As we wrote last week, the Revolution Tour is going out with crews big and small throughout South Central LA and reaching out all over where youths who need to step into this revolution are gathered—skate parks, downtown party scenes, Westside shopping scenes, the sunny beach on a Saturday afternoon. We’re stepping to people on street corners, in parking lots, lined up at taco stands... with a simple but basic message: to everyone who can’t stand the world the way it is, now is the time to get organized for revolution to overthrow the whole capitalist-imperialist system which is the source of the horrors for humanity; we’re actively working for that revolution, we have the leadership we need for this in Bob Avakian (BA), and we’re recruiting; we’re followers of BA, you need to follow BA, too, if you want humanity to get free.
Everywhere we go we’re showing people video clips on Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity from The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show. When we don’t have our big TV truck, we have these loaded on tablets with portable speakers.
One of the things we’re wrestling with and increasingly learning how to do better is how people get organized for revolution—building up the Revolution Clubs... working with people to spread this revolution... struggling hard with people to lift their sights to revolution—at a time when we have a real chance to break through. Most importantly, right now, that means organizing people to come to May 1 and spread the word to others to be there. Here are some vignettes:
** A middle-aged Black guy who called himself “the big homie” for a multinational skater crew, watched one of the BA videos and was impressed that this was someone who was so revolutionary in the 1960s, speaking on the stage with the Black Panther Party and challenging people then to be about revolution... and he hasn’t given up on revolution. He said he was moved that this was someone who “was so on point then, and still so on point now.”
He had a lot of insights about the current situation—that people are ready to hear about revolution. He was talking about all the athletes that came together in support of Colin Kaepernick, what got ripped open about the depths of white supremacy through the murder of George Floyd, how the uprising of Black people moved so many different nationalities in the U.S. and around the world to stand up, the local gang truce... and he was interested and challenged to hear that this had to be led to an actual overthrow of this system.
It made a lot of sense to him but he was hesitant to fully step in, saying he needed to think more about it. We agreed that he had to learn more, but in the process of getting into this revolution. BA says, “...we have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—or, make revolution!” He said he wanted to be about that second choice and that if he stepped into this, he did have a lot of connections he could spread this among. We challenged him back, “If?! No ‘if,’ you’re recruited into the revolution.” He joked that we were like superheroes, telling him, “with great power, comes great responsibility.”
We wove in the challenge to get organized with this from the very beginning—coming to May 1, and bringing others. One of the lessons we’re learning is when we have a “good discussion” with people and then “tack on” to the end the need for them to join this, we’ve really wasted an engagement. People need to confront the reality of revolution from the beginning. As the new Declaration and Call says, “this is not just “a good idea’”; revolution is real and you are being challenged and invited to step into this, to be part of this revolution. This also helps to sort out who are the people to spend our time talking and struggling with.
** We’ve also been making clearer to people what we mean by an actual revolution and, flowing from there, what we need to be doing now. When people have understood what we mean by revolution—not just a big change, but the overthrow of this system requiring an all-out fight for power—and they get that we’re organizing forces politically now for that kind of struggle, the need for them to step into this now makes more sense. Now is the time urgently to win more people to this... to impact the whole political terrain... to impact-accumulate-impact-accumulate to get in position where millions could be ready to go all-out.
When people have gotten clear on this, they’ve said things like, “Oh, so you’re in the seeding phase now?” or, “So this is the recruitment period?” Our answer was “Yes and we’re here recruiting you.”
** We’ve been trying to pull together people we meet—even just out at a corner—to talk and struggle with each other, hearing each other’s questions and ideas and getting organized collectively. One guy came out with our team after meeting us the day before and getting into the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America that night. We got a three-way discussion going between him, a revcom, and a person who was friendly but very influenced by the social movements and the model of building up mutual aid-type cooperatives in opposition to real revolution. The revcom was arguing why we need a revolution, we need state power, and anything else in the final analysis is bullshit. The differences were clarifying for everyone involved and in response to the discussion about what revolution is and makes possible, the movement person said, “Nah, what you’re talking about is just too difficult.” The young guy took this on, “What’s wrong with something difficult? And who said this kind of fundamental change was going to be easy!”
** The “Three Strikes” poster—with the vivid pictures of slavery, Emmett Till, and the murder of George Floyd together with the quote from BA ending with, “That’s it for this system: Three strikes and you’re out!”—is striking a chord right now and important to get up everywhere. An older Black man was drawn to the picture of Emmett Till and after walking through the whole poster together, we left and when we came back, he was walking it through with a friend of his. He thought about where he could get the posters up in the neighborhood, and when we got back to him, he reported where he got them up. The next day a young woman from the same neighborhood called the Club’s phone number on the poster to say she saw the Bob Avakian posters with the Emmett Till picture in her neighborhood. She said she and her friends always say that if there was anything like the Black Panther Party today, they would join it. She said that poster is the most radical thing she’s found and wants to learn more. We strategized with her to set up an in-person showing of The RNL Show in the neighborhood.
** In the speech, Why We Need An Actual Revolution and How We Can Really Make Revolution, Bob Avakian says, “Spreading the word, particularly as this is done together with others in a planned, systematic way, can be an important step in joining the organized ranks of the revolution and taking part in the process of building the revolution.”
We’ve increased the number of people following us on social media. This isn’t in the numbers needed, but we’re asking everyone we meet to pull out their phones on the spot, follow @therevcoms, the Revolution Club in LA, and the revcoms on YouTube. We estimate we’ve gotten about 70 new followers this week.
People seeing the materials up is beginning to have an impact and people contributing to that impact is a real way to be part of this revolution—putting up posters or stickers. We have different ways for people to step into this in an organized way: a weekly meet the revolution Zoom call, a weekly Revolution Club meeting in person, weekly viewings of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show, at the organizing center or in the neighborhoods where we’re reaching people. We’re trying to make concrete plans with people and find collective forms to bring people together.
Most importantly, we’re building for May 1—getting concrete agreements for people to be there, to spread the word and bring others. We’re very excited to go out this week with the new Declaration and Call from the revcoms/revcom.us: A DECLARATION, A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW FOR A REAL REVOLUTION!