Revolution #209, August 15, 2010

You Can't Change the World if You Don't Know the BAsics

We received the following correspondence from someone working on the BAsics project.

On Saturday July 10, Revolution Books in New York hosted an open mic night to promote BAsics, a book of about 100 quotes from Bob Avakian to be published later this year. Twenty-three women and men of diverse backgrounds, ages and levels of unity and experience with the movement for revolution each read their favorite Avakian quote.

It was truly exhilarating to hear Avakian's words taken up by all different kinds of people, and to hear his quotes read out loud with heart, conviction, and poignancy. People talked about why they chose each particular quote, and in their comments you saw what it means to have a leader who is able to speak scientifically and comprehensively not only to the many horrors the world faces today, but also to the real hope of bringing into being a world liberated from those horrors, and what it will take to get from here to there.

When BAsics is published later this year, it will greatly enhance the ability of revolutionaries, and of masses of all strata, to grasp, wield, and discuss with one another Avakian's understanding and development of the strategy for making revolution, his path-breaking re-envisioning of socialism and communism, and his unparalleled ability to speak to key questions facing society and the revolution with depth, nuance, insight, integrity and humor.

Simply put, BAsics will be a key part of repolarization for revolution. Imagine what it would mean for people in the neighborhoods struggling with questions of "how do we change all this?" to turn to Avakian's words about the potential to transform the youth into the backbone of a future revolutionary state—or a college student sitting in a dorm room employing Avakian's insights on democracy while talking with friends late into the night. The form of this book will make Avakian's leadership accessible in a powerful new way and has the potential to really break through in all levels of society. It will represent a major leap toward accomplishing all three goals of the campaign "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have," especially the second objective, to make Avakian "someone known throughout society, with growing numbers checking out, getting into and supporting his work, his thinking and his leadership."

We have a very rare and precious leader, one who has done the hard scientific and theoretical work—and made the breakthroughs necessary to forge a path to revolution and communism. We also have a tremendous responsibility to make this leader broadly known and really make his name a "household word." During the open mic night, it was evident how powerful the impact of this project can become.

People read quotes that dealt with subjects as diverse as the oppression and liberation of women and all oppressed nationalities; the need for awe and wonder; the need for communists to act as a team of scientists; the importance of a vanguard party; the future struggle for state power; and Avakian's new synthesis of communism.

Some were inspired to choose quotes on the spot and participate in the event. One poet who attended said that he didn't understand before why "such a big deal" was made about Avakian, but that after hearing the quotes he was starting to get it.

BAsics Needs YOU

Just as the societal reach and impact of BAsics should be very broad and diverse, so too should the process of producing it. The open mic night showed the beginnings of what can be unleashed as more and more people get involved in this process, but it also showed the urgent need for this to be unleashed on a much higher level, and everyone who appreciates the leadership of Avakian has a responsibility to make that happen.

We need to do more of these BAsics Open Mic nights all across the country, so that many more people can start to know even more about BAsics and understand for themselves why this project is so important. We also need more people (including YOU) to get involved in other aspects of this project, such as: promotion, including on the Web and through social media; fundraising; design and layout; translation; and proofreading.

For BAsics to accomplish all that it has the potential to do, it is up to everyone who has the impatient desire for a new and far better world to contribute to this project.

If you would like to hold a BAsics Open Mic night in your city or get involved in another aspect of BAsics, please contact the BAsics team to get more information about how to plan these events—contact

In order to further bring alive the flavor and spirit of the July 10 open mic night, here are a couple of samples of the quotes that people read aloud, prefaced with their comments about why they chose the particular quote:


Reader: "I appreciate this quote because in the beginning part of the quote he's thinking and writing and doing all these intellectual, complex things and he still knows what 'get low' is. He's paying attention to popular culture and always able to bring those things into everything that he's talking about: on making revolution, making a whole new society, and he can still bring in what everybody in the world is experiencing on a day-to-day basis."

Avakian quote: "Imagine if we had a whole different art and culture. Come on, enough of this 'bitches and ho's' and SWAT teams kicking down doors. Enough of this 'get low' bullshit. And how come it's always the women that have to get low? We already have a situation where the masses of women and the masses of people are pushed down and held down low enough already. It's time for us to get up and get on up.

"Imagine if we had a society where there was culture, yes it was lively and full of creativity and energy and yes rhythm and excitement, but at the same time, instead of degrading people, lifted us up. Imagine if it gave us a vision and a reality of what it means to make a whole different society and a whole different kind of world. Imagine if it laid out the problems for people in making this kind of world and challenged them to take up these problems. Imagine if art and culture too, movies, songs, television—everything—challenged people to think critically, to look at things differently, to see things in a different light, but all pointing toward how can we make a better world."—From the filmed talk Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About

Reader: "Just in terms of Avakian's method and approach and in terms of what's he's brought forward, what he's leading us to do—method and approach to everything from the type of world that we're fighting to bring into being and being consistent with that at all times, our means flowing from our ends—this is just extremely inspiring in terms of training us in his approach."

Avakian Quote: "One of the significant if perhaps subtle and often little-noticed ways in which the enemy, even in defeat, seeks to exact revenge on the revolution and sow the seed of its future undoing is in what he would force the revolutionaries to become in order to defeat him. It will come to this: we will have to face him in the trenches and defeat him amidst terrible destruction but we must not in the process annihilate the fundamental difference between the enemy and ourselves. Here the example of Marx is illuminating: he repeatedly fought at close quarters with the ideologists and apologists of the bourgeoisie but he never fought them on their terms or with their outlook; with Marx his method is as exhilarating as his goal is inspiring. We must be able to maintain our firmness of principles but at the same time our flexibility, our materialism and our dialectics, our realism and our romanticism, our solemn sense of purpose and our sense of humor."—From For a Harvest of Dragons

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