Revolution #229, April 10, 2011

What People Are Saying

Herb Boyd, journalist and author

Revolution: Why you think this April 11 event is important?

Herb Boyd: One of the things about an event like this is it is an opportunity for a number of activists in our community to come together. We don’t have these opportunities that often. And certainly as it resonates around a particular issue given the turmoil in the world—as Bob Marley said, "there’s so much trouble in the world." And we’ll get a chance to express ourselves about the conditions of the world and also the revolutionary potential that many of these people bring to this event. Having it on the college campus, I think is good too. You got a lot of young people there, having an opportunity to bring these people together, the Ruby Dees and the Cornell Wests and what-have-you, for our young people—many of them who have no idea who they are, what they represent. So having it on the campus, we’ll have an audience there that I think will be very receptive to these ideas. There’s some organizing, some action now, some movement, some mobilization on campus at this time. And so this will kind of fuel that, kind of help them along, push and encourage them and let them know they’re not alone in the struggles that they have on campus, particularly with the tuition hikes they’re facing. So you have a collection of individuals, of activists, performers, entertainers, thinkers coming together and that’s an optimum time for us to really put some ideas out there to see how we can galvanize these and make for a stronger, more mobilized resistance and then push—really a strong push for revolution.

Revolution: This will be the first time for some people to come in contact with the work of Bob Avakian, on the occasion of the publication of BAsics.

Boyd: It’s a perfect occasion I think for an opportunity to be introduced to him. A lot of people will be discovering him for the first time, but it won’t be the last time. I think they’ll find that his ideas, his thinking is so absolutely current and so many different perspectives, a whole diverse set of ideas that he brings to bear on issues of the day from a social, political and cultural standpoint. And certainly his book begins to capture—he’s a very imaginative thinker, a very revolutionary thinker too. And I think some of those ideas, particularly as he talks about some of the issues of the day that pertains to capitalism, as it pertains to racism and imperialism, will be right on point for some of these students who are just beginning to push into this territory and make sense about what’s going on in the world. And I think he has a way of simplifying some very complex issues. He uses anecdotes to do that. I think one of the things that he does, for example, on basketball, would probably capture the imagination of young people who are sports-minded, cause you know Bob has that background in sports so he knows how to go into that thing and pull those ideas together. So all of this coming together kind of culminates in what could be a very momentous occasion because you do have the book coming out, you have the event connecting with that, and you have these here eager, eager activists and students out there who are always looking for opportunities to get new ideas. You know how young people are, you can’t hold them in one place long enough and I think he has the kind of ideas and programs that can really be relevant for our young people.

Revolution: What kind of responses have you gotten from people?

Boyd: Two of my students came in and had the palm cards [for the event]. I mean people get palm cards all the time, they look at it, go about one block and they throw it in the garbage can. So one of the students took a look at it and saw my name on it and said—wow. And so sometimes that means a lot to people because they can begin to have some kind of personal connection with something because they know somebody there. But if they come out to this event, they’ll know a lot of people. They’ve heard the names before but it’s good now to put a face with that and to hear some of those ideas connected to some of those names that are very popular—and some people they’ve never heard of before, particularly the younger folks who are connected with the program, I think that’s going to resonate for them very well.

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