Snapshot from a park in the hood: August 11th
Report Back from New York Bus Tour
On Saturday, August 11th, an enthusiastic gathering of 40 people came to hear a Bus Tour volunteers talk about the impact of BA Everywhere in stories about the New York leg of the BAsics Bus Tour. This was in a neighborhood park that has hosted previous revolutionary events like an anti-July 4 picnic; and increasingly it has been the neighborhood people themselves, including those in a new Revolution Club, who are taking up the tasks to make these events happen.
After the welcome, one of the neighborhood cooks set down a policy : No BBQ until after the program!!!! Also people were encouraged to stick around later after the food and entertainment to march against mass incarceration with a whistle brigade (a ‘get ready’ for the September 13 national campaign announced by Carl Dix in Revolution #277).
The program began with the emcee reading the two BAsics quotes focusing the New York leg of the tour …”American Lives are not more important than other peoples lives” and “Internationalism, the whole world comes first”. This was followed by one of the neighbors reading different statements in response to these quotes. ( available on tumblr site). Readings of these statements were interspersed throughout the program; and it was quite moving to hear, for example, a young Black woman speak in a low voice about a Guatemalan immigrant whose relative was killed and then the corpse mutilated by US trained troops.
Some of the highlights of the day:
- A spin the globe game, pinpointing where U.S. imperialism has invaded, which had its share of controversy, in that some in the audience felt that we had to focus on taking care of things here first, locally and even in the family. Although there was time constraint in the program, the best answers to these questions come from the pages of BAsics, particularly BAsics 3:17.
- Listening to tape of Carl Dix speaking from Brownsville about why the Bus Tour was in New York; and the importance of the BA Everywhere campaign, especially right now. This speech is archived on the Tumblr site; and readers should certainly refer to it, as it applies to all parts of the bus tour and not just New York.
- The volunteers themselves who told moving stories about people coming into contact with the words of BA, being challenged to think about things they thought were impossible. People actually stopping in their tracks and engaging with the volunteers for a long time. People in New York who were in reality from all over the world, the real proletariat! And then the volunteers put the challenge to people to support this bus tour and BA Everywhere by donating while the hat was passed through the crowd. Afterwards, a couple of people asked when the next leg of the bus tour was happening and even if they could be on it!
- A short but important presentation about the current serious situation in a federal ruling which mischaracterizes Bob Avakian and the the RCP. (A major article about this was reprinted from Revolution #274, which got distributed in the crowd). The urgent need to defend BA and build a wall around him was stressed.
An important part of the report back was the popularization of a newly formed Revolution club from the neighborhood. A leaflet written by the club about the club was distributed. The leaflet begins with the club’s slogan: Humanity Needs Revolution and Communism “and that’s why we follow and defend the leadership of Bob Avakian”. The leaflet then states the second slogan–Fight the Power and Transform the People for Revolution–, mentioning especially the need to fight police brutality and mass incarceration in all its forms and all the pipelines leading up to it–“ankle bracelets on youth, gang injunctions, youth curfews, racial profiling etc. these cops need to stop killing us. We will blow the whistle on police brutality and mass incarceration and all the different ways the system keeps us down! We want to end this oppression. We say NO MORE.”
At the end of the leaflet was an invitation to a mass meeting to stop mass incarceration on the following weekend, August 18. Stickers and buttons were also distributed saying “Mass incarceration + silence=genocide” and Stop “Stop and Frisk.”
A final announcement was made for people to stay for the whistle brigade march. Several children came up to the stage to demonstrate what one had to do and to break the ice about getting out to others that we need to really build resistance to this ‘slow genocide’ of mass incarceration. Hearing the children blow their whistles in concert lifted everyone’s spirits.
The food was cooked and served by the neighbors; and there was a special surprise when the dj began spinning Too Short’s ‘Blow the Whistle’ as a backdrop for the masses to display rapping talents. In fact, the cook himself began rapping “revolution’s in the house, revolution’s in the house.. Blow your whistle blow your whistle”!
Blow the whistle AND march is what we did! With a neighbor and one of the volunteers leading the chanting “stop and frisk does not stop crime, stop and frisk IS the crime’; ‘mass incarceration plus silence equals genocide’; ‘old jim crow, the new jim crow, the whole damn system has got to go’. People came out to the porches to greet the marchers; and find out about the plans to stop mass incarceration. With the bullhorns and the children holding a “stop mass incarceration banner, the marchers turned a lot of heads and stopped traffic at a number of intersections. It was all ages and nationalities in the march!
Returning to the park, another announcement was made about hooking up with the local Revolution Club, and a number of people came up on the spot to give their phone numbers and addresses!