Where Will You Be on November 15, 2014?

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


On September 1, at events in major cities, this announcement was made, followed by a talk.  The texts of both follow:  


I am excited and profoundly honored to make this announcement today:

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

A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian
Live and in person!

November 15, 2014 from 3-7pm
The Riverside Church, New York City

A historic dialogue on a question of great importance in today’s world between the Revolutionary Christian Dr. Cornel West, and the Revolutionary Communist leader Bob Avakian



Wow! Imagine these two people in dialogue. At this moment in time.

Both standing firmly with those at the bottom, those who catch the hardest hell, with a tremendous love for the people, a hatred of oppression. Not accepting of the way things are, fighting for a different future, in their own ways.

Cornel West—a major public intellectual in the Black prophetic tradition, a revolutionary Christian. And Bob Avakian, BA—the revolutionary leader who has forged a whole new synthesis of communism.

In dialogue, talking about Revolution and Religion.

This is a world in turmoil. Genocidal crimes committed by the U.S. and Israel in Gaza. Large sections of the world aflame with reactionary forces at war with each other. Defiant—and righteous—youth night after night rebelling against the pig killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, letting the world know that “going back to normal” means a living hell for a large section of youth and that they are standing up for justice… because there is no justice under THIS system.

At a moment like this, for people to come hear these two extraordinary people: think about the difference it can make. The Dialogue as a whole—Cornel West and Bob Avakian, on Revolution and Religion—will be putting out a whole different pole in society, posing alternatives to the world as it is, raising sights, shattering through the acceptance and complicity with the way things are. This event can change the discussion and terms in society—on questions of what sort of change is needed, possible, and desirable—and bring us closer to a different future.

Opening up and talking about the big questions in society. Questions about the problem of the oppression and exploitation of billions the world over... and the solution—revolution and the fight to emancipate all humanity.

Religion is deep among the people and for most it is the source of meaning, of purpose, and of “what is good.” Can you be good without god? What is the role of religion in the struggle for humanity to be free?

Cornel West’s profound Christian faith leads him to advocate for the least among us, and he has been scathing in calling out complicity in the face of monstrous crimes against the people.

Bob Avakian, BA, actively leads the Revolutionary Communist Party and has developed a strategy for revolution. He is continuously working on how to always be pushing things forward for revolution here and around the world. His book, Away with All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, as well as his other writings and talks on atheism, religion and morality, break new ground. 

November 15, 2014... A rare opportunity to see and hear BA live and in person. In dialogue... talking with Cornel West.

 * * *

You have never heard anything like this before. I am extremely excited about and cannot wait to see what will come out of their exchange—deepened insights coming from the chemistry of the moment.  To get just a taste of this, check out the radio interview Cornel West did with BA in the fall of 2012 and play it for others.

At a time like this …  Goddammit—The world really needs this! What a difference it could make, and what an opportunity.


We have to make good on this, to maximize this. Why? Because it is about the future.

Let’s go out of here and build a social movement for this Dialogue. Go out in the world and tell everybody you know about this. Raise funds for this. Friends and family—yes—but also EVERYBODY you know needs to hear about this and contribute to making this happen.

If you are east of the Mississippi, then get together with others and organize buses. Get on the bus!  West Coast, raise the money, so that some folks can get on a plane and get to NYC for November 15. You don’t want to hear afterwards, “You should have been there!”

Teachers, bring not only your classes, but other teachers and classes. History, Black Studies, Women’s Studies, the Sciences, Morality and Philosophy, Religion… all who are concerned about the state of the planet and humanity, all those who are just questioning, who look around and see this system doing no good.

Let’s go to all the youth groups and programs we know of, and those we don’t know about yet—those that aim to keep youth out of trouble, athletic youth groups, artistic and cultural youth groups. Come as a group. Youth hanging out on the basketball courts and at fast food joints, get them involved now—spread this T-shirt signifying defiance—let youth represent with Revolution—Nothing Less!creating an atmosphere that this Dialogue is of and for them.

One of the crimes of this system is that youth are not welcome—and don’t feel welcome—in a lot of places, those of the art, scientific, and intellectual life of society. This Dialogue IS radically different. Here, you ARE welcome. And we have to make them feel: ‟This is for you!”

If you are coming, tell people why you are coming! Send us a video or YouTube clip that we can post to revcom.us. We want voices from all sections of society saying why they are coming, a growing social movement for this Dialogue. In fact, let’s start with that today.

Old-heads, tell the young folk about this.

Young folk, tell the old heads.

Women, struggle with the men—why they need to be there.

Men, if you want a radically better world, talk to the women, why they need to be there…  make it possible so that all the sisters are in the house.

Let’s go to all the progressive priests, rabbis, and imams. Invite their congregations to hear Cornel West and Bob Avakian in Dialogue on Revolution and Religion: the Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.

What about all the artists, the conscious hip-hop artists, spoken word, or those in theater?  From Lincoln Center to the underground hip-hop scene, you need to be there.

We need to raise tens of thousands of dollars—not only to put on the event but for publicity. We want this in front of millions, ads in the New York Times, in campus newspapers, in Black newspapers, in Spanish media, on websites where youth go, hip-hop sites, Facebook and social media, everywhere. Letting people know, creating the compulsion and forging the social movement for this.  

“I am going and you should too.”  Tell people: “This is more important than the Million Man March.” Tell them why: This is about revolution... changing everything... emancipating all humanity. 

We need funds to rent buses and for transportation so that people can get there, from the projects and the barrios, the streets of the big city and the suburbs. Look at Ferguson—aren’t there other suburbs like that from which youth should come? From Harlem to Ferguson, get on the bus! Raise funds so we can get these buses and bring people here.

Let's be on a mission—with purpose and inspiration. Be a part of making history—build for this, contribute and raise funds—starting today—so that everywhere people know that Cornel West and Bob Avakian are going to get into Revolution and Religion on November 15 at Riverside Church in NYC.

We want to raise a ruckus on campuses with this. Get this out, and stir up the big questions—with professors and students alike. On Revolution and Religion... Is another world possible? What about the history of communism? What does communism have to say about questions of morality and purpose? We need to be creating an atmosphere of: “I have got to be there.” We want your thoughts and participation.

On campuses and in society at large, we should—and we will—take this Dialogue EVERYWHERE people are standing up against injustice—whether it be protests against the war on Gaza, against police brutality, or global warming.

BA and Cornel West—each in his own way—embodies a largeness of mind and generosity of spirit. This stands in stark contrast to how too many today just think about “Am I interested in this? What will I get out of this? What about ME? 

Let’s go to work on this, struggle around this me, me, me. What about the billions—in the sweatshops, shantytowns, and brothels of the world? The millions—killed and cast out as refugees in wars of empire, shackled in lives of isolation in the prison cells of this country, leaving their families to cross the border only to face the guns and hate of this system? .. We could go on and on and on. 

This Dialogue is about changing all that. It’s for the millions and billions.

So, what about you?  Where are you going to be on November 15?

As this Dialogue shakes things loose, there will be those who will passionately welcome it, there will be those who will be honestly wrestling with what they think, and then there will be those who will snarkily slander the event or the two speakers, working to undermine or even attack it—people who are coming from a vested interest in keeping this brutal system on people's backs, not wanting to unsettle things, especially in any genuinely radical and revolutionary way.

This hate gets especially targeted against BA because he stands for a radically different alternative to this system—for Revolution—Nothing Less! And, against Cornel for speaking the truth. Unprincipled bullshit must not be tolerated because it seeks to destroy the hope and possibility for a new world.  At the same time, we need to bring forward the “love”—for BA, and for CW. The “love” being given voice to those who know and appreciate who BA is, who Cornel is, and who want and cannot wait for this Dialogue.


What a moment for this Dialogue.

A world of horrors but also of rage against injustice. For years anger has been simmering beneath the surface, occasionally breaking through. Over the last few weeks, there has been the beginning of something new—inspired and sparked by people, especially the defiant youth rising up and rebelling in Ferguson, with reverberations around the world.

People must not be forced back.  Basta Ya! Enough! We are not quietly “going home.” All of the key fronts of struggle must be pushed forward.

And as people raise their heads, November 15—Cornel West and Bob Avakian on Revolution and Religion—should be coursing through all of the streams of struggle and discontent.

Everyone—from those deeply troubled by all the horrific oppression that is rained down on the people, to those who are on the front lines of struggle—need to be in the house.  Over the next 10 weeks we and they need to come to understand how this Dialogue will be a crucial part of changing how people think and what they then feel that they can…  they should… and they must do—to be a part of radically changing the world.

Cornel West, one of the most provocative voices of conscience of our time and a revolutionary Christian, in dialogue with Bob Avakian, the revolutionary communist leader—talking about the most important questions for humanity, Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.

We're Making History.

When you leave here, reach out to everyone you know—tell them about it.  Raise funds so that millions hear of this, so that thousands are there. The question of the hour must be:  Where will you be on November 15?

I am going to be at Riverside Church in NYC to be a part of Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion: A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian.

For the seven billion of humanity around the planet.

For a radically different and far better world.

Thank you.


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