Revolution #229, April 10, 2011

What People Are Saying

A regular reader of Revolution

Question: Why are you going to the Celebration?

Answer: I think the main thing is the publication of BAsics. Because I already saw it and I have read some of the quotes. It's surprising all the work that Avakian has done… more than 30 years. It's so much that in fact, he concentrates all that theoretical work in one book like BAsics, it's surprising. And the way they put it together, well, each quote has in it, each one concentrates all this synthesis of Avakian, what the new synthesis is about. Especially over all that time.

I have read some of his works. Then this has had the effect… it's something that has happened, something that is common among various people who have read BAsics, since it's been published. The thing is that once a quote is published, if you know Avakian, the first thing you really want to do, if you have previously read this book or works of his, it's like you want to go back and check it out again, especially the part the quote is from.

And for new people I think it's like, "Hey, Avakian wrote this." Or "who is this person writing this?" And they are going to be surprised, especially when they see that he has a lot of material to study and read. And BAsics does work for a lot of people. Especially if they find it real hard to get into theory. To read lots and lots of books. Or lots and lots of volumes.

Something that Avakian has discovered is this method that he has for writing, for explaining things, for enabling people to understand these things that are so complex. And then there's the way he develops it. So for this reason, he has concentrated on the basics in each quote. And that is what grabs my attention.

Also how this can get to more people, at all levels and among all ages. Even in places where it's real hard to get this kind of literature—like in the prisons, in the schools where this is not what they teach and in the universities, even there, right? I think people don't know about this kind of revolutionary theory. So, there is a way to get this into their hands.

I think that this event is going to be a chance to project the potential of BAsics. I think that this is something that is going to mark like a beginning. I think this event is going to have, is going to contribute, a lot of people, in a real, real big way, especially as part of the campaign to make Avakian's name a household word, as well as his work. And the campaign's leader is alive and has the ability to lead this revolution. There isn't anyone else out there who wants to do this, but he is doing it and has been working for this all this time.

But I think that this event is very important. And it's more important that more people be there. And especially, well, I have a question when I find myself with all these people who have different viewpoints, who have different ways of thinking. And I'm not just talking about different political lines that many have. We also want folks to come. We are finding people who want change but aren't sure if revolution, communism is the change they want. But even so, they want to know about this and get into this.

And there are also others who are kind of curious, like about these people who have been around some time doing all this work, who have a long time doing this. And they have conviction and they have a Manifesto and a strategy and now they have a book called BAsics. And a celebration that will have all these well-known performers. Famous people. This alone is attracting the youth, people in the neighborhoods, intellectuals and others, revolutionaries and progressives.

Q: You've been out organizing for people to come to this celebration — what's that been like?

A: I don't have much time, but even so, I'm real excited about the event. Since I heard about it, I've been waiting for it, for the date to come around. We are about a week away, seven days away. We have maxed out. Well, really what I'm trying to do is get the word out about the event to everybody. Take out the invitation to all the places—the stores, people I know, neighbors, friends, invite them. Aside from explaining it to people, tell them it's a celebration. It's a political-cultural event, but it's a celebration.

Well, sometimes it's a bit hard at times to imagine it. A lot of people don't know BAsics, they don't know Avakian, they aren't familiar with the scene. But this is something that I think is real interesting, having all these different viewpoints in this event, and all these ways of looking at the world, and understanding it. In other words, this whole mix. I think it's about bringing out this elasticity. I think this will be a way to show what Avakian talks about, this elasticity, but with the core. But it's necessary to have this core as well. To do everything on this level. From there you can have a lot of ferment.

Some people are kind of like curious as well. The work that is done for the event is very important, however small it may be. I would like to see the place filled with people. And no ticket goes unsold and there is no one who doesn't get in. At least with people I know, I think they are going to be interested. And other folks I'm not sure about, you also have to invite them. And sometimes we have to do some work, like you have to argue a bit, struggle a bit. Tell them about the event. And convince them for real. But even so people will say, "Well, I don't know…." But these people need to know about the importance of this event.

That is, it's not easy to put on an event like this, any old day. This is a very special campaign. And the people who are going to be there, well, they are also going to be special. We need this tide of people, as many people as we can get. Invite them. And put up posters everywhere where people hang out. I think this is something that has helped me, has helped us get people to know about this event. And also selling tickets. And working it out for people like students or people who can't work. And also people who perhaps have more means and can contribute to this.

But I think that another thing that I have also wanted to do is call people I know, just call them up and tell them about the event, "Look, I got some tickets, and if you want…." Or even people who say, I can't go because I have to go to school, I have to work or whatever, you can tell them: "OK. Why don't you donate something for the event?" In other words, you are going to be there as well, by contributing so this event can happen.

Here's something else that is very important: fundraising. We need to pay for the place and continue promoting BAsics and keep on promoting all these activities we are doing. But this time around, I think it will be an opportunity for more people to know Avakian. And what better way than a celebration? A celebration of revolution and…

And I think that people are going to leave with a good taste in their mouth. The possibility of a different world, a new world. I think that for me, this is the orientation for attracting more people. I don't think I've done enough, because as I said, I don't have much time. But even so, I want to make more time to go out after work. That is, I just called someone or on the weekend, they can go out and put up a poster. Go to their house or a café, or people I know who… And artists, I think a lot of artists are going to be interested in this. I sort of know some people, like musicians, painters.

Q: Tell us about the fundraising project you were involved in, where an immigrant restaurant owner donated food that was sold in an artists' community to raise money for the event.

A: Well, I met someone through a friend. And we were talking to him about the event and that we need to raise funds. That we want to put on a lot of events. We want to have a party. And we are going to see what is most workable. And when this guy from the restaurant heard about this, he said to me: "I can donate something, I can donate food if you want. And you can sell it."

Q: What kind of food?

A: Well, it was what is called "pernil," roast pork, with rice and beans. In fact, when we went to talk to him, we ate in his restaurant. And the food is good. I didn't see what food he donated, but for sure it was good. I'm not sure how much was sold and all the details, but this is one of the things that is being worked on. I also sold him a couple of tickets.

Q: What motivated the restaurant owner to donate the food to raise money for the celebration?

A: Yes, well, this is an interesting thing because a lot of people I have invited also have their own thinking, they have their own line or leader. But this guy is interesting because he has posters of leaders from all over.

He thinks that people have to check out Avakian. That they have to read about him. He's open, despite thinking that… For him, this revolution is all the same thing, even though it's not. But even so, he wants to know, he wants to read. Recently, I sold him a copy of the Constitution [for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)]

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