Revolution #274, July 8, 2012

From a Reader

Taking BA and BAsics to Juneteenth in a Small Town

We took BA and BAsics out to a Juneteenth* festival in a small town in an outlying area. This is a town that has seen an influx of Black and Latino residents and a shrinking, aging white population. The Black and Latino residents are much younger than the white residents. 60 percent of white residents are over 30 years old. 60 percent of Black and Latino residents are under 30. A lot of the white residents are retired from the aerospace industry and the military. In some ways the community reminded me of Sanford, Florida, because it was very polarized with open white supremacist activity. At the festival, while 90 percent of the people were Black, all the police were white.

The festival was in a part of town that had been one of the first places Black people had been allowed to live. One of the people there told us that in the 1960s, the city cut off water to the whole area in an effort to drive Black people out. The Juneteenth festival was poorly attended this year because a major street had been closed off so you had to drive on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere to get there.

We had some initial discussion about the "12 ways" palm cards—about involving people on the spot to be part of this revolution. People could get out the "12 ways" and BAsics 1:13 palm cards, stickers, and posters we brought. We had copies of the "Three Strikes" posters to sell to raise money for the bus tour. Some on our team who more recently have taken up the BA Everywhere campaign got out the palm cards and stickers, talked to people about mass incarceration and revolution. Revolution newspaper was sold and people were introduced to BA and BAsics and the BAsics Bus Tour that brought BA, revolution and communism to the South. There was interest in the bus tour to Sanford. One person commented, "We need that here!"

There were no more than 200 people at any one time. We stayed there until it got dark as more youth came out later in the day. The older people were more conservative. There was a group of guys dressed up like Buffalo soldiers and for the first two hours nobody even mentioned anything about Juneteenth from the stage.

A young man from the town who we invited came by with his young daughter and helped us set up and hung with us for awhile. He was glad to see us and said, "All right, the Party is in the house!" He very much agrees with what we are saying about mass incarceration and said that he still has the sticker from April 19 on a notebook but he does not agree on Obama. He is not so sure about communist revolution but does want to know more about it. One question he asked was did we think the response to the Trayvon Martin murder would be the same if he was a white guy and the guy who killed him was white. We asked him why was Trayvon the victim treated as a suspect by the police who drug tested his dead body and did a background check but let Zimmerman go. He gave a $5 donation and got the paper and a bundle of posters.

There were maybe 50-75 youth in the park when it was busy. All this was new to them and some of them took a palm card and checked us out for a long time before stopping to speak with us. We found that we had to break down the "Three Strikes" poster for some of the youth. They were not so sure what mass incarceration, genocide and Jim Crow were. All of them who stopped were familiar with police brutality depicted on the "Three Strikes" poster and it was a matter of filling in the dots.

The enlargement of the quote from BAsics 1:13 struck a chord with people and some of them told us about encounters they had with police murder and brutality. One youth told us about a case in a town he was from where a youth was killed by police while walking down the street wearing a hoodie but nobody had heard of it as it never made the news.

There were over a half-dozen guys who had been part of an April 19 protest against mass incarceration who came to perform at Juneteenth. Before they went up on stage, we got all of them to wear the Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide stickers. A number of them came up afterwards and got the paper, palm cards and talked. Two of them said to us, "We are down for revolution."

The palm cards and stickers with Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide were things that some of the youth took out to their friends. There were some interesting interactions between them as most youth were Black but a few were Latinos and Native Americans. In one exchange, a Black youth explained to a Native American youth what happened with Trayvon. The Black youth did not know what genocide was so we said, "It's like what they did to the Native Americans," and the youth who didn't know about Trayvon said, "Yeah, I'm Native American and that's what they did to my people."

A community college student bought a bundle of "Three Strikes" posters to put up, as well as palm cards. He has a real hatred for the system and said he is down for revolution but doesn't see how we could win. I told him about BA and how he has a strategy, vision and program for revolution to emancipate all of humanity. He sees the ruling class as all-powerful and raised things about the Illuminati and space aliens messing with people's mind. We challenged him to prove it. We talked with him on some of the points in the Illuminati article in Revolution newspaper which compared and contrasted Illuminati theorists with reality. He did not know the Illuminati theory was anti-Semitic or anti-communist.

A white couple who performed on stage came up and donated a few bucks. They described some of the rampant racism in the area schools. The woman told us about picking up her son from school and seeing a cop just jump out of a car and brutalize a Black kid for no apparent reason. She went to the police station to complain and it was turned around with the cops asking for her name and address to intimidate her. She said at her son's school there was a white teacher who called students stupid and said abusive things like they would never amount to being more than gangsters.

Religion was a question and a number of the youth gave back the stickers when they learned communists are atheists. The influence of religion was evident as many of the acts were religious, such as a number of local Christian rappers who performed. We got into a debate with a woman who initially liked the stuff against mass incarceration but said she could not support it because we were communist and communists were atheists. We challenged her about why it is not acceptable to not support resistance to mass incarceration because she disagrees with atheism. One of the guys who joined us has read Away With All Gods and loves to argue with people around communism and religion. His attitude is if they are religious, send them to me and I will convert them to be atheist.

We found there is a real sense of people joining the movement for revolution on different levels and people appreciated the difference it makes when BA and the Party are in the house!


* Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating June 18 and 19, 1865, when Union troops seized Galveston, Texas, and declared the emancipation of slaves throughout the state. [back]

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