Revolution #188, January 10, 2010

Letter from Cleveland

"He’s talking about revolution and that is what we want"

We received the following letter from two Revolution sellers in Cleveland:

There has been continued outrage and protest about the 11 Black women raped and murdered on Imperial Avenue in Cleveland, some calling for the resignation of the police chief for not pursuing the allegations of a woman that the rapist, Sowell, had attacked her. The cops claimed she was "not credible." There have been other demands by a group of activists calling themselves "The Imperial Women," one being that a grass roots activist be on the Mayor's panel to look into the way the city responds to sexual assaults and missing-persons reports. So on Saturday, December 19, there was a rally called at the Mayor's house demanding the above and more.

One of us spoke about the revolution we need and the leadership of Bob Avakian we have, and the experience when the people made revolution in China, how there were great strides in getting rid of the oppression of women, first stopping the practice of foot binding, another transforming the situation for women so that prostitution was a thing of the past. We called on people to "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution," to build the revolutionary movement today—not build a movement that tries to smooth out the edges of this system of horror. We have had lots of struggle with people over the problem being capitalism and the solution being revolution, not the line of some of the organizers that there needs to be more police on the rape-assault detail, or a Black police chief, and other such demands that keep the illusions that the system can in fact be reformed. So on Saturday we decided after the rally to call on people to watch the "Imagine" and "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat and What It's For" parts of Bob Avakian's speech Revolution [Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About. A film of a talk by Bob Avakian]. We thought this would be a way for people to begin to break out of the system's framework of monstrosity and fast forward into the revolutionary society Bob Avakian is running out in the DVD. So we made our way to a nearby McDonald's.

We opened up the DVD and people gathered around to listen and watch. Right away, Damian said, "I saw him on the internet before." One woman active in the prison movement when she heard the title of the DVD lit up and watched it for a long time. When we got to the part in "Imagine" on health care some people spoke all at once, it really hit home. People said what he is saying about how we are treated in the hospitals under this system is so true. One woman said how her husband was treated terribly and almost died from neglect and by the fact that he is poor. People jumped in on this conversation and could see from what Bob Avakian was saying that it doesn't have to be this way, that if we didn't have this system running shit, we could solve all kinds of problems that eat us up now.

After checking out some of the Revolution DVD, a Black women activist and journalist said, "it is great what he is saying, but I don't think it is realistic to get people to make revolution... the rich people always going to be there and there will always be the haves and have nots. Bob talked about the disrespect of women, I agree and not so far removed from what we are fighting for. He talked about the system. I think people are too quiet... he sounds like a activist, like us...He is talking about revolution and that is what we want. Imagine to have poor and women get rights. The people who make the rules, not us and the laws all is unjust. I believe in a revolution but I don't use the term because that would scare people, they wouldn't listen to [me]."

Another women active in the prison movement said, "I looked at this for awhile and I will have to go over it more. My memory is not that great but one thing I think is if you make a revolution then we will be confronted with the Islamic fundamentalist ideology. How are you going to deal with that after the revolution?"

There was lots of flow, a few people would watch some of the DVD, then talk about all the issues and analysis that are on their minds like police brutality, poverty and no jobs, racism and the oppression of women, and the war in Afghanistan. Then we would bring it all back to revolution and communism as the only solution and Bob Avakian and his new synthesis being key to getting to that new society. There was lots of debate and disagreement about the problem. One person said it is not the capitalist system but who is in power that makes the difference, that we need to put pressure on the government to get good people in office. Then we got into how this is a class society, an economic and social system and everything flows from the fact that the capitalists are in power and they run everything in terms of the expansion of profit and the empire to carry that out. There was lots of debate about that point and the point that the oppression of Black people is caused by a system. There was another conversation about the case of Rebecca Whitby, who was savagely beaten by the police who came into her family's house. She is facing many felonies for the beating and her trial is coming up soon. So this conversation spoke about the problem and solution to police brutality as well as people talking about their experiences with the police. Rebecca's aunt spoke about her daughter being beaten by the police in her own living room and then getting felonies for it, saying, "Her life has never been the same." In the midst of these conversations the DVD was still playing and people went in and out of watching it. All this went on for a few hours. As he was leaving, Rebecca's father asked us, "Now what is the website for Revolution?—I am going home and watch it now."

As we all walked out, there was an excitement among some that there is a leader out here who has some developed answers to the horrors that are coming down on the people—so deeply felt among the people were the rapes and murders of the 11 Black women and the brutal beating of Rebecca. This showing was a beginning in getting Bob Avakian's "scientific theory and strategic orientation for how to actually make the kind of revolution we need" (from "The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have" Call from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA) out among these 15 people who are fighting the power.

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond