Revolution #173, August 16, 2009
A team of revolutionaries took to the streets and subways of a very multi-national section of the city to distribute the RCP's statement "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have." This place has a concentration of immigrants from West Indian Island countries of Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent, Jamaica and a very sizable population of people from Haiti along with a growing number of folks from Mexico. Many African American people born in the USA live here as well. Revolution newspaper is fairly well known in the area with a regular readership.
The outrageous arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates was on everyone's mind and was a point of attention in our agitation which identified this as "reason 10,001" for why we need revolution. This incident was a gauge of the attitudes of people about the society we live in and the need as well as the desirability of revolutionary struggle. There were people responding to agitation about how fucked up is capitalism and imperialism but "What can you do about it?" In relating to the Gates arrest, some said, "This is the way it is and we gotta learn how to deal with it." Others were saying bitterly that it was wrong to sit down with a beer with the cop who perpetrated this outrage.
We also talked to people about the need for a communist revolution. Many would say that such a communist revolution would be desirable—but "is it really possible?" All kinds of reasons were cited: "the masses of people are not ready for this" or in some way they're just too much into survival, feeding their children or getting more for themselves. Many asked, "what difference can one person make?" We often responded to this by pointing to the back page of issue #171 and reading Bob Avakian's statements on the occasion of the death of Willie "Mobile" Shaw and challenging them to LIVE LIKE WILLIE MOBILE SHAW– a man who despite great personal hardship devoted his life to communist revolution.
We struggled for people to take a step to be part of the revolutionary movement, to take up bundles of papers. What really made a difference was challenging people that we have leadership in Bob Avakian, and we have a plan and a strategy for actually making revolution in this country. And we struggled over the point of needing to get out here themselves to change this situation. I found this day and in previous days taking out this statement people are seeing themselves as observers in all of this. In talking about this with one fellow who was old enough to remember Gil Scott Heron and "The Revolution Will not be Televised," we extended the analogy to say that not only is the revolution NOT some "reality" TV show being performed for your entertainment but it requires the concerted efforts of you and you and you to get with this right now and to make this real in society and the world. We didn't win most of the debates with people but there were a number who were convinced enough to start to take it up.
At the end of the day, our group was invited by a local Haitian business owner and friend of the revolution who treated us to a Haitian style dinner of roast chicken, brown rice, pepper sauce, green salad and plantains. We were also treated to a performance by the Haitian Drumming Students and members of a cultural group. Everyone danced around the room to the intense, pulsing beats. We were welcomed by the drummers and some of us spoke about the revolutionary movement we are building to liberate the world and emancipate humanity. When we left the drummers and our friend invited everyone to come back. The dinner with our Haitian friends was a major highlight of the day.
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