Revolution #171, August 2, 2009

Snapshot #2

What do we need? REVOLUTION!
Who’s our leader? BOB AVAKIAN!

As about a dozen revolutionaries marched down the street, a group of men in their twenties sitting up on their porch called out to us, “what’s this you’re saying, about revolution?”. One young man was running clippers over his friend’s head, listening, as another friend paged through the newspaper and quizzed me, “what don’t you like about the leadership of this system?” I showed him the pictures and he said the one showing police brutality was something he knew well but he pointed at the one of the man in the hood, being tortured. “Our government really does that to people?” He bought the paper, “you taught me something I didn’t know.” Then he said, “We never had a protest come down our street before.”   Some people honked their horns, raised their fists as they drove by. Some people stopped their cars in the middle of the street and yelled out the window, “Revolution!” Then, “Who did you say your leader was?” Sometimes two or three cars would be stopped, lined up on a residential street, people reached their arms out the window, “I want one of those papers.” Younger youth walked up to the displays on our cart  – talking about Oscar Grant and then speaking of others who have been murdered by the police. Then they asked about all the other pictures in the display, the ones that exposed this capitalist system and what it does around the world. As we went over each one, an older youth rode up on his bike, standing in back, listening, and someone explained, going over them one by one. “You’re revolutionaries?” A young Black woman stopped her car to get the newspaper, and said we were right about this system. She said she had had a lot of hope in Obama but now she was beginning to see that even if he wanted to, he couldn’t do anything, because he is part of the system. She looked at the pictures of children killed by the US, and said, “that’s terrible, and I’ve started to worry about my own son, he’s just a baby, things need to change.” When she heard about Bob Avakian’s background she said, “I know about the Panthers.  But I only heard about them, but I’ve never seen people marching down the street yelling “revolution.”

A few people didn’t like what we were doing and told us that it was people, not the system who had messed things up and that we should be talking to people about Jesus Christ, not revolution. “Prayer” said one woman, “prayer, prayer, prayer.”  At the same time, our marching and chanting attracted some people who are also religious. A young Black man who saw the red flag and heard the word “Revolution” hurried to join us, and took part in struggling with people we met about Obama, and about the need to become politically active and part of changing the world. This young man had worked with reformists, and non-profits, and clearly saw what we were doing as different, and liked it, and we made plans to get together and discuss things more in depth.

Each block was different. On some people stayed behind their doors. Some houses we passed were burnt out and boarded up. Some blocks were lively, others desolate. Sometimes people poked their heads out of windows, opened their doors. One man came down off his porch clapping for us, another old women came to her steps and said, "Revolution? Praise the Lord!" Several older people vehemently told us to go to the youth, and one man contributed extra money for the paper to be distributed to young people. He said he had been president of the BSU in his youth and still wanted revolution. A Cambodian woman looked at the pictures of children in Iraq and was overcome with emotion, she put a couple dollars in our hands saying, “The Americans bombed my country too.”

As we walked past one house a young women opened her door, upon telling her that we were building a movement for revolution to overthrow the system and get to a whole new world she said "how do I get involved,"  I said that first thing, she should get this new call but she interrupted me and said, "I want to do more than that!"

Another women, upon hearing what we were about, asked "what can a single mom do for this revolution?" Upon getting into that,  she eagerly bought the paper and came back with her questions and ideas later that day after she had read the call. One car of people pulled up and said 'we love you guys' and they donated some money for the paper. We would sweep through a block and as we passed houses conversations and people getting into revolution would follow us down the street. You could  hear people saying, "Did you hear what they said? They said Revolution!"

Afternoon in an area where many Latino immigrants live:

We set up with color pictures from the newspaper and a display about Bob Avakian’s books, and a small book table. By now we knew that many people we are meeting already feel strongly that the world is messed up and change is badly needed, but they don’t know a lot about our movement, our leader or the real possibilities of revolution. So we cut to the chase to say that we have a party, a leader, a plan and a strategy, and that if you want real change you need to join this revolutionary movement and get to know Bob Avakian.  Many Spanish-speaking people from different Latin American countries stopped to buy the paper, some getting small bundles. People wanted to talk about what was different about this revolution, about Cuba and Venezuela. One woman asked us whether we thought that there could be a solution that “mixed” socialism and capitalism, like what Hugo Chavez was saying. She said her son was arguing for this, but she thought this was wrong and we were right.

“What kind of revolution are you talking about and what is your plan”, asked a tall, well-dressed man. What does your leader say that is so important? We said he had a whole body of work and showed him the literature. He reached for the DVD, Revolution: Why it’s possible, Why it’s necessary, What it’s all about, by Avakian. He said he was going to Paraguay and would take it with him, along with the newspaper. He also bought the Manifesto when he heard that it had important things to say about the international communist movement, particularly both in discussing Avakian’s analysis upholding, and learning from the past revolutions in Russia and China, but also in critically assessing their strengths and weakness, and forging a new synthesis for revolution in today’s world.

A young man heard us chanting and came forward to look at the displays, he pointed to the pictures of US soldiers in Iraq, “I already know about this. I’m from Jordan. It is terrible, but what are you saying can be done?” Quickly we told him about why we were out here, putting out not only the call for revolution, but letting people know that we have a leader who has dedicated his life to the people, and has deeply studied the process of the first wave of revolutions and has scientific answers about how to go forward. That we are calling on everyone who wants change to learn about what Avakian is saying. And that there is a real way out of this horror, not a false “choice” between the US imperialists nor the Islamic movements, but a revolutionary, secular, communist movement for real liberation. We showed him literature by the RCP and Bob Avakian. He immediately picked up Away With All Gods. He also bought Revolution and Communism, a Foundation and Strategic Orientation, the newspaper with the Call.

Minutes later, a young Latino man also bought the same pamphlet, said he was on the bookstore email list and had been reading different things trying to educate himself, including Lenin’s book Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, which he thought was very current. We agreed that this system’s current economic crisis was global and deep, and a part of the potential for revolutionary crisis developing here in America. He had read some pieces by Bob Avakian in the newspaper and wanted to get into the theory deeper, especially he wanted to know how it would be possible to make a revolution in THIS country, in the current time.

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