Reposted from Revolution #279, September 2, 2012
BA Everywhere at Rock the Bells
We connected a huge crowd with BA and his works at the Rock the Bells (RTB) hip-hop festival. The crowd was very diverse ethnically, mainly 20s, though with lots of people of different ages. We had displays featuring the 3 Strikes quote from BA, which got a lot of attention especially from Black people; the internationalism quotes (BAsics 5:7 and 5:8); and a big banner with “stories from the war zone” featuring the centerfold from the paper containing the “You cannot break all the chains, except one” quote (3:22) and comments from people off of the “10 days” actions in NY against porn and patriarchy. This attracted a lot of attention especially, but not only, from women. We also had displays about democracy = imperialism and the USA as the number one terrorist.
We got out approximately 3K BAsics quote cards—the overwhelming majority were the ones with the 3:22 quote though we also got out a lot of the cards with the “no more generations” (1:13) quote on back. Mainly we engaged people around BAsics and sold 25 BAsics and 1 Lo BAsico by the middle of the second day… We got about $60 in donation for the BAsics Bus Tour and $20 for PRLF to get BAsics into the prisons.
Many of the people who came to RTB came for both days, and by the second day we were getting responses from many people that they had gotten one or more cards. (One person kept a regular display of cards in the men’s bathrooms throughout the complex both days of the event and had even put them edgeways in the cracks between the wood paneling at the entrances so people walking in and out could actually read the card sticking face out to them from the wall. We got many responses to this, including from a couple of security guys who said, “We saw your cards” and then added, “not that we’re complaining.” Also, a couple of women told us that they had seen them in their bathrooms.)
Our focus was on the fact that the world was a horror and we were building a movement for revolution right now with the leadership of BA who had re-envisioned communism and charted the strategy for revolution right here. We engaged people on the spot using the cards and BAsics (and the banner) to get some responses and challenging them to plug into the movement by getting cards, writing their comments, and in other ways…
One Black man who saw the 3 Strikes quote and then the quote about slavery (1:1) immediately bought BAsics and then, when we pointed out BA on the cover of his memoir, got that as well, saying he wanted to check out how this young white guy became the man who was writing these quotes. He said, “This quote [3 strikes] just says it all!”
A number of women were amazed that a man had said something like this [3:22]. One woman said that it raised her spirits that a man could know how something as “normal” as the way women were put down was so fucked up and write something like that. In different ways this kind of sentiment was echoed by women who checked out the 3:22 quote and stories on the banner. Several women wrote comments on colored paper that we brought… I got into a conversation with a woman who took a stack of 3:22 cards—she said that it gave her hope that maybe there could be a radically different world for her 15-year-old daughter if BA was leading a revolution which was about sweeping away something as deeply ingrained as women’s oppression and saying “no more” to the misery of future generations. The quote and banner also had a big impact on men. Two young guys from Canada walked along the whole banner, carefully reading all the comments, and then said that they had no idea that all this violence and degradation was happening to women…
We also used a number of other quotes from the book throughout the two days, including 1:1 and 1:24 when we talked to people especially in the wake of the police bust that went down on the paraphernalia booth just down the way from us; 3:3 on the strategy for revolution—especially for those asking about it or saying they “were down for revolution”; as well as 6:18, and 6:19 in putting the challenge for people to throw down into the movement for revolution, in addition to the quotes featured on the cards.
While getting into BAsics with people, we talked to many people about the BAsics Bus Tour as part of getting out BA Everywhere—how people all over the country from NY to the deep South were responding to the fact that there was a leader like this and supporting this movement for revolution in all kinds of different ways. People also got stacks of cards that we had rubber-banded in various amounts to build this movement by acquainting people with this leader and this book. We got out cards to many very far-flung places. People had come from both coasts of Canada—from BC to Montreal and Toronto—specifically for this RTB. We met people from Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, DC, and even from England and Norway. Some of these people, like the Norwegians, who came back to the booth on the second day, got BAsics with the understanding that they were bringing a radically different new synthesis of communism into a place where very few people had knowledge of it—and that this could be significant.