Revolution #263, March 25, 2012

Scenes from BA Everywhere

Week of March 19

"Scenes from BA Everywhere" is a weekly feature that gives our readers 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.

Wrangling with BA's Interview on Cultural Revolution in China

Michael Slate's interview of Bob Avakian (in Revolution #260, online at about the Cultural Revolution in China has been the focus of a lively and exciting series of discussions at Revolution Books, NYC. The discussions have touched on a wide range of issues, including how Mao was fighting for the socialist road and at the same time breaking with the Soviet model of socialism, why the Cultural Revolution was a revolution, and how Mao was giving leadership to it. A Chinese professor and scholar who took part in the Cultural Revolution has shared her own direct experience, including what it meant to be trained as a barefoot doctor who went to the countryside. People are wrangling with Avakian's assessments of the great breakthrough represented by the Cultural Revolution and its shortcomings and problems as well.

Update on the Film Occasioned by BAsics...

We received the following correspondence:

We are in the midst of the production process for the film Occasioned by BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World. This is a film about an event that took place last spring—where a range of artists came together in a cultural performance occasioned by the release of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian—a book of quotations and short essays that speaks to the essential questions of revolution and human emancipation. Last December, through the efforts of hundreds of people across the country, $25,000 was raised for the production of this film.

We wanted to give an update to Revolution readers on one important way a number of people are participating in the production, and what we're learning from that.

The production process includes transcribing many hours of interviews with the artists who participated—exploring the range of reasons they wanted to be part of this event, their thoughts on BA's work, and what it means to them, taking off from that, to celebrate revolution and the vision of a new world. Several volunteers have dedicated dozens of hours to transcribing these interviews—an important contribution that will enable this film to get out into the world as part of the promotion of BA's voice, and what can get opened up in society when that is projected and engaged. The volunteers are themselves coming from different perspectives but appreciated the experience.

Here's what a few volunteers said about why they wanted to be part of this, and what they're getting from this process:

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"...As a supporter of jazz and member of the Jazz Institute of Chicago I am fully aware of the struggles of brilliant musicians. Transcribing interviews for BAsics gave me insight into many injustices surrounding arts and culture. The American way has failed. I hope the movie will impel a movement to right these wrongs."

* * * * *

"Volunteering in general, and very much so in the transcribing of these interviews, brings about a tremendous learning experience... I enjoyed hearing the different perspectives on the book, the party, the movement, and the man. I was excited to be a part of something (the film) that is going to be a wonderful, important gift for people." In another comment, the same volunteer said, "I am enjoying the interviews—I agree that the BAsics book is a great addition to the BA library... this book just gives you little punches of important brain and 'soul' nourishment. I like the fact that the interviewees so far, although agreeing on some things also have differing thoughts and opinions—demonstrative of embracing and encouraging questioning and accepting differing opinions around the main goal thought process..."

* * * * *

"As for my thoughts, like many of the people whose words I transcribed, I'm not particularly interested in promoting communism or Bob Avakian because I am not convinced they have a perfect solution... however, I believe it is immensely important for someone—anyone—to expose the ills of capitalism and imagine alternatives. I did find it comforting that most of the people who shared their art and time were in it for the same reasons as I am, and I appreciated the opportunity to hear them talk about their poetry, art, etc. on the topic. I think the best thing this film will probably do is to give people some hope that there are a LOT of intelligent, talented people who want change in our system and are willing to work at it, so there is no need to feel powerless or apathetic. This was a lot of fun, thanks!"

BAsics in the Public Libraries

From a reader:

BAsics is now available in three library systems in and around our city. Following the suggestion from librarians at the American Library Association written about in Revolution ("Get BAsics into Your Library," at, a number of readers from our area submitted online Purchase Suggestions through their library websites. Within a few weeks, the books were ordered, sometimes multiple copies, and they are now on the shelves at different library locations. The last time I checked, all the copies in one library system were checked out and there was a waiting list. We also learned that many libraries share a common online catalogue called Bibliocommons, that has social media features that make it interactive, similar to Facebook. Anyone with a library card can log in and post reviews, videos, quotations, add searchable tag words, and rate the book 1-5 stars. When you rate a book, it scrolls across the computer screens of everyone looking at the catalogue's main page at that moment. Now when anyone looks up BAsics in any library around the country that has a Bibliocommons catalogue, they can watch a YouTube clip of Bob Avakian from the Revolution Talk. (Editors' note: Do this in your city!)


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