Sharp Struggle, Wide Embrace



From a member of the National Revolution Tour:

There is so much richness and texture to report on and I don’t have much time.

A few patterns to point to from the neighborhood and then I’ll get into some more specifics. First, among people in the life, going to Hoover Park seemed out of the question to people because of the beef between sets. This came up a number of times in different ways. Second, there are others we’ve now had a number of discussions with (in particular, the guys drinking in front of a local store) for whom coming is more of an ideological question of whether they’ll step into the revolution and let themselves hope. Third, we met a number of younger people in the neighborhood who are not in the life who fell out in different ways. These are important people to reach because they are influenced by the same circumstances but with different levels of openness. Finally, there are a couple people we are more actively “working with” who are taking responsibility for the revolution in different ways, reporting back, etc.

In all this, there are some very deep things being joined and opened up... for some, in the first discussions we are having... others from some of the repeated discussions. A lot of this is still very centered on whether the problem is the people, or the system. We have been getting up the new “no more generations” poster and used it in a couple important exchanges joining this question.

Also, we met with the person who runs an Afrocentric community center nearby. It’s used as a meeting place with local programming and arts projects. This was a place someone in the neighborhood suggested we go check out. I got a call back and a few of us went over to meet with the person who runs it. The director is familiar with BA from hearing him on Michael Slate’s show. He’s revolutionary minded even as he thinks you have to use “every tool at your disposal to make real change.” He said BA resonates with him and he can’t think of anything he’s ever said he disagrees with. We talked with him about the Tour, our mission, played the trailer of the new speech and gave him the text for it which he was interested in reading. He wanted to know how we all got involved in the revolution and we talked about this... it was a pretty rich discussion overall. He also wanted to know the response we’ve been getting from the neighborhood, our work, etc. And all three of us talked about this more.

We did put the different problems to him in terms of the overall mission of the Tour, but also asked his thinking on the terrain. He was somewhat reticent about this but did talk about how people are tired and, he thinks, ready to hear a serious argument for real change. He said that stepping out with our message in the way we are should separate the wheat from the chaff in a good way. We talked about wanting to show the BA speech at his center. He’s interested and we’re going to go through the process to apply for this.

He was glad we reached out and thanked us several times for what we’re doing. This is someone we should be working with going forward as well and we did invite him to the picnic.

We also went into a nearby school where it looked like a lot of students were getting out early and we passed out a bunch of flyers. Unlike other high schools, most of the students took them. At the Burger King later, when we sat down to have lunch, we talked to four of these kids who read the POAs out loud to each other (while doing an Instagram Live) and were excited about this. They kept saying, “hell yes.” We got their info to send them a BA video to watch and post.

I had a very heavy/important discussion with one student on the corner which I think is worth walking through in detail. He was standing with about 4 or 5 guys and seemed to be the leader of the group. He and they were kind of fucking around but took the flyers. We said what we were about—on a National Tour to organize for an actual revolution to overthrow this system—and he looked over the flyer while we pointed to the POAs and told him what they were. He saw the info about the picnic, and said, “Hell naw, I ain’t going over there, that’s enemy territory.” Even though I knew what he meant, I asked what he meant. He kind of laughed and said more to his friends more than me, “My parents told me all about that.” And he named the other set with an insulting nickname. I said, “Really, enemies huh? Let me ask you, what do those enemies look like?” His friends were still more messing around, laughing, rolling up the flyers. He got serious and said, “They look like me.” I asked, “So you think they control that territory over there?” He said, “No, I don’t think so.” I asked him who he thought controlled it and he said, “The government does.” I said he was right about that, and then asked who controlled the ground he was standing on, and he said, “Yeah, the government does.”

I did some agitation about how this system has people pitted against each other, but really who are the real criminals, their armies marauding all over the world, their bombs tearing children apart limb from limb, their pig police running roughshod through these neighborhoods, tearing babies from their parents at the border... the motherfuckers who run this system are the criminals and they are perfectly happy to have oppressed people fighting and killing each other, it helps them because they want to kill you off anyway. His friends had stopped listening and kind of walked away telling him they had to catch the bus. But he was intent and told them to chill, they’d catch the next bus anyway. He said he knew something about the government. His aunt told him about how they made all their money off of slavery. I said he was right about that and that same shit continues in different form today.

He responded, “Yeah, I know all that shit, but fuck it, I got to take care of me and my family, I got to get my money. I got to get up out of here and take care of myself, my people.”

First, I said, be real, most likely this system won’t let you make shit. Just a tiny handful make it up and out. But even more fundamentally, let me ask, you’re saying you want to get rich. Where do you think wealth comes from anyway? He answered, “From the government too?” I said not really, it comes from fucking over people just like you all over the world. I pulled out my phone and asked if he knew what prevented the phone from overheating in his hand. He said he didn’t know and I explained about the mineral coltan. That it comes from different parts of the world, including the Congo. That there have been resource wars raging in the Congo for years which have, in part, resulted in millions of women being raped. That there are kids his age and younger working in those mines. That’s where wealth comes from. Then those minerals and other raw materials get shipped to China where millions of people slave away in sweatshops working 18-hour days going blind from working so long with such small things, breathing all these toxins and shit. That’s where wealth comes from.

I put it back to him, is that what you want to be part of? Saying fuck it, and becoming like the criminals that run this system. He said quietly, “I don’t know.”

I then pulled out the new poster we made with BAsics 1:13, told him briefly who BA is and had him read the quote. He read it out loud and then I asked him to look at the pictures, which he did. I asked what he thought. He stood there quiet for a minute and said, “Damn, this picture hurts my heart.” Looking at the picture of the Syrian child washed up on the beach, drowned to death. I told him that America was responsible for that, they were part of the war, destroying the country that his family was fleeing from to survive. He stayed looking at it, and I told him he was as responsible for that child and his family as he was for his own family. He just answered, “Yeah, that’s true.”

I pointed to the pictures again and said, “Look man, all this shit is not necessary and it all comes from the system that we are organizing to take down. This is something you need to step into and be part of. The world could be a whole different way but we have to fight for that.” He seemed unsure and I said more about why he needed to be at the picnic on Sunday and asked if getting a ride from the neighborhood would help. He said he wasn’t sure and seemed like he was moving to head out at that point. I said I wanted to leave him with a question and challenge from BA, the same person who said that quote he read. I said that Bob Avakian says: we have two basic choices... either live with this nightmare of a system, condemn future generations to more of this or worse... if they have a future at all... or make revolution. I asked then, which will you choose? He was quiet, and said, “That’s serious. I have to think about it.” I told him he did and that I wanted to send him a link that gets more into what kind of world is possible. He gave me his number and I told him to keep the poster, I also gave him an extra flyer for his aunt.

I sent him the “What Ifs” clip and I’m going to call him later this afternoon to see if he watched it, also want to send him the one on the Corcoran SHU and talk with him about a ride.

I also spoke with a crew of guys that were getting on the bus (seemed like they were a little older than high school, or were cutting). A couple of them had skateboards and were getting high. The main kid I talked to, who was more interested and said, “I feel what you’re saying,” was wearing a Scarface T-shirt. He also said the main thing he wanted to do was get up out of here, live in the hills with a family and a white picket fence. He talked about hating all the gang divides, he’s not in the life but still gets checked everywhere he goes. “I hate people asking, ‘where you from?’ It ain’t your fucking business and anyway, I’m not into all that.” Their bus was about to come so they didn’t want to watch a BA clip but I did some brief agitation (referencing BA) about the Scarface mentality. The guy who was talking to me was torn because he could see what he was saying was selfish but also had questions about whether it was possible to defeat them. His friends stayed fucking around even when the bus came, but he got a bit more serious and gave me his number to send him the clip.

Other people in our team also talked to a 24-year-old kid from the neighborhood who was not in the life. He got a flyer and turned back around to get more, he said, “Give me some more of those, I’ve got some people who I want to share this with.” He lives in the area and said he thinks a lot about revolution. He mentioned knowing about a Black nationalist group that was active a few years ago, that he’s been thinking about the old Black Panther Party and revolution. He said, “I try to tell people they need to be aware and informed about what’s going on, but people don’t want to listen. They’re not interested, think it doesn’t concern them, but they need to hear this.” Someone on the Tour used the posters with him to show quotes from BA, illustrating what we’re up against that people are resigning themselves to this but here’s BA saying, “No, no more!” Talked more about who BA is, what he came out of and the work he’s done... but also what we don’t have in terms of the thousands of people taking this, what we’re doing with the National Tour and the need for him to step into this. (The person who had this discussion should fill this out more... there were important things, including he said you have to have food but really people need to get down with the content of what you’re doing.) We got his info and he took some materials. This was important.

We talked briefly to a Black woman, in her 30s/40s who read the POAs aloud and stopped at #4 on the point on we “do not tolerate revenge among the people.” She said, “Wow, making a revolution without revenge. That’s going to be hard. A lot of people are going to want revenge.” Unfortunately, she had to move her car at that moment and couldn’t talk much more but I did say this was a question the leader of the revolution, Bob Avakian, has done a lot of wrangling with. In opening the conversation, I told her about the Tour and she said she was surprised when I talked about what is missing are the people. She said she would think that a lot of people would be getting with this now because so many people are tired. She gave me her info to send a BA clip and she took a few flyers to get to people she knows and said she is interested in coming Sunday.

A few other people like this, people who were in a hurry, but interested.

We also talked for a while (perhaps too long) with some of the drinking guys, both some of the older folks and some of the younger folks more in the life. As I said above, some stubbornness among the younger dudes (in their 30s or so) about leaving their neighborhood, about the possibility of revolution, etc. We struggled over the POAs, including #3: “We fight for a world without borders...” Mainly this is about the imperialist borders, but also includes these bullshit borders among oppressed people here. Among the older dudes up the block, a lot of struggle about why they need to step into this. Talked to one guy who came up and said, “I want that book you all had yesterday.” I showed him BAsics and he wanted to get it. He spent 27 years in prison, and said he reads. He argued for religion and personal responsibility but also knows we need real change. He got BAsics and said he would give $10 on the 1st.

Importantly, talked with the guy who I wrote about yesterday. He came over to where we were to get BAsics and brought his $10. He also had been thinking about other people we should reach and told me about this meeting that he knows about with progressive Black nationalist forces. He said he would look into it more and see if he could get me a contact number. He also said that he’d taken a picture of the picnic flyer and sent it to a couple friends, one of whom wrote back, “Wonderful.” He can’t come because of work but he said that he would follow up with them. He also wrote that he’s begun reading BAsics. And then this morning wrote that he distributed the flyers about the picnic with the POAs on the other side.

This is someone who was more reticent to consider himself a part of the revolution but is actively working with the revolution and thinking about the problems we are facing and how to solve them. This is an important example of the process of people working on the problems of the revolution, an essential form of organizing people into the revolution.

Also, we’re trying to meet this morning with the guy who took the flyers out to the rap concert to interview him and he’s working on a statement for the picnic. He’s also figuring out how to bring speakers he has to the picnic.

There is more to report but this is already quite late...


Points of Attention for the Revolution

1 We base ourselves on and strive to represent the highest interests of humanity: revolution and communism. We do not tolerate using the revolution for personal gain.

2 We fight for a world where ALL the chains are broken. Women, men, and differently gendered people are equals and comrades. We do not tolerate physically or verbally abusing women or treating them as sexual objects, nor do we tolerate insults or “jokes” about people’s gender or sexual orientation.

3 We fight for a world without borders, and for equality among different peoples, cultures and languages. We do not tolerate insults, “jokes” or derogatory names about a person’s race, nationality, or language.

4 We stand with the most oppressed and never lose sight of their potential to emancipate humanity—nor of our responsibility to lead them to do that. We work to win people of all backgrounds to take part in the revolution, and do not tolerate revenge among the people.

5 We search for and fight for the truth no matter how unpopular, even as we listen to and learn from the observations, insights and criticisms of others.

6 We are going for an actual overthrow of this system and a whole better way beyond the destructive, vicious conflicts of today between the people. Because we are serious, at this stage we do not initiate violence and we oppose all violence against the people and among the people.

Spread the Points of Attention on social media

Download and spread this poster (B&W, Color)

“On POA #5”

From a young man in Crenshaw who took 10 flyers about the picnic to ask people to come:

“What really resonated with me is that we fight for and search for truth no matter how unpopular, even as we listen to the observations & insights from others. People sometimes don’t like to hear the truth and people gang banging don’t like to hear the truth or want to accept it. Because when they are in what they are in, they can’t. But we have to say it. We need the truth for this to stop. I took 10 flyers to get out to some students and the community, to get the word out because I’m fighting for what you guys are fighting for. I want to see a change.”

Bob Avakian
This System Has No Future For the Youth... But the Revolution Does

From BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live. Watch the whole film at


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