Reposted from Revolution #278, August 19, 2012
From the Road: Voices from the BAsics Bus Tour…
Interview with Sc, BAsics Bus Tour volunteer, middle-aged Black man
Revolution: Maybe you could just start with the story of how you first met the movement for revolution and got introduced to BA. Maybe you could talk a little bit about what that experience was like?
Sc: Well, I first got into the movement after I heard Avakian do “All Played Out.” That was the original thing that got me into it. And when I heard that, it was more or less like: this man has been saying things that I’ve been thinking about and thought about for many years. And he put it all in an 11-minute [spoken word] thing. And so after that, I got more involved with the bookstore in my town, which got me more into who he was, as opposed to what he was about, and about the movement for revolution. And so, after that, I was convinced to buy the BAsics book [BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian]. And when I started reading it, I just couldn’t put it down. I probably read the whole book in about two days… [I thought,] “Oh, OK, this very much says a lot to answer a lot of questions for me throughout life about a lot of things.” And so, later on, I started investigating more of his other works, his memoir, I also got to reading that. And more and more—I started to get more within the movement. ‘Cause there is a very great need in this country for a change in the system. The system…with police brutality, with a lot of families who have lost their children to our so-called legal system, which is supposed to serve and protect, but—as Avakian says—they only serve and protect their interests, to serve and protect the status quo, so to speak, their own agenda, and really not anything to do with the people they’re supposed to serve and protect…
I lost my sister through police brutality.
She was killed by an officer of the law, so called, because her only crime was basically she dated a cop. She was a high-school graduate and was getting ready to go to college, she was only 19 years old. The cop in question was 28 years old at the time when the whole thing went down with her murder. And it was concealed to us for awhile, because we couldn’t see the body until we got a lawyer to actually view the body…she was killed execution-style, twice in the head. But how could you shoot yourself twice in the head? This is what they supposed to let us believe that happened. And just like in anything else that happened, even with Trayvon, the cops—the vigilante who wanted to be a cop—decides that this kid, because he wore a hoodie in the neighborhood, was subject to the brutality and the way the system just tried to [portray things like] he was the criminal.
I was also on the Detroit mini-bus tour, which had me prepared for this bus tour. From my experience here in New York, there’s a great hate here for the cops, particularly with stop-and-frisk and the other things that’s involved with…brutality that’s been going on in the city. In Detroit, you have a city that’s basically in ruins. You can imagine places like—we was at [housing projects the BAsics Bus Tour went to in the Bronx]—imagine that complex in Detroit, vacant and no windows, totally vacant… Completely vacant, no windows, like they’d been abandoned for many, many years. Just like an episode of Life After People. Maybe about 10, 15, 100 days after people. All these apartment complexes just vacant, the stench around them—there could be anything in these apartments, could be a dead body, whatever. And on the one side of the freeway you had Tiger Stadium, you had the GM building, which looks like a fortress in itself, and you got…all the downtown amenities over on the other side of the freeway. And on this side of the freeway, which could be, if it was anything else, probably 1,000 apartment buildings, these are just buildings that are just in ruins. And that’s most of Detroit. You go through most of Detroit, it’s like nothing but wasteland. And then the rest of it is, you have vacant houses next to people living in actual houses in these areas. And people going up and down the street, it’s like, they don’t know if they’re gonna be abducted if you walk down the wrong street in the wrong time of day, because this is how bad these neighborhoods are. And also…a little seven-year-old girl—her first name was Aiyana—she was shot after the police supposedly mistook her house for a drug house. They just shot inside this house, and this little girl was killed in her mother’s arms.
Revolution: Aiyana Stanley-Jones. I remember that case, it was a complete towering crime.
Sc: Yes. Yes. We spoke to the mother, and she…she didn’t really know how to say and how to come out, and I think a lot of it she came out with after she met us and was able to speak about it. Because the same feeling that I had when I lost my sister, I suppressed it and didn’t talk to anybody about it, because I didn’t think anybody would understand about it. But then, of course, you find out later that this is all another way that the system suppressed and oppressed people when you cannot speak freely about the crimes that the system has imposed upon a lot of people. And I see that a lot here in New York, particularly with stop-and-frisk and a lot of the people that have fought against it that are now facing trials for such an inane law that shouldn’t even be—[that] should be outlawed in itself. It’s just giving more of a license for the cops to basically do whatever they want to do and then to say it’s constitutional to them. It’s just like [during the most recent leg of the BAsics Bus Tour] when we went to the Ramarley [Graham] vigil and went to the police station. And the cops, while the people were speaking—particularly the one woman who was saying how the stop-and-frisk and all that was unconstitutional—this lady was going around saying, “What you mean it’s unconstitutional? What these people talking about? What are they saying?” And like, they don’t understand, you know? [Laughs] And I guess with most people, it gotta hit close to home. If that woman cop went through that same thing with her son or daughter, if she has a son or daughter, and went through the same thing… And I guess when you ask people about what the United States is doing overseas, what they’re doing in Afghanistan, what the police are doing here in this country, in many cities around the United States, with police brutality, with kids like Trayvon and these other set of kids that were shot in Oklahoma by some good old boys that decided to go down the street and just go, “Yee haw!” and shoot down some Black people and all this stuff that’s going on that’s just sick and just crazy—and these people are just basically running around doing what they’re doing and basically getting away with it and have the law to back them up saying that, well they’re doing it under their constituted rights: “We are doing it for Stand Your Ground Law” or in my state where they have the so-called “castle law”: if somebody is suspected of doing something in your apartment complex or whatever, you have the right to shoot ‘em. Just like with Zimmerman shooting Trayvon—this is a kid that’s walking in the rain with a hoodie on, this guy decides, “Oh, well he’s guilty of something.” Bam, bam. These kinds of laws that enforces and brings out this type of vigilantism and this type of right of “Well, I am the judge and jury before it even gets to a judge and jury.” These things must be eradicated…from the system, the system that oppresses and puts down people, and all this class division with mass incarceration, with police brutality, with a lot of kids being victimized just by a system that just doesn’t really, in retrospect, give a damn about its people.
And we are here on the bus tour, and a lot of the words of Bob Avakian that struck me was, one, about the role of the police and what they really do, as opposed to what people—they say “serve and protect” and all the other blah, blah, blah on the side of the car that’s utterly bullshit. But a lot of the people who’s lost a lot of lives—from my sister, and we can go back to the time of Emmett Till and even before him, and all within the ’60s movements, and in the ’70s, the ’80s, and up to now in the 2000s…[these outrages] are still prevalent in this society.
And a lot of what Bob Avakian has written about and what he has researched in the past 30 or so years that is in the book BAsics talks and speaks very loudly about what is wrong and what is needed to not only eradicate this system—just get rid of this system completely and go on to a newer and better system of life, or way of life, for all people, not just, as the Constitution [of the United States says], “for all men,”—they’re not saying “all humanity“—but also, with these things, these crimes going on all over the world and in the United States, there needs to be a new movement of change. And it seems that—well, it don’t seem, it is that—Bob Avakian has the synthesis to make a better world for a better society than most definitely the one that we have now, which is set for oppression—the capitalist-imperialist system…
Revolution: First of all, I just want to say, it’s really infuriating and outrageous to hear what happened to your sister. I’m extremely sorry to hear that she was the victim of this outrageous police murder, and for the pain that that’s caused you. And I know that you’re connecting that with a lot of other outrages of this system.
What has it meant to be part of this bus tour, to be part of a crew of people from all over the country of different backgrounds and experiences who are taking Bob Avakian’s leadership and vision out to people, and talking to people, connecting with people this leadership and this new synthesis of communism and the fact that the world doesn’t have to be this way? What’s it like to be part of this bus tour and part of this?
Sc: Well, for the most part, it gave me a much deeper understanding of the vision of Bob Avakian, and a lot that he came up with in his book BAsics that spoke to me very heartfeltly… And on this bus tour, I got to not only meet some great people on the tour itself—we all come from different backgrounds, we all have different stories—but it also is beyond us, in the nation as a whole, and spreading out the word and seeing how the people respond to it, whether it be for it or negatively or greatly for it or greatly against it. I found that we all somehow have some common ground, and just breaking through the barrier of thatthat oppresses us to speak out about it, or what we had grown up to believe, like in religion or anything that keeps us from actually seeing that work of Bob Avakian and what he has accomplished. That we all in this world and in this system—no matter what part of it that you in—we all have that similar circle, that we are somehow connected, whether most people see it or not. Like when we was in Paterson, for example—this diversity of people from all different places of the world and all different types of languages and everything else, and a lot of different beliefs, a lot of different disbeliefs, a lot of mixed emotions about things—but within all that, whether you go for this message or you don’t, or you don’t agree, there is some part of it they said, “Well OK, I didn’t think about it this way.” Or even to the hard-nosed one who says, “Well, you ain’t gotta tell me anything, I know everything about this.” And then you even change their minds—”Oh, well I didn’t think of it that way.”
And to give you a good example: There was the kid that I met in Paterson, New Jersey, when we was there, and we had this map—and whoever made this map was a genius—because it was a world map, and I think this map should be on a mural, but anyway I was talking with this African-American kid…
He was in his mid-twenties. And he was looking at the map and he came across “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives” [BAsics 5:7]. He saw that one. So then, I asked him, “Well, what you think about what you’re seeing?” And the subject of slavery came up… Then I read him the quote from BAsics, 1:4, about the role that slavery played in the United States. And he looked at it, he said, “OK, well that very much is the truth.” And then, of course, the conversation went on [to how] we still have that kind of mentality within the system today—we are still in that slavery mind, the new Jim Crow, all that that’s going on right now in the system that’s supposed to be forwardly progressing because we got a Black president… He asked me what I thought about Obama… and I told him, “Well, he’s no more than just another spoke on the wheel, he’s just another cog, he’s just another worker of the system. Man has the drones killing people overseas,” and all this. And he was like, he thought that was very interesting. He said, “Well, we got our first Black president.” I said, “Well, OK, that may be true, but that don’t mean that we have progressed because we do. Because there’s still racism; there is still inequality in the structure. And that hasn’t changed just because we have a Black president. I mean, many places had Black mayors, Black politicians, that didn’t make us more progressive.” And so then, when I read him the BAsics 1:13 quote—you know, “No more generations of our youth…,” he said, “Wow, that’s a really powerful statement.” Then, he looked back on the map again, he saw the one [quote] about: imagine a world without America. [BAsics 1:31: “If you can conceive of a world without America—without everything America stands for and everything it does in the world—then you’ve already taken great strides and begun to get at least a glimpse of a whole new world….”]. And when he read that, he was totally blown away. His eyes literally popped out of his head. He was like, “Wow, that was really deep.” And then, “This is the guy that wrote it?” I said, “Yes, this is Bob Avakian. He’s the leader of the revolutionary party, and he’s found a synthesis to bring about a new change, not only with the system in general but within ourselves.” Because any progress—as Frederick Douglass said—without struggle, there will be no progress. These are things we struggle with—I struggle with things, I struggle with other people with these things, but to really get an understanding about things, that’s what it takes. You dig deeper into things. And …I said, “It’s not like I’m trying to sell you the book and say, ‘Well, I just sold somebody the book—sucker!’” No, we’re trying to put together a revolution—we need people. We need to start Revolution Clubs around places where—like, he said, well he couldn’t get up to New York to come to a store, but they could start something there in Paterson and in any other city in America that had no access to a Revolution Books; that’s what is needed. And the bus tour is a part of at least putting the word out that this is what we are looking for—we are looking for people to spread the word of Bob Avakian and spread the word that revolution is possible, and it is needed.
And I’m proud to be a part of the bus tour and to spread the message—the message has been very much according to my life and with a lot of things that went on in my life—but then I find that this is bigger than me. We’re talking about a whole world of people: “The whole world comes first” [BAsics 5:8—”Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First”]. And as we are a part of this world, we all have to not only be able to change the world, but change ourselves, change our way of thinking, change our sights into more of a critical thinking, which scares the system—they don’t want us to think for ourselves. They want us to be oppressed. They want us to be downtrodden. They want us to be chained up into their way of thinking. But it doesn’t have to be this way, the world’s a horror as it is. So we got to go out and we got to change it; we gotta make a difference.
Revolution: One thing I just wanted to go back to is: You’ve talked about these really powerful and heavy experiences that you’ve lived through in your life. So, you’re coming from these experiences, and then through this spoken word piece, “All Played Out,” and then through BAsics and other works, you get introduced to the works of this revolutionary leader. And I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit more about what particularly struck you and hit you when you first found out about BA. Let’s start there: What particularly hit you when you first heard “All Played Out,” and then when you got into BAsics, and how that changed the way that you were looking at the world?
Sc: Well, when I heard “All Played Out,” the whole scenario of it hit me—that, well, this guy has really hit onto something. He’s really talking about some real stuff. And I have talked to a lot of people, because I’m a writer myself, and a lot of these questions—a lot of things that Bob Avakian was saying, just in “All Played Out,” I had been discussing these type of things with people for years. I have a friend, we talk about this stuff all the time. And in that respect, in that light, a lot of things like going through life and basically going through the choices that you make in this life, and why you made these choices, very much played into a lot of it.
And some years ago, I went through cancer treatments. I had pancreatic cancer. And went through chemo. But before that, I was working for a… big corporate company. And because I got sick and took some days off and then I used their company insurance, which then put the whole thing over the roof, so all of the sudden, their bottom line became more important than my health. And so, I was fired for that reason—they told me that I broke a company rule, that was their excuse for getting rid of me…. so as the months went on, I went through the chemo, and then the company tried to take away my unemployment, because unemployment…didn’t go for that reason [for firing Sc] either, obviously. So they were trying to stop it from going on. So, as time went on, I was still going through the chemo treatments at the time the first hearing came up. And the company called a continuance… by the time the hearing did come up, I was near the end of my treatments. I go in…I get there, my lawyer’s there, and this judge comes out and he says, “Well, I was waiting on the other party, but the other party never showed up.” And so, the judge said, “Well, this is a stupid case, this is dismissed.”
So as we are leaving the courtroom, on the street, here come the litigants [laughs]. They was like, “Well, where you going?” “The case was dismissed, I’m going home.” “Oh no, no, no, no we just got here—” “Uh, I’m going home.” … From that, I felt kind of an emancipation where I could tell my boss, “Well, screw you [laughter]. You ain’t my boss anymore.”
But getting back to the original thing, though, it was when all that was going on and getting into new housing and all that, because I had trouble with housing, because I got sick, couldn’t pay the bills and all that, couldn’t work, and so finally, I was able to get disability and get a decent place. And along with more and more of other things within how things are more oppressing, where you can be this, you gotta show up for this, everything gotta be accounted for. And I was noticing how my life was turning into, “If I do this, I’ll get cut off of that. If I don’t do this, I’ll get cut off of that.” It was like, I was living in this oppressed state, it felt like. And then, after adjusting to things… more and more, I was just seeing how this system, I guess being on the other side of it—being in your comfort zone, as they say—when you get to a point where you just feel like you’re just in this space and there’s no getting around it, no getting over it and the only place you can go is under it or it’ll crush you alive—that type of state—and you are comfortable with that because you feel that: Well, I can’t go to school, because I can’t afford to go to school, and then if I do go to school, I may lose my benefits because I went to school, and all this other stuff. I can’t better myself, I can’t make myself go worse, because I’m already down as I can go.” So you start feeling like, “OK, well this is where I got to live. I’m in my home, I’m comfortable [laughs]. I have a roof over my head.” Which is better than saying, “I’m homeless.” But what is the difference, if you get so much in food stamps a month and when you run out of that, you have no food? And then, hopefully, you can find some service that can give you at least a hunk of bread or something to tide you over until the next check, and then they want to cut you from that and all that. And, you’re thinking, “There’s something wrong with that. Why do we have to live like that? Why do we live in a system like that, that just don’t give a damn about you, whether you eat?” … Why should I be in a government that tells me, “We only giving you so much money to eat a month,” but yet, when that runs out, I can’t eat. Unless I have the initiative to go out and steal, which, I’m not a thief—so, that’s my only option. And this is what I mean by how people make choices of things. Because you have no room, really, to say, “Well, I don’t have any other options: I can’t steal, I’ll go to jail…I really don’t want to go to jail, so what other choice do I have?”
And in this type of system, a lot of people in the world do things… [People say,] “OK, well I could sell drugs. I only get so much a month. By the time I pay rent, by the time I pay my bills, by the time I do everything else that I need, and then get stuff to wash my behind with, clean my house, whatever, my money’s gone. And I got to go through the rest of the month with no money. So, what other choice I do I have? Well, I could sell drugs…” These are the choices that a lot of people have. But in those choices, then, all of a sudden you are a downcast in society.
Like, one story: I had known this 16-year-old kid. Very smart kid. Black kid. He was a big kid, about 300 and some pounds. Full muscle. Like “America’s nightmare”—the way they describe a lot of the Black youth. He was a big kid, muscled kid. He could probably throw somebody across the other side of the room with one hand. This is what—they are scared, the fear of the big Black man. So, he was a drug dealer—he did it because, well, he couldn’t get a job. He got with some guys that deal drugs, [they] said, “OK, you can make a little money with us running drugs.” That’s what he did. He ran drugs up and down the street. But then, it wasn’t like he was a high-school dropout or anything like that, or what the system says: “Oh, these kids, they’re just monsters.” And like Bob Avakian was saying in one of his talks about these kids running around—and I love the part about the beautiful children. And he was one of those. He was a very smart kid, went to school, was a very studious kid. And the cops got a hold of this kid, took him into this apartment building, and literally riddled him with bullets. Kid had no weapon, no drugs on him. No nothing. Just because he was known to run drugs, the cops decided his fate. They said, “He’s gonna grow up to be a big drug dealer, he’s already a big, 300 some pound guy, he’d probably knock five of us out with one punch.” And that was it—their fear, and their stupidity ended the kid’s life that could have had a lot of potential, had he not had the choices—or if he had better choices than to run drugs. And that’s how a lot of the youth in a lot of neighborhoods are. That’s the only choices they do have, because they don’t give you any other choices…they don’t offer you a summer job. [If the] kid had a summer job, making at least something to tide him over till he went back to school, that would have probably been enough. He would have at least did something constructive, probably, because like I say, he was a very smart kid. He very much had aspirations of his own.
And to actually have known this kid—I had talked to this kid, spent some time with him—I knew where this kid was coming from. He had these aspirations, he had a brother, just graduated, went to college—he wanted to be like his brother. And… his brother went to school, but he still could not find a job in his field. Just like my son—I have a 23-year-old son. He graduated out of college two years ago, and he cannot find a job in his field. And he went in for—he has an arts and sciences degree, and he was into technology, and he also was into journalism, writing. And he can’t find a job in his field outside of a local newspaper, or a community newspaper, where he’s making minimal money, and mainly he’s doing it not only for the money, but for the cause that this particular paper is doing, which is important things in the news that happened in the neighborhood, which he finds that he’s doing for the community. So he’s satisfied with that, but still he’s not doing what he really wants to do. But then again, he has a passion about what he does, that in itself is a good thing. But in the system of it all, he has a greater potential than that, and because he cannot reach that potential or it’d be harder for him to reach that potential, if he ever reaches that potential, it’s just in the system that you go in and you try to do the best you can with what you have. And that in itself is hard to do, because there’s so many limitations that the system of oppression and all this other stuff, and not to mention, you don’t have to be a kid like Trayvon to be harassed by the police. I mean, you could be a lawyer driving down the street in a Lexus. And you get out the car with a hoodie on, and the cop is ready to mess with you. If you’re in the wrong neighborhood in the wrong time of day or night, you can get harassed by the cops. And I know in my lifetime, I don’t know too many people—particularly Black and Hispanic people that I do know—that haven’t been somehow, in some way, harassed by a cop, or by this so-called justice system, to the point where you don’t want to even go out half the time. You break your routine, because you gotta go down a different way because you’re walking while Black, you’re driving while Black, and all this. All this, to me, it’s just inane, it’s just stupid, and it’s just something that’s going just over the top and just a way basically to keep you down. And I think it just needs to not exist anymore in this society—or in any society. I mean, I know it happens in many other major cities in the United States and around the world.
And the more and more that I see it—and I’ve seen a lot when I was in Detroit, when I was on that bus tour, and just going through a downtown area. ‘Cause they had a festival when we were there, they celebrate their 4th of July—well, I guess we call it anti-4th of July… So they had a celebration… [at a] park in downtown Detroit, and during the course of just walking through downtown, we were seeing the cops just harassing—seemed like on every corner—some Black person or Hispanic young people. Like they had this guy, this one guy, because he had a sort of Pokemon tattoo on, and they were saying it was a tagging thing. I’m going in my head, “Since when Pokemon was a tagging thing?” And on and on, we were seeing a whole bunch of guys standing at the bus stop, they just would hassle him, just because he’s standing there. A whole bunch of kids, they was talking about: “Uh, hold hands and just walk out.” Like these are some little elementary school kids. These are grown—well, young teenage—Black kids just trying to make their way into the park. And they was corralling people. They was closing off streets, and they were basically corralling people from one end to the other. And they was telling people [on] big loudspeakers that if you are in the park when it gets to full capacity, they was going to close the park and you couldn’t enter or leave until the fireworks ceremony was over… that was the perfect example of how people are warehoused, people are corralled by this system. With the apartments in the Bronx—I understand you can have up to five, six people living in a one bedroom apartment.
Revolution: What are some of the things you’ve learned from taking out BA to people who are corralled and warehoused by this system, and living daily through these kind of conditions that you’re talking about? What are some things that you’ve learned about what it means to be connecting BA with them?
Sc: Well, I see in this city, there is a great hate for the police system here…I feel it very strongly. And from talking with a lot of people and listening to a lot of the people here, and even from going to the one court case, I’m learning that very much people are looking for an answer to all this. And people are—they’re more in this state of, “Why is this happening, really? Why is this happening more to us?” Like, we were at this one apartment complex, they even got regulated swimming. Where we saw this five-year-old—I think around five, seven, between that age—who was waiting to get his turn at the pool. So he had run to the bathroom. While he was in the bathroom, his name got called. Then he comes back out…it was like, “Well, I’m sorry, you missed your turn, you ain’t gonna be able to go swimming today.” And I’m thinking: “Why are they regulating swimming?” I mean, it’s a 98-degree day outside, and this kid can’t swim because it’s regulated. Then you only get so much time when you’re in the pool. And I was listening to people just complaining about it. This one lady, she was cursing up and down: “The hell with this school! The hell with these fucking lifeguards!” On and on like this. It just, you know, I feel a great anger in this city with law enforcement, with a lot of things. And all the people that we talked to expressed how they are harassed daily by the cops, how they just come and they just show their presence and basically just harass people at random. And all the killings I’ve been hearing about—in Brownsville, in the Bronx, everywhere in Brooklyn and other places in the city—and then you have the people that’s fighting against stop-and-frisk who are… going to court just for standing up for what they believe in, for exercising their First Amendment rights. And the same thing with Occupy… it’s like, you ask yourself: “Why is this going on? Why is this system bent out of oppressing people in such a way that, just because you are a Black person or just because you are a Hispanic person, that you’re going to be hassled by police, just for that reason?” And I see that animosity and that utter bitterness against law enforcement here in town. And you can hear it in the voices. You can see it in a lot of the people’s faces. Some people you don’t have to even look twice or ask the question. You could just see it.
Just in the courtroom alone, with this one judge, who—when he came up to his trial, the judge looked up and down, no emotion whatsoever, and literally just told this kid, “Well, we have made out this trial, and you better be there,” and of course you could see this kid was brutally beaten by the cops, and the judge would say something like, “Well, unless you gotta go to surgery, then there’s no reason for you to miss this trial.” And…just how cruel…this system is, just because you’re just expressing your freedom of speech [against] something that is totally wrong and should not even be a law.
Revolution: There’s all this anger that this bus tour is going out and tapping into and connecting with. I just wanted to bring it back to what you were saying about: people are looking for an answer. And people are really angry and outraged at what this system is doing, and they’re looking for an answer. And then, what does it mean—what have you learned through the process of—actually bringing to people an answer and a way out of all this anger and outrages that people are feeling and dealing with?
Sc: Well, within the message of Bob Avakian, who made it clear in BAsics about the state of what the police are really about, and how it applies to what is going on, and how the people are expressing that within their own experiences and finding out—trying to get them more out of the box of their supposed comfort zone to not suppress what they are feeling, and I think that’s what the bus tour is bringing out with a lot of people, that they have a place to bring out that anger, to bring out that suppression, not to keep it in, not to hold it in like the system wants you to. We’re giving them an alternative to just keep[ing] it suppressed—’cause that’s the problem I had dealing with my own sister and the way she was killed by this cop.
Revolution: And when was that, by the way, that this happened?
Sc: This actually happened in ‘89, with my sister, which go to show—and now we here in 2012, and up until I got to know more about the movement, this is the thing I basically suppressed within me. I really didn’t say anything about it, in fear of—well, one, nobody would listen, and two, that if I told anybody they wouldn’t care, because these things are not supposed to happen. That’s the way [a lot of people] look at it: “Oh well, the cops do not kill citizens. No, that’s not what they do—they supposed to serve and protect us people.” This is what we are told to believe. Like, to say that this did not happen. But it did happen. And in a very real way, with a lot of people, it happened with them too. And I feel a lot that we was able—with some people, when we got them out of their zone and was able to talk to them and they actually told us some really heartfelt, some of it horrific things that has been held back with them, they felt the comfortability—well most people, anyway, they got a comfortability—of being able to say what they couldn’t say in any other circumstance. And I feel that with more—which would be important—if we would get the word out more about starting more of these Revolution Clubs for people to come together with these like minds. Because I have said for a long time that we all have some type of common ground—whether people want to admit it or not, we do. We all want something better than what we are getting through this system. We all would like to have a system that actually treats people fairly, but we do not see that. We all want to have things that other people—just to plain live in society—roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food to eat. And a lot of people just don’t have that.
And I feel that this bus tour is bringing out a lot of those feelings from people that there needs to be a better system than what it is that we are facing today where a lot is going on. And more and more people need to get out the word and need to come together, and it is important that we could put together more Revolution Clubs all over the country, eventually all over the world, in every major city, in every town. Like, from New York City to Paterson, New Jersey, which has a real diverse culture in its own, and Philadelphia, where the other bus went. And other cities like that around the United States, all around the world. To spread out the word of Bob Avakian, that he found—he’s been researching for all these years a way of making revolution possible and a way that it could happen, and not only changing the way of society, but the way we look at ourselves as people. And [casting] this mindset away that we are only worth what society think of us. We are worth more than that. We are a contributing part of this society, and we ought to come to grips with that, that we are, and not fall back into the ways of the system, saying that, “You only worth what we say you are worth.” Or as they say with school kids: “They are a commodity.” Like they are just priceless works of art or whatever.
And also, as far as the bus tour, ‘cause I’ve seen what the other bus tours have accomplished, and hopefully what this one will before the end of it, and to see other tours like this around other parts of the country and eventually around the world to spread out the word of Bob Avakian, and get BAsics in the hands—but not just to get BAsics in the hands of people, but for them to use it as a tool to change not only their thinking about things that they would never think about in this society that don’t want you to think about, but to apply it in their lives as well to emancipate themselves as we emancipate humanity. That’s what this is all about: emancipating humanity, emancipating the world, emancipating the minds of everyone who needs to know that there is something better than this. And we need to get ready to make a movement for that—in the present tense of right now. It is desperately needed, and this is the beginning.
“All Played Out,” spoken-word poem by Bob Avakian
From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, a memoir by Bob Avakian, 2005, Insight Press
“The Execution of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, and the Urgency of Putting this Revolution and Its Leadership on the Map,” Revolution #202, May 21, 2010
“The Outrageous NYPD Murder of Ramarley Graham,” Revolution #260, February 19, 2012
“The Murder of Trayvon Martin: The Crime and the Context,” Revolution #271, June 10, 2012
“The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.”—BAsics 1:24
Emmett Till and Lynchings, Past and Present, An excerpt from Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian, excerpt published in Revolution, #264, April 1, 2012
“A compelling work, A creative introduction to BAsics,” Revolution #255, January 8, 2012 (about the map Sc mentions)
“American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives.”—BAsics 5:7
“Not only did slavery play a major role in the historical development of the U.S., but the wealth and power of the U.S. rests today on a worldwide system of imperialist exploitation that ensnares hundreds of millions, and ultimately billions, of people in conditions hardly better than those of slaves. Now, if this seems like an extreme or extravagant claim, think about the tens of millions of children throughout the Third World who, from a very, very early age, are working nearly every day of the year—as the slaves on the southern plantations in the United States used to say, ‘from can’t see in the morning, till can’t see at night”—until they’ve been physically used up….These are conditions very similar to outright slavery….This includes overt sexual harassment of women, and many other degradations as well. All this is the foundation on which the imperialist system rests, with U.S. imperialism now sitting atop it all.”—BAsics 1:4
“No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that.”—BAsics 1:13
“If you can conceive of a world without America— without everything America stands for and everything it does in the world—then you’ve already taken great strides and begun to get at least a glimpse of a whole new world. If you can envision a world without any imperialism, exploitation, oppression—and the whole philosophy that rationalizes it—a world without division into classes or even different nations, and all the narrow-minded, selfish, outmoded ideas that uphold this; if you can envision all this, then you have the basis for proletarian internationalism. And once you have raised your sights to all this, how could you not feel compelled to take an active part in the world historic struggle to realize it; why would you want to lower your sights to anything less?—BAsics 1:31
“Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.”—BAsics 5:8