Bringing a message to Sanford with BAsics and 100s of voices from across the country
This following piece has been reposted from Revolution newspaper. It was first published HERE.
by Sunsara Taylor
Down in Sanford, Black people are still seething over the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26 on his way home from a 7/11 convenience store. It is NOT “old news.” Neither is the fact that the police refused—for 45 days—to arrest his killer, George Zimmerman. More, they are following the case closely and recognize the preparations underway to exonerate Zimmerman.
When we rolled in on the BAsics bus, projecting the leadership of Bob Avakian and calling on people to get into the movement for revolution to put an end to the system that has foreclosed the lives of so many generations of Black youth through the entire history of the USA and of millions more throughout the world, it didn’t take any work to get people to open up with their outrage or their own bitter experience at the hands of the police, in the prison system, or in their dealings with the thick white supremacy which permeates the entire country but is more openly trumpeted in this part of the confederate-flag-waving South.
Black mothers told of having had to bury their teenage sons due to violence the police didn’t even bother to investigate, of having lost their sons to police murder where there was never even a case opened up, of struggling to be strong for other sons as they were sentenced by racist judges for crimes they didn’t commit or which were too petty to merit years of hard prison time, and of fearing for the indignities and brutality that was destined for the grandbabies they were now raising whose fathers had been stolen.
Everywhere we went, outrage poured forth. Bitterness. Anger. Heartbreak. Fear for the future. What took work—in many cases it took repeated and sharp struggle—was for people to really hear and get the meaning behind the word REVOLUTION. Not just protest. Not just “marching till our feet bleed” or “screaming until our voices are hoarse,” which is what many people told us was good but would never change things. But REVOLUTION. An actual victorious struggle for power and the defeat and dismantling of the oppression institutions of the old state power, when the time for that is on the agenda—when the system is deep in crisis, when millions of people are ready to put everything on the line to bring the system down and with the necessary leadership and strategy.
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.