What People Are Saying About This Dialogue

Responding to the announcement of Revolution and Religion: A Dialogue
Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian

Updated November 12, 2014

An Historic Dialogue: Cornel West and Bob Avakian Enlighten and Challenge at a Critical Juncture

November 16, 2014

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A discussion on the role of religion in the struggle for material and spiritual emancipation of the human has never been so necessary


The gap of wealth and power between the have and the have-not nations of the earth and the social haves and have-nots within each of the nations, is deepening and widening daily, with the irony that the haves, between and within nations, depend on the resources of the have-nots for their power and privilege. The result is material and spiritual misery of millions. This condition is human made not God made. It can only be righted by human action. A discussion on the role of religion in the struggle for material and spiritual emancipation of the human has never been so necessary.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Author
Wizard of the Crow

Anyone with deep concern about the future of this world needs to be there.


I admire and respect both Cornel West and Bob Avakian. Both are fearless fighters for the poor and oppressed throughout the world. One, Bob Avakian, is a revolutionary fighter; the other, Cornel West, is a Christian. Anyone with deep concern about the future of this world needs to be there, and needs to hear this very important dialogue between two champion crusaders. 

Nicholas Heyward—Father of Nicholas Heyward, Jr.—murdered by New York Police Dept. in 1994; October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation; Host Committee for the Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue

"Holy Shit!"
Three Thoughts on the Dialogue

When I first heard news of the Dialogue between Bob Avakian (BA) and Cornel West (CW), I had three major thoughts.

First, I thought, "Holy shit, it's a really huge deal that BA is speaking in public! This hasn't happened, in this way, in a very long time, and there is both tremendous positive potential and very serious stakes to this... This is truly an extraordinary and exciting opportunity!"....

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From a revolutionary

From Ann Wright, Former United States Army Colonel, Foreign Diplomat, Peace Advocate

This is indeed historic. I'm going to try to be there... I've marked my calendar.

I strongly support the Dialogue

When you consider that religion influences the majority of humanity in one way or another, the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian can be extremely important—particularly if it encourages religious leaders and their followers to develop a strategy that plays a major role in the struggle for emancipation. With this in mind, I strongly support the Dialogue.

Richard Brown—Former Black Panther; San Francisco 8 Defendant; Host Committee for the Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue

From Kassahun Checole, Publisher

Revolutionary politics and theology work well together when the subject of social change arises. Our world is in deep trouble. Cornel West and Bob Avakian will advance the conversation. They can and will. It is much needed.

Nothing Changes Until We Address the Systemic Change

I think this is important because it will open up some dialogue and get people to start thinking. Because you know, a lot of times, people's thoughts need to be seasoned....

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Community organizer

It Is Important for the Future of Blacks and Latinos

I feel like it is important for the future of Blacks and Latinos. It's important for us to fight and stand up against injustice. We need to get together and not fight each other but get together and fight the system. You see now Ferguson got the attention of Obama because they are fighting the system. I am hoping to get unity amongst us, to stand up against the government. We asked years ago and kept asking, we marched with the civil rights and Black Panthers. What are we supposed to do, keep asking?

Joshua, Young Latino, Washington Heights, New York City

From a Social Worker Who Donated $100 for the Dialogue

It is amazing that two people with different fundamental belief systems are willing to sit together for the sake of humanity. It is a beautiful thing of tolerance and respect, we need more of that.

Just What We Need

This is just what we need. I wish I could be there but I can't so I'll make a donation so that someone else from the store can go.

A devoted Christian volunteering at a Revolution Books store

Clear and Concise Analysis of the Amerikkkan Condition


...These two gentlemen seem to have a clear and concise analysis of the amerikkkan condition. But more importantly they are the only two whom, aside from pointing out the obvious capitalist atrocities, seem to offer viable solutions to some of the problems experienced by americans in Amerikkka....

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A Photographer from NYC

If we really want fundamental change…look at fundamental questions—“Revolution and Religion” is as fundamental as it gets.

What kind of world do we live in? A world where Michael Brown’s murderer still walks free while we’re told to have a “conversation” about race, where oil companies rush to grab up the new oil fields exposed by the melting polar ice cap while “world leaders” make meaningless, hypocritical pledges to stop global warming, where entire families incinerated in an instant by unmanned drones is not considered barbaric, where a so-called “progressive” president has out war-mongered the war-mongers. In this insane world, why isn’t revolution on everyone’s lips? Why aren’t millions of people striving for a whole new future instead of debating the pros and cons of Hilary Clinton for president? C’mon, people. If we really want fundamental change, we have to look at fundamental questions–and “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion” is as fundamental as it gets. I welcome it, and you should too.  

David Zeiger, Filmmaker, Host Committee Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue

A Great Opportunity

I think there's a confluence of minds here; even though they come from quite different directions. They are both very concerned about the human condition; not just about this country, or that country; but the human condition, on a global scale....

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A retired professor in Los Angeles

People Around the World Will Want to Watch This

This is incredible—that this is being posed to people right now. Is it going to be live webcast? People around the world will want to watch this.

A young lawyer

Recent Posts

"I Recognize the Power and Perils of Belief"


I have struggled for years with issues of faith. As an agnostic I recognize the power and perils of belief. Bob Avakian and Cornel West are to be lauded for their efforts to bring struggle and faith together to defeat oppression and foster freedom and dignity.

“Revolution and Religion” a dialogue between West and Avakian at the historic Riverside Church, New York City, on November 15, 2014, demands our support.

Jed Stone
Criminal Defense Attorney

From Alice Walker:
Let The People Decide


...We are now in such dire straits as a planet that letting the people of the world decide our course is the only sensible option, “leaders” of various stripes having failed us completely; and who actually seem to enjoy making us feel afraid...

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Religion and Revolution: The Promise of a Fresh Look

SpearIt, Associate Professor, Texas Southern University—Thurgood Marshall School of Law. This article was originally published at Huffington Post on 10/20/14. Read it here.


For students of religion and students of revolution, the upcoming dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian should be a valuable lesson. Taking place at Riverside Church in New York City, this meeting of the minds has tremendous potential to advance understanding on the relationship between religion and revolution, which conventional wisdom tends to hold as mutually exclusive....

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"This dialogue will open up a lot of eyes, a lot of minds...to what is going on and how we can make a difference."


Revolution and Religion—wow, this is long overdue. This is long overdue. I feel that I didn’t know much about Mr. Avakian. I know about Cornel West. But the fight for emancipation, the role of religion and the dialogue between these two revolutionaries of our time, the great revolutionaries of our time—it is long overdue. Religion plays a great part in our revolution and what has changed amongst the churches, what has changed is humanitarianism has went out the window. Between the revolution and religion, the fight for emancipation is that we have to fight for what is right....

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Terry Hubbard, mother of 23-year-old Joshua Richardson who is incarcerated at Rikers Island prison

Cornel West Opened My Eyes ... Bob Avakian Has Gotten My Attention

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71-year-old Black man from South Central Los Angeles

A great occasion to explore how revolutionary Marxism and radical Christianity may find common ground in articulating the hope for transformation


If humanity is to survive and thrive we all know that there must be radical and fundamental change. The rule of avarice and violence is destroying the lives of myriads and indeed the very planetary basis for life. Two forces for this fundamental transformation are revolutionary Marxism and radical Christianity. The dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West is a great occasion to explore how these movements may find common ground in articulating the hope for transformation and organizing to bring it about.

Ted Jennings—Professor, Chicago Theological Seminary, Host Committee Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue

I'm Going to Fundraise to Go

I want to be there. And yes, I'm going to fundraise to go, and there's no way I wouldn't go. Because I'm always open, and I always love hearing Bob Avakian talk; and since he's talking about religion, and especially that he's getting into it with someone who is religious, that's like something that sparks my curiosity to know what they're going to talk about.

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Young woman in the Los Angeles Revolution Club

One of the Most Challenging and Inviting Ideological Journeys Anyone Has Been On!

This Dialogue will no doubt be one of the most challenging and inviting ideological journeys that anyone has been on! I think there will be a lot of laughter and tears, and it will put revolution back on the map in this country in a massive way.

Jesse—a member of the band Outernational

A Revolutionary Meeting of Two Extraordinary Minds!!!

A revolutionary meeting of two extraordinary minds!!! Plus you get to see Bob Avakian live and in person. It's worth it just for that. I'm interested to see what's going to come out of this conversation.

Black businessman

From Margarita Rosario (mother of Anthony Rosario and aunt of Hilton Vega, murdered by the New York Police Department in 1995)

Because I believe in God. A dialogue between two people who have inspired me. Bob Avakian is a revolutionist and I'm always talking about a riot. Cornel is a man of faith, so I just want to see and listen.

Two people with differences about how to resolve our quest for a moral way of being… having a principled discussion

Both Cornel West and Bob Avakian say we are moral people with responsibility to look at what is really happening in this world and to decide what is right and wrong and to act accordingly. This is very different than the view of people whose religious faith is shaken that without a belief in God, no one can prove anything, and there are no moral standards to stop one from raping and murdering and stealing. They then often go on autopilot, acting on whatever forces impinge on them or whatever feels good at the time. Ironically, since they believe there are no objective standards, they are unable to identify the larger forces that are oppressing them, and they do not join with others to fight back against injustice. They end up either blaming themselves for their difficulties, or they blame the nearest individuals or groups in their environment for their suffering and spend their days attacking them either physically or on cyberspace, fighting fruitless "Twitter wars." This "horizontal hostility" serves the purpose of those forces in society that are oppressing them. This Dialogue between West and Avakian is an important discussion because it is very different than that. Two people with differences about how to resolve our quest for a moral way of being and how to create a more just, humane world having a principled discussion. People can learn from this.

Carol Downer—Author, Lawyer, Co-founder Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers, Host Committee for Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue

I Don't Think a Lot of People in America Know What Oppression Is Except the Oppressed

I am planning to go. Now is the time for me to take an active role in making the system work for future generations. Cornel West understands what is going on and is fearless. He's not afraid to tell the truth to the mainstream media. He understands what oppression is in America. I don't think a lot of people in America know what oppression is except the oppressed.

Angelina—mother victimized
by the system


Video Statements:


UC Berkeley student in NYC for the Dialogue(11/12/14)

Artist raising funds to be at the Dialogue (11/10/14)

I hope to see many students from the United States and around the world there (11/10/14)

Video: Can't Wait to Go!

Video: You Need to Donate Cuz We Have to Get There!

An Abortion Rights Freedom Rider on "Revolution and Religion" Dialogue


Young Filmmaker on 'Revolution and Religion' Dialogue


"So...Did You Hear What's Going On In NYC?"


Andrew Hoffman on 'Revolution and Religion' Dialogue


'The lessons that we're gonna learn will change how people think about everything.'


'Whatever your religious belief, you should be at this event.'


"These guys are on something real"


I do look forward to the results of this Dialogue on questions of such vital importance to humanity.


The Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian of the Revolutionary Communist Party will hold anyone of care in fascination and examination. My initial probing is to ask BA, a man of sensitivity, courage, and caring, what he explicitly means by "revolution." I agree that we must "rise up and fight back" but feel strongly in the road of Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King. I also share both Cornel West's and Bob Avakian's thoughts on the need to have a face off on questions such as prison or police brutality, such as women's struggle for equality, but the question remains: while Avakian has masterfully given description, I part ways with him on the prescription.  I do look forward to the results of this Dialogue on questions of such vital importance to humanity."

Rev. Cecil L. "Chip" Murray, Professor, Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California; Co-Founder of the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, USC; Host Committee for the Cornel West/Bob Avakian Dialogue

To the Youth Who This System Has Cast Off: This Dialogue Is for You


From an ex-prisoner:

To the youth who this system has cast off and counts for nothing, but who can actually count for a great deal:

The Dialogue on November 15, 2014 between Bob Avakian and Cornel West is for you. 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.

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BA Must Be Heard Globally

BA must be heard globally and we must get out the message that the system must be restructured. The only person I know that can do that is BA and the revolution. It goes to show this Dialogue is needed because we look at the world and the world is doing politics and religion and BA is looking at it scientifically.

It is important so many religions are out there and so many of them are confusing the people. It's like they are pacifying the people with politics and it's the same old talk with different people doing the same thing but doing nothing. It's going all around in a circle to confuse and oppress the people.

Grandmother whose grandson
is in a Texas jail

The Topic of Revolution and Religion Was On My Mind ... I Can't Wait

I was energized when I found out about the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian. The topic of revolution and religion was something that was on my mind even before I found out about it. I had recently met some people around what was going on in Gaza. They were coming at it from a religious point of view. We organized a small demonstration and it was me (the atheist) with about 10 other people, most were religious. They mentioned that is was great that we could come together around Gaza. I agreed but in my mind I was thinking about, how can we work together and what do we need to do to unite and make revolution. I can't wait for November 15.

A teacher from New Jersey

We Need To Reach the Children

I want to see how many young people show up. I'm trying to spark an interest in the children around the Bronx that don't think that this affects them. It's kind of hard to reach them. I'm always trying through music and poetry. We need to reach them.

Kevin from the Bronx, New York City