Revolution #229, April 10, 2011

What People Are Saying

Aladdin, actor and playwright

Revolution: Tell us from you own standpoint why you are hosting the April 11 event—On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World?

Aladdin: It's my understanding that it's a celebration of the release of the book BAsics by Bob Avakian and it's a book that I definitely support and the words of Bob Avakian I think are really important because they are relevant to what is going on today and the need for revolution. So when I was approached to get involved in the host committee I thought it would be something that I would definitely be a part of. And also to support the bookstore [Revolution Books] which I feel is a bookstore that is my favorite in New York. So those are two causes that I am definitely behind helping out—anything for Bob Avakian and the revolutionary movement as well as the bookstore. So in any way that I can help, I just thought contributing would be a labor of love.

Revolution: What do you hope the effect of the program will be?

Aladdin: Hopefully that people will feel that the talk of revolution is tangible, it's realistic and not just some rhetoric that's not reachable. I think that if people see that revolution is possible, then there's hope for a better day, hope for a solution to some of these problems, and how it's just intrinsic to the despair that people have, the cynicism. With what Bob Avakian is talking about and what the people in his movement are talking about, that there is a way to make this a better world and that it is not something, as I joke about, as unrealistic as finding a unicorn, that it's actually realistic. And once you're able to convince people that it is a plan that works I think people start to listen because it doesn't sound like a bunch of lunatics talking about revolution in a way that is the rhetoric of the past and it's a relic, but is very tangible today. That's why I feel like it's really important to get the message out, that it's realistic.

I know a lot of the quotes in BAsics. What really influenced me is that a close friend of mine gave me a video of Bob Avakian, the one where he opens up with Emmett Till, that really got my attention. Because sometimes when people are intellectualizing, you kind of tune off and space out. But each time that Bob Avakian talks you really engage because he's really uncovering the truth. And like I say, the great thing about the truth is that you don't have to remember lies. Everything that Bob says is all facts so what really caught my attention is that I think he was trying to make people understand that the way that we learn the history of America is full of lies. And what he's trying to embark on is a movement that if we can embrace the truth and know the past and acknowledge that we've been lied to then revolution is realistic because we can approach what is clearly a lie and approach it with truth. And the great thing about truth is that is one of the ways you can get people's attention. And I think it can mobilize because people identify when they've been lied to. So when I heard Bob Avakian I knew that it was something that I was definitely interested in because it was based on truth.

Revolution: What would you say to someone to convince them to be there on April 11.

Aladdin: Well I think that the performers who are going to be there are doing some incredible work. So based on the fact that the people are going to be performing, reading, just performing in general are amazing. And there's something about doing work that's really thought provoking, that from an audience standpoint, it's the most exhilarating kind of performance. So based on that alone it's worth the price of admissions. And also it's supporting a movement that is about getting people to really uprise and stand for themselves. And revolution, which is, I think the whole theme of the evening, is about getting people who are oppressed, people who don't have a voice, and standing up and really creating a movement where they're trying to make the world a better place. So that kind of movement is a movement that I think everyone will be excited about. And when you come away from an evening like that you can't help but be inspired and exhilarated.

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