Reposted from Revolution #276, July 29, 2012
The BAsics Bus Tour, Scientifically Founded Hope, Defending Leaders and Fighters… and Making Revolution
On July 24, nearly 80 people crowded into a New York restaurant at a fundraising dinner for the BA Everywhere campaign and, in particular, the BAsics Bus Tour. Four of the volunteers on that tour spoke, recounting what they had been learning and how people had been responding, and after they spoke another comrade gave a talk. What follows is an edited version of that talk.
On the video of the volunteers in Sanford, Florida, the comrade says when you’re right in the middle of making history you don’t know that’s what you’re doing, you’re just doing it. We are right at the cusp, we are right at the beginning of making history. Understand that. I spent a day with each of the volunteer groups for the BAsics Bus Tour, talking with them, an afternoon with one and a night with the other. And you just heard the tip of the iceberg in these stories tonight of what they’re doing, and what they’re learning.
And it’s not just the people on the bus. It’s the people who’ve come forward and opened up their houses, who have fed the volunteers, who have brought them around the neighborhoods and shown them where to go—and the people all over the country who have worked to raise money for this bus tour. This is the kind of support that makes a revolution. This is the kind of support that enables an underdog to be victorious in a fight that nobody ever thought they could win. This is what has been done in history. This is what could be done in the future, in different circumstances. So understand that, too.
What does this last week and a half teach us? It teaches us that if you take what this leader, Bob Avakian, has brought forward in the form of BAsics,1 in the form of the Revolution talk—and if you take it out there in the way that is consistent with the revolutionary content of what he has brought forward and what he is all about, there is a very powerful connection that gets made. You can hear this on the Tumblr site [basicsbustour.tumblr.com] in the interviews that Michael Slate does. You can see it in that little ten-minute video—the fundraising video—that showed people in Sanford, Florida, and the way people were responding—there is a very important connection here that is being made. There is something very, very powerful being connected.
I was going to say, everybody here should be taking the next four or five days to maximize this tour and to do everything. But damn, if after hearing these volunteers, you don’t want to be part of this, then I’m sorry for you. I mean, the stories that you hear of what happened! The first night they roll into town—and it wasn’t even that clear that there were even places to stay for people up to the 11th hour—and parents whose sons and nephews were murdered by the police threw open their doors, cooked dinners for them, and then went back and forth in very deep discussion over why the volunteers were here on the one hand, and what the experience of these mothers had been on the other, and what this system does, and all kinds of questions about revolution.
So we should, everybody should, do whatever they can: send the Tumblr video, the Tumblr site, to all your friends, to everybody you’ve ever known. People need to know about this. It needs to break out much, much bigger into society. This embryo has to grow to be a driving force and it can—that’s the point of these bus tours—to put something out there in a much more powerful way, to show people a whole different thing and on that basis to begin a jump start, to create a movement, to get out of where we are now and to get on to somewhere else, where revolution has initiative in society, where those young men that you meet [referring to stories told earlier by some volunteers about their encounters with young men “on the corner”] know what revolution is all about and are sorting themselves out in relation to that because revolution has come.
Look, what you have, what we’ve got here, actually, is the embodiment of a quote from BAsics, where BA says that this new synthesis of communism, this is hope on a solid scientific foundation. This is what we’ve been seeing for the last 10 days, this is what people have been meeting—hope on a scientific, solid foundation. [BAsics 2:32] These volunteers are out here representing a whole different way it could be. Representing the hope in the way they’re moving, the way they’re coming at people and the way they’re stepping. And a lot of people like it and they want some of it, and they want to be part of it, they want to learn about it and they want to have a way into it.
But there are forces in society that don’t want that hope out there. There are forces in this society that feed off the despair at the bottom of society. These forces that rule society feed off and promote and push the cynicism that somebody was talking about, that permeates the whole culture including in the middle classes in society. And when the revolution begins to connect, those forces move against it.
Thirty years ago it was a time when the whole history of the ’60s and the whole idea of revolution was not yet “lost history.” And at that point this Party was going very firmly and boldly out with revolution and out with BA, and the way these forces—the rulers of society—the way they responded at that point was to file charge upon charge upon charge against BA. They also arrested people in the Party overall—there were lots of arrests of people for just selling the newspaper, a lot of jail time. One of their pigs was on the scene when a member of our Party, Damian Garcia, was assassinated. But they focused their attack on BA himself. To plant stories in newspapers, to begin investigations, to drag him into court cases. They diagramed his house the way they diagramed the apartment of Fred Hampton2 in the very same suburb that Fred Hampton grew up in. And we had to fight that and we did fight it.
Now these are new times, when there’s new potential, and when the forces of revolution are finding their footing again, but on a much more potentially powerful basis. And these motherfuckers will come back and they are coming back and they may be coming back right now even harder. And so I want to talk about a few things.
In the issue of Revolution newspaper #274 (July 8, 2012), there is an article, it’s two pages, it’s kind of complex so people are going to have to read it carefully, maybe read it together and break it down. But what has happened in short is that there has been a court ruling on one of these very repressive bills by Obama and right in the middle of the ruling by the federal judge there is a statement that, number one, singles out BA by name and then totally mischaracterizes what he and the Party he leads is all about, in such a way that it could be misconstrued as “terrorist,” and be wide open then for all kinds of repression both legal and extra legal. And this is very, very serious and this case is still in motion.
The next issue of the paper after this has a story about filing a brief in the court contesting this. But this has got to be fought in many ways. We cannot let this attack go down. We have to take the news that there could be something very bad brewing here, nobody knows where this is gonna go, we have to take this out to people. We have to take the offensive on this and not let it go where they, the ruling class, want it to go. Build up enough political opposition to tie their hands as best we can on this. And in the course of this, build up a sense that if you come after BA, if you come after this Party, you are going to have to come through the masses of people. Everybody out there says to us, right volunteers? They say those people on top are going to go after your leader. We can’t let that go down. And the stopping of that begins now. It begins in taking on these kinds of attacks, taking them seriously and taking them on.
And it’s not just that either. They go after the people who come forward as revolutionary fighters. And they go after the youth. And right now they are going after Noche Diaz in New York. Noche is somebody who walks on the people’s neighborhood patrols, known in the community, to non-violently prevent illegal police abuse under color of authority, police abusive violence. He’s been a leader in the whole thing that started here in New York that has actually raised up stop-and-frisk as a major issue in New York, a whole movement against stop-and-frisk. He’s been a volunteer on the BAsics Bus Tour both in the South and up here in the deep north. He’s been a volunteer in both places. He’s a very partisan revolutionary fighter. They are going after him. They have five cases on him. This is one way they work, they pile on the so-called minor cases and then suddenly you’re facing years. And what are they for? The one that he’s going to be facing on Friday is that he watched these pigs as they stopped a motorist, cut off his seatbelt, pulled him out of the car and beat his ass. And they arrested the driver and they arrested people who were filming. And they arrested Noche for watching and saying that he had a legal right to observe it.
We can’t let them go after young revolutionary fighters like that. We cannot let that happen. We cannot let this case—or any of the other cases he’s facing—be a defeat because that’s how they try to do it to you. They are doing this both to get rid of him, to get him off the streets. But they’re also doing it to send a message and to intimidate masses of people. So we can’t let that happen. There is an awful lot bound up in this. His trial date is Friday, right? It’s 9 am at 161st and Concourse in the Bronx. Everybody should be there, write your friends about it. Let’s pack that fucking courtroom and let’s take it to the masses, tomorrow and Thursday and then on Friday. I know there are plans to do that, so let’s carry that out. [Noche’s case was continued until October.]
And let’s understand what it means to live in times where history could be made. The more this line, the more this leadership, the more these ideas, these aspirations, these hopes, this strategy and this movement for revolution, the more that all this connects with people, the more that this movement is able to find the ways with all kinds of people to participate, the more that it is able to open its doors and let people in, the more this movement is able to do all that, the more they are going to come after this movement.
And that is how revolution gets made. It’s in that back and forth. It’s in that battle when they come at you and you come right back at them, politically right now, that the lines are drawn for people, that the issues are clarified, that the sides are lined up and that things are built to the point where one day when they face a crisis, and that creates a jolt in society, something big can happen. When not just thousands of people but millions of people begin raising their heads and wondering why is this happening, what’s going to happen to us, what do we need to do about it. It’s at that point when you can take things to another level. And if you have been fighting these battles, that we are into right now, in the way that I have been describing, then there is a chance… then there is a chance.
You know, this new issue of Revolution, #276 (July 29, 2012), has excerpts from a very important interview with Bob Avakian. It has a lot of important things in it and people have been quoting from it a lot. I saw the article Sunsara Taylor just wrote about “rape jokes” which quotes something from that interview. Well there is a whole spirit in the interview, where he says, we want to be right. But that’s not enough; we have to win. So what we’re about now, the battles we are waging now, everything that this is about, to come back when they repress people for just doing that—all that is the crucible where that ability is going to get forged.
So we’re going to defend this Party. We’re going to defend this extraordinary leader that we have and that we are lucky to be alive while he’s around, that we are lucky to be a part of the whole project that he is leading and heading up. We are going to defend him. We are going to defend the fighters who come forward in this movement for revolution. And we are going to do this as we carry out the strategy for revolution, the strategy you can read about in BAsics in the Party’s statement on strategy. Spreading this message all through society, rallying people to fight the power in different ways, organizing thousands of people to influence millions toward revolution today, and preparing the ground for the time when there is a revolutionary situation that does emerge—when the rulers are split amongst each other, when there is no clear path forward for them out of the crisis they face, when people in their tens of millions are lifting their heads and asking why, when there is a party that has established itself amongst masses of people and laid out a program that people are familiar with and can see as the way forward. At that point, to quote the statement on strategy, “those thousands can be a backbone and pivotal force in winning millions to revolution and organizing them in the struggle to carry the revolution through.”
Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution!
1. BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, RCP Publications, 2011. [back]
2. Fred Hampton was a leader of the Black Panther Party in Chicago. On December 4, 1969, police invaded the apartment where he and other members of the BPP were staying, and murdered Hampton as he slept. [back]