August and BAsics 3:22
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When UH students hit the campus on the first day of classes in August it was hard to miss quotes from BAsics posted on bulletin boards, doors, and walls. Centerfolds and back pages from Revolution were posted everywhere. One student said: “Whenever I spotted one of those [the centerfold] I would go over to read it. We need more of that!” Some said they especially liked the BAsics 3:22 centerfold (Issue 277).
During August more than 800 students also came to Revolution Books to purchase their texts. When they stepped into the store the first thing they saw was a big display about the BAsics Bus Tour, BAsics 3:22, and books exposing the oppression of women. At times the talk by Sunsara Taylor at the Revolution Books New York store was on the TV screen; at other times scenes from the BusTour. One of the store walls featured BAsics 3:22 Revolution newspaper centerfolds, along with hand-written messages “from the war zone.” Students were invited to add more. Some dropped coins into the “penny jar” with the challenge from Harlem to donate to the tour.
Several university students, who had come to the store during the week, attended a “speak-out” at the bookstore where women shared their personal war stories and dug more deeply into BAsics 3:22. While there was deep anger about the many outrages women face every day, getting into how that oppression is “bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves” and whether all-the-way revolution is possible was a whole new discussion and much more challenging.
Two things really hit us while focusing on BAsics 3:22. One is the deep anger women (and some men) feel about women’s oppression, but how suppressed they feel about expressing this rage. The second was the absence of any envisioning of a world free of this oppression. The challenge of unleashing debate and discussion that envisions a liberating future, free of the oppression of women, is enormous. This was brought home to us at August’s Revolution Fiction Book Club discussion on Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time when one woman, unfamiliar with the women’s movement of the 70’s, was stunned that “there were women who thought like this.”