Revolution #146, October 26, 2008

Visit to Precita Eyes

We received the following letter from a reader:

Precita Eyes is a group in the Mission in San Francisco dedicated to Mural Art. This collection of muralists and supporters of mural art maintain an alley right off 24th Street that has historically depicted scenes from the struggles of people in Central America. They organize tours of this alley and other murals around the Mission. In the late nineties an artist did a mural in that alley about the People’s War in Nepal.

I recently stopped by their storefront to drop off some copies of the special issue of Revolution, “The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of the System and the Revolution We Need.” When I showed the woman in the store the paper she grabbed a bundle of papers and said, you definitely need to talk with these young warriors back here and she led me to the back of the store where several youth, Black, Latino and white, were working with paints. She gave each of them a paper and introduced them to me.

We had about a 30 minute back and forth about the paper and about the upcoming October 26th presentation in Los Angeles: “Making Revolution in the U.S.A.” A number of questions came up, mainly around the viability and desirability of a communist-led revolution. The most outspoken was this guy XXX. When I talked about how the article sums up the revolutionary movements of the ’60s and what happened to them, the first thing he said was, “They brought the crack epidemic into the neighborhoods.” I pointed out that the article speaks to this as well as the strategic questions that people came up against: the divide between the most oppressed and the middle class; doing revolutionary work in a way that hastens while awaiting a revolutionary situation and not falling into reformism; uniting and winning people of all nationalities to the revolution, including large numbers of white people; and how there were the vicious attacks of COINTELPRO and the defeat of socialism in China after Mao’s death.

This opened up questions about socialism and communism. Some of the people had heard that during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) in China that peasants were killed for having too much land. I talked about how mis-information like this isn’t questioned and how people get away with spreading such lies and slanders. And then I talked about the real challenges of the GPCR – of trying to keep socialism from being overturned – and how the revolutionaries were finally arrested and thousands killed by the regime that came to power and restored capitalism. They raised questions about “sovereignty” and by that they meant, individuals, like artists, allowed to “do their own thing” artistically and not be targeted if they don’t follow what the government is saying. So, I pulled out the manifesto and pointed to the section about Bob Avakian’s new synthesis, which addressed questions like this.

I emphasized the importance of going to Los Angeles for the program, “Making Revolution in the U.S.A.” and explained the plans for people going together on a bus. At least one person is seriously considering going. They thought the questions were the right questions. One guy said he has been more inclined toward anarchism and looking towards the Zapatistas – but he wants to read over the materials from the RCP and continue talking about this. He gave me his phone number and I promised to get back with him very soon.

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