Revolution #194, March 7, 2010
Sunsara Taylor Campus Tour at New York University
"From the Burkha to the Thong: Everything Must, and Can, Change — WE NEED TOTAL REVOLUTION!"
They were provoked by the title: "From the Burkha to the Thong: Everything Must, and Can, Change – WE NEED TOTAL REVOLUTION!" They cared passionately about the treatment of women. They were curious about what a radical voice would have to say about this, and intrigued by "what communism has to do with feminism" (as they understood it). For these and more reasons, they came from a number of NYC campuses to hear Sunsara Taylor, knowing that they were not just going to a speech but to encounter, as well, a call to be part of building a movement for revolution.
This was the first stop of her major national campus speaking tour, which includes the University of Chicago March 3, UC Berkeley March 15, and UCLA in April.
The audience was riveted as Sunsara Taylor put things together in a new way that both challenged and inspired them, spinning the globe to expose the horrors of women's oppression, scientifically outlining its material basis, and speaking to the deepest longings and aspirations of youth to change the world. Her talk started from the most horrific conditions of abuse and degradation faced by millions and millions of women in this country and around the world to the most seemingly mundane and commonplace indignities that go on so much that people don't even notice them—and made people see how absurd, unnecessary, and intolerable—and changeable—these things are. She said that she took as her foundation the new synthesis of communism—the scientific theory and strategic orientation for actually making the kind of revolution we need—brought forward by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Throughout the program, she urged people to find out more about this leader.
One New York University student said she came after seeing it on Facebook, then researched Sunsara, and thought, "Holy shit, I need to get in on that." She wasn't disappointed. "I thought [the speech] tied a lot of unique, or a lot of similar ideas together, but from different parts of the world. I thought it was really well-rounded. I was at first saying, 7 to 9:30, that's long. But I found myself saying, ‘Please don't stop. I want more.'"
The audience of over 150 was made up overwhelmingly of students and youth who posed many thoughtful, wide-ranging and deep-going questions, including about: whether all pornography is harmful; sexuality and sexual relations that are non-oppressive; late-term abortion; the relation between feminism and communism; how to view men; and what a revolutionary state is. (Go to revcom.us to get a full list of the questions.)
Some students came after seeing a dramatic street theater performance where two women, one dressed in a burkha and one in a thong, confronted each other and unraveled the similarities in the oppression they both faced. (Go to revcom.us to see a letter about this.) Others heard about it on Facebook, from listservs, or the massive flyering and postering, especially at New York University where the talk was held. As they left, many said they'd been inspired, and a number said they planned to check out Bob Avakian's writings and to get down more seriously with those who are building a movement for revolution.
One young woman, when asked what was most striking about the content of Sunsara's talk, said that Sunsara "is a very brave woman," adding later that "she's made it concrete for [me] to say, ‘this is what I believe.' Now, finally, someone's been able to put it into words what I've been suffering...what I've been feeling internally."
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