadership we have in that revolution, as concentrated in BA. And the people on the ride, in the face of all this shit, not only stood firm but advanced, including in their collective cohesion and their individual understandings of the world and their roles in changing that fucked-up world, and they set a different model for women and men who actually want to change the fucking world...

At the same time, you had the upheaval in Ferguson, which for a few weeks changed the whole discourse in society. And here, too, you could have been surprised by the vitriol and the repression against the Party which was qualitatively more intense than it had been in Texas—here again, singling out an individual associated with the Party, in particular Joey Johnson, though not only him (they also singled out Carl Dix and Travis Morales), and then very quickly unfolding out against the Party overall and, in particular, BA. Everyone from these people objectively acting as agents for the bourgeoisie right on the street and within the "movement," fomenting shit against our people and in some cases physically attacking and turning people over to pigs, up to assholes like Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo going after us. And here too the "big crime" of the Party was to a) actually fight this battle as if winning it really mattered (because it DOES), and b) to link this to the need for revolution and the need to build a movement for that revolution right now. By the way, there's no antagonism between those two things—in fact, they reinforce each other and come out of the same place: a deep and implacable hatred for what the masses go through and an understanding that it does not have to be this way. And it had to fill you with joy to see USA Today in the middle of Ferguson, with a picture of people on the front page standing up to the police, with the BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less T-shirt on. Here too the comrades and fighters in the movement for revolution stood very firm, stood with the defiant ones, as we said.

Now, let's step back and ask WHY these attacks on the Party were and are so sharp, so concerted, so seemingly co-coordinated... and what were the implications? Is this because the Party has no influence and no potential? Is this because the bourgeoisie has no concerns about whether this Party could actually begin to get a following among different sections of people, especially those on the bottom of society, and whether people from all different sections could begin to check out this movement and take up active roles within it? Is this because they feel that the system and those who run it are politically very strong right now? I think those questions actually answer themselves.

I want to talk briefly about this attack-dog component that was made up of people claiming to be in the movement, who were extremely focused and relentless in their attacks, and this viciousness and relentlessness threw some folks. You could call these people haters, you could call them snarkarazzi... but I myself prefer "jabberjays," which comes out of The Hunger Games—these attack birds with human voices that were deployed by the ruling forces in the Capitol to confuse, demoralize and attempt to kill the heroes of the story. One so-called movement person asshole over here in Brooklyn raised money to travel down to Texas and attack the Freedom Ride... I guess for being "outsiders."

What could account for this? With a lot of these people, this does flow out of a world outlook as being franchise managers of oppression, petty shopkeepers of dissent, and they view us both as standing rebukes to their whole thing AND they actually see the prospect of masses of people rising up, getting conscious, NOT being content with "the proper channels" as profoundly threatening to what they are all about. And again, are they doing this because they think our arguments and the kind of work we're modeling will have no influence among people looking to change things? I don't think so.

But be clear: it's not really about them. They objectively serve, and sometimes they are directly deployed or at minimum manipulated by, a more serious enemy. I want to urge people to get into that first talk by BA released this summer, on the material basis for revolution, to get a deeper understanding of this.

On the other hand, we should not lose sight of another phenomenon: those who are not themselves revolutionaries, or not revolutionary communists in any event, who took a stand and said NO to this shit. After all, there are those forces who DO want to get free not only for themselves but who have similar aspirations for all of humanity or at least a large section of it, who may not be won to communism but are willing to engage it, who are willing to look at who's fighting this and who is not, who has some serious ideas and who does not, and who want to see a largeness of mind and generosity in the culture broadly and in the movement itself, who stand on principle. Think about it: Who are the people taking principled stands to say "I support what is going on in this or that struggle, and I am going to be part of this, I am not going to indulge in these attacks on the RCP, and—in some cases—I am going to stand up for them?" Who are the people who are coming together to say "I want to lend my name to hosting this Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian and what's more, I'm committing myself to refuting and standing against the slanders that may very likely come its way"? Who are the people writing poems dedicated to Carl Dix and Cornel West at a time when Carl is clearly identified with this Party and everything it's doing that is under attack? Who are the people—who is the person—engaging in dialogue with BA? Do these people have any moral authority, any gravitas? This isn't about us, or "oh, look, people like us so I guess we must be right"—no. This is something to understand, objectively. This represents an important pole in society—this represents the basis for the revolution to engage with, work together with around common goals, learn from each other as doing so and, yes, win over a great many of those who in the final analysis represent the middle strata of society to revolution, as conditions change, to speak to their deepest or best aspirations and to unleash them and to learn from them as we do. This won't be a smooth highway or straight line, and it will require struggle, on a principled basis, and where needed—in the case of people who are dragging things down and participating in that—real boxing.

This struggle against the people attacking the vanguard is in no way a distraction, or optional, or the quirks of a few sickos; you have to box with these people, you have to take them on, and to the extent we did we advanced the movement for revolution through the polemics both on the spot but especially through our website... and to the extent we didn't, or were slow on the uptake... well, we should take a lesson and fight much better and harder, and we should definitely realize that this fight is intensifying and these people are still, even as we are here tonight, coming at us in all kinds of ways, including, I will say it again, focusing a LOT directly on BA. This kind of battling, as is pointed out in the second major talk from BA released this summer focusing on strategy,3 has big implications for the time later on when you are in a revolutionary situation and approaching the time when you could possibly lead millions to go up against these motherfuckers in the all-out struggle for power... at that point, the attacks are going to be sharper by several orders of magnitude, and the whole struggle will turn on how well people have been trained through a whole period to get to the essence of false flags.

The point in all this is that through the summer and through fighting to implement this strategy the position occupied by the movement for revolution in the overall objective situation changed. And that leads us to the juncture today, and two extremely important responsibilities that we have undertaken... and that we absolutely MUST make good on.

First, I want to very briefly talk about the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation which Carl Dix and Cornel West called for and then brought together 90 people in April to get it going.

This Month of Resistance has to take things to a whole other level. We are coming from behind on this, but there is plenty of basis in both reality itself and our work to do what has to be done here—to wave a giant stop sign in front of this society and say NO FUCKING MORE! There is a real basis to build on and to fan the feeling that this is not only unjust but it is illegitimate and intolerable and that this has to be STOPPED.

If we don't do this, then the heroic battles of the summer and all that rot and horror of this society that was forced into the light of day are in great danger of being squandered, of getting summed up and filed away in people's minds as "you just can't fight them." And believe me, right now the demands of the masses for justice in these egregious murders of Eric Garner in NYC, and Michael Brown—which we are learning ever more deeply are only the tip of the iceberg—are on track to being betrayed, yet again. You have, just yesterday, pigs wearing bracelets in Ferguson itself saying "I am Darren Wilson"—which on one level shines a big light on all this bullshit about bad apples. You have the memorial to Michael Brown burned down. You have, just two days ago, the pigs gang-tackling and beating a pregnant Latina woman in Brooklyn. You have the video, just yesterday, of the pigs in Ohio murdering a Black man for looking at an air gun that was for sale in a Walmart!!

Well... NO! The imperialists cannot get away with this!! We have to hammer at this very constantly and very simply—what does it tell you about this system that months have gone by and these killer pigs still walk free and even unindicted? What does it tell you that more Black people have been killed by police in the past 30 years than were lynched between 1880 and 1910? What does it tell you that in just the month after the murder of Eric Garner, scores of people were killed, many of them just like him—unarmed and essentially doing absolutely nothing? What does it mean when this system has no better future for 2.2 million people than to consign them to a life of crime or of just being thrown into prison... into a life "on the run" that often ends in an early grave...? It means that this is a rotten, illegitimate system that has to be done away with and that it has to be fought tooth and nail right now if people are even to survive this genocidal onslaught!

I'm not going to go a lot into this. There are plans where, if we really fight for these, I strongly feel we can reach this effect. We are coming from behind in terms of organization; but let's focus instead on the strengths that our movement DOES have and figure out how to parlay those into a winning combination. People are working right now on a vision for October 22 that is going to be very powerful and a way to really spread this. People are working on other fronts. There is the whole weekend that has been called for Ferguson, October 10-13, that has to be very mass and very determined. There is the powerful poem that Alice Walker did, "Gather," for Carl Dix and Cornel West," which could and should still go viral. There are people who have made a name for themselves over decades, like Carl Dix, for being fearless, principled, and dedicated and uncompromisingly revolutionary. There is the court date of Noche Diaz for what the pigs allege is his leadership role in the outpouring in New York around Ferguson that took over Times Square and for which they have hit him with six charges, which begins on October 14 and which must be made a boomerang that comes back to hit them in the face, politically speaking. There is the ferment on campuses, with the "mock" solitary confinement cells being built, which has to spread; and the ferment as well in religious communities and in the cultural spheres. All these and more can be part of a combination of things that can change the whole way in which people think, speak and act on this burning question of the new Jim Crow, the slow structural genocide that could become a fast one at any time. All this can be a way that people get stronger in their understanding and ability to resist, that the legitimacy of the system to rule over people and wreak their fucking shit suffers blows and cracks, and that the option for radical change and revolution gains reality in people's minds.

Next week on October 1, there will be a very important kickoff to the whole month, where people come together and recite the Pledge of Resistance—10 a.m. at City Hall. And I want to say right here that everyone in the movement for revolution and in the battle against the grinding, structural genocide of mass incarceration, police terror and the criminalization and demonization of a generation needs to be at this vigil and bringing people to it. And if you want to be part of building for this and fighting for it you need to get with people from the network to stop mass incarceration or from the Revolution Club, right after this talk.

Now to do this, and to do what I'm going to get to in a minute, the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West, we need people. Here I do want to bring to bear two stories that I heard the other night, that I think can help people in going out to build this in these next crucial days and weeks.

First story. Some years back the Party worked with others to mount a campaign to drive out the Bush regime and, as part of that, called major demonstrations in the middle of the day all over the country. Somebody who is now in the movement for revolution was at that point a young person in high school—he was intrigued by and wanted to work with the Party's youth group at that time, the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, but he was having a lot of trouble actually getting them to answer his calls. But he went into his high school with the materials that he did have about this demonstration and he ran into some resistance from his friends, and he got a bit discouraged and "took some time off" from school.

In the meantime, apparently a few people from the Brigade did materialize one day and got out some stickers and fliers to the people who this young person had been working with. And they took it up—they may have said, "Hey, we heard it from our friend, but now we're hearing it from others, this must be big." Then, when he came back, his friends were all going, "Hey, what happened, we went to that demonstration you called and we almost got arrested?"

Second story. Last week, someone had also been running into difficulties in taking what we were doing out to people. He raised these difficulties in a good and open way, and these were dug into and gone at, and the very next night, at a program on campus, he was able to agitate at a program of a few hundred people, polarizing and repolarizing the room around revolution and the ensemble I talked about at the beginning, and you can read the whole thing up online.4

Very important is that off his agitation, he and another revolutionary communist were asked to lead a workshop, and at that workshop he waged ideological struggle with someone who ran the line of "okay, but we DO have to live in America"—and this comrade pointed out strongly that one of the things we have to break out of are the limits and framework of "America as it is," and in that light brought in BA as someone who has shown how there can be a whole different and better way, and got into the Dialogue between BA and Cornel West that's coming up. And off of all this, a number of people did step forward wanting to take responsibility for different things at the campus where this occurred, and a few have apparently been emailing us on this and wanting to take responsibility, but sometimes those emails have languished.

Well, what are the lessons here?

First, on this second story, if you actually lay out the real terms of things, if you STRUGGLE with people in a good but sharp way that makes these terms clear, you will call forward those who do want to see real change, and you will inspire in them the desire to do things, and unleash their initiative.

Second, when people DO step forward, you can't leave them hanging. There are very many stories like the young guy who stepped out at his high school alone, and then ran into resistance, and most of them end with the person just giving up and getting lost to the revolution; we can't afford that. We may not be able to spend a lot of time with people who come forward, as these young women have at this campus, and work with them on the projects that they want to take up, but we DO have to be available to them to help them make sense of what they run into, to give them guidance to the extent we can, and to strongly encourage them and struggle with them to plug into the larger movement for revolution—to come to the store for the showings of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, to plug into, and so on.

But we cannot repeat, as we too often do I suspect, what happened to the young guy in the first story—he stayed with it and bounced back, but that's one in 100 and a hell of a lot of people could tell us a similar story with an unhappy ending. We just cannot have that! Otherwise, what is the point?

Nor can we bounce back and forth between not really being available for people who take up projects, not even facilitating the things for them that we can, the counsel and contacts that we can offer... or else being all over the project and sinking ourselves into it. Think about what people actually need from us to contribute and provide that.

So that's one thing, this Month of Resistance and the need for a major impact on all of society, and it's very directly on the agenda. But also directly on the agenda is the very major move we announced on September 1: the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion. This is a very high-stakes move, extremely risky and at the same time with a great deal of potential. So, let's talk about this.

I don't think the positive potential for this Dialogue should in any way be mystified or minimized. From the standpoint of making revolution, it is big goddamn deal to have the leader of the revolution speaking, in dialogue with a rightfully respected public intellectual and freedom fighter, before over a thousand people and reaching, if we do our work right, many, many more than that. I mean, are you fucking kidding? This is someone who has been attacked, hounded, suppressed, slandered, threatened and to all intents and purposes censored right down to now... and now here he's gonna be. This is Bob Avakian—this is the person who not only still boldly upholds revolution and communism, but has taken it to a whole new place. Someone who's developed, yes, a strategy to make revolution in a country like this. Someone who's laid the framework for, yes, a strategy to deal with the overwhelming military might of the imperialists when and as that necessity comes to the fore, in a revolutionary situation. Someone who through studying the experience and ideas of literally hundreds of millions of people who fought to build new societies has, yes, developed the thinking undergirding the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, as a base area for the world to get free. Someone who's based himself on and further developed the scientific method, and its application to society, with a profound moral and poetic sense, a deep sense of humanity, at the same time. And someone who deeply, deeply "gets" the masses of people at the bedrock of this society. So to echo an article we just ran on our site, holy shit indeed! How could you miss it? How could you NOT want to contribute to this happening??

Second, it is a big deal to have a dialogue on THIS topic, especially when you think about everything that people identify about religion, or spirituality, or the moral dimension, in many different kinds of ways, and how they see that relating to revolution and getting free. There's never been a dialogue like this, on that topic, with speakers with these two very profoundly developed views, which actually does go to the core feelings and thoughts of millions of people, including those at the bottom of society who would have to be and would be in the front ranks of any revolution worth fighting.

Third, you have these two individuals as individuals. First of all, Cornel West plays a unique and invaluable role in this society, period. And just listen to the recording of the interview that Cornel did with BA and you really hear a certain chemistry that is just going to be amazing at this Dialogue and that can actually model a whole different way that this movement can be—where you have a movement and a community and, yeah, ultimately a society based on largeness of mind and generosity of spirit, where there is room for sincerity and humor that is the furthest thing from snark, room for honest and vigorous intellectual challenge of one another and unity around the urgent fights that must be undertaken and real respect and regard and, yes, love for each other's humanity. You get a sense of what this could mean to people, the hope it could give them, just by reading the contribution from Carol Downer on our website.5

Do you want to get a sense of what this is calling forward? Look at the Host Committee—and this is still in formation. Look at who this is drawing, already, and what this is drawing.

But that's far from enough. In a real sense, the needed work has barely begun. We've got to take this everywhere. We've got to raise big money for this, from all kinds of people, but including people who actually HAVE resources. We've got to take this to students, who are beginning to raise their heads in a whole new bigger way than they have in a long, long time. And we've got to take this very strongly to those who get hit with the hardest hell every day, to those who don't feel that they have "permission" to even think about these kinds of things, let alone come to something like this. Are we going to go out there and really build this, right down to making sure that people have their tickets, their transportation, their child care lined up? That we have groups going? That we get a thing going of "I'm going to the Dialogue, are you?" Yes, it's gonna be struggle—but we actually have to break through the thing of people can't do this, this ain't real, by making it real right now.

We got to build this, and we have to lead others to build this. We have to get the statements from all different kinds of people on why they're going to this. We've got to line up teachers and those who work with youth to get into this. We've got to report in on where we DO strike a chord... and where we don't... and figure out why and how to push forward on breakthroughs.

Can we get free? What's it gonna take to do that? Can you make a revolution? Where is religion in all that? People can be and gotta be buzzing about this, and this Dialogue will do this in a very lofty and very wild way.

Is there gonna be controversy? How could there not be? There will be controversy among the people and those who are sincerely grappling with the state of the world... and there will be controversy with the enemy, who will slander and attack this, on a scale way beyond what we've seen already this summer. There is no way that this is going to happen without a whole lot of struggle, without a whole lot of boxing and without a whole lot of risk.

And we have to confront this. The high stakes and the very high risks. We cannot have a situation similar to what happened to Malcolm X. Let me just divert into the history of what led to the assassination of Malcolm. In 1964 Malcolm had broken with the Nation of Islam and was working on a much more radical, much more internationalist, much more revolutionary project. He was beginning, in late 1964, to meet with members of SNCC, the most radical civil rights youth group at that time. He was traveling to Africa and meeting with people in the anti-colonial struggle. He was meeting with people like the young Muhammad Ali (known as Cassius Clay at the time), Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown the football player, with Black intellectuals.

And some people didn't like this. On the one hand, the bourgeoisie definitely did NOT like this, and they put the CIA on him in Africa to follow in his wake and they stepped up FBI surveillance and infiltration. And the Nation of Islam did not like this, either, and certain people within that began a whole campaign of character assassination and coming right up to the edge of calls for outright assassination. And good people said nothing. You had Malcolm's house firebombed that winter in the dead of night, with his family in it, and again good people said nothing—and some people began saying that he did it himself to attract attention, and this got into the press. You had people coming into his talks and disrupting, and noting how Malcolm's people did and did not respond—probing for weaknesses. You had the police suddenly disappear on the day when he was moved on. And then, finally, they cut him down—and did it in an atmosphere where who exactly did it and on what orders has to this day not been clarified. And then you had the crowning thing of it all: after Malcolm dies people bemoaning the fact that they had not appreciated Malcolm when he was alive, and bemoaning—way too fucking late—that good people had done nothing. 

In this light, I want to turn to the article "Watching Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian." This is a deep article for everyone—for longtime revolutionaries... and for people who are very new to this movement. And here I want to share a response of someone in the Revolution Club:

I read it four times. It brought tears to me. We have never had a leader like this, either Black or white. The bold way he goes at things, with the guts to call a spade a spade, to look at the situation for what it really is, to analyze it and call it out. This is what he does and there is no other leader like him, Black or white, with all of it, the philosophy, the analysis. He challenges you. And how to solve things in a radical way, a revolutionary way. He is bold enough to say what the reality is but also that you can grab hold of this, and telling people, you can help me do this. Each and every one of you is needed. Most leaders are bought. But he is very bold, a genius, we haven't seen a leader like this even though we have seen all these other leaders, Black, white, or anything, Someone who is for everyone. And then the other thing that I really thought about when I read this, in his radical way of what he does... he is putting himself in danger and that's what made me cry. A leader this passionate, this inspiring, inspiring other people, he is picking people up, especially the youth. That's what leadership is about, and to not protect him. NO we must protect him. He means that much to me and he should mean that much to everyone.

And this person immediately suggested a fundraising project of showing the film and getting into the article with people when they do—and if I might offer a suggestion, I think it might be good if you also show "BA Through the Years" at these events, or part of Revolution—Nothing Less! Or use quotes from BAsics. Because the fact is that there is enough in this article and in the process of people coming to know BA, even in beginning ways, that can actually play a very powerful role in building the wall we need around BA for this Dialogue.

All this brings home the last few paragraphs of that article, which I'm going to read from:

Furthermore, and very crucially, we must fully confront the reality of what it would mean for the people of the world to lose this leader, and take extremely seriously that there are people and forces—those officially part of the powers-that-be, as well as those willing to do the work of the powers-that-be—who hate what BA represents and would like nothing more than to tear him down, silence him, and take him from the masses of people. And we must be absolutely determined not to let that happen.

This means taking very seriously the need to do everything we can to protect and defend BA. This means denouncing and not giving a millimeter of space to those who slander and personally attack BA, because these attacks and slanders are part of creating the poisonous atmosphere and conditions that would make it easier for the powers-that-be, or those doing their bidding, to take BA from the people of the world. Protecting and defending BA, and building a wall around him, also means boldly and sharply challenging those who may not be part of the camp of the enemy, but who are wallowing in, or at least being influenced by, arrogance, cynicism and snark, and who seek to dismiss without seriously engaging what BA has brought forward; this arrogance, snark, cynicism, and dismissal, regardless of the intent of those who fall into it, stands in the way of BA and all that he has brought forward having the reach and societal influence that this urgently needs to have. And this, too, creates easier conditions for those who would try to silence and isolate BA and take him from the masses.

Few things in life are more tragic than a critical lesson learned too late. And it would truly be a tragedy if BA were taken from the people, and then people said: "Wow, I wish I had realized sooner what we had here."

But the good news is: It is not too late. We, and the masses of the planet, have BA right now. We had better realize, and let everyone know, what that means.

So we're gonna do this Dialogue and we're gonna do this right and everyone here has a crucial role to play in that. We are going, in the next weeks, to come out with further plans to carry forward all the dimensions of the needed work around this. Keep tuned to our site on all this.

And when we come out of it, you're going to have people on a whole other scale feeling, yeah, I need to know more about Bob Avakian and this revolution he's leading... and yeah, I want to be part of a movement where we can go back and forth over these questions like these two people did, wrangling over differences and digging in where we overlap and going deeper together and building unity for what has to be fought against.

So, just a few more final points. And these concern the Party, and the goal put forth in June, of bringing new people into this Party, as we transform the Party itself.

Now it would definitely be counterproductive for people to join the vanguard before they're ready. But you also can't hedge your bets and say, well, I hope things are gonna develop so that there's a revolution... and I'm gonna work real hard outside the vanguard to help make that happen... and if this thing gets going, well, then I'm gonna join up. I mean, I guess you can do that, but if everyone does that, the only thing that guarantees is that there never will even be a chance for a revolution. There has been the really good interview with the former prisoner we've been running where he goes into the kinds of ruptures you need to make to really get down with this, what it means to not be putting oneself first and coming all the time from "how does this make me feel, does this make me feel powerful, does this make me feel good" but what is the social effect of what I'm doing and what is my life going to be all about. We had the very important piece mentioned in the June editorial I referred to—the "passion paper," for short6—which actually is a further contribution on the relationship of individual creativity and collectivity. There was the piece last week7—simple and plain, the real deal. Like a lot of other things we've been talking about, yes this has a complex aspect but on one level it is really very simple.

I was told that someone pretty new to things was in a discussion of the passion paper, and some of the more experienced people were getting very deeply into what were really a lot of points which were in the paper and were interesting and not without importance, but weren't the heart of it. And this newer person says something to the effect that it seemed to her that the paper was basically saying you can either live your life pursuing what interests you individually and doing some good things as part of that... or you can devote your life to changing everything and putting everything in the context of that and following that out to its logical conclusion.

As sort of an interesting follow-up to that, which may help people grappling with this question, one of the people in that discussion who was having trouble that day, off that discussion and others studied Ardea Skybreak's book on evolution,8 and some of BA's work on materialism9 and said, "It's really not that complicated, but I kept overcomplicating it because of all the relativism in how I was thinking about it."

So, again, I'm not going to go into this a lot today: but I am going to say that people need to really come to grips with this and talk with the Party about how you see this world and your role in it. And these articles and questions have relevance for people who have been in the Party for a long time as well—being in the Party is not a "one-time commitment" but a question of continually rupturing, continually transforming yourself as you transform the world.

So, people: We really do have to reach for the heights in this next period, even as we are flying without a safety net on a whole other level. We are going to have to bring, fully to bear, our sharp scientific spirit and our sense of comradeship, our largeness of mind and our generosity of spirit. We're going to have to combine strengths to overcome weaknesses. We are going to have to, in a very real sense, live what BA has modeled. I'm calling on everyone, inside and outside the Party, to step up to new levels of responsibility... to share your experiences, positive and negative, and be part of a movement to rapidly analyze and synthesize what they mean and how to advance them, so that everyone can learn from them. We are all going to have to be better than we've ever been before.

For people who are new to all this, who are getting to know the Party for the first time, or getting to know it differently—get with this movement for revolution. Get involved in the Month of Resistance. Get involved in the Revolution Club. Get involved in working on the website. Get involved with Stop Patriarchy. Definitely, definitely, definitely get involved with BA Everywhere, the major campaign to raise big funds to get BA known everywhere, and with the Dialogue in particular.

One way or another, this movement and this Party and this extremely precious and irreplaceable leader are going to be on a different footing with the enemy, a different footing with the masses, and a different position in society overall. If we basically succeed in our objectives, the road will become even more intense and demanding, full of heightened danger but real opportunity to make a leap in the cause of revolution and the emancipation of humanity. So let's do this. Let's go all out. This is a great thing we're fighting for. Let's win this round. Let's make it so that there's going to be a whole different sense of possibility in the air we breathe Sunday morning, November 16.


1. "The Material Basis and the Method for Making Revolution" [back]

2. In 2011, there were 43 abortion clinics in Texas. With the enforcement of a new Texas law, that number has been cut to eight. The campaign to End Pornography and Patriarchy: Against the Degradation and Enslavement of Women ( called on everyone to fight this, and organized a Freedom Ride into Texas to call attention to this struggle. While raising the alarm, as of a court decision on October 2, this horrible attack has gone into full effect, depriving millions of women of their basic right to abortion, with serious consequences for every woman in the U.S. [back]

3. "The Strategic Approach to Revolution and Its Relation to Basic Questions of Epistemology and Method" [back]

4. "It's ALL About Getting Free: The Forest and the Trees" [back]

5. See statements from Carol Downer and other members of the Host Committee for the Dialogue here. [back]

6. "What the World Needs Now, More Than Anything Else, Is Communists: A Few Reflections on Individual Passion, Self, and the Revolutionary Process" [back]

7. "Why You Absolutely Need a Vanguard Party to Make Revolution" [back]

8. The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters—info on the book at the website of the publisher, Insight Press. [back]

9. See Chapter 4 of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian. [back]





Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

"Where We Are In The Revolution—RIGHT Now, Part 2"

Going All Out to Change Everything

October 13, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following is an edited version of a talk given at some Revolution Books stores this week.

People are transforming the world, right now in a very rapid way. We ourselves are part of that—changing things and learning things, as we ourselves go through changes. And in a period like this we need to come together and sum up how the world IS changing, what we ARE learning, how we ARE changing, and what we need to do to FIGHT and LEARN better.

I'm going to frame this with a slogan that crystallizes our Party's strategy to actually make revolution. "Prepare the ground, prepare the people, and prepare the vanguard—get ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win." How are we doing on these?

Preparing the Ground

Let's start with the first one, preparing the ground. That means changing the way that people think and act in a direction more favorable to, a direction that propels things toward, revolution. And things ARE changing in this regard.

I want to play a clip that has been circulating for a few days. Just to give you the back story, if you haven't seen this, a Black woman driver, her male friend passenger, and her two children are stopped for a seat belt violation. She explains that she is on the way to the hospital—that the doctor just called her to say that her mother was dying and she needed to get there. Instead of sending her on her way, instead of even just writing her a ticket and sending her on her way, they go over and ask her passenger for ID. He shows them some ID which they decide is not adequate and ask him to get out of the car. Then this is what follows.

What is this clip telling you?

First, what did the family say? That they were scared. What did they do? They called 911, but they did not get out of the car either—they were not going to go out like lambs. They stayed in their car and they very wisely began videoing the whole thing. And what did these pigs do? For a possible seat belt violation, which should be a ticket for the driver at most, they ran wild and, as Sunny Hostin says, they traumatized the family.

"The inherent racism of the police," says Sunny Hostin. Built into every single traffic stop, every single encounter. Bill Bratton, the police commissioner in New York, vowed this week that he would go after the "bad apples," so that the so-called "good cops," he said, can do their jobs. But your "good cops" went and cheered for the killer of Ramarley Graham, a young unarmed Black teenager gunned down by police in his own bathroom for nothing in the Bronx. Your "good cops" are like the pig in Chicago whom we exposed in our paper, a totally out-of-control sadist who not only received commendations from his "chief" but was promoted into commander of a district. And your "good cops" did this in Hammond for a simple fucking seat belt violation. So don't fucking say a word about "bad apples"—they're all bad apples. That's how this system has been set up to work.

And let's listen to Sunny Hostin. Sunny Hostin's furious response tells us that literally millions and perhaps tens of millions of people right now have deep and acutely felt questions about at least aspects of the legitimacy of a government that cannot stop doing this, that has no answers for this, and that threatens Black and Latino people every day. That traumatizes children every day. Don't tell me, she says—"'I live in America.'" "'I live in America... and I am who I am."' Or look at the statement online by the Black Ivy Coalition up on the Stop Mass Incarceration site. Look at the temper of the 375 people the other night at the symposium at Columbia—a symposium at which Carl Dix and Cornel West, and Iris Baez and Juanita Young, whose sons were murdered by New York police, along with someone from a Latino neighborhood in Brooklyn where police have been running wild, spoke to students and people from the community, where all this was being sharply, sharply questioned and opposed.

Things are changing. And if we don't rise to our vanguard responsibilities right now, when people are aching to stand up, then shame on us. Or let me put it more positively: Every single person here in this room should walk out determined to provide a way to struggle for the millions of people who feel like the brothers and sisters on the block the last few nights in St. Louis, who rose up against a police murder, or who feel like Sunny Hostin or angrier, or who are willing to go into the symphonies and disrupt the comfort of Mr. and Mrs. America, as was also done in St. Louis... every single person here should walk out determined to provide a pole of understanding for people to see that it doesn't HAVE to be this way—IF there is a revolution. We should walk out of here burning to build and provide a movement in which people can learn about that revolution and contribute to it, as they fight and work through their thinking.

Again—we really are at a moment where it could happen that, as the RCP's statement on strategy puts it, "conditions and people are moved to change, because of developments in the world and because of the work of people come to see that things do not have to be this they come to understand why things are the way they are and how things could be radically different...and as they are inspired and organized to join the revolutionary movement and build up its forces." What we are fighting and working for right now—most especially the Month of Resistance and then the Dialogue on November 15 between Bob Avakian and Cornel West, along with our website and our Party and everything it stands for and does, and the other elements of our ensemble of revolutionary work—all this can and must be very powerfully acting on this very volatile situation.

The Ferguson Weekend and October 22

Now right now we face, very directly, the weekend in Ferguson and October 22. As for Ferguson this weekend, where people are gathering from all over the country for a weekend of resistance, which has been strongly supported by the Month of Resistance, we can't just sit passively. We don't know what might happen or where those protests might go—how powerful they might become or what the authorities might do—and if it might require very serious efforts either to defend what goes on there or to spread it. People may well feel the need to act in solidarity with what may go on there, and we should all tomorrow morning make "go bags" so that if we hear of something that does or even may develop into the kind of thing where masses of people all over just won't take it anymore, we need to be able to stand with those masses and provide the leadership that they require in that situation... especially should something develop calling for the kind of leadership that people required, but did not get, in Katrina.

Then there is October 22. How we build this is something we need to get into in a few minutes. But first we do have to have, and project, a vision of what this must be in order to really act on the overall situation in the way that is possible and necessary. We need thousands of people—and this should include parents powerfully indicting the system that has murdered or brutalized or imprisoned their children, this should include hundreds and hundreds of high school students walking out of class, as well as hundreds of college students, having been mobilized through networks, marching. This should include as well many, many progressive people who have been inspired by Ferguson, who are fed up... people like the ones who stood up at the St. Louis Symphony and who can be won to see that NOW is the time that they have to take a stand.

It would be a big mistake to see the ferment in Ferguson as somehow separate from October 22. Just the opposite. We should conceive of everything going on this month as part of changing the whole polarization in society around this question, the whole equation of what people see as just and unjust, what people see as tolerable, and what people are willing to do. In this way, October 22 works to take Ferguson to another level, and all this works together; but to do that, October 22 must in fact BE a militant outpouring, determined to STOP the kind of barbaric, outrageous, RACIST shit that we saw in the YouTube a few minutes ago and that acts as the spear point of this whole genocidal program.

If we have people acting in the city centers and out on the mean streets... acting with defiance and saying, in unmistakable terms, in word and deed, NO MORE... then October 23 will be a different day.

The Bob Avakian-Cornel West Dialogue

And reflecting this at the same time is what is developing around the November 15 Dialogue. Cornel West said the other night that when people ask him why he's ending up working with communists so much, he tells them it's because he finds his positions overlapping with theirs. There are more people who find themselves like this and who also think—like Cornel—that getting into where those positions overlap and where they differ... and using that to kindle the sparks of further and deeper insight... is just what is needed in this situation.

So you have something developing where prominent people are releasing statements setting forth their views and telling why such a Dialogue can contribute to what they want to see develop... and you have someone like the former prisoner who just wrote our paper with a very powerful piece putting out his views on why the people on the bottom need to be come to this Dialogue and get deeply into the revolution. The situation is developing where very prominent people in different fields, especially concentrated right now in the field of theology and religion, are contending over whether this Dialogue is what is needed right now in this situation where people desperately need a way out... or whether it is not needed and should not happen. This concentrates a larger struggle in society over whether BA's views need to be out there, or not... and this is a struggle that also reflects on this highly intense, highly volatile objective situation... on what, to paraphrase BA paraphrasing Marx, people are being compelled to confront... and this is a struggle that, again, as a vanguard we have to relish and we definitely have to rise to... now. And this should actually give us a deeper sense of what CAN be brought forward to publicly stand with this Dialogue and everything it represents.

Let me pause just a minute here on the significance of this Dialogue, and its potential to change the terrain. Many people know Cornel West—there are very few people you can think of with his integrity and willingness to stand against the power and his intellectual sweep at the same time. But too many people are only beginning to know about Bob Avakian.

There has in fact never been a leader like BA in this country; and there is no one else like him anywhere right now. There have been great leaders, but he is unique. Let me give you an example. The other day I was talking with someone pretty new to the movement; it was a session where people could bring their questions to the movement for revolution and hash them out. And she said, "Well, I'm worried my questions are stupid questions." So I asked what they were, and she said, "Well, how do we get millions of people to change their thinking so they're for revolution? How, if you do that, could you actually defeat all the repressive force the system has? And if you could make a revolution, how could you deal afterward with all the people who opposed it or still oppose it?" I told her that those were far from stupid questions; those were the questions that the movement for revolution had to answer and did have answers for, and we got into those for a few hours.

But here's the thing: The reason we do have those answers is because of BA and the work that he's done over 40 years! Nobody had those answers before for this country and, yes, in terms of the world and the entire experience of the revolutionary communist movement, he's taken the answers further than anyone who went before him. Do you get how incredibly important that is? And this is who is going to be dialoguing with Cornel!

And there's a whole other dimension as well. A recent article on the site compared the opportunity to hear BA live and in person to the chance to see Jimi Hendrix live. It put it like this:

BA will be bringing all of that to the Dialogue with Cornel West at Riverside Church on November 15. But that isn't all. He will also be bringing the experience of BA speaking, live and in person.

Like Jimi Hendrix, BA connects with and profoundly inspires his audience in a way that people do not simply hear but viscerally feel. It's in the way he continuously lays reality bare, fearlessly exposing this system and society—and everything that keeps them going—unearthing and boldly putting forward the truths that are hidden and that people are not allowed to think and say. It's in the way he rips the mask of legitimacy and permanence off the existing order, dismantling any notion that things have to stay as they are, lifting hearts and sights to a whole different way the world could be. It's in the way BA does all this with rage and joy, humor and defiance, passion and poetic spirit, utter contempt for the system and those who rule it and deep compassion for all those who can and must be part of the fight to sweep that system away, especially those on the very bottom of society who are most viciously oppressed. It's in the way he breaks concepts down so that a professor with a Ph.D. or someone without any formal education can understand and take up these concepts. It's in the method with which he approaches reality, always going for the truth, always looking at things scientifically. It's in the way he illuminates the link between where we are today and where we can and must go tomorrow, and speaks to the biggest obstacles and contradictions standing in the way. It's in the way he ranges very broadly, through different spheres of society and different historical eras, without ever losing the core of revolution and communism. It's in the way he weaves so many different threads together. It's in the way he can break down the strategy for revolution or talk about the historical experience of communism in one moment, and then reference lyrics from The Clash or routines from Richard Pryor the next.

I want to underline that—and again, this is with Cornel West, and on a question that goes to the very core of millions of people. And this is all going to be happening during and—especially if we do our work right—deeply impacting on this highly charged, highly volatile situation.

Many Contradictions Roiling

And while these two main things are going on, you also have the increasingly intense attacks on abortion—the horrendous decision by the Appeals Court restoring the severe curtailment of abortion rights in Texas and the likelihood, given how the elections are shaping up, of even more intense attacks as the year turns... up against the plans of the Stop Patriarchy organization, which fought those cuts, to massively demonstrate in January. You have the heavy-stakes international moves by the U.S. You have the ongoing crisis and struggle around immigration. So things are roiling and this IS the kind of situation where no one can say exactly, to paraphrase BA's Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity, what the effect of the actions of the vanguard may call forth and lead to.

So that is in very broad strokes the first prepare—the big terrain in society, the thinking of millions and tens of millions, and the changes it's going through and how we are affecting that and how we need to affect that. Are we looking all the time at the societal effect we can have and that we are having? And then on that basis how to maximize that effect, how to take real LEAPS in it?

Prepare the People

Then there's the second prepare—preparing the people. One aspect of this is actually involving people in their thousands right now, but moving toward more than the thousands, to become part of this movement, to actively take this up on all kinds of levels. To begin going through the whole process of standing up, fighting back, learning more... or if they are already in that process, fighting better and getting into a relationship with revolution, and with the vanguard. In short: the process of "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution."

I was talking with someone a few days ago about the changes that people are going through, and the tremendous fluidity in people's thinking right now—including a case of someone at one point joining in on some of the attacks on the Party and then, after struggle, turning around and using his platform to recognize the importance of the Party and the work it's doing. And this comrade I was talking with said that, well, he thought the people at the bedrock were telling us "we're ready to die but we don't know what to do" and asking for leadership, but that he didn't understand why people in the middle strata would be going through these kinds of back-and-forth changes.

Now on one level this is a case of someone who's actually studied and applied both of the recent talks by BA—where this is gone into in some depth—and has made real contributions on that basis but who kind of had a temporary bout of some empiricism; some looking at surface phenomena, and then fitting that into what BA criticizes in those talks as a "reified" framework of understanding class. By reification, I mean the thinking that the proletariat, those who have nothing and are bitterly exploited and oppressed, will always be open to revolution... and the middle strata will either never be or else, when they ARE in a more progressive mood, well, that's the best we can or should expect from them, that's just great and let's just ride that. The fact is that, even as conditions are in some ways more favorable right now, in both these sections of society there is going to have to be very sharply fought struggle with how people think. Not just WHAT people think, but HOW they think.

Bringing Forward Those Who Catch Hell Every Day

With the bedrock base for revolution, those who catch hell every day, yes we are going to have to give them ways to fight back, and these ways cannot be conventional and actually have to FEEL revolutionary, especially at a time like now, AND we are going to have to struggle over what is your life going to be about after all.

I want to read from a report I got that brings this out.

Two stories. First, [two young comrades] were out at a school and one was agitating on the bullhorn while the other was getting out whistles and one other person had the bucket for donations. Youth were rushing to get whistles all in front of a police car who was stopped in front of the school. As kids streamed by to get whistles, they were blowing their whistles right at the car. The fact they were basically in front of this police car agitating and the youth were inspired to blow the whistles at the police right there contributed to a whole air of defiance. (Unfortunately, they don't have any pictures of this which we summed up collectively. Also, one of the people was going to write a snapshot of this for the paper but hasn't yet.) Another story: All these kids are rushing to get whistles from one comrade while the other is on the bullhorn, but this time another, more veteran, comrade was there. He was trying to get everyone's contact info who was taking up the whistles but couldn't find pen or paper and was getting ignored by the students rushing to get whistles. He hollered out, "OK stop, no one is getting a whistle until I get a pen." Out of nowhere, a handful of kids pulled out pens, pencils, markers... everything. OK, a kid with a pen got a whistle. "Now, no one else gets a whistle until I get paper." The comrade said out of nowhere, paper of every color appeared. And then all these kids were enthusiastically signing up and taking the whistles. This was just kind of funny (and showed some determination on the comrade's part), but also gave you a sense of the eagerness which the students were taking these up.

But it's not all smooth sailing. There is the pull of the street organizations in this, and sometimes they are neutral and sometimes they are supportive and sometimes they are ... neither. This report goes on to make the point that even when things are favorable—when, because the revolutionaries have been struggling, both against the system and with the ways people think—those organizations are neutral, we still need to get out there saying to people drawn to that life that people like you will make the revolution, but not the way you are... you need to get with this... to fight back now... to learn about and spread the word on our leader and our vanguard and the strategy we have... The comrade writing the report talks about some struggle over this, then says:

Importantly, through this discussion, [the veteran] could see the difference and could see how there's been eclectics in our approach; the person writes that "even though there's been some struggle, it's still like: 'that's you, this is me.' We have to join the struggle more sharply. And it's not a straight line, [one comrade] walked away from the BPP many times... but he had been given a framework through struggle to where he could contrast what they were doing and what he could be doing to what he was doing which wasn't any good. These youth have to see the role they can play in something heroic and with a lot of meaning. And that has to become much more of a question: get out of that, into this. Be this. Have courage for this and not BS that doesn't mean anything."

So bringing forward those on the bottom is full of struggle, including as a big part of this IDEOLOGICAL struggle. But NOW is the time to have it! Now is the time to wield the "Call to Revolution" from BA (the New Year's message) and all the other material. Now is the time to apply the whole approach in BA's REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! I mean, it's always been the time, but NOW is the time to take this up if you haven't taken it up and to step it up if you have. And again, especially with this potential backbone for the revolution, now is the time to take this Dialogue—including taking that piece I referenced earlier from a former prisoner about "This Is for You."

Both of these elements, the actual ways to fight back and the ideological struggle, working together, have to bring into reality what we called for some years back:

It is up to us: to wake shake off the ways they put on us, the ways they have us thinking so they can keep us down and trapped in the same old rise up, as conscious Emancipators of Humanity. The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those days must be GONE. And they CAN be.

The Invitation... and Boxing

And in the middle strata, there is going to have to be the combination of the Invitation and the boxing gloves. Let's go back over that Invitation from BA:

Let's go on a crucial journey together—full of unity against oppression and lively struggle about the source of the problem and the solution. Pursue your own convictions—that the outrages that move you are intolerable—to their logical conclusion, and be determined not to stop until those outrages have been eliminated. And if this, as well as learning about other outrages, and ideas about how this all fits together and flows from a common source—and how it could all be ended, and something much better brought into being—leads in the direction of seeing not only the need for bold and determined resistance, but also the need for revolution and ultimately communism, then don't turn away from that because it moves you beyond your comfort zone, challenges what had been your cherished beliefs, or because of prejudices and slanders. Instead, actively seek to learn more about this revolution and its goal of communism and to determine whether it is in fact the necessary, and possible, solution. And then act accordingly.

This encompasses people going through a whole process. That process cannot be rushed, but it cannot just be allowed to stagnate either. And again, this Dialogue will play a critical role in that—just imagine what it will mean for people to see many of their deepest questions, many of the sharpest contradictions in their outlook, wrangled with and thrashed out by two such ardent exponents as BA and Cornel West.

And then there is boxing. People talk shit about the revolution, about the Party, about the masses who stand up, well, they need to be set straight—like our articles on the Party and the struggle against police murder on our website this time—and this has to be done in clear, crisp, very certain terms. And when you do this right, it changes the terms. You did have this situation I referred to earlier, where someone went from opposing, at least to a degree, what the Party was doing in Ferguson to, through struggle and coming to see how things unfolded, giving Carl Dix recognition for his role and knowledge from the stage of an event recently. Things are fluid, and if we fight strongly for what is right and set the right standards for everyone, we can change things in a positive direction. And we must, if we are to win.

So yes, it is fluid. My god, this is class society and this is class society in a universe that is based on contradiction—which means that every process and person is a constant battle of opposites and full of the potential for fluidity and change! People come forward based on certain aspirations and then there is pressure put on them and other things come to the fore. In the base, always it is the pigs and sometimes it is their homies, or the street organizations... sometimes it is their own self-doubt and everything they've been taught about how they are no good that exerts a pull on them.

In the middle class, people have jobs or positions and they step out and they catch a lot of shit from their colleagues spouting anticommunism, or people who wield some bit of power given to them by the ruling class saying "hey, nice little platform you got here... hate to see you lose your credibility..." or it is the fear of being blacklisted. This can be intense... and sometimes people don't want to talk about this with us or they don't know how to. And we don't enough take the time to get into things with people, once they have come forward (even as we can't stop everything and do have to continue to change the world, we should be drawing people out and struggling with them in the context of doing that).

So again, both things at once—changing the world and changing the people we work with, and ourselves, at the same time. The lessons that are gone into in BA's piece on freedom and necessity are very relevant—you forge unity with people around an objective, but then new questions emerge and this is class society and the ruling class acts on people.

Why Do They Attack the Party and BA?

And let's ask ourselves again, as we did two weeks ago—why are there these attacks, on our Party, on BA in particular, on people who step forward? I went last time into the potential for this Party to connect and the threat that poses to the system, and how that is the fundamental reason behind this. But let me add this—right now, while we are in no way satisfied with how well we are doing in realizing that potential, while this is not anywhere near enough for us... it is already way too much for the bourgeoisie. So we had better be prepared for more attacks and more serious ones, including the kinds of attacks that I talked about last time in regard to the example of the assassination of Malcolm X, and how they very consciously prepared the ground for that, focused up around the very high-stakes and high-risk Dialogue on November 15. We had better be bringing home to people the need to defend precious leaders like BA, and to defend truth-tellers like Cornel as well, and build a wall going into this Dialogue.

Lessons of the Columbia Symposium

I want to turn again here to the Columbia program the other night. One thing you had there—and this had to be worked for and fought for—was people coming who were not used to being at a place like Columbia University. You had women whose sons had been murdered by the police... you had women whose sons had been snatched up in the raids in Harlem... you had other people from that bedrock section of society that is locked out of the ivied halls and the work with ideas. And because of what had been brought forward, by revolutionaries working with students, you had a situation where people like this were able to put forward the reality of what life is like for masses of exploited and oppressed, and students were ready to hear this.

THIS is the kind of thing we need and that we have to work and fight for, driving forward October 22 and crescendoing at the Dialogue. This is a living embodiment of what we call the "two maximizings"—maximizing the revolutionary struggle coming from the bedrock... maximizing the ferment and radical vibrancy and revolutionary-minded thinking and action in the middle strata... and maximizing the dynamic synergy between these two factors, when people get a sense that, yes, we could break down the walls and divisions that the present society spends so much time erecting and reinforcing. This is what the new society we will bring into being will be all about and this is something we are doing to the maximum right now—breaking down those walls, so that people can join together in the search for the truth, learning from and struggling and uniting with one another.

So this is a process. And critical in this process is what we call the OHIO, referring to the Ohio State University marching band, where people come in at one place and then march through from the first O to the other letters and then on to the last O. The point is, however, you want to think about it, is that people need ways into this movement and we have to provide them with those ways. People need to be given ways to act.

They need to be able to get organized, to be part of things on whatever level they can. And we have to get much better at this.

To the Masses in a Mass Way

Now they can't do this if they don't meet us! Here I want to have someone come up and tell you what she told me this week [person from audience comes up and says the following]:

As anybody knows who's been around me in the last few weeks, I'm chomping at the bit, totally enthusiastic and burning with desire, both for the resistance of this Month but also for the Dialogue coming up on November 15 with Bob Avakian and Cornel West. There is so much happening in this city, and so many people who need to hear about this. There are people who are right now searching for things. There are so many programs, so many events, so many dialogues, so many conferences that are not attended by 12 or 16 people but hundreds of people coming together right now, almost every day. There's three events tonight I wish I could've been at, but this one was more important. And they're happening all over the city where people are searching for answers—around mass incarceration, around deep questions of colonialism, around the international situation, around the conditions of women, and religion and Islam, and all this shit, and just cultural events. And places where people are looking for answers and other places where people are just going about their lives, and they don't even know—maybe they're looking for answers, but that's not what they're doing at the moment, they're going to the theater, or they're going to hear music.

I have hundreds of these cards for the Dialogue in my bag, all the time. All of us should. I've been to half a dozen events in the last 10 days, with hundreds of people at each of them. Some of them are smaller. But you just get these out, and you're talking to people. We should be all over the place with this, out in the feel and flow of the city, not stuck, cooped behind the computer screen, cooped up in a meeting-meeting-meeting culture, not too busy to go out in the feel and flow of the city and let everyone know: There's a major historic thing happening. People are standing up and fighting back. And the leader of the revolution, someone who has re-envisioned revolution and communism and rescued the project of human emancipation, is going to be live and in person on November 15, dialoguing with one of the most courageous and integrity-filled, compassionate human beings of the religious tradition. And they're going to be dialoguing on the biggest questions of our epoch: "Revolution and Religion, the Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion." And everyone needs to know about it.

So all you've got to do is go out, every single person here. We could have an enormous impact and infect others with this spirit. One of the most important things you can do is to take stacks of these cards out everywhere. And you just say, "November 15, don't miss it. Bob Avakian and Cornel West. Revolution and religion. You've got to be there. Riverside Church." And you tell everybody about it. And you hand these out. And you have enough so that you can give other people stacks of them, because a lot of people will take little stacks back to their dorm, back to their co-workers, back to the laundromat. And then you take it to the laundromat, and you take it to the café where you get your coffee, and you take it to the stores that sell things, wherever the main drag is that you walk past. Or you get off the train half an hour early, go to the train half an hour early one day for rush hour and you hand it out at your train stop. We need to be getting this everywhere! There are times, and there are other teams that are going out to key things and you should sign up and be on the schedule for that. But literally all of us should have this on the train, handing it out, talking to people. And then you see somebody famous on the street, you chase them down. You're not without it. You tell them they gotta be there. This is really something that everybody needs to know about—people who are searching for this; people who don't know that they're searching for this.

You do this, and you're learning what people are thinking. You're learning what's on people's minds, what's stirring them, and what people are getting into at some of these events and some of these cultural arenas, and the religious communities and the sermons that are happening. And you're talking to them about... I mean, I'm re-reading Away with All Gods, from BA, which I really recommend that people do, or if you haven't read it yet, that you read it. And you're talking to people about what you're getting into about it, and you're opening people up to that, and you're learning about this whole thing, and you're feeding that into a whole process.

And, in all this, you have to really SELL SOME TICKETS—you have to be telling people to get your tickets now, to get with this, to make sure you're going to be there! And then sell them the tickets, on the spot.

Give People Ways to Be Part of This

What she said is extremely important. And it goes for the whole ensemble of revolutionary initiatives. We have to be getting out the word as she said, AND we have to give people materials that they can get out. Materials for O22 and materials for the Dialogue, and sell them our newspaper.

In terms of O22 in particular, coming up on us right now and actually crucial to further advances, we have to involve masses of people in getting out stickers, getting up this issue's centerspread on walls, in organizing their schools—and some of you who at one point organized walkouts, why don't you write that up and throw it up on our site, or send it to the SMIN site; yes, you did this before there was Twitter, but there are principles involved here—including you do need a core. But "natural cores" exist all over, especially within the middle schools and high schools—we need to find them. The student sit-in movement in the 1960s got kicked off by four guys who sat up all night talking in their dorm rooms, night after night, about what do we do—and finally came up with this and just did it, and then it set off a chain reaction. But they were a core. Just the other night, I was standing in line to get my book signed by Cornel and there's five high school kids behind me talking about their friend, who was up front talking with Cornel, and they're talking about "Oh yeah, that's Tony, he's always talking..." in an affectionate kind of way, and then Tony comes back, exhilarated, and he shouts to them "Let's go change the world!" and he's right—let's!—and let's find people like this and work with them in cores to do this.

As part of this: we have to get those whistles out in a mass way and lead people in using them, and video and write reports on it... These whistles so far have been like a scientific pilot project—experience has shown that they can be highly effective tools for masses of people to resist the police with. But these have to be "scaled up" and spread.

And just to re-emphasize what the person just said, and very important, right now in everything we're doing—sell tickets to the Dialogue; as you are building O22 but also with important efforts devoted to this as the main thing in its own right... and then accelerating after O22. We need whole departments at colleges having bought their tickets... whole classes having bought their tickets... groups of people in neighborhoods having done so and working together to get others while they are nailing down plans to come themselves... blocs coming from the suburbs... with their tickets now, and then all this building as we get closer. But this does have to start happening NOW and this itself develops partisanship and drives people to get more into this.

Finally, give people ways to donate money, which gives them ways in... and fills real and right now urgent needs of the movement... this is a case of the people supporting their vanguard and the broader movement, and this is something that has to be re-instilled in the culture of the people, which has been, as CW pointed out just the other night, poisoned by an ethos of "me, me, me." Be bold in this. And here I want to call people's attention to, again, a good article summing up experience with this bold approach on our website, "Fundraising for the Dialogue: Reaching Out Broadly—With a Sharp Focus."

Tasks Create People

One last lesson I want to draw from the Columbia experience is that tasks create people and what that means and doesn't mean. It does not mean that we here think of tasks and then give them to people. It does not mean that we here encourage people in whatever idea they come up with and then do not assist them in carrying this forward.

It means that we may propose an idea, or we may listen to an idea and encourage it, but that's often the beginning of a whole back-and-forth process of leading and learning, where people take up these tasks as their own. We have to do better at this, quickly. I did hear, by the way, that the proposal that was talked about two weeks ago—to have fundraising parties showing Fruitvale Station—happened and drew 11 people, but that people were so overcome by the film they literally could not talk at the end; which is not at all surprising. This is the kind of living portrayal of the stakes that they keep from people and when it is presented in this way, the impact can be extremely powerful; as evidenced in the article itself, which remains very important: "Watching Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian." So we should learn from this, continuing to work with the people who came and spreading this form, but conceiving of it as the beginning of a discussion and involvement, the beginning of a process.

To sum up, if you look at this second prepare, you have to say that we have a long way to go here. You have to say that we have to learn a lot of new ways to do things in a short time, even as we need to do much better at spreading the lessons where we ARE making progress—which is part of the point of this talk! But you also have to say that this Party is in fact beginning to be more of a salient factor on the terrain and we have to find the ways in for people, the ways into our Party and into the larger movement of which it is the core.

Preparing the Vanguard

Now this leads me to the third prepare—preparing the vanguard. I'm going to focus here on a piece written by someone who joined in the past year or two and wrote in to our paper, "Taking Responsibility for the Line of the Party—At the Highest Level."

This person emphasizes first, and very importantly, that the principal responsibility of every comrade is to fight for the line of the Party and to struggle to keep the Party on the revolutionary road, "taking responsibility for really straining against the limits of the objective situation and hastening to the greatest degree possible the emergence of a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people in their millions." And they talk about the importance of people stepping forward to take THIS responsibility on this level.

They say:

So when you're taking responsibility for the line of the Party as a whole it means you are taking responsibility for whether this Party stays on the revolutionary road, it means you're taking responsibility for whether this Party is really straining against the limits of the objective situation and hastening to the greatest degree possible the emergence of a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people in their millions. This is the highest, and most important, level of responsibility for anyone in the Party.

As a part of that, one of the things that has struck me the most about being in the Party is what it means to take responsibility for the line of the Party at this whole different level. In the Party, you are a part of the chain of knowledge (a team of scientists)—constantly contributing to it, wrangling with it, and collectively wielding it to transform the world... and drawing theory out of that process (along with other developments and changes in the world), which goes on in a larger process of what we call the '"theory/practice/theory'" dynamic.

Then this person goes to the importance of science and they talk about the need to really strengthen the Party's system of reports.

Listen to this:

This is wrangled with, above all, collectively but is also done through a system of reports. This is described as well in the Party's Constitution. And actually writing reports is part of the process of being more scientific: you step back, look at the work we've done, systematize what we've done, and within that you're looking for trends and patterns that are significant. You have to ask questions: how reflective was this practice of the overall strategy for revolution? Did we max out as much as possible? What were the advances—both qualitative and quantitative? If there were shortcomings, you have to identify those and wrestle with why. What did we run up against? What didn't we understand, or what did we understand wrong? Was it objective or were there subjective elements that pulled on not being able to really max out and wield the line to the maximum degree possible?

You also have to work at thinking of ways—and this is part of taking responsibility—to further seize on openings or opportunities as part of leading the overall movement for revolution, even as you are working on a particularity that is feeding into the broader work the Party as a whole is doing.

In addition to summing up our practice, you are summing up trends on the terrain—obstacles in people's thinking that we're reaching out to, ideological and methodological questions that need to be spoken to or ruptured among different sections of people. You are summing up the larger motion and dynamics in objective reality—which holds the material basis for revolution in the first place.

I want to stress this to everyone in the Party and to everyone here for the first time and everyone in between—what this newer comrade says is critically important, it is a necessary component if we are going to actually make the breakthroughs we need.

First I want to stress that this does give you a living sense of why joining the vanguard, once you have decided you are ready for that commitment and worked through essential things about what your life is going to be dedicated to, is so important and critical.

But I also tonight want to stress something else. That while doing this on the level of within the vanguard is crucial and ultimately decisive, including as this person stresses the point as to the whole character of the Party itself, this method can also be applied by others. Everyone can contribute to this process... everyone can be and should be part of pitching in, even before you join the vanguard and set about strengthening that vanguard and preparing it for the awesome responsibility of actually LEADING what we say we intend to lead, once the time is right... to "get ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win." We need a whole movement of people summing up their experiences, applying science, discussing this collectively, and popularizing what is true and advanced.

A Point on the Essence of Leadership

Finally, just a word on leadership and its essence, from What Humanity Needs—just putting this in here because I find it insightful and helpful and something for everyone to aspire to:

...the heart of [communist leadership] is actually implementing "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution"—is actually bringing forward all of the things we've talked about in terms of enabling people to get a real understanding, scientifically grounded, of the larger picture that any particular thing fits into. What is the overall foundation and framework in which all these things are occurring? What is, to put it simply again, the problem and solution: what do all these outrages stem from; what are they all rooted and grounded in; what do we need to do to uproot and eliminate all this, and how do we actually build the movement to do that? All that is the essence of communist leadership, whatever level of a party, or whatever part you play in the division of labor of a party, as part of a revolutionary communist vanguard.

Finally, on this note. People I believe probably have read on our website that last week we lost a very important revolutionary communist leader—a leader of our Party, a member of the Central Committee, Clyde Young. I'm not going to read here the statement that was released by the Party Central Committee upon Clyde's death, which is very powerful and comprehensive and which should be read. I am going to say that his death, and the life that he led, and the powerful example that he set with his life, does concentrate something about the juncture that we face right now. And people can think about that.

And I also think that we need to take into account, even as we are going forward and drawing inspiration from his example, that mourning itself is a process and a struggle. It's a struggle to come to terms with the terrible wound in our Party and in our lives. And this is especially the case for those who personally knew Clyde, but for others as well. We are going to have a memorial here, in the first weekend in November. And there is a memorial set for Chicago, which his family will be going to, on October 18.

But people are hurting, now, over this loss. Take the time to remember Clyde. Take the time to talk to each other about Clyde. Hold him in your heart. If you are someone who writes, write about him. If you only just heard about him, then meet him. On our website, meet him in the statement from Bob Avakian, who talks movingly about losing a dear friend—not just a comrade but a dear friend. And read about him in the wonderful interview that Clyde did some 20 years ago. Clyde is somebody who first went to prison at the age of 12, and spent his teen years and his early 20s in the dungeons. And he came out a revolutionary and he never wavered after the decision he made in prison to take up that life. And he waged a great deal of heroic battles against the enemy, and he waged a very heroic battle against disease and disability that was also very difficult and required heroism and science of a different sort.

Mourning someone like this is also part of something we're all about. We are human beings with feelings, we have hearts. This is part of the new world we are struggling to bring into being. And for all of us, as we leave here tonight, we should take his example and the life he led as a call to ourselves, to each and every one of us, to step up further, and to actually cross this crucial bridge we now face, with all its great risks and all its stakes, and all its potential to make a huge advance for the emancipation of humanity.




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Setting the Record Straight: The Real Role of the Revolutionary Communist Party in the Struggle vs. Police Repression

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Over the past few months, there has been a concerted attack on the Party and its role in the struggle against police brutality. Some political forces have not only spread rumors, but have actually accused the Party or people associated with the Party of criminal acts, or—either alternatively or at the very same time—of being police provocateurs. THESE SLANDERS ARE LIES. THOSE WHO SPREAD THEM ARE LYING.

In addition, and even more serious, some people and forces have made physical threats, attempted to organize physical attacks and actually have carried out attacks. At times this has included fingering people for the police and actively working to help the police. SUCH ATTACKS ARE OUTRAGEOUS AND MUST BE OPPOSED, AND ACTUALLY RENDER AID TO THE POLICE AND POWERS-THAT-BE. SUCH COOPERATION WITH THE POLICE MUST HAVE NO PLACE IN ANY MOVEMENT THAT REALLY OPPOSES POLICE MURDER, ABUSE AND BRUTALITY.

Not only that: such slanders, threats and attacks are designed to enable, or in any case could objectively enable, the state to escalate the attacks on the Party and those who support and work with it to even more serious and grievous dimensions. These kinds of slanders and this kind of atmosphere played a major role in creating a situation during the 1960s and '70s in which poisonous conflicts were fomented by the FBI and other organs of the state, and important invaluable leaders were killed off, with the authorities able to hide their hand and blame it on “internal conflicts.” These slanders and attacks are also designed to create a situation where honest people who should know and do better—who would defend people against open attacks by the state—retreat into confusion.

The terrible damage done by this includes the assassination of Malcolm X, in which the outrageous slanders and threats against Malcolm coming from members of the Nation of Islam and their newspaper enabled the FBI and police to conceal their role in Malcolm’s murder. It also includes numerous incidents around the Black Panther Party, including the murder of Panther leaders Bunchy Carter and John Huggins by people associated with the cultural nationalist US group. And there are literally thousands of other such incidents, not so well-known, which were orchestrated in the same way.  This is STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE of the people who run this system—the “power structure”—the imperialist-capitalists.

Such slanders and threats were part of the whole “toolkit” of the FBI, a fact which only came to light in 1971 with the exposure of the FBI’s “COINTELPRO” program. These bitter and costly lessons, paid for with the blood of great leaders and the despair and suffering that came in the wake of all this, is today ignored by too many who know it, and not known by too many who should. Those engaging in these slanders are doing something very criminal, counter-revolutionary and dangerous and need to STOP.

Right now such attacks are particularly focused on Joey Johnson, as well as some supporters who are in Ferguson. These, again, are outrageous. And again: they must stop, and honest people, whether or not they agree with everything about the RCP, must oppose them.

Of a somewhat different order, but also doing damage and great harm and often working in tandem with the first, is a second set of lies: the notion that the Party is a bunch of people with no connection to the masses who care only about self-promotion. THESE TOO ARE LIES AND OUTRAGEOUS DISTORTIONS. Anyone who had a serious attitude—who actually looked into our history and practice going back 40 years and more, who read our press or examined our positions—would see this in a minute. But particularly in today’s culture of snarkiness and the attitude of “I-read-it-on-the-internet-and-I’ve-heard-it-around-so-it-must-be-true,” this has confused some people. To that end, we have included here for people’s reference a brief summary of the Party’s history in this struggle. Left to stand, this lie undercuts and destroys the unity needed to actually stand against a common enemy and STOP the horror of mass incarceration and police murder. And it creates the attitude where people stand back and do nothing when the state goes after revolutionaries and radicals who stand against it.

What Actually Happened in Ferguson

Much of this current round of attack has focused up in and around Ferguson. On August 9, Michael Brown was wantonly murdered by the cop Darren Wilson and his corpse was left lying in the streets of Ferguson, like so much trash, for hours. Immediately on hearing this, Party supporters came down to the city to join with people who were standing up—as they should have, and as did many other people. Throughout that time, the Party stood with those who made sure through the fierceness and unquenchable determination of their struggle that this murder would not be covered up, not be tamped down by yet another round of the dead-ends of voter registration drives, lawsuits, investigations and everything BUT justice for yet another callous murder of an unarmed Black person by the police.

This stand in particular incurred the wrath of two kinds of people and has been the proximate cause of the threats, attacks, slanders and lies that made this article necessary. The first are those who outright work in or for the system (Ron Johnson, who is after all nothing but a PIG, Antonio French, the politician whose great claim to fame seems to be that when police in his district murder somebody they give an excuse for it; Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo, mouthpieces for the ruling class media; etc.); and the second are those who are not themselves part of the power structure but still wish to steer masses of people away from defiance and rebellion and into the tried and untrue meaningless dead ends of voting, “conversations,” “working through the Justice Department,” etc.

As for the cops, politicians and top news commentators, these people are enforcers of the system, pure and simple. There is no common ground with them. As for those who attempt to police the masses and attack the revolutionaries for standing with those masses—they fear the specter of the people rising up much more than they hate what the police do every day; this is why you see them doing the work of the police, telling the people to go home, fingering those who they claim are agitators, etc. They cannot conceive of anything beyond reforming this system, and more than anything they want “in” on it, and so they also fear and hate talk of revolution—especially as this gets a hearing among the people. Such people need to be sharply struggled with to see the consequences and implications of their actions and to get off them, and to be won over to at least friendly neutrality. Finally, all this has led to confusion of those who seem content to believe anything that they see on the Internet, who are not driven to find out the truth for themselves, and who just “go along” with the crowd—and this too does significant damage to the actual crucial fight that must now be urgently waged.

Those in the streets, the defiant ones, see no place for themselves in this system—they understand on a basic level that there is no future for them, and when the outrages just get to be too much and the chance comes to stand up against these outrages they fearlessly do so—these represent the hope for real change, if they are given leadership and support, if they are worked with to see the source of the problem and its solution, and if work is done to rally people very broadly to support their righteous stand. To the accusation that we have worked with and supported and provided leadership to these forces, we plead “innocent as charged.”

The Party’s Aims and Objectives

The RCP works with and stands with the masses to resist police terror and mass incarceration all over the country, in many different forms, AND we work to expose the real source of the problem—capitalism—and the real solution—revolution. These two aims flow out of a single place: our implacable opposition to the horrors that are brought down on masses of people based on our deep conviction that not only is this totally unjust and illegitimate, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We could get to a whole new situation where the police terror that comes down on masses could be ended—through REVOLUTION. This understanding not only leads us to be at least as outraged as anyone else by these horrors, and at least as driven as anyone else to end them... it also leads us to grasp that UNLESS people are inspired and organized to stand up against these, they will be driven down and broken, unable to wage the larger struggle for emancipation. And we understand—through actually digging into WHY police terror and mass incarceration has grown like a cancer these past four decades, how this is linked to the capitalist system—that unless this is stopped, what is now a “slow” structural genocide could be escalated at some point into a fast, horrendous “final solution.”

Our aims and objectives in entering into these struggles are:

  1.  to build the strongest, most determined and broadest possible resistance to police terror and mass incarceration...
  2. to build up the people’s consciousness and fighting capacity against the enemy (the state—that is, the governmental structures of violent repression and decision-making), with particular emphasis to organizing and standing with those directly under the gun...
  3. at the same time, to reach out broadly to many, many others in all walks of life in society to go against the demonization and isolation of those on the bottom who are the objects of this terror and imprisonment...
  4. to instill in millions a sense of the systematic character of all this and the total illegitimacy of a system that requires this...and
  5. through all this to both change the terms in society in such a way that the rulers are put on the defensive and forced to back off on this program AND to prepare people, in their millions, to actually make revolution and DO AWAY with this madness at the earliest possible time.

All this flows out of and is part of our strategy to actually make revolution in the U.S., at the earliest possible time. People can and should check out our explanation of this strategy: “On the Strategy for Revolution.” In another sense, this strategy is concentrated in the slogan “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.”

Does this constitute a hidden agenda? No, it constitutes a larger agenda. And, anyway, so what? “Having an agenda” is far from unique to the Party! As one minister working within a coalition put it, “look, everyone in here has an agenda—I’m a Methodist minister and I’m coming from that point of view.”

Methods and Principles

As part of building the fight to actually STOP this outrage right now we work with many different people and political forces. We come together and make plans on how to unite in common struggle against a common enemy. And within that, there should be a spirit of lively wrangling over differences. If done in the right way, with largeness of mind and generosity of spirit, this kind of wrangling actually deepens the unity of any group of people working together.

At the same time, there should be and must be a few simple principles of what does NOT go in this movement. One of those principles, which everyone should be able to agree with, is this:

Differences among groups should be struggled out in a principled way. There must not be physical threats, let alone physical attacks, against anyone in the movement to end these outrages. Nor can there be accusations of working with the police—being a provocateur or informant—without actual evidence. And as for “working with the police,” there are often instances where it is necessary to negotiate permits, etc.; but in no instance is it ever permissible for people in struggle to finger, or turn over, others to the police or to speculate to the press—who often work closely with the authorities—about someone else in the coalition. Such activity should actually be cause for barring people and individuals from the people’s movements, until they renounce and change these practices.

Where We Are Now

Let’s face it: any honest review of the Party’s history over literally decades leading up to today would have to conclude that, as one minister put it, without the RCP this struggle would be far weaker than it is. However, because most people don’t know the history of the Party in this struggle, we have included an appendix going into this.

In April of this year, the RCP united with the initiative coming from Carl Dix and Cornel West for the Month of Resistance, now going on. 90 people, representing individuals and groups, met in April to hammer out a call for the Month. As of Sunday, October 5, 327 people have signed this call and hundreds are working actively on it in many different ways. Artists, including Alice Walker and Chuck D, have contributed important efforts. Clergy have begun to give sermons, as part of a concerted effort to bring religious communities into, or further into, this struggle. Students have taken up different plans on different campuses, including building mock prison cells, holding symposia, group “hands-up” pictures, and other efforts. Plans have been made and are going forward for massive demonstrations on October 22. And, while called by a coalition of other groups, the forces organizing the Month of Resistance (the Stop Mass Incarceration Network), including the Party, have enthusiastically endorsed the weekend in Ferguson.  There is a great deal at stake here in making this month a real blow against this whole genocidal program, a massive STOP sign right in the face of U.S. society.

Right now, as we said earlier, we are, with many other people and groups, working hard to make October a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror and the Criminalization of a Generation. To actively work to wreck this effort, as some are doing, is unconscionable and shows only that they hate revolution and resistance more than they do the system and its horrors; to stand aside based on rumors and hearsay, to fall for the distancing carried out by others, some of whom are in league with the authors and perpetrators of these horrors, without yourself digging into the facts, is, in its ultimate effect, just as bad.

The juncture is clear: we have an opportunity over these next 3½ weeks to change the terms of things in this society, to seize the political initiative to create a sea change in how people view this outrage—to take a huge step toward actually STOPPING this. Not mitigating it, not ameliorating it, not carving out alternative space within it for a few—but STOPPING it. There is much right now going on that is different and extremely positive—much of it that has been sparked by or influenced by the call issued for the Month of Resistance and much that is independent of that and welling up from many different quarters. There is tremendous potential.

But to realize this potential—to really take this giant step toward changing the very terms in which millions of people view what is just, what is legitimate and what must be done—we must all go much further. That will take many, many people and political forces from a very broad diversity of viewpoints working together, in many different kinds of activities. Let’s DO this. Let’s honestly struggle over differences, learning from each other and developing our individual and collective understanding of the problem... but let’s most of all really go forward with the broadest, most united fight possible against a common enemy that is killing people and mutilating spirits even as you are reading this.




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Why You Absolutely Need A Vanguard Party To Make Revolution

by Lenny Wolff | September 15, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Why do you need a party? And in specific, why do you need a vanguard party—that is, a party to which people dedicate their lives, heart and mind, body and soul, to making, leading and carrying forward revolution?

Actually, if all you’re trying to do is win some reforms within the current system, you don’t need such a party. Or if you’re trying to build alternate communities within the current society and hope that somehow that will change the whole thing... well, you don’t need a vanguard for that, either.

But what if you’ve come to understand that the current system cannot be reformed? What if you’ve come to see that people are capable of much, much better—that we could actually overcome the horror and misery and the spirit-crushing daily grind—through a revolution, aiming to uproot all exploitation and oppression and to change all of society? And what if you’ve come to know that without such a revolution, all the struggles... all the efforts to bring forward something new... will come to nothing in the end?

What then?

Revolution Is Very Complex (!)

Immediately, you come up against questions. What would go into such a revolution? Clearly, people would have to change their thinking on a massive scale. There would have to be a strategy developed to do that. People, in their millions, would have to learn how to distinguish between different ways forward that would be offered in a moment of extreme political crisis. There would also have to be a strategy and doctrine to enable people, in their millions, and as their thinking changed, to overcome an extremely powerful and repressive military machine when the time came to do that.

And if a revolution were to be made and power was seized, then what? Who would organize and lead hundreds of millions of people, with all different kinds of viewpoints, to build a whole new society, with a new economic system and new political structure? Who would lead people to overcome the deeply rooted American chauvinism, and build the new society in a way that did NOT continue to plunder oppressed nations—of the “global south”—and instead make sacrifices for the people of the world? And to do all this in a way that did not give up power... while making sure, at the same time, that that power was worth keeping?

Just think for a minute about all that. Revolution IS possible. But it is about the most complex thing you could imagine. Do you really think everything that goes into making revolution—even the essential things we touched on above... do you think that could just be accomplished by a loose grouping of people with no structure, and no system of leadership? Without a common method enabling them to scientifically and accurately analyze reality and figure out how to go forward? With no way to act in disciplined unison at crucial moments when everything is on the line?

The illusion that there could be “leaderless” revolutions... that “the people” on their own, without leadership and with all the contradictions among them, will somehow liberate themselves from those who oppress them... this has led, even with the best of intentions, to crushing defeat and redoubled horror by the powers-that-be—most recently in Egypt. Too much is at stake to not be real about this.

And if you do come to see that such a leading group would be needed, do you think that this could be pulled together at the last minute? Or would it need to be growing all the way through, spreading its roots and bringing in new people, learning better through everything how to work together to figure things out and lead people to act and to fight?

What a Vanguard Does

If you think through these questions, you are led to the irreplaceable need for the vanguard party. The vanguard dedicates itself to grappling with the problems of the revolution in the most thorough and scientific way possible, and then acting in unison to carry through the answers. The party uses the scientific method—grounding itself in this method and further developing and sharpening it at the same time. The party uses this to sum up its experience and that of others as well, in the political as well as other spheres, very broadly. The party works together, using this, to continually develop its understanding, correcting it where it is weak or one-sided or false... coming to more deeply know reality while it is continuing to act to change reality. The party is the vehicle to lead, and learn from, the masses, and to bring forward and train people from among the masses to take active, conscious roles in the revolution. It is structured in such a way to do all those things, to unleash and lead the maximum possible initiative and instill the necessary discipline to get to liberation. And party members voluntarily make a lifetime commitment to be part of this, to act with the discipline required through thick and thin, in order to hasten one of those rare times when revolution can actually be made... and to lead people to seize that opportunity when it emerges.

Without such a party, the masses really do have nothing. Yes, people will rise up in struggle—but, again, history has shown over and over that this struggle, left to itself and on its own, cannot go all the way to revolution... and once more the masses will be set back. The hour is just too late, and we know too much, to allow that to keep happening.

With such a party, the masses of people have a chance... a real chance... to emancipate themselves. And think about what that would mean—the billions breathing free, working together to go forward. Those who join the party do so because they understand this... and they understand that there is nothing greater that their own lives could be about than building and strengthening such a party, in order to carry through that revolution and go further toward emancipation.

There IS Such a Party—And That Carries Responsibilities

Today, within the U.S., we have such a party—the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. This is a truly great thing. And we have a rare and unique leader in Bob Avakian, the Chairman of this Party, who has brought forward a deeper understanding of communism and revolution and provides practical leadership for this Party. This itself is precious—extremely precious. This Party has a very developed line on how to make and carry forward the revolution, based on that new understanding, drawing from and scientifically summing up the experience of hundreds of millions of people over decades of making revolution. This Party has cores who are with this line and help to develop and wield it, and people who will go into the thick of struggle and stand with masses and work to lead them.

But we’re also struggling to overcome problems and weaknesses. We’re racing to meet the huge challenges before us. And, to be frank, we are coming from behind and facing a life-and-death situation. We could make big advances... but we, and the whole cause of communism and revolution, could also be seriously set back. The future is unwritten. The stakes are very, very high.

Now is not the time for revolutionary-minded people to take having such a party for granted. Nor is it the time to take the leader of this Party, Bob Avakian, for granted. A leader like BA—someone who has given himself heart and soul to revolution, who has actually developed the theory of revolutionary communism to a new level, and who gives practical leadership to the party—comes along very rarely. There is a dimension in which the challenge in the article "Watching Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian"—"We had better fully recognize and appreciate what we have in BA, and act accordingly"—applies here.

So, no. Now is definitely not the time for revolutionary-minded people to stand aside and hope things improve, to wish the Party good luck. Now is the time to think deeply about the question of what it will take for the Party to make the advances it most urgently needs to make, right now, to fulfill its role. And now is definitely the time, based on everything you have come to understand about the need for revolution and what that revolution requires, for everyone to think very deeply about their own role and responsibility within that process... their own role in making sure that the masses have the vanguard they need so that all this, to paraphrase BA in his powerful conclusion to REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, does NOT “come to nothing, and mean nothing.”





Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Building the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West in Oppressed Communities in Chicago

October 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


This past weekend, most of the Revolution Club gathered for brunch still charged with the energy coming off O22.  Since some people do not have easy access to the internet, a computer with a mobile hotspot was used to show everyone coverage of O22 and the Dialogue. The slideshow was played – people were amazed that it was taken up in New Zealand. Together they took a tour of the page devoted to the Dialogue and played Joe Veale's reading of  the former prisoners' call:  “To the youth who this system has cast off:  this dialogue is for you.”  This was in preparation for a weekend of going out with the Dialogue to key neighborhoods and other events.  There was wide ranging discussion and thoughtful comments including some coming off the memorial for Clyde Young. (Someone said, “I started reading the interview with him and I couldn't put it down.”)

A few highlights from going out to the masses in a big way:

The playing over a sound system of Joe Veale's reading of the former prisoner's letter really grabbed people's attention. One woman recorded it right on the spot on her phone to play for others. (Later the revolutionaries showed her how to go to and she marked it as a favorite.) Right off the bat the former prisoner says in that letter, “this is a conversation between two people who have a deep love for people just like you.  With everything that keeps you fucked up and doing fucked up shit to each other, neither one of these two people are willing to turn their back on you.”  This really spoke to people in the park as there continues to be a lot of bad shit among the people in the immediate area.  At the same time, something new is contending... there is “more revolution in the air” as a result of people rising up around the murder of Mike Brown.  All the younger people knew about Mike Brown.  The people more familiar with the revolution “just knew” that the revolutionaries had gone there to stand with people.  

There was a lot of excitement about the possibility of going to see the leader of the revolution in this historic dialogue in New York City.   There were young women in the park, who really want to go and were trying to figure out whether they could make arrangements for their children (in one case 5 young children).  It struck the revolutionaries that if women from a park on the south side of Chicago can seriously tackle going, then this should be a challenge to women in NY City to be there too.  When a man was dismissive of one of the mothers, she boldly spoke up that she was with the revolution too. 

There were young men who know the revolution who wanted to make sure they could pronounce BA's name right.  One took up helping to raise money for the “revolutionary change jar” and asking for a dollar from every car driving down their block.  An older man challenged him to give the jar back as if he was just fronting.  When the revolutionaries vouched for his sincerity, the older man softened and donated.  The young guy told people we are raising money to go to NY to see the leader of the revolution and gave them the card for the Dialogue.  Some younger teenagers, the ones who are usually think they are “too hard” and “too busy” were listening hard when a Revolution Club member challenged them – “people need to stand up, the world can be different, you need to stand up, and we need you.” 

The next day they also went out into a more middle class area to the churches and restaurants to get the word out and raise money.  The amounts raised were small but this can accelerate as everyone takes it up and gets their revolutionary change jars going at work, school and neighborhood and as the revolutionaries carry out their plan to put up a thermometer with the goal (the idea is to put it on the side of the van or take it into the parks, etc.)

One creative fundraising idea came from a woman who has been part of O22 over the years and who wants to go to NY for the dialogue.  She is knitting orange cell phone covers to raise money!

This park is an area where a lot of people poured out to get whistles going into O22 and there was struggle to really use them as a form of organizing resistance to the police brutalizing and harassing people which is a constant in these neighborhoods.  Don't leave them at home ... have them with you all the time.




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014


Raise Big Money! Share, Spread, Project and Promote

Updated November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


IF YOU'RE ON SOCIAL MEDIA, what you can do:

Spread word of the November 15 Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian all over social media... and be part of raising the funds needed at

Be part of this! If you are active online:

1. DONATE and RAISE FUNDS at—Contribute to something truly meaningful by donating, and be part of raising the funds urgently required so youth and those without funds can be at this Dialogue and to make it known far and wide.

2. FOLLOW and RETWEET from @RevBooksNYC—the center of where the Dialogue will be promoted on social media, and spread new updates and articles from

3. JOIN the facebook event page and INVITE all your friends.

Why I'm going

Why I'm going

Why I'm going

Why I'm going

Photos: Special to

4. SPREAD the hashtag #Nov15CornelAndBA on social media and beyond. Post about why you're going to the Dialogue, why you've gotten your ticket, and why you've contributed funds. Post videos, articles, or quotes from Bob Avakian (BA) or Cornel that move you. Share news about the range of voices calling on people to come to this Dialogue—from the Host Committee to people on the street, and send your own video or statement to When you get your ticket, take a picture and post it with the hashtag. There are lots of ideas here and we're sure people can come up with more.

Online/on-the-ground synergies

There is also a real synergy between building the Dialogue on-the-ground, building it online and raising funds. Creating this synergy—and involving lots of people in this—is an important way to generate and project a growing social movement of people supporting, building for and committing to attend the Dialogue.

Here are some concrete ideas:

1. When you're getting out the word of the Dialogue and selling tickets, bring a whiteboard or posterboard with you. As you meet people who are excited about this Dialogue—and especially as you sell tickets, raise money, and solicit statements of support—have people write messages on the whiteboard about why they are committing to attend or why they are donating funds. Then, usetheir phones to take pictures of them standing next to the message they wrote and have them post these pictures with the hashtag, #Nov15CornelAndBA on their social media. If someone does this, give them a BA image buttonor a BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS button.

Have a digital camera with you so that—in instances when it is not possible to take pictures with people's phones on the spot—you can still take a picture and email it to

In relation to all of these ideas: Send correspondences about what you learn as well as written statements from people you meet, photos and videos, to

2. Encourage people to pull out their phones and go to the page right there on the spot.

* Watch the campaign video with them, and talk to them about what the funds will be used for as well as the overall need to raise BIG MONEY to promote and build this Dialogue. Ask them to make a donation on the spot, either on the indiegogo site or in cash and ask them to share the indiegogo campaign via social media. Or set up a meeting with them later.

3. Whoever you meet, connect them with the online and social media movement building for this Dialogue—and with the online presence of the movement for revolution overall.

*Sign people up on the spot for a free e-subscription to (they can text revcom with their email address to 22828) and get people on the spot to follow the Revolution Books Twitter account @RevBooksNYC, tweet something to their friends and also to join the Revolution Books Facebook event page and to invite all their Facebook friends on the spot.






Permalink: 22--initial-reflections-en.html

Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

October 22: Initial Reflections

October 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a comrade intensely involved in building O22 this year:

While I realize that the Month of Resistance isn’t even over yet, and that there is much to learn in order to fully draw the lessons from this unprecedented month of activity, I wanted to offer a few initial reflections on October 22. I’m doing this both as part of that process of drawing lessons, but also because I think that certain things that were brought forward are very significant, and need to be built on and carried forward.

Los Angeles, October 22, 2014

Los Angeles

This year’s demonstrations were marked by far greater diversity, breadth, and militancy than in many years. Over 70 cities, perhaps over 80, had at least one demonstration or manifestation against police brutality and, when the final count is in, the total participation will almost certainly be several thousand people taking the streets. College students and high school students came out in a significant way, bringing with them a spirit of defiance. People directly under the gun of police brutality and mass incarceration were joined by many people who felt they could not live in a country in which Black and Latino lives do not matter to the powers-that-be and to all too large a section of society more broadly. Communities of faith were actively out there—as were revolutionary communists, nationalists, Occupy partisans, and many others.

One very important component: Demonstrations in a number of cities—including New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Chicago, and—of course—Ferguson/St. Louis, as well as other places, directly defied the police. While previous years have sometimes seen militant demonstrations, the air of outright defiance across the board has never been anywhere near as strong as it was this year. More and more people have had ENOUGH. Of course, all this was fueled and inspired by the determination and spirit that has been shown repeatedly in Ferguson this summer, up to the present, inspired and fueled the way in which people took to the streets on October 22 this year—which in itself is good, and important.

I won’t try here to speak to all the other diverse forms of struggle that fed into this—the symposiums and campus events... the weekend of resistance in Ferguson... the cultural works that were done... the sermons that were given as part of the Month of Resistance... the prominent people speaking out on this... and many more that I’m sure I’m forgetting. And the month is not done, either! All this will need to be gathered together and popularized for people, soon, as part of spreading this movement.

I am not saying that we should be in any way satisfied with this. “The dogs are still in the street,” as Gil Scott-Heron said. And besides that, there is still a way to go before society as a whole is stopped dead in its tracks and forced to confront this reality, and the whole terms of things change. That was the goal of the Month of Resistance, and we have work to do to reach that goal. But we should also not fail to realize and BUILD ON the very significant advance that was made toward that goal.

Right now, I think this means two things. I think that the people who came out on the 22nd have to be tense to the next big developments in the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. One way or the other, however they go, the decisions on whether these murderers will actually stand trial for what they did must be responded to by the people, in a way that gives powerful expression to the spirit of Ferguson.

Second, for those whose minds were opened to the need for fundamental social change, the Dialogue between the revolutionary communist Bob Avakian and the revolutionary Christian Cornel West is a “must-go.” The questions that those two will be exploring have everything to do with making revolution that does away with the mass incarceration over several generations of minority youth... that does away with the daily pervasive abuse and often murder of many of these same youth (as well as older people) by the police... that does away with the demonization of whole peoples... and that ends the repression of those who step out of line and don’t “go along with the program.” Anyone moved by October 22 and the whole Month of Resistance... anyone who wants to figure out how to make fundamental change... cannot afford to miss it.




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Two Views...

October 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

I was in a group discussing getting out there and selling tickets to the upcoming Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West. A newer person raised this question:

“What kind of a revolution are you talking about? Is this a ‘fighting-in-the-streets’ kind of revolution, or what? And do you have to be an atheist to be part of this?”

Someone else answered that the revolution that BA and the Party is talking about does in fact require millions of people to meet and defeat the instruments of violent repression. It requires that the institutions of reactionary violence that back up and enforce the present system be dismantled – and that a new state power, serving the people, be built. And that this can only be done once millions of people can be won to this, as conditions change, and then are led to go all-out to make revolution and get rid of this system.

It was very good that that this comrade brought this understanding into the discussion, but I thought I’d add something. “Cornel West also considers himself a revolutionary. Without trying to speak for Cornel, he might characterize himself as believing in a revolution along the lines of Martin Luther King.

“As far as atheism, everybody—believer and non-believer alike—can and will be part of this revolution ‘when the deal goes down.’ But here too there are differences—Cornel West holds that religious belief is an essential element of revolution; BA argues that such belief ultimately acts as a fetter on people confronting reality in the straight-up way in which it must be confronted in order to achieve the fundamental change we need.

“What’s going to be unique about this Dialogue is that you’ll have the foremost spokespersons for each view up on the stage getting deeply into all this. People will have the chance to hear each of these people get into that topic—‘revolution and religion’—from their own viewpoints. Where they overlap and unite, and where they differ and struggle.”

Afterward, I asked the woman who raised this what kind of change she thought was needed.

She smiled. “Radical change.” And then we got into where and how to get these tickets sold.




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Remembrances of Clyde Young from His Family

October 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


A memorial for Clyde Young (Wayne Webb) was held in Chicago on Saturday, October 18. The following are remembrances from Clyde's family members at the memorial. His family called him Chuck—a nickname he had since he was young.

Excerpt from remembrance from Chuck's wife:

Chuck and I met in 1982 when we were both part of building for a May Day demonstration. The movie Reds had come out shortly before this. Reds is the story of John Reed, an American who was a witness to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and authored the book 10 Days That Shook the World about that revolution. The movie is also a love story about John Reed and Louise Bryant (played by Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton) set against the backdrop of these historic world changes.

I remember discussing this film with Chuck shortly after we met. I told him I liked it very much but not all that LOVE STUFF. Chuck was stunned when I told him I didn’t think there was such a thing as love and argued vociferously that I was very wrong.

I quickly learned how wrong I was about this. Chuck and I fell head over heels in love and over more than 30 years that love grew only stronger and stronger. And it, too, was a set against a backdrop of tumult and turmoil not yet of actual revolution, but of us, together with many others, building a movement for revolution, preparing for the time when we can make revolution here.

Chuck had a deep passion for a revolution and also deep passion in love.

We shared weal and woe together.

During the past year and a half Chuck was very sick. Every time he was hospitalized I would move into the room with him. I learned so much from him as he fought from his hospital bed to live the social relations we want to bring into being after the revolution. He struggled with various medical professionals from that perspective.

Chuck had an incredible thirst for knowledge. He was a self-taught intellectual and his intellectual curiosity never dampened. He loved to spend hours with my father, a philosophy professor, grappling with questions of ethics, religion, and more. He learned from my father and my father, in turn, learned a lot from him. Chuck was so looking forward to attending the upcoming dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on Revolution and Religion—the fight for emancipation and the role of religion. We both talked about how we wished my father was still alive because he would have loved to attend this. Shortly before he died Chuck told me he really hoped some members of his family would attend this dialogue.

Chuck was so happy to be able to attend the wedding of my youngest son last fall. He was quite ill at the time and had to be wheel-chaired through the airport.

Chuck loved music and loved to sing. For this memorial I compiled a mix tape of some of Chuck’s favorite songs that was playing as people came into the memorial. There are copies here for people who want it. If more are needed please let me know.

Marrying Chuck brought me into his large extended family. We spent almost every Thanksgiving for the past 30 years with them in Indianapolis. And every Thanksgiving there would be hours and hours of chess between Chuck and our brother-in-law. I was so moved when, after Chuck’s death, his family invited me to “come home” for Thanksgiving. 

As it says up online, just before he died, Chuck was starting to feel better and looking forward to renewed health and the ability to fully contribute to the revolution. No one expected him to die suddenly like he did.

I miss him terribly. He was my comrade, my lover and my best friend. The outpouring of love and support from all corners has been extraordinary. His death was also a real blow to the revolution. Many more people, especially people who came up hard like Chuck, need to step forward to fill his shoes.

A final point—When I was growing up and I would tell my mother about some new boyfriend her first question was always, “Does he have a sense of humor?” As everyone who knew Chuck knows—Chuck had a very deep and wonderful sense of humor. Our marriage was full of joy and laughter. Let’s remember Chuck today not only with tears of sorrow for our loss but let's also celebrate his life with joy and laughter.


Remembrance from Chuck's sister-in-law:

Some of my thoughts about Chuck

One of the nice things about a sad time like this, is that it gives all of us the opportunity to get to know Chuck from a number of different perspectives because we all hold different memories of him. I know him as my brother-in-law. I first met Chuck in 1982. I wouldn’t have guessed at that time that Chuck would be part of our family for nearly 32 years. I learned early on that Chuck had strong feelings about the importance of family. My sister has always been driven and dedicated to her political work and at that time she seemed very distant from our family. That changed when she and Chuck got together and I think he helped her see that it’s possible to work on the revolution and still spend time with family. I am grateful for Chuck’s quiet influence on my sister in this way.

Another thing that pretty quickly became apparent about Chuck was his great sense of humor. Many years ago I visited my sister and Chuck in Detroit and one of many fond memories I have of that visit was when Chuck took me to the Motown Museum. There was a lot of talk and build-up before we actually made it there. At that time Chuck had been learning a lot about photography and he decided that we should do a photo shoot of me at the Museum. Right in the place where so many of the greats of the Motown sound recorded their first hits. But not without first dressing me up appropriately for our field trip. The resulting photos found me in a series of poses in this historic spot wearing dark sunglasses, a black gangster lid and a black T-shirt with the caption that read “Detroit, attitude capitol of the world.”

Chuck had a very special connection with my father and they often sat for hours discussing philosophy, politics and the best brand of shoes to wear to prevent slipping on wet sidewalks. If my father were alive I am certain he would be here today telling you the story about how Chuck nearly missed his own wedding. Chuck and my father were going to drive together to the wedding and Chuck was never one to be rushed. Except perhaps when he had an important writing project with a deadline, then he would usually wait until the last minute and stay up all night long to work on it. The way my father told it, he and Chuck were already running late and still needed to stop at a store for some additional items. My father, who was also not the quickest guy at getting out the door, was anxious about leaving and worried they might be late. In spite of my father’s anxiety, Chuck chose this time to calmly hang up his laundry.

I don’t think anyone can question the fact that my sister and Chuck have been completely devoted to one another and committed to their work and vision of the world as a better place. Chuck had so many struggles with his health and never seemed to waver in his perseverance to keep pushing on, through one medical challenge after another while maintaining an attitude that many of us would find hard to hold onto. I love Chuck and will really miss him. I love him for the way he loved my sister, her children, my parents and our family.  I’ll miss him for his gentle way of singing, his mischievous sense of humor and his warm heart. And, I will miss him mostly for the hole he leaves in my sister’s life—his wife and best friend who has been there at his side and he at hers for the last 32 years.


From one of Chuck’s sisters (which she expounded upon at the memorial in Chicago):

I saw the website. I am so proud of my brother. I am so proud to know that he spent his life supporting a cause that he believed in. I wish that I could have told him just how proud of him that I am. He should be in our history books. He is a legend. He will be strongly missed.

[When asked if her words could be posted at, she replied:] You are more than welcome to put the text I sent you in the paper. Also please let all the people know that came to the funeral that they made me feel so loved and also that I could see how much they love and miss my brother. Let them know that I felt his presence and could sense that he wished that he could be there to see all of us come together. Please let my brother’s comrades and friends know that they must not let what my brother supported and dedicated his life to fall by the wayside because he is gone.


Excerpt of statement from Chuck’s stepsons:

There was love. He loved us and we loved him. His politics, his life’s work were meaningless to us at eight years old. What was meaningful was the way he could read our minds, empathize with us and understand things we didn’t even know about ourselves. His empathy was his defining characteristic. As a stepfather there was no mystery... that twinkle in his right eye and that sly smile will be with us forever as a stepfather. He taught the world with his words, thoughts and actions, he taught us to be better men with his love for our mother... we love you and miss you.


Remembrance from Chuck’s cousin:

I remember one time he arranged for a talent show at prison. I went along but wasn’t in the show. Chuck and a few others gave a few talks. I thought it was boring. I turned on some music and ran out on stage and danced my butt off. I thought I was a movie star. Chuck was upset but I had those men clapping, they were very happy. Chuck couldn’t stay mad. He laughed so hard and said cuz if you gave some of that fight to the struggle, you’d be a good revolutionary.

I remember one time I saw him driving down the street. I was about 13 and he was about 15. I asked him to let me ride—had to argue with him. He let me get in. I was a block from home. He took me home, kicked me out and took off. I went in the house, turned on the TV and there Chuck was on TV. The car was stolen. He was determined I wasn’t going to be involved in that situation.

I remember when my son ran away to Atlanta. He got a job and took care of himself but one time he was at the laundry someone stole his clothes. I called Chuck and told him and he said I got him. I said I don’t know where he lives and he said again I got him. Next thing I knew Chuck found him, gave him some money and bought him new clothes. I always wondered how he found him in that big Atlanta but that was Chuck.

I remember a time when I wanted to go to a party but my parents wouldn’t let me go unless Chuck went with me. They told him what time I was to be home but I took advantage of this situation. We would be an hour late. Chuck said you are going to get me in trouble--please come. He begged, so I agreed. I knew I could get him to do anything I wanted. I laughed, "scardy cat let’s go home."

I remember I tried to teach him how to dance but Chuck had 2 left feet–no style–no soul. I used to say, "Why yo move so awkward? He say, ‘I’m moving, you think I got it now?" I said, "No you ain’t got it and will never get it!” He just laughed that big laugh. He laughed out loud.

Me and Chuck were more like sister and brother than first cousins. He said that about a year ago. You are more like a sister than a cousin. I said, “You just realizing that?” We just laughed and told each other how much we loved one another.

I got to tell him the Friday before he passed how much I loved him and he said, "I love you, too. I appreciate everything you have done for me." But even in his passing he still did something for me. He left me his other half, his beautiful wife. So when I see and talk with her I feel his presence.




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Group Rates Available!

For group rates, or to arrange for someone to speak to your class or group about this event, contact Revolution Books, NYC.


This will be a historic and unique event—don’t let your students miss it, don’t miss it yourself!

Bring Your Students to This Historic Dialogue!

October 30, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


To Teachers, Professors, and Everyone Who Works with Youth:

Let the youth you teach and mentor hear something new. Let them hear about the possibility of a different world—of revolution—from two of the major figures of our time. Let them explore a different path that can be taken—for all of society, and for themselves.

On November 15, Bob Avakian and Cornel West will be in dialogue at Riverside Church in New York City. Bob Avakian is the revolutionary communist leader who has brought forward a whole new framework for the emancipation of all of humanity, and will be speaking on the prospects of revolution and what transformations have to be undertaken to truly get free of the confines and horrors of the present situation. Cornel West is a revolutionary Christian—a major thinker and fighter and truth-teller, on the side of the oppressed. On November 15, they will be dialoguing together, exploring some of the important things they agree on and some of the important things they don’t agree on. And they will be getting into the extremely important topic of

Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.

Go to for more information, and to order tickets. Be there yourself, and bring your students.

For group rates, or to arrange for someone to speak to your class or group about this event, contact Revolution Books, NYC:


This will be a historic and unique event—don’t let your students miss this, don’t miss it yourself!




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Group Rates Available!

For group rates, or to arrange for someone to speak to your class or group about this event, contact Revolution Books, NYC.


This will be a historic and unique event—don’t let your students miss it, don’t miss it yourself!

Working on Contradictions & Openings on Campus

October 30, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |



I thought it might be worthwhile to share some experience and thinking on moving to bring groups of college students to the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian at Riverside Church in NYC on Nov 15.  I was at the campus of a liberal arts school yesterday. On the surface, the scene was frustrating –too many students I talked with were into “alternative” explorations of creativity fixated on introspection and self. And like many, if not most liberal arts colleges in NYC, the campus is both literally and spiritually walled off from the surrounding ghetto and housing projects. Some students rush between campus and their dorms as if to minimize their exposure to the real world.

But within that, there is both a general openness to new and alternative ideas, and different sections of people on campus intrigued and even excited about the dialogue. About one in five students took palm cards, and some took stacks. Not a fully objective survey, but a not-particularly-friendly security guard told me the cards were “everywhere” on campus. A middle-aged Black woman who seemed like she worked on campus gave me a smile as she walked up me and said in a very quiet voice, “Give me the cards.” I gave her the ones I had in my hand. “No, ALL of them.” I gave her all I had handy. (I was able to replenish my stock). Other campus workers were really interested in the Dialogue, so after being “schooled” by the first woman, I enlisted a few of them to get cards around on campus as well.

Mainly, we’re out at this campus to bring students, in the arts, sciences, drama, theater, literature and more to the Dialogue, from the perspective of the kind of impact this event needs to have. But why not unleash all positive factors and synergies? People who work maintenance, in the cafeterias, and in offices at these colleges might be levers to bringing people from the oppressed communities in which they live in to the Dialogue. In addition, I was thinking about how – besides getting the cards “everywhere” (which is important!) – people like the woman who took a stack of cards might have an impact on students. When I was in college, this interaction was a dynamic factor – we joined unionization struggles of the campus workers and brought them to anti-war protests. But this time around I’m thinking the interaction can be more dynamic since some of the campus workers have been exposed to mass initiatives we’ve been involved in and might be avenues through which students get involved.

I met a professor who was looking for ways to encourage his students to engage social issues including racism and inequality. After we talked, he is seriously considering bringing his class – he wants them to explore big questions. He knew of Cornel West -- hadn’t heard of Bob Avakian but was intrigued to learn about him. And we got contact info for another interested professor. The next day, summing that experience up with my team, we googled the professor I met. One link led to another, and we discovered networks of students, professors, and campus initiatives dealing with global inequality, the Occupy movement, socially conscious fiction, etc. Off this, we set about contacting people we found. We’re getting professors the invitation “Bring Your Students to this Historic Dialogue!” that just went up at, and telling them we’d be dropping by to see them and sell blocks of tickets.

We should continue to get the palm cards out on campus (including relying on students and staff to do that), but we identified that we have to really focus on fighting through to sell blocs of tickets through these professors and campus groups. If we sell a bunch of blocks of ten tickets to groups and classes on campus, first of all, we’ll get a lot of tickets sold! And even if we were able to sell as many individual tickets, it is more likely students will come if they are with a group. In addition, the impact of groups people getting ready to go – and that spilling over into other channels – and the impact of the event itself, will be more amplified if groups have gone together to be part if the event ... it’ll be a bigger deal in the student newspaper, students will be blogging and spreading the word on groups’ Facebook pages, etc.

I called Revolution Books in NYC and got the details for discounted group tickets so we’re ready to sell them on the spot if the opportunity arises. Tonite, we’re hitting every email address we can find for interested campus groups with materials for the Dialogue. Tomorrow we’re going to follow up tracking down these forces and people on a couple campuses.

We’ll keep posted on how this all goes.




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Killer Cops Walking Free or Getting a Slap on the Wrist is Unacceptable!

November 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following is posted at the Stop Mass Incarceration Network website.



Grand juries are hearing evidence in the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY. On the day that each of these grand juries announces their decision, whatever those decisions are, people must take to the streets that evening all across the country.





Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Cornel West Invites You to a Dialogue Between Him and Bob Avakian, November 15


October 20, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |





Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

Correspondence from Harlem Dialogue Team, November 4, 2014

Posted November 8, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The Harlem team doing work to build for the Dialogue is setting out to really amp things up to build for the November 15 Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West on Revolution and Religion—The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion. We wanted to let readers of Revolution/ know what we are thinking about and doing in relation to building for this historic event.

In the beginning of our meeting, we took some time to have some of the volunteers who have arrived from out of town talk about why they had come.

One young Black man said, "I'm tired of all this shit that they do to people. Having BA and Cornel doing this Dialogue—the youth especially need to see this, the youth in the 'hood need to get there and we need to figure out how to do this. We will either fail or succeed and we got to figure it out. We can't yell at people (I've done this) about why they need to do this. We need to take a scientific approach and come together and figure out how to do this. These are emergency times with this whole genocide of young people. I want to do this, I want to make revolution."

Another volunteer said, "My sister was killed four years ago by the police. Things have escalated to the point where more and more people are being killed every year by the police, this is going on and on, young people killed, police brutality. This needs to be eradicated. I'm concerned for my son, I worry about him going to school and having to deal with the police, hoping that he will get home OK. It's not about reform, it's not about Obama, 'the change we can believe in.' I don't believe it! It's gonna take revolution."

A young Black man, 22 years old said, "I only got involved recently. I see things here but it's not just here, people are being oppressed all over the world and it's time for a change. This system oppresses us and we need to come together as a people. That's why I'm here."

We then talked on the team about how the Dialogue is going to affect those who are in the room that day—but also how this will have a big effect on society overall. We're in a moment to make history for real, and a lot is at stake here, with a real chance to advance toward the whole emancipation of humanity.

We got to get posters everywhere; people in Harlem have to be running into this everywhere. We have to be asking everyone we meet on the street, everyone we talk to: "Do you have your ticket yet?" But then we have to also quickly flip to a situation where many people are saying, "I got my ticket already" and "I'm coming."

One thing that was talked about is how Riverside Church, where the Dialogue is being held, is actually close to Harlem; it's close to the projects in Harlem. But at the same time, the "distance" that exists is more than just a physical thing. There is a chasm that exists between, on the one hand, people on the bottom of society and, on the other hand, people who are trained in academia—which includes a lot of people who do want to see something different in the world, who do want to see inequalities and such barriers broken down. So there is this chasm that we need to bridge in building for this Dialogue and getting people from Harlem to the event.

One of the big things the team talked about is the focus of making big breakthroughs with the youth—those who have the system's targets on their backs. They need to really be represented on the 15th, and we are going to concentrate a lot of work on getting these youth to the Dialogue—from the high schools, basketball courts, churches; they all need to be there. We need to bring into being something that has not happened before—an intersection between these youths and the students from nearby Columbia University—two groups of young people who in this society are kept apart, but on this day will be sitting together engaging together with the historic Dialogue between BA and Cornel West. We are the force that is going to have to figure out how to make this happen—to break through on this contradiction.

In making our plans and carrying them out, NOT ONE DAY can be perfunctory; we can't toll the bell, having no aims. Instead, we have to advance the ball down the court at every point.

Our plans have three key elements:

Some of the team leaders brought their experience in going out to the youth to bear on this question:

One talked about how we sometimes encounter youth who say they don't care, but at the same time there are things like the video from Oakland ("Rise Up") which shows the anger of youth around police murder and how there is a different mood of resistance in the air right now. There is a real need for this to take a leap—for youth to see that they need to be at this Dialogue, that there are going to be these two speakers who have real answers, who are going to be talking about how to radically change the world. The system tells these youths every day that they are nothing, that they can't do anything, don't count for anything. We need to really make the argument that this is for them; that they can count for something, they can be part of being emancipators of humanity. In this it's really good to use the letter from an ex-prisoner about the Dialogue (and the reading of this by Joe Veale).

Another one of the team leaders brought out how without us the people who need to be there on the 15th won't be there and it is up to us to get people there; it is up to us to let them know what they have in BA and why it is so important for them to be at this Dialogue. It is up to us to let them know that there is a leadership and a party about revolution, nothing less, and in this time when many people are fighting back against things like police murder we have to connect all this with the Dialogue.

People shared some interesting stories about taking the Dialogue out in Harlem that held important lessons:

One person who has religious beliefs was initially holding back from talking about this because they thought this would be "a problem." She had seen people out on the street day after day in Harlem passing out cards on the Dialogue and usually just passed by. Finally one day she came over and said, "OK, what is this about?" At first she was very defensive because she thought that in order to come to this event she would have to give up her religion—which she sees as part of the framework of the change she sees is needed. She is actually drawn to Cornel as a revolutionary Christian. We her read some quotes from both BA and Cornel. BA: "Oppressed people who are unable or unwilling to confront reality as it actually is, are condemned to remain enslaved and oppressed." And "Revolution is not some kind of change in style, or a change in attitude, nor is it merely a change in certain relations within a society which remains fundamentally the same." Cornel: "Justice is what love looks like in public." And "To be a Christian is to live dangerously, honestly, freely—to step in the name of love as if you may land on nothing, yet to keep on stepping because the something that sustains you no empire can give you and no empire can take away." She read those and then also Basics 5:23:

If you have had a chance to see the world as it really is, there are profoundly different roads you can take with your life. You can just get into the dog-eat-dog, and most likely get swallowed up by that while trying to get ahead in it. You can put your snout into the trough and try to scarf up as much as you can, while scrambling desperately to get more than others. Or you can try to do something that would change the whole direction of society and the whole way the world is. When you put those things alongside each other, which one has any meaning, which one really contributes to anything worthwhile? Your life is going to be about something—or it's going to be about nothing. And there is nothing greater your life can be about than contributing whatever you can to the revolutionary transformation of society and the world, to put an end to all systems and relations of oppression and exploitation and all the unnecessary suffering and destruction that goes along with them. I have learned that more and more deeply through all the twists and turns and even the great setbacks, as well as the great achievements, of the communist revolution so far, in what are really still its early stages historically.

After this she really opened up and talked about how she works with youth, some of whom are ones who the system has slated for Rikers, for going to prison. And she was then very excited about coming to the Dialogue herself but also taking this out to these youths.

Another story was told about this one young high school woman who said that if she came to the Dialogue, she thought people would think she is a hypocrite because she smokes weed and gets bad grades. Her thinking was that the Dialogue is something that is good for the community but maybe not for her because she's a "fuck-up." But she said, "I want to be there." This is the kind of shit the system puts on people, the way people are made to feel. But people told her that this is exactly the kind of thing that IS for her and that she needs to be there.

Another story: When people were building for October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, there was this one young kid, 12 years old, who came by and knocked the cards out of the hand of someone who was passing them out. When they were asked why, the kid said, "Don't you know I'm a savage?" The person telling the story said, "This was heartbreaking and infuriating, how generations are being told this, that they are incapable of understanding and changing the world. But this is another element of how we have to take this Dialogue out—we have to have a message kind of like, 'fuck-ups of the world unite.' This is who and what we're speaking to, this is what we need to unlock. And this will affect the whole thing. When these youths come to the Dialogue, they will come and see others, from all different sections of society, who do not look at them as fuck-ups and savages. This can be a game changing thing at the event itself, but also for the whole thing of building a movement for revolution.

We are making BIG plans to get a big number of people, at least a couple of hundred, from Harlem to the Dialogue on the15th. And we have to do this by having a different kind of math—not getting people one by one, but grasping the importance of people coming in groups, like for example the group of high school kids that we talked to who all work on the school newspaper together, or getting teachers to buy a block of tickets for their students, church groups, etc.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for more to come.




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

November 8, 2015

The Dialogue at a Harlem High School: "Hey! You're inside the building now!"

November 8, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


This reporter from Revolution/ has been running with a team going out in Harlem, spreading the word about the historic Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion. One of the key focuses of this work has been getting out to the youth. As the team wrote in their November 4, 2014 report: "The system tells these youth every day that they are nothing, that they can't do anything, don't count for anything. We need to really make the argument that this is for them; that they can count for something, they can be part of being emancipators of humanity." So this is the story of three days this past week of some concentrated work at one high school in Harlem where the team set out to make some breakthroughs among both students and the teachers.


A little background. There is a big park where students getting out of several different high schools come through after school. Revolutionaries have been doing lots of work here for many years, and most recently the Revolution Club was out here a lot building for October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Before this past week, the team had been at this park getting out hundreds of palm cards about the Dialogue. On Tuesday, the team made an assessment that there needed to be real efforts to get inside the school—to talk to the teachers and the students, with a focus on getting into classes to talk about the Dialogue and selling tickets, including blocks of tickets to both students and teachers.

Wednesday. In the morning the team is out at the park passing out palm cards, but some people on the team are also focusing on getting out the letter that calls on teachers to come to the Dialogue and bring their students. A student tells the team about a teacher she thinks would be interested in the Dialogue. A number of teachers take the letter—including several who stop and give their names. One teacher says they already know about the Dialogue and are going—they said they found out about it when they saw a flyer on the dean's desk. This was some indication the word was beginning to get around inside of the school.

In the afternoon, someone on the team follows up on this right away. The teacher who the student had directed us to was friendly, but didn't have too much to say—but then suggests we talk to another teacher who is the adviser to a school club. When the revolutionary goes to talk to her, there were about eight or nine students in the classroom and the adviser lets him talk to them. They are all pretty interested. One of them is familiar with the Revolution Club. He and two of his friends had the week before stopped at the table set up at the park. One had said, "We kept seeing you guys over here and we wanted to see what this is about." They read quotes from Bob Avakian and Cornel West on the displays and all three of them watched the video, "Bob Avakian, Legendary Freedom Fighter and Long Distance Runner." They all said they wanted to go and would have money on Monday. Then on Monday, one of them came by and put a dollar down on a ticket. The team member then went to talk to several other teachers.

The one who saw the flyer on the dean's desk teaches students who he said are having "trouble" and noted that these are kids that most need to be at the Dialogue, but are the ones who will have the hardest time getting there. He says they aren't "academically inclined" and thinks that they would have a hard time sitting though the program—and doesn't think there is any point in talking to them. But then the revolutionary says, let me try. The teacher says, OK, come back in an hour. So the revolutionary comes back and speaks to about 25 students. He starts off by talking about how fucked up the world is. He asks the students to raise their hands if they have been stopped and frisked by the police; if they know someone in prison; if they are concerned about the environment, the degradation of women. Lots of hands go up. He talks about BA as being someone who has spent the last 45 years dedicated to making revolution so that humanity can get beyond all this, for real. And he talks about Cornel, who identifies himself as revolutionary Christian and says people have to stand up to injustice and fight for a better world. The students are listening and the first response is from one young woman who jumps up and asks, "Can I bring my brother?"

Another teacher who had given his name in the morning says he likes Cornel West (was unfamiliar with BA) and is interested in getting kids to come but brings up that they can't afford the tickets. He also raises that he's concerned that because religion is involved that there might be static from parents. He is thinking of this from the standpoint of religion not being brought into the classroom. He wants the kids to go and is bringing up these issues, trying to figure out how it can happen. He also suggests another teacher for us to talk to, someone who he says is "a radical guy."

When the revolutionary talks to the radical teacher, he tells him about what happened with the kids who were really enthusiastic about coming to the Dialogue. If they come, he says, this will be a date they will remember, this can have a tremendous effect on these kids, on their thinking, on seeing things in a different way; they will be meeting people of great historical significance and this particular conversation is of great importance to figuring out how to get to a different world. The teacher seems to be turned on to this vision, inspired by what this could be. He knows about Cornel but nothing about BA. The revolutionary reports later that the thing in particular that moved him, and some of the other teachers as well, is that this was going to be a real dialogue, with back and forth between the two, that it is not a thing of "one-upmanship," where it's about who wins the argument in some competitive way, but that this is two people wrangling over these questions from the standpoint of freeing humanity.

The radical teacher is impressed by the Host Committee list, impressed by the range of people on it. But when he was asked about his students, he said he didn't think they would be the ones to go to this, at least he didn't see them going as a group. But he says that he will buy not only a ticket for himself, but also buy a $100 block of 10 tickets for the club students to go.

That night emails are sent to all these teachers, telling them more about the Dialogue, including a link to the BA Legendary Freedom Fighter video.

Thursday. Noche, from the Revolution Club, goes to a meeting of a school activity. On the way there, he runs into a young woman who he knows from being out in the park and she yells out to him, "Hey Noche, I see you're on the inside of the building now."

Noche asks her if she's coming to the Dialogue and she says, yeah my teacher has been talking about this—the teacher who had been talked to the day before—and he's offering extra credit for going. Noche asks her, "Are you going for the extra credit or because you want to go?" And she says, "To get the extra credit." Noche tells her more about the Dialogue, why it's something she's really got to be at and how "this is for people like you"—to which she says, "Oh, this is interesting, I do want to go to this" and she gives her name and email to stay in touch.

Noche then goes to the club and tells the adviser how the other teacher has offered to buy a block of tickets so that her students can go (she didn't know about this). She thinks this is great. But she says she is afraid some parents will not and that she would get in trouble if she talks to students about religion. She says she would like to see if she can get approval. She leaves to go talk to the assistant principal and comes back a little later saying that she has gotten the OK for this.

The student who put the $1 down on the ticket is in the room and he tells Noche, "If I tell people I'm going they will want to go too." So Noche talks to the adviser about having this student make an announcement about the Dialogue and help organize students to go.

Friday. Noche talks to another class in the school—a teacher who says he was in a meeting with some other teachers who had been talking about the Dialogue.

The three kids who had stopped by the table the week before and listened to the video  bought their tickets. A thing had been set up where students pay $2.50 for the subsidized tickets (the block tickets bought by the teacher). The teacher originally wanted it to just be $1 and we thought it should be $5, so we settled on $2.50. Part of this is getting the students to make some sort of commitment to this—making the point that this is a transformation, not a transaction—not just getting a free ticket.

The teacher who had committed to buying the block of tickets says that he doesn't want to buy 10 tickets if they aren't going to be used. He says we should go talk to the adviser first to see how many tickets she wants for the students. We go talk to her and at this point she is more enthusiastic about things and says that while there may not be 10 students from one particular school activity who want to go, she says she has a class with students who she thinks will want to go and that "the tickets will not be wasted." When the teacher who had said he would buy the block of tickets is told this, he buys the block of tickets.


This was three days in which the team was able to transform some things very quickly. Some territory has been seized—which has to really be built off of in this next week. The team has summed up—we can't just sit on these advances or we will lose them! We have to keep pushing things forward, consolidating and organizing people, solving problems that stand in the way of actually getting people to the Dialogue.

One thing that has been important this past week has been the pace and urgency with which the team carried out its work. They followed up on things quickly—like getting names in the morning and then following up on them a few hours later, then really pushing thing in terms of making arrangements to sell tickets and keep getting out to other teachers, students, talking to classes, etc. All this has conveyed to people something about how important this Dialogue actually is—and the urgency of more and more people getting involved in building for this historic event, getting the word out and not only coming themselves but getting others to come as well. In the course of these three days, things did change, you did start to feel things churn and there was a real buzz that began to develop, this time, not just on the outside in the park—but INSIDE the school as well. The students were talking about it. The teachers were talking about it. The teachers who wanted students to go were trying to work through the problems and obstacles that they were seeing. AND there was an exciting synergy between the teachers and students where the enthusiasm of the students was pushing the teachers, and the other way around as well.




Revolution #359 October 27, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: A Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion

November 8, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


November 8, 2014
Press Contact:  Larry Everest, 212-691-3345,

A Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion

When: Saturday, November 15, 3-7 pm (doors open at 1:30 pm)

Where: The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York City

Why is one of the country's most esteemed, provocative, and deeply religious intellectuals dialoguing with the world's most radical revolutionary and important communist thinker? Why is this being supported by a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, a former U.S. poet laureate, a Grammy award-winning musician, six Columbia professors, well-known theologians, and parents of young people killed by the police? Why are busloads of people coming from Ferguson, Chicago, Atlanta, and Harlem—poor people joined by students, artists and others?

This is a historic dialogue. The revolutionary Christian Dr. Cornel West and the revolutionary communist leader Bob Avakian will be addressing a question of great importance at a dire time in today's world.

"This is not the typical dialogue ... not the typical people. We're in a disastrous situation. We really need to focus on the horrors that are happening... a more radical way of looking at where we're at, where there are no easy remedies. What both Cornel West and Bob Avakian are about is opening up new ground."
Saskia Sassen—Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, co-chair Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University

"Before we are all covered completely in the blood of other people's children, let us find other ways to be and do. This conversation with brothers West and Avakian will be an opportunity to explore other realms of thought, leading, hopefully, to other possibilities of Direction Change..."
Alice Walker, writer

"This dialogue will help address the neo-McCarthyistic pressure ... aimed at undermining rationality in not only the sciences but also in society in general."
Harold Kroto, 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

"This will be a rare opportunity to see Bob Avakian speak live and in person. Doing so with Cornel West who I've shared a stage and jail cell with... these two visionary thinkers will be addressing a question that affects the lives of billions on this planet at a time when the fate of the planet is in jeopardy, new fronts of war and crisis are roiling. This is truly not to be missed."
Carl Dix, founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network with Cornel West

"...Both men have spent their adult lives working for the emancipation of oppressed peoples. Both have been maligned and ridiculed... Their motivation is similar to the motivation of those dedicated to human emancipation throughout history. Although their understanding of the spiritual may be situated in different spheres, both place their ultimate faith in humanity..."
Ron Jacobs, author, published in Dissident Voice

"The young guys around here—they need to understand that this could be their chance to put their footprint in the sands of history. There are speeches that Malcolm X made, that Martin Luther King made that have gone down in history. This could be like that."
A man who grew up in the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago

"You're going to hear agreement and disagreement. You're going to hear transgression and convergence. But most importantly, you're going to hear two brothers who are for real..."
Cornel West

"Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity."
Bob Avakian, from the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!


Go here to see the prestigious list of Host Committee Members and here for who is available for interview.

Press coverage so far includes:

Bob Avakian, Cornel West to talk revolution and religion

by Garrett Donnelly and Aaron Fisher, Columbia Spectator, November 7, 2014

Revolutionary Emancipation and Religion

by Ron Jacobs, Dissident Voice, November 5, 3014

Religion and Revolution: The Promise of a Fresh Look

by SpearIt, Associate Professor, Texas Southern University—Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Huffington Post, October 20, 2014

Sponsored by: The Bob Avakian Institute and Revolution Books, NY

Media Sponsor: WBAI Radio, New York

Tickets: General $25, Students/youth/unemployed/underemployed $15

Premium Benefit Tickets $100, Premium Benefit Tickets $250

Tickets and information online or at Revolution Books, 146 W. 26 Street, 212.691.3345

#Nov15CornelAndBA * Twitter * Facebook

For more information on the Dialogue and speakers, go to