Reposted from Revolution #277, August 12, 2012
From the Road: Voices from the BAsics Bus Tour…
Interview with Te, BAsics Bus Tour volunteer, Black man in his 30s
Revolution: Maybe you could start by just talking about how you first met this movement for revolution and got introduced to the leadership of Bob Avakian, and then how you came to be part of this bus tour.
Te: Ok, well when I first met this communist leadership, I met it down in Georgia. And I met it during the [time of the] Troy Davis execution, legal lynching. And that’s what got me into this movement. And so ever since then, they told me the way and then they showed me the way out of this stuff, because I never knew why we were in the situation we were in. And they introduced me to [the leadership, vision and work of] Bob Avakian, and ever since I met him and I read BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, I knew that there is a need to put this to other people besides just me—everybody needs to know about Bob Avakian and his pathbreaking leadership. And I want everybody to know this stuff, you know, so, that’s how I really came to learn about communism. And so now I just try to get deeper and deeper and learn more and more and change the world in the process, because it’s so messed up on all levels for so many people, especially myself. And the book [BAsics] changed me when I just read the first page. I read the whole thing and it just changed me, and so I just wanted to go everywhere and spread this message of revolution anywhere I can, no matter if I gotta lay my life down, whatever, I just gotta spread this knowledge of revolution and changing the world. So that’s why I’m here up in New York, spreading revolution.
Charles Person, one of the 13 original Freedom Riders stopped by for a meet-and-greet with all the Basics Bus Tour volunteers last night! There was a great discussion among Charles and the volunteers, they talked a lot on how to sum up the movements of the 1960s and going forward today.
Bus Tour Anticipation
by Alice Woodward
Its like we’re in the green room, ready to go on stage. We’re on our way to Atlanta, and the journey has begun…
We were in a cab on the way to where we’d be leaving town and once the cab driver realized we were trying to tell him about our trip and not give him directions or just talk down to him, he stopped to listen to me describe the BAsics Bus Tour, going through the south. “I know, I’ve been to the south, I’ve lived in this country thirty-five years…” Turns out he was an immigrant from Ghana, he asked with eagerness, “but, do you think it will connect?”
He could see that people don’t want to live this way, “but with communism as the base, will people want to be with that, this is America, its like the opposite of communism.”
"I hope you will have success." He said this more than once, and each time I told him that he could be a part of this. He said he would follow us online, and handed me a dollar for the copy of Revolution newspaper.
"I wish the best for you."
"Yes. And now you’re a part of it too." We said.
One volunteer was talking with a relative— They got all the cranky cynicism out of their system. “I don’t see what difference this is going to make, what are you trying to do? Get people to read a book? The way people really change things is within their daily lives, that’s a revolution, how you live, what you consume, what your choices are. You’re just going to look crazy, and people are NOT going to want you down there, I just don’t really understand what you’re trying to accomplish, and what are you going to do when you come out of the bus?”
They told them they sounded cynical and they needed some imagination and they would send them the article about the BAsics Bus and then talk again.
"Oh I read that, I read it like a week ago." They said to their surprise, then after a brief silence this person couldn’t help but ask.
"Are you really in a bus that says BA on it?" The curiosity in their voice was audible. I guess somewhere deep inside maybe some of what they learned in the 60s is still there. "Not yet," The volunteer said, "but I will be soon."
Sometimes people find to their surprise they’ve put their hopes in the revolution, even in spite of themselves. And sometimes they recognize from where they’re coming from what we’ve got. Part of our role on this bus, is making that all a part of building a movement for revolution.
On the way
We talked with a young Black woman with a toddler on her lap, describing to her the horrors of this world and how we need something different. She had a lot of justifications for why the world just has to be this way, that “there has to be a balance in the world, just as much good as bad. Some people have to die or the population would be too large,” that things were bad because of greed and human nature. Someone kept talking to her about how it’s not human nature, about how there’s a whole system that’s responsible for the conditions the masses are living in, that commits crimes all over the world, and she finally commented, “you know, I know more than I pretend to. I just don’t like to think about it.” Another young guy who had been quietly listening the whole time without anyone realizing, turned around and chimed in, “You know, he’s right. That is what the US does.”
On the ground in Atlanta!
As you can see, we’re gearing up to get on the road. There’s an incredible and diverse group of volunteers coming together.
Shortly after arriving, two volunteers were out getting coffee to get ready to start decorating the bus. Before you could say, “You can’t change the world if you don’t know the Basics” they ran into a couple of young Black students who were putting up fliers for a party that used imagery of a confederate flag.
This was a stirring introduction to the South. The volunteers got right into what that flag represents, and how they’re here for the BAsics Bus Tour. The youth from Atlanta then argued that they were using the image in order to take it and give it a different meaning and to evoke this history in order to stir things up. The two volunteers recounted this to all the new volunteers because it brought home to them what we are going up against AND trying to tap into. Right there were people who want to do something about what is represented by the confederate flag, but the terms and initiative of this shit are so heavy the best they can do is fight it on its own terms. It was a taste of one part of the revolting culture we’re going to be shaking up when we bring BA into the mix.
"Keep track of the freedom bus—the Avakian bus!”
Dr. Cornel West supports the BAsics Bus Tour.
Watch and Share this video online. Donate to support the Tour at http://basicsbustour.tumblr.com/donate
“I wanna put in my strong endorsement of this freedom bus… Courageous brothers and sisters going down to the gut-bucket South. The old Jim Crow senior, still the Jim Crow junior, of course. Whole lot of lynching used be going on in the past, still police brutality taking place, unemployment and underemployment taking place. Dilapidated housing in place, disgraceful school system’s in place… Revolutionary Communist Party bearing witness in a serious kind of way. And I just want to let folk know… I’m behind what they’re doing… keeping track of the injustice here in the state. Keep track of the freedom bus—the Avakian bus!”
Read other statements of support at http://basicsbustour.tumblr.com/support
Getting Ready for the BAsics Bus Tour
This is the first piece from one of the BAsics Bus Tour volunteers. Volunteers will be blogging from the road in near-real-time. Stay tuned and share with others!
Getting Ready for the BAsics Bus Tour
From a correspondent
It was close to 2 am when a few of the other volunteers and I finally sat down to talk after a send off party for us as we head out to be part of the BAsics Bus Tour – we were already getting a feeling of what wrangling into the night was gonna be all about! The party was hosted by two young supporters of the revolution. It was an evening where people celebrated the BAsics Bus Tour and got involved in supporting it. It was just a taste of how lively debate and discussion is opened up when you bring BA into the mix. It also made a dramatic impact for those at the party to encounter this diverse group of people that have decided to get on a bus and go on tour with this, and the different types of people coming together in a myriad of ways to make this happen.
People came to this party who had never encountered the movement for revolution before, or who had come out in the streets protesting the murder of Trayvon Martin and were just starting to check it out, as well as veteran revolutionaries and volunteers getting on the bus. Food was served for $5 a plate, folks talked and hung out and then sat down together to hear more about the Tour and to hear from a couple of the volunteers.