Revolution #270, May 27, 2012
Bringing a message to Sanford with BAsics and 100s of voices from across the country
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.
This was what was new to people—and getting into BAsics with them opened up not just outrage, but also their hopes and, with struggle, their beginning serious involvement in this movement for revolution. One young Black man had watched the DVD sampler of BA's Revolution Talk more than ten times since he first met the revolution during the protests over a month ago. A woman who came to the protest we held at the Sanford Police Department had spent the whole evening reading and by the next day spoke with passion about how the book was changing her life.
All of this is why we came down here. Because people in Sanford have lifted their heads and stood up. This really mattered and must go forward. We MUST fight to win justice for Trayvon. "The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world…when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness…those days must be GONE. And they CAN be." (from the statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party, The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have)
But even more, we must do this in a way that is building up the strength, spreading the leadership, transforming people's consciousness, forging the organization that can go forward to hasten and prepare for winning in the biggest sense.
We put this challenge to people and we fought throughout this entire tour to find the forms that people can come into taking up this challenge—having an impact of spreading BA's leadership and growing the movement for revolution even as they are digging in more deeply themselves.
Receiving the message from people across the country.
One thing that is critical to sum up in this leg of the BAsics Bus Tour is the incredible impact it had on people down here to not only connect up with this leadership and this revolution, but to do so in a context where they could see and feel that others were standing with them and taking this up too.
By the time we made it down to Sanford, the banner that we had taken through the South on our tour to deliver to Sanford had been signed by hundreds of people, writing their names and comments. The banner featured this quote from Bob Avakian, which has been the focal point on this Tour:
"No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that."—Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:13
We also received pictures of similar banners being signed by people and sent down to Sanford by people from Honolulu to Cleveland to Los Angeles and beyond.
Along the way, everywhere we took this banner on our tour, people would open up with similar stories of brutality and nightmare. But, the other side of that was that everywhere we went, when we asked people to sign the banner and let them know we would be sending this down to Sanford, people got happy. They were happy—and I mean truly and deeply joyful about this—because they were being given a way to join together with others to express something that millions feel. They wouldn't have put the words together that way, they wouldn't have linked it up necessarily to all the generations not only in this country but throughout the world, many of them wouldn't have identified the system as the guilty party on their own, and no one but Bob Avakian has developed the vision, strategy and method for the kind of revolution that can really follow through on making all this "No More" but all of this resonated with people and they wanted to join with it and they were able to join with it.
Because of the leadership of BA and because of the Revolutionary Communist Party and because of those who have taken up this leadership and fought to get on the BAsics bus and those across the country who donated and raised money for and in other ways supported and strengthened the BAsics Bus Tour, all of these people had a way to give expression to something which they deeply feel and to begin a process of learning more and coming more deeply into the movement for revolution to bring about a whole new world.
This was our experience throughout the tour and this was mirrored and magnified in the responses of the people of Sanford. When they not only heard, but particularly when they saw, through the form of a beautiful collage that was made of all the banners with BAsics 1:13 that had been signed by hundreds and hundreds of people throughout the country, their faces lit up with amazement. "Chicago! Los Angeles! Wow... Cleveland? Honolulu? Holy shit, I can't believe that!"
The photos on the collage, which showed people from across the country—many, many Black people, but also white people and others—joining together with them and with Bob Avakian to declare "NO MORE!," the whole thing became more real, more possible, and more hopeful.
After the protest we held at the Sanford Police Department, one of the women from Sanford who had stepped forward to speak bitterness went down to a nearby Black barber shop. When a couple of our volunteers stepped in she was holding court—talking about the protest and where everyone had come down from. The next day, when the volunteers stopped back in, the collage had been posted up and new folks who came in were leaning in close to read the quote and to take note of the captions of all of the cities who had joined in sending this message. The feeling was one not only of outrage, but also of real uplift and hope at being joined by so many others.
The forces arrayed against the people are strong, horrifically brutal, and very powerful. But they are COMPLETELY ILLEGITIMATE and they are NOT all powerful. The revolution is still weak. But we have the leadership we need, we are fighting to grow, and people are starting to feel and respond. And all this is taking place in a situation that is politically charged with even greater storms to come.
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