Revolution #266, April 22, 2012

Bob Avakian's Video Clips in an Inner-City Classroom

We received this correspondence:

In the atmosphere of outrage over the murder of Trayvon Martin, and the coverup, I played the clips from Bob Avakian's talk Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About that are excerpted in Revolution newspaper last week for a few dozen students in a class at an inner-city campus. This is the clip that begins with the story of Emmett Till.

You could hear the proverbial pin drop while the video clip played. Almost every African-American student was literally on the edge of his or her seat. And the tension rose as the video played on. Several students—male and female—shouted out loud things like "that's true!" and "yes, it IS still going on today," and in some cases started getting out flyers to latecomers into the class on the spot. On the other hand, the response of students of other nationalities was noticeably more mixed, some seeming nervous, some concerned, some pensive… and all of them taking note of how intensely this was all connecting with the Black students.

Before and after, students—and a few teachers I spoke with—were really agonizing over how to not let this murder of Trayvon go down, and how to arouse the students to do something about it. I scraped together a handful of last week's issue of Revolution (we're pretty much sold out here) and sold those, encouraging people to share them and get to

In the mix: Who is that guy giving that talk!? I explained who Bob Avakian is, and that he is the leader of the RCP, and what that is. Among the perspectives of teachers who had been around in the '60s was that in those days people learned to see the unity between different oppressed peoples. They brought out how this came down with alliances between different revolutionary nationalist and radical organizations and trends. Those experiences and stories were important to share and did help some of the younger generation see that things haven't always been this way and can change. At the same time, I had made the point in all this that BA has done the work of going through the experiences of the first stage of communist revolution, and is leading a new stage. When I broke that down, I felt kind of a world-weary "yeah, right" vibe from among the '60s veterans. I actually thought it was important, for the younger people there, to acknowledge the "correct side" of the "yeah right"—this is no easy challenge. We do have a herculean problem here—given that the first stage of communist revolution had been defeated and we've gotten decades of brainwash about how it was a totalitarian nightmare. But—I made the point: you just heard BA. You know what kind of person this is. If you check out BA's work on this, you'll see what he's done—his work on all this really does open the door to a new stage of communist revolution.

I had announced the Day of Outrage on April 10, but school is out that day. The idea came up for a "hoodie day" on campus this Thursday. I encouraged people to make that happen. Then, on my way home, I started thinking that maybe I hadn't been emphatic enough about how important this hoodie day thing was—thinking maybe I didn't really appreciate how important this could be on this inner-city campus, and beyond. So I got out my scraps of paper and called all the numbers I had gotten to follow up and encourage people to do this, and reached one of the initiators and we were able to flesh out the concept and plan a bit on the phone. He's a busy person, but he was impressed that I had called him back so quickly.

To step back and make the basic point: what is said in this new issue of Revolution about this Trayvon Martin murder striking a real nerve is so true—this is not business as usual and we need to seize the time!

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