Revolution #261, February 26, 2012

Scenes from BA Everywhere

We are beginning a new weekly feature, “Scenes from BA Everywhere,” which will give an ongoing picture of this multi-faceted campaign, and the variety of ways that funds are being raised and the whole BA vision and framework is being brought into all corners of society. Revolution newspaper is at the hub of the BA Everywhere effort—publishing reports from those taking up the campaign. Revolution plays a pivotal role in building an organized network of people across the country coming together to make BA a household word. We urge all our readers to send us timely correspondence on what you are doing as part of this campaign.

New York Revolution Books: Lotta Challenges Žižek

February 8—Raymond Lotta came to Revolution Books in New York City to issue his challenge to philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek to debate. Eighty people took part in a crucial and hotly contested discussion. Žižek, who has put himself forward as a voice for radical thinking in these times, has launched an unprincipled attack on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism and the RCP. Lotta has replied with a substantive polemic (published in this paper and available at, and a public challenge to Žižek to debate “the nature of imperialism, prospects for revolution, and the meaning of the communist project.” After a presentation that included video clips from a TV interview with Žižek, Lotta opened the floor for a very intense hour and half of questions and comments—including some sharp back-and-forth between Lotta and some people defending Žižek, as well as exchanges among the audience members.

Three Generations Gather

From a Revolution supporter: “An amazing gathering of three different generations of immigrants came together at a house party to raise funds to get BAsics to prisoners. It was a great gathering. Everyone there was very familiar with what prison is. Some experienced it first-hand and most have loved ones who have experienced it. People brought food and baked goods and were happy to be there. This party successfully raised $300. It was especially significant considering that the funds came from people who are really struggling financially...” The full correspondence is available online at

From a Prisoner: “Inspired to Become a Communist”

Excerpt from a recent letter from a prisoner who has been studying works by Bob Avakian: “The books you’ve sent have had a tremendous impact on the way I view the world and the role I should play in it. I’ve read communist literature in the past, but not until I read Revolution and Bob Avakian’s works was I inspired to become a communist myself. I like to read as widely as I possibly can and it’s been highly unlikely of me to promote the views of any single individual above those of a vast array of others. I have made the necessary exception with Bob Avakian. I’ve come to recognize that the guidance he provides is crucial to the struggle for a better world. I’ve recommended BAsicsto my loved ones on the streets, and I’ve been discussing it with all prisoners willing to listen. I might’ve never been cured of my pessimistic views of the future had it not been for Bob Avakian and the RCP.”

Artists Engage BA’s Work

From a reader: “Last week, I got a chance to sit down with about a half-dozen artists who have—to different degrees and with different perspectives—engaged Avakian’s work. We did a collective listen of the interview excerpt Michael Slate did with BA on the Cultural Revolution in China and the role of artists and dissent in a new socialist society (the one that was just reprinted in Revolution newspaper). The discussion was lively and wide ranging! Here’s just some of what we got into: How should this history be approached and does it have to be discussed with such complexity? What is the responsibility of the artist to society and how should we understand ‘political art?’ Can abstract art—whose meaning may not be readily apparent—have any influence? How would the new socialist society envisioned by Avakian handle art that is racist or misogynist? The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) talks about how art can be self-funded, but then what is the role of the masses more broadly in debating out that art? How do we understand that process? And what about the responsibility of artists today? Should art be made ‘more palatable’ in form and/or content in order to ‘get a hearing’?

“It was fun and invigorating with a depth of discussion many people are hungry for. And it was just one important example of what can get broken open through the engagement with Avakian’s work and the burning questions he’s speaking to.”


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