Revolution #277, August 12, 2012
Scenes from BA Everywhere
Week of August 6
This is a regular feature that gives an ongoing picture of the multifaceted campaign BA Everywhere, and the variety of ways that funds are being raised and the whole BA vision and framework brought into all corners of society. Revolution newspaper is at the hub of this effort, publishing reports from the campaign, and playing a pivotal role in building an organized network of people across the country coming together to make BA a household word. We urge our readers to send in timely correspondence and photos on what you are doing as part of this campaign to email@example.com.
Prisoners' Messages to the BAsics Bus Tour
Once the BAsics Bus Tour headed into the South, the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF) started getting letters from prisoners like this one: "MAN... this BAsics Bus Tour is what's up! I really see this making many qualitative leaps each and every new part of the country this tour hits. Plus, as I just mentioned I'm always looking at things dialectically these days (thanks to you) -:), so when I evaluate how this is all starting to unfold, I can see how all these particulars (tours) are truly bring together a more dynamic community of revolutionaries across state lines (universally), who'll be able to continuously learn from each other, thus strengthening our mass line collectively, as all these loose pieces steadily start to come together and become more scientifically grounded in practice/and theory..."
Prisoners have been reading BAsics, discussing it with others and writing about their experiences and ideas since BAsics came out, and new requests for the book continue to stream in. PRLF wrote to a group of correspondents and asked for their thoughts on BAsics 1:13 and the quotes for July, 5:7 and 5:8. Letters started arriving by return mail, and some of those letters have already appeared in Revolution and on basicsbustour.tumblr.com. A few PRLF volunteers decided to put excerpts from those letters on a banner so the bus tour volunteers could show people that many prisoners see themselves and act as part of this movement for revolution, too, and as one person said, "to let the prisoners ride the bus together with the volunteers."
At a Spoken Word Event
Revolutionaries took BA Everywhere to the Grand Slam Finals of Youth Speaks' Brave New Voices Festival in Oakland, California, on July 22. This electric and inspiring yearly event is a place for emerging spoken word artists from across the country to raise their voices to an enthusiastic audience—the Fox Theater in downtown Oakland was humming with excitement. We distributed 28 CDs of BA's 'All Played Out" (with music by William Parker) to the poetry teams competing in the festival; 1,500+ cards with the quote "No more generations..." (BAsics 1:13) were handed out to the crowd. And outside, before and after the event, young people added their statements to the two quotes on internationalism (5:7 and 5:8). Some people told us they had read the copies of BAsics that teams were given last year. And one woman, on reading the quotes, said, "This is what I've been searching for!"
The idea for the fundraising barbeque came around a dining room table as we discussed the new synthesis of communism and how to get BA Everywhere. The guy who suggested the barbeque saw it as an opportunity to spread the message of BA, raise the needed funds for the bus tour and get more people involved. This person said, "I buy copies of BAsics and I give it to people, because if people would just read this book, then they would understand things so much better."
The plan was to get people to donate sides and then cook ribs and wings in the park. A number of people made sides to donate. A local well-known restaurant, which has hosted Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, donated trays of green beans and corn muffins. A woman whose son was killed by the police and who is active in the campaign to get BA Everywhere made potato salad. Other donated sides included baked beans, greens, coleslaw, mac and cheese, watermelon, and cookies and mini-cupcakes.
We decided to take pre-orders for plates and then have the barbeque in the park, fill the orders and deliver the plates and invite new people to come make a donation and check out BAsics, the displays about the bus tour, and this movement for revolution. While we were in the park, people checked out the displays and signed up to learn more and spread the word of BA Everywhere. This included two physics majors from universities who were very intrigued with what we were doing and a guy who had much to say about the situation of mass incarceration, police killings, and finding a way out of the madness.
The day before the barbeque, two artists from an old warehouse full of artists' lofts bought meals because they really want to have connections with the more impoverished residents on this side of town. They were very happy to hear that people in the neighborhood were becoming part of a serious effort for the emancipation of all humanity. They said that even if they didn't make it over to the park, they would come by Revolution Books.
During the barbeque, a team went to a local shopping area nearby to sell more plates. A couple of the storeowners who were fasting for Ramadan decided to donate to the barbeque. Two other vendors bought plates with wings and chips to show support.
As word of the barbeque spread, people phoned those on the job to get more orders. Family members contacted each other to come out and get a plate.
We set a goal of $1,000 for this event which would include matching funds from people of means. We are pleased to announce that after expenses the barbeque raised $589.
Two Poems Inspired by BAsics
Two poems written and performed at an Anti-July 4th event by a high school student inspired by BAsics 5:7 and 5:8:
What is made manifest is the walls that bleed red,
inhumanity in living in desolate corners
of the earth, is displayed in miserable statistics
and dollar signs.
Part 1- Rose in Concrete
The brutalized section of society,
have single weeds growing out of concrete
Rusty old school fences with chewed up textbooks,
Learning only that life is meant for oppression,
Getting beat into the heads, scolding superiority by skin head racist pig police, loving to devour the youth.
The only beauty lies in the rose in concrete,
amid the struggle, lies incessant hope of better days
amid the hope, lies resentment, boiling anger, overflowing.
Part 2- Rising Sun
Fire rises, flames lick vivaciously, the sun signals upcoming days resonating future possibilities. All countries, all people, see the same sun, feel the same warmth. International Rising sun, burns with a vision having a reason to bring a new earth into being.
Part 3- Stacks of rolled up sleeves
anti-4th, anti imperialism, anti destruction & war,
Revolution as the solution
to have one earth under one sun
where roses will bloom in every concrete crack,
where cracks will be molded & nurtured by masses.
Out of sight, out of ground
grows burning desire, a healthier world free from systematic death, no more demoralizing nor misery, anti 4th of July
* * * * * * * * * * *
Bloody Red, White Supremacy, Blue Tears oozing,
4th of July nationalism permeates,
craters of mourning, drones of danger, decapitated lives.
War infiltrated country, with their shots for democracy.
Systematically killing races, with their own genocide behind jail cells.
Blacks and Browns, stopped and taken
only left with their decapitated lives.
A Rose in the cracked concrete wailed, incessantly hoping, wishing for gods to come down and swoop them away,
Red fledged war, burning visions, sunshine warmth,
hearts at loss are affected by a revolution.
all that sees its shine, and feels its warmth
know they are one earth beyond the division of this country.
Borders, Religions, wars, profit, cutting the people in slices.
4th of July nationalism permeates,
causing ill fumes, malignant senses confounding truth,
blinding vision, creating passivity amongst the people.
We can do much better than red, white, and blue.
Much better than anarchy and democracy.
A new world is possible,
can be reached with outlook & determination.
Getting past all oppression and brutality
a new humanity can be reached.
WE SAY "NO MORE!" Chicago Benefit for the BAsics Bus Tour July 8, an evening of music and spoken word at the Elastic Arts Gallery in Logan Square. Writer Jacqueline Lewis performed a spoken word piece she put together for this event. To the rhythm and beat of the Prince Saleem Ensemble and with a soaring flute from Prince Saleem himself, Jacqueline declared, "I say no more!" and, fist in the air, said, "Today—tonight—is the right time for change!"
At Two Festivals
July 14, 2012: A small team took a banner and palm cards [with BAsics 5:7 and 5:8] to a Korean Festival. This is a big event that attracts both residents and tourists. During the short time the team was able to be there, the banner attracted a lot of attention and people immediately signed and talked about what this banner meant to them. Here are just a few comments:
A young woman visiting from Okinawa: "If Americans believed this they wouldn't keep their bases in Okinawa."
A resident: "Yeah...that's not the way Americans think. If they did, they wouldn't have come here to 'civilize' us in the first place....and they wouldn't keep occupying us."
A middle school student from Seoul, Korea (about 12 years old): "I think if Americans believed that they wouldn't act like they do outside of the [military] bases at home. They don't treat the Korean people good."
Of course, not everyone agreed. When one young man said he disagreed, and that Americans were better because "our country is better" it prompted a man who was standing nearby, but who had refused to even take a palm card, to immediately step forward to sign the banner and assure us that he "didn't think like that."
* * * * *
July 21, 2012: On Friday a local artist designed and painted a beautiful new banner with both slogans and a team went to a festival on Saturday. This festival attracted a large crowd—both military and local. The team got out a large number of palm cards and leaflets about the BAsics Bus Tour and some people signed the banner. Most people politely took the materials and did not engage, but there were some exceptions. Following are just a few:
A "lifer," a colonel who had served 30 years in the military, enthusiastically thanked us for getting into conversations around the quotes. He related how he'd joined the military thinking he was fighting a just cause, and then was sent to Iraq with Desert Storm. He now opposes all U.S. wars.
Several people from the Baha`i faith quickly identified with the quotes, which then moved to their analysis of communism as "one of the three evils in the world." After digging more deeply into capitalism and why revolution is necessary, one said he'd be checking out Bob Avakian's new synthesis more deeply.
A Chilean woman approached us somewhat antagonistically saying that she'd lived in Chile and that communism was a horror. When asked how she'd describe capitalism, she said it's also a horror. After we had dug into BA's new synthesis a bit she said she wanted to learn more because socialism was a good idea—it just "hadn't worked."
Hundreds at the festival were introduced to the BAsics Bus Tour and Bob Avakian for the first time and left the festival with the materials to enable them to dig in further.
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