Revolution #252, December 11, 2011

Thousands Come Out for Carl Dix and Cornel West Dialogue at UC Berkeley

  Photos: Revolution books Berkeley

Friday, December 2 was an extraordinary evening. That night, Carl Dix, a longtime revolutionary and founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and Cornel West, a leading public intellectual and "champion for racial and social justice," brought their dialogue—"In the Age of Obama...Police Terror, Incarceration, No Jobs, Mis-education: What Future for Our Youth?"—to the University of California campus in Berkeley. Both students and longtime observers told us they couldn't remember ever seeing so many turn out for a speaking event on campus.

Capacity audiences totaling at least 1,800 packed into Pauley Ballroom and two overflow rooms with live audio and video feeds. The line for the event stretched literally halfway through the campus, from the Student Union past the main library—roughly a quarter mile. Hundreds upon hundreds had to be turned away for lack of space.

Most attending were UC students. They were joined by members of the UC faculty, as well as students from other campuses including Mills, Laney, SF State, Cal. State East Bay, and colleges in San Jose. They were joined by activists and prominent figures from the community, in particular the Bay Area's African-American community, progressive religious people, high school students, artists and others. Many had been active in the Occupy movements throughout the Bay Area, including on the UC Berkeley campus.

Carl Dix and Cornel West each gave substantial presentations, and then had an extended dialogue. Afterward they answered questions from the audience.

"I'm fighting with the apathy and the indifference that is so constant in our society," a young woman told Revolution after listening to the program. "I know about this stuff but I forget about it so easily. I love hearing stuff like this where it really moves me and gets me fired up and makes me start acting."

"I had never heard Carl Dix before so I feel that I learned so much from him," a woman who teaches at a nearby seminary told Revolution. "I don't know very much about communism and he explained it concisely for me and he also interested me enough that I want to go read more about it and that kind of surprises me because I was raised as an Italian Catholic."

As the audience for the event lined up, Occupy Cal demonstrators set up three tents on the plaza, in violation of a University ban. At 11 pm, as the event was ending, Cornel West and Carl Dix went out to meet with and talk to the Occupiers.

There is much, much more to sum up, understand and report about this extraordinary evening, and Revolution will be doing so in its coming coverage.

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