Revolution #61, September 17, 2006


Taking on Bill Cosby and Connecting People with Bob Avakian

Editor’s Note: Controversy is raging among Black people, and throughout society, on the message being pumped out by Bill Cosby that the conditions poor and working class Black people - the “lower economic” people as he calls them, are facing. Cosby says they are in the situation they are in due to the names they give their children, the attitude they have towards authority, and other lies that put the blame for the situation Black people are in on themselves—as if they decided to fire themselves, move their jobs to places where the capitalists can more ruthlessly exploit people, shut down social services, abandon schools, and all the other things that people did not do to themselves. The seven new talks from Bob Avakian—available at and must be deep in the mix in this controversy, including the talk “Conservatism, Christian Fundamentalism, Liberalism and Paternalism…Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton…Not all ‘Right’ But All Wrong!” That talk speaks explicitly to what Cosby and others who claim to speak for, or be friends of, Black people are running out, and how it fits into an overall agenda coming down with very dangerous implications. In that context, we are sharing some experience from a reader, and encouraging all our readers to be making this talk—and the rest of the new talks by Bob Avakian—available widely in society, as well as discussing them with friends, co-workers, and political associates including in the course of helping build the movement to drive out the Bush Regime, and beyond that bringing forward a revolutionary people and a revolutionary movement that can remake all of society.

I listened to part 1 of the first talk—”Why We’re in the Situation We’re in Today…And What to Do About It: A Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution”—and the Bill Cosby/Bill Clinton talk with a friend. He is impressed by how excellent a speaker Bob Avakian is and appreciates how sharply he poses questions and how he breaks things down. He mentioned that some political forces he is familiar with are talking about having community discussions on different topics and he would like to see Avakian’s talks be included as part of the conversations that people are having about the current situation and what to do about it. One immediate thing he wants to do is take the Cosby/Clinton talk to the editor of the local Black newspaper, because the Cosby attacks on the masses has been the subject of controversy and discussion in the Black community and though the editor’s immediate response might be “why should this white guy’s position be so important?”, he thinks that once the editor listens to it, he will find it challenging and important for people to consider...

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At the barbershops there was disagreement over Cosby, and Avakian’s analysis of his role. Some didn’t want to say they liked Cosby, but they end up blaming the masses for their situation anyway. Some did support Cosby. These barbershops exist in the same block with Palestinian- and Eritrean-owned stores and there is an ongoing intersection between them all, with visits back and forth and discussion over who was going to put the poster up [editor’s note: readers can download PDF files at to print stickers, flyers, postcards, and posters telling people about the new talks by Bob Avakian and how to listen to them]. All three stores in the immediate area put up the poster and some played the talks in their stores. I thought this showed some interesting things about the positive side of the multinational proletariat, as well as the back and forth influence between the basic Black masses and Arab and African store owners...

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Another person I know is a proletarian in his mid fifties and gets Revolution newspaper weekly. He listened to the first Bill Cosby/Bill Clinton track. He loved it. I left it with him. I came back, and he said “this takes me back to all the stuff they have done to us, all the discrimination.” He recounted the stories he has told me over and over about not being able to get a carpenters license at first because he was Black, all the different ways he was pushed aside. But then he said something that I thought was the very point we are fighting so hard for people to get. He said, “I get it now, it’s the system! It’s the system that’s responsible for all this stuff that’s happened to us. It’s the system! They always blaming us when it’s the system.”

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