Revolution #260, February 19, 2012
“Let’s Go!”—Report from the BAsics Bus Tour
“Let’s Go” was the spirit of the first hours of the BAsics Bus Tour two-week pilot project. The atmosphere changed as the 30-foot RV rolled out, covered from top to bottom with huge front and back covers of the book BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian—in Spanish and English—you can’t change the world if you don’t know the BAsics—with the Revolution talk, the online speech by Bob Avakian, on the top of the cab for all oncoming traffic to see... pumping music from a special on-the-road mix CD and “All Played Out” and other audio pieces by BA... and most important, inside were people of all ages, with the ability to reach out in Spanish and English, filled with the desire to change the world and seeing that getting this book into the hands of many, many people and BA known by thousands more being key to that... and, yes, filled with boxes of the book BAsics and the ability to set up on-the-spot showings of the film Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About.
The bus’s first destination was the area of Pico Union in Los Angeles, the most densely populated neighborhood of immigrants in the city and the scene last year of days of mass resistance in response to the murder of Manuel Jaminez by the LAPD. As we traveled through the neighborhood, heads turned and people took copies of the special BAsics issue (Revolution #244, August 28, 2011) and BAsics was sold. On the ground a lot was learned and the whole pilot project nature of this tour—the learning and transforming hourly and daily—took off as people got ready for the next neighborhood, around Revolution Books, which led up to the launch celebration.
|At UC Riverside|
At noon, people gathered to launch the tour at Revolution Books. Displays with quotes from BAsics—in Spanish and English—lined the sidewalk and music filled the air. Michael Slate, correspondent for Revolution newspaper and host of the Michael Slate Show on KPFK radio, mc’d a program that featured statements by supporters and people who had decided to ride the bus. People heard a description of the many important destinations along the route: rural areas of the state where there is literal starvation and extreme poverty in the midst of the richest farmlands in the country, in the Central Valley of California; college campuses in outlying areas—UC Davis and UC Riverside where the student movement and Occupy were met with extreme brutality by the state, with Riverside being the “diversity” campus for a rapidly disappearing minority student body in the UC system, a campus situated in one of the most economically devastated counties in California; and Orange County, that quintessential symbol of “suburbia” in this country, where a homeless man was brutally beaten to death last July by the police and where the community responded with daily demonstrations.
Statements of support (posted at revcom.us) were read. And there were statements made by three people who will be on the bus. A young woman talked about the BAsics quote that inspired her... where BA talks about his friend who dedicated his life to finding a cure for cancer... and in that quote he talks about joys in taking on the responsibility of changing the world (6:18). A skit was performed, based on BA’s spoken-word piece “All Played Out.” And the program ended with comments by Clyde Young of the Revolutionary Communist Party, who talked about the difference it would make for BA to be known everywhere, for BA to become a household word and a point of reference for people looking to how to change the world. Achieving this goal means raising money to project BA’s vision and works into all corners of society.
The program ended with the words “Let’s Go”... Spirits and resolve were high as the bus hit the road... Next stop: Watts... then out of the city...
The BAsics Bus Tour has now spent a week in Southern California. The bus has been to UC Riverside and to Cal State Fullerton in Orange County. Bus riders did a bookstore reading of Lo BAsico in Santa Ana (the county seat of Orange Country). A dinner for the bus was hosted by Unitarians in Anaheim. Revolutionaries have mixed it up with high school youth in Watts. They performed the skit based on “All Played Out.” This pilot bus—and its riders— are on a mission to lay the ground for a national bus tour—to get BAsics everywhere. And through it all, the tour has met many people and introduced them to BAsics and, in a beginning way, to Bob Avakian.
When the bus rolls down the street, heads turn. One woman said, it “stopped me in my tracks!” People bought BAsics and Lo BAsico, got into the book, and some are now looking forward to getting together to discuss it collectively.
A student at UC Riverside, after learning about Avakian, went on the Internet to do his own research. He came back the next day saying he had learned that BA had worked with the Black Panther Party and was impressed by that. Then he asked are you promoting him or his ideas? We answered: both—that people need to know his work, and BA as a person, and people must defend and protect this leader.
Some people the bus tour has met already have some knowledge of Avakian, but many more people have never heard of BA, his vision and his work. They have not heard of the movement for revolution that we are building. The BAsics Bus Tour is joining with others who are on a mission to change this!
When the bus arrived in Watts, at first the street was quiet, with an occasional passerby. But as a nearby high school let out, the scene changed as Black and brown youth began to pass the bus and its displays.
A loud commotion came toward us from down the street and one student looked over and remarked to her friends, “Here come the wild kids!” Soon there were many youths stopping by the bus, reading the displays of the quotes from BAsics. One youth was holding BAsics in his hands and some others taunted him. The youth told them fiercely to back off, and revolutionaries joined the fray challenging the other youth to engage with BA. It became quite lively as curiosity turned into more serious and sharp discussion and debate on the crowded sidewalk.
The BAsics Bus Tour is part of a campaign to raise big money to project Bob Avakian’s vision and works throughout society, to make BA a household word, to project the whole BA vision and framework into all corners of society where it doesn’t yet exist or is still too little known. And through it all, getting all sorts of people to engage and wrestle with it.
In its pilot project, the bus will roll through Northern and then Central California. Everyone reading this article has an important role to play. There are many ways everyone can be a part of the campaign to raise big money to spread the BA Everywhere campaign. Revolution newspaper urges everyone to donate to and raise money for this tour to go nationwide. Funds are urgently needed so that this tour can head out to communities all over the country.
The BAsics Bus Tour urges Revolution readers to follow the tour on revcom.us, basicsbustour.tumblr.com, and on Facebook (friend BAsics Bus Tour.) Get your audio downloads, video and blog entries at basicsbustour.tumblr.com.
And call to find out the many, many ways you can contribute and join the tour at 323-463-3500.
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