Revolution #271, June 10, 2012
Scenes from the BAsics Bus Tour
For two weeks in May, ending on May 28, the BAsics Bus Tour went through parts of the South, spreading the word about the vision, works, and leadership of Bob Avakian and connecting people with the movement for revolution. This was the second leg of the bus tour, after the pilot project in California earlier this year. Volunteers, of different nationalities and ages, came from all over the country. Over $32,000 was raised to make the tour possible. After spending several days in Atlanta, going to different neighborhoods and schools, the tour volunteers—riding in an RV covered with large reproductions of the covers of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian—went to Athens, Georgia; Gainesville, Florida; and then to Sanford, Florida, before heading back to Atlanta.
A focal point of this leg of the bus tour was BA’s BAsics 1:13 quote. Hundreds of people signed a banner with this quote that the volunteers brought on the tour, as well as similar banners in different cities around the country. The bus tour presented a collage of photos of these different banners to the people of Sanford (see “BAsics Banners Collage”), which had a powerful effect. At Sanford, the tour held a speak-out at the steps of the police station. Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party came to Sanford to meet up with the bus tour and spend the weekend standing together with the people there, speaking bitterness about Trayvon’s murder, all the other Trayvons, and bringing a revolutionary message concentrated in BAsics 1:13.
As the bus tour through the South was in progress, people around the country followed it on basicsbustour.tumblr.com and spread it through Twitter. Following are a few excerpts from on-the-spot reporting from the tour. Go to basicsbustour.tumblr.com for the full versions and much more, including videos and new updates.
From: "In an Atlanta Neighborhood with the BAsics Bus Tour," by Sunsara Taylor
The neighborhood has been completely abandoned. Expanses of lumpy shrubs and deep grass surround it on three sides. On the fourth side, the sun glints off razor wire, row after row of it surrounding a federal prison; men inside are forced to live in captivity, routinely brutalized, insulted and humiliated and forced to do backbreaking labor, often on chain gangs in the Georgia sun. Across a busy street from the lone apartment complex, a tiny parking lot hosts three little shops. No fresh fruits or vegetables are available, but liquor is in abundant supply. Despite the luscious green that surrounds almost everything down here in the South, many of the courtyards of the apartment are filled only with brown dirt. This is where the children play.
The first time we visited this neighborhood, I didn’t make it fifteen feet out of our car before a young Black man who had been sitting in the shade on the curb pointed at the poster I carried. “That was me,” he said. The first time he was beaten by police he was just 15 years old. They held him up against a wall by his neck, hanging and choking him before they worked his whole body over with their fists and batons. “Over there,” a slightly older man added as he pointed toward one of the nearby fields. Someone had been killed by police over there just a few months ago.
I told them that I was part of the BAsics Bus Tour, a group of revolutionaries who had come together from across the country to live and travel on an RV through the South to connect people up with Bob Avakian, the leader who has re-envisioned revolution and communism, and to bring people like them into the movement for revolution.
The poster I was holding featured the quotation from Bob Avakian which reads, in part:
“This system, in this country, in the whole history of its treatment of Black people, what has it been?
“First, Slavery... Then, Jim Crow—segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror... And now, The New Jim Crow—police brutality and murder, wholesale criminalization and mass incarceration, and legalized discrimination yet again.
“That’s it for this system:
Three strikes and you’re out!”
Alongside those words are three pictures. One has an enslaved Black man whose back is welted with thick scars from the slave whip. One shows a Black man hanging by his neck from a tree, surrounded by a mob of white men. The final photo, the one that this man—and many, many others before and since him—pointed to as mirroring his experience, shows a Black man grimacing in pain under the boot of two beefy cops...
“This has to end,” I said, “and that is what this revolution is about. Things don’t have to be this way. We have a way out. The reason we got on this bus to come down to places like this is that all of you, people who need this revolution, have to get into it and be part of it in order for it to succeed.”
It wasn’t hard to get people talking. Beyond that, they were extremely open to hearing about any kind of revolution that could put an end to all this...
From: "Speak-out at the Sanford Police Station—WE SAY NO MORE,"
by Alice Woodward
... What emerged on the steps of the police station was a defiant and spirited core of revolutionaries that gave real hope to those watching, and a small core of people from the area that stepped forward to speak bitterness—they themselves representing many more—who were watching and knew about this speak-out and supported it. One woman who came said her friend had called her up and said, “They’re protesting down on 14th Street. Get down there!!”...
The speak-out continued for over an hour and a half. After emphasizing the importance of how people stepped out in protest against the murder of Trayvon Martin, the determination of his parents and tens of thousands of others to fight for justice, Carl Dix brought it to a close with the following: “We have to firm up our determination. Right now, people are being told ‘it’s time to get out of the streets, it’s time to step back and let the system work.’ Well, look, we’ve been looking at this system work. We’ve been seeing how it’s worked for centuries. We’ve been seeing it stealing generations of our youth. NOT THIS TIME and NO MORE. We have to deliver this message now—we are not getting out of the streets. We are not stepping back to see how your system works. In fact, we’re gonna try to stop the way your system works by stopping your system once and for all through revolution... when the time is right. Bringing this quote and the voice of Bob Avakian out to people throughout the South... and it will be going on and going to other places... spreading that voice and that work and opening up hope for the future, hope that this declaration of ‘no more of that’ can be made real by making revolution and getting this system off the face of the earth once and for all.”
From: "Bringing a Message to Sanford with BAsics...," by Sunsara Taylor
When we rolled in on the BAsics bus, projecting the leadership of Bob Avakian and calling on people to get into the movement for revolution to put an end to the system that has foreclosed the lives of so many generations of Black youth through the entire history of the USA and of millions more throughout the world, it didn’t take any work to get people to open up with their outrage or their own bitter experience at the hands of the police, in the prison system, or in their dealings with the thick white supremacy which permeates the entire country but is more openly trumpeted in this part of the confederate-flag-waving South...
What took work—in many cases it took repeated and sharp struggle—was for people to really hear and get the meaning behind the word REVOLUTION. Not just protest. Not just “marching till our feet bleed” or “screaming until our voices are hoarse,” which is what many people told us was good but would never change things. But REVOLUTION. An actual victorious struggle for power and the defeat and dismantling of the oppressive institutions of the old state power, when the time for that is on the agenda—when the system is deep in crisis, when millions of people are ready to put everything on the line to bring the system down and with the necessary leadership and strategy.
This was what was new to people—and getting into BAsics with them opened up not just outrage, but also their hopes and, with struggle, their beginning serious involvement in this movement for revolution...
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