Revolution #228, April 3, 2011
Prisoners Speak Out on Bob Avakian and BAsics...
I wanted to congratulate everyone on the upcoming publication of BAsics. In today’s world the need for the independent press and works by the people and for the people is needed more than ever at this crucial time especially here in the heart of the imperialist beast!
Although I am unable to be there with you all to celebrate just knowing that the people will be out there enjoying the Revolutionary Culture brings a smile and upraised fist to the cage I am held in. Yes I said cage, but I tell you this not to bring down the people’s spirit by telling you I am one of the 2+ million held in the Koncentration camps across America rather I tell you this because it is within these dungeons that are being intended to destroy one’s will to resist that the people are waking up and using these dungeons as schools of liberation!! Prisoners in America are drawn to revolutionary ideas, it is only through publications like what we will find in BAsics that prisoners will taste that most elusive ideal of “equality” that the prisoner in America grows up exempt from in the barrios and ghettos nationwide. It is precisely through these institutions that are designed to deprive and destroy people of color that we will use to rebuild the people and fan out from within U.S. gulags to Barrios and Ghetto projects only to meet up with all of you who seek a new society.
Humanity’s highest qualities endure within the darkest moments of these gulags and it is through the people’s Revolutionary events such as this cultural celebration where we know people’s song, poetry & arts of all types will be created, where we draw our strength in knowing there is a better possibility for the future and there are many people such as you all who struggle for this alternative out in today’s society.
So as we see the “marriage” of corporations and media in this country, where the corporations have pretty much created a media monopoly so that the biased capitalist propaganda is all many people are exposed to, it is this much more important to not just support independent press but to celebrate the people’s ability to not just survive in America but to resist in the battle of ideas.
As you all celebrate we stand with you! From prisoners here in the U.S. to Mexico, Africa or Palestine or anywhere else the only thing that separates us from you all is the chains that Imperialism binds us with!
En la lucha
March 2, 2011
Thank you for receiving this letter. I am writing to request a copy of the book BAsics per donation fund for inmates. Also I am writing to inform you that I’ve changed addresses. You can now reach me at: XXXXX
Once again thanks. I read your literature to my students and hold deep discussions about the system. The word is spreading. More young people want to support the revolution! They’ve asked me to get “BAsics.” Word is your nothing unless you have a B.A.s Degree! :-) (Bob Avakian Degree) Well we’re with you 100%.
20 January 2011
To RCP Publications
...I am a prisoner, currently being held in California’s XXX State Prison. I’ve just recently become a reader of Revolution newspaper and I wanted to let you know that I have never come across a more powerful message than the one found in your paper. I receive a few radical publications but most put forth idealized notions of the masses and don’t recognize the need for capable, disciplined leadership with a consistent revolutionary line. I’ve been reading a variety of radical books and pamphlets over the years and though I’ve come to share a hatred for this system I’ve been frustrated by their unrealistic, or lack of, strategies for carrying out a revolution that will put an end to all the horrors of capitalism. There are a lot of questions that I needed answered concerning the RCP’s ideology but thanks to the PRLF most of them have been answered. During the last few weeks I’ve read not only a handful of issues of Revolution, but also the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), the RCP’s own constitution, Bob Avakian’s memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond, a series of excerpts compiled in a pamphlet entitled The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era, and the RCP’s Manifesto. The words of Bob Avakian have resonated with me more than anything I’ve ever read. I understand why he has to continually be presented as a great resource for people. I’ve enjoyed reading the excerpts that have been published in Revolution though I was disappointed when I noticed that in the last two issues you stopped running excerpts from Bob Avakian’s memoir. There was one section that motivated me more than any other in the book and I was hoping you would print it. The section I’m referring to is called “Disappointment, Danger, and Going Forward” and it’s found on pages 440-442. I’ve been successful in getting a small handful of prisoners interested in reading the paper, but unfortunately half of them don’t have much interest in reading books yet. This section that I mentioned says a lot, in very few words, that can help overcome defeatism, which is something that plagues so many of the people that I try to reach in here. Though I’m not as eloquent as Bob Avakian, I could always explain the basic argument made in this section and spread it to those around me willing to listen, but I think it would be good to print that section of the memoir in the paper so that this particular analogy between the possibility and the need to find a cure for cancer and the possibility and the need to overthrow this system and create a new one, can be spread more widely both within and outside the prison system. I’m one of three prisoners, that I’m aware of, that receive Revolution on this yard. We’re in different parts of the yard but all three of us come across the same defeatist attitudes, even when we’re able to convince others that the present economic system is our common enemy. The answers are usually the same, “Yeah, but we can’t do anything about it.” I believe this section of the memoir that I’m speaking of does a lot to combat that kind of thinking in a very effective way. Prisoners can really understand it when it’s put in these terms....
11/25/10 Thanksgiving Day 2010
Dear PRLF Staff:
Hello, it is YYY and I wanted to comment on the book that you have sent me called Preaching from a Pulpit of Bones. I think that a rival to traditional morality is much needed, especially one that is free of mythology—which is what all religion falls under....
You know to be honest with you [it] really hit something deep within me. There were times in my life when I would go back and forth in believing in deities and being an atheist because I was going through inner struggle on what is “good” and what is productive in society and what is not. I have experimented with many religious doctrines because I had thought that not only am I supposed to believe in deities, but because it is the right thing to do and also they had the ability to heal me. However, looking back on my experiences ... and books like The Faith Healers by James Randi, Atheism: The Case Against God, [Bob Avakian’s] Away with All Gods!, and now this book Preaching from a Pulpit of Bones. I feel way more relieved and exhilarated that it is and always was up to me to be “good.” In the sense of what is right is serving the people. I have found out that living for and fighting for what is in the highest interest of the six-plus billion people on the planet is/can be way more tangible than relying on any deity for anything. I took up seriously grappling with and embracing a communist morality myself. Letting this morality show in my deeds and in my interactions with others means a lot to me. Most likely because I want people who do not know what being a revolutionary communist is to look back, think and say “It’s something like that communist sister that was talking to me about Bob Avakian.”
This is what I will leave you with now. Thanks for listening.
August 25, 2010
Greetings from the other side.
…I know it might be too late to give my opinion on the “BAsics” book, but here goes: Wouldn’t it sound better if it was called “Basics 101” like if it were an educational subject, e.g., History 101, English 101, etc.? Also, it could have exactly 101 quotations. This could be the 101st quotation: “…there isn’t anything more important that your life could be about, and whatever you end up contributing during the course of your lifetime is the most important and the most uplifting thing that you could possibly do.” It’s from the last paragraph on page 445 of “From Ike to Mao.”
When I first read that a few years ago, it made my heart race. What I’m in prison for isn’t important or uplifting, and it definitely didn’t contribute to anything positive. It’s quite shameful to be honest. I only wish if I had to be here it was for a sacrifice I made for the people. With that said, I’m gone….
Respectfully in Struggle,
Each copy of BAsics sent to prisoners costs $10. Help PRLF and Revolution newspaper raise the $20,000 needed to send 2000 BAsics to prisoners in the hellholes across the country.
To those inside prison walls:
Prisoners: spread the word about BAsics to your families, friends and lawyers. Ask them to donate to send BAsics to you and as many other prisoners as they can, and get one for themselves.
To those outside the prison walls:
When you buy a copy of BAsics for yourself, buy one for a prisoner, too. Urge everyone who buys a copy for him/herself to buy another one for a prisoner. Donate as much as you can to help send 2000 BAsics to prisoners.
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