Thoughts on BA Everywhere, from Sunsara Taylor

October 10, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


I wrote the following this morning for people who, like me, are fighting to spread BA Everywhere.  Take a minute and read it right away, share it with others you think need to see it—and then lets get out there and go, go, GO! —ST


BAsics 3:1
"Let's get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.

"Now, that doesn't mean we don't unite with people in all sorts of struggles short of revolution. We definitely need to do that. But the proffering of any other solution to these monumental and monstrous problems and outrages is ridiculous, frankly. And we need to be taking the offensive and mobilizing increasing numbers of masses to cut through this shit and bring to the fore what really is the solution to this, and to answer the questions and, yes, the accusations that come forth in response to this, while deepening our scientific basis for being able to do this. And the point is: not only do we need to be doing this, but we need to be bringing forward, unleashing and leading, and enabling increasing numbers of the masses to do this. They need to be inspired, not just with a general idea of revolution, but with a deepening understanding, a scientific grounding, as to why and how revolution really is the answer to all of this."

I have been thinking about this quote from BA a lot lately.

First of all, it is true! If there had been a revolution in the '60s, there would be a million less graves in Iraq, there wouldn't be 2.4 million people languishing in prisons in the U.S., women wouldn't be being raped, trafficked, sexually enslaved and forced to have children against their will from one corner of the globe to the other, immigrants wouldn't be being driven from their homelands in massive numbers and forced to work in the hunted shadows of the U.S., torn from their families and any sense of security, the environment wouldn't be on the verge of irreversible catastrophe, and the culture wouldn't be so putrid, self-centered and cruel! I am not saying that every problem would be solved—but, every major social problem would be BEING SOLVED! With revolutionary state power, humanity would be able to come together—and have the leadership to come together—to work on solving these and many more problems.

Instead of running up against the force of the state (remember the billy clubs that cleared out Occupy and never forget the army of police who daily stop & frisk and humiliate Black and Latino youth), people would have the backing of the state when they lift their heads to struggle for a different and better world. Instead of running smack up against the weight of thousands of years of tradition and shame and stigma and violence, women would be given the encouragement and backing of society—and be joined by men—in the struggle to end forever the generations and generations of subjugation, unleashing women to participate fully and equally in every realm of society together with men.

ALL THIS—AND SO MUCH MORE—IS POSSIBLE! It’s all laid out in the incredibly visionary and practical Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

Anybody who hasn't read that Constitution and deeply engaged BA is really out of it.

I watched the movie Hysteria recently, a romantic comedy about the invention of the vibrator. In an early scene there is a young doctor changing bandages at a hospital when the head of the hospital comes out and yells at him. The young doc insists, "But the germs in the wounds..." and the head of the hospital cuts him off and ridicules him: "You and your ideas about 'germ theory.' DON'T waste my bandages!"

Well, people today who are trying to do good and make some positive change today who have refused to deeply engage BA's new synthesis and this Constitution are like doctors trying to treat patients while rejecting "germ theory." They are just plain out of it.

And we mustn't be afraid to tell them so. I am not saying we should be assholes or jack people up, but we should be sharp with people. The fate of humanity is at stake for fuck's sake! Some people will react very stubbornly to this; in that case, too bad for them (but also good to know that they really aren't worth your time right now)! Others will be challenged by this in a good way and then we should really fight all the way through for them to take this as seriously as it merits. Just like with “germ theory,” it wasn't on that young doc to convince the hospital head everything about germ theory, it is the responsibility of everyone practicing medicine to be up on the most cutting edge science of their field. (a good reference here: We Call Bullshit)

Then there are those who don't consider themselves doctors (to use the analogy). People who are not particularly oriented right now to changing the world and certainly who don't consider themselves radical.

They, too, need to be introduced to the work of BA!

But, I have been hearing lately how sometimes it is hard to figure out how to bring this up. I heard a story recently of someone who was eager to go show a group of friends the video clips of BA over the years, but when they got there their friends were all engrossed in the Obama-Romney debate and they began to think, "Wow, maybe this really isn't where they are at." Or another person who had a friend over to do the same, but ended up just hanging out with them the way they have for years—not sure how to "work BA into" the conversation.

Okay, let’s be scientific here. "This" (meaning BA and the revolution he is leading) is NOT where these people "are at." But far from being a reason not to share this with them, it is precisely why we SHOULD share it with them. However, it probably won't just "come up" or get "worked in" to whatever conversation or dynamic is already going on. Instead, WE have to bring it up. And, when you do, you might be very surprised what that opens up.

I have recently sat down with a number of people I have known over the years recently and shown them clips of BA over the years and other clips from the Revolution talk. Some of them I knew through work I have done against patriarchy and some of them just through personal life and some I knew in other ways. Among them were several people who didn't know at all, or in other cases not very much, about BA. When we sat down, many of them thought I was there to meet with them about the movement against pornography and patriarchy or just to catch up about life.

How did I handle this? I just said, "Look, that is something I definitely want to talk to you more about soon, but that is not why I asked you to get together today. Today, I asked you to get together to talk about BA and the work he is doing. Do you know about Bob Avakian?" Depending on how much they knew, I would tell them very briefly who he is and that we are in the midst of a campaign to make BA known everywhere precisely because so many people, including them, don't know about his work. Then I say, "I'd like to show you a nine minute video that will give you more of a sense of who he is—it shows him speaking back in 1969, in 1979 and then in 2003 and it starts with an intro from a guy named Joe Veale. You'll see. Then we can talk some."

Then, we watch it—and then we get into it.

Almost everyone I have spoken to has been very appreciative that I have taken the time to bring this to them. And they have taken it very seriously. Even when it is new to them. People have responded to different things about him, and everyone I have talked to like this has been interested in engaging more deeply. What I have learned most is that I should have brought this to them much earlier.

What else have I explored with them? Who are the people they know who they think would be interested in this? With a number of these people I have set up appointments to see their friends—or worked with them as to how they would take this to one or two friends themselves. It is really worth the time to explore this and help them work through the very same question, how will they "bring this up" to the people they know and why even folks who aren't already thinking about this might be open to it.

It is also really worthwhile to use the interview that Cornel West did with BA. That interview gives people an immediate sense of what kind of person BA is and what he has been working on all these years. And the respect and warmth that Cornel conveys towards BA gives people an additional window as to the importance of the work BA has been doing.

It is important for us to be clear—and to make clear to others—that one does not have to agree with the need for revolution or communism to engage. In fact, the opposite: one has NO BASIS to know whether they agree or disagree with BA and his new synthesis if they have not engaged. If they don't know, that is all the more reason to find out. If they are sincere and serious about their concerns for the future of humanity once this is put before them, they should pursue this and find out more.

In all this, it is important to keep in mind the point from BA, BAsics 4:11: “What people think is part of objective reality, but objective reality is not determined by what people think.”

Finally, there are those for whom their conditions of life are just so crazy and desperate that it is hard for them to conceive of how they will find the time or make the sacrifices necessary to get into this more deeply. Here, I want to recount an exchange someone else had with a youth from the projects over this recently.

The young guy said he really liked what he was reading in BAsics and in the Revolution talk, but wasn't sure he could get more involved because [fill in the very real presses and crushes of life for those living at the bottom of society—and this guy had a number of them]. But, the comrade put back to this youth that that is how it always has been for the oppressed. That is precisely why we need a revolution and why people like him need to get into this revolution. Then the comrade went even further. He said, "What you need to do is to spend some time being too busy worrying about and getting deeply into how humanity can break free of all this that you can't spend that time, like you do the rest of your life and millions of others do with all of their lives, worrying about how you are going to hold together a desperate existence living while enslaved." This comrade did not ignore that there are sacrifices involved or risks involved, but precisely took that on all the more sharply—revealing to the youth what the actual terms are. There is not going to be some better time when things are easier and then they can get into the revolution. We need a revolution precisely because those times do not exist for most people and the only way you get out of that is by looking at it head-on and deciding that it’s worth it to risk some things to have the chance to be part of bringing about a world where people aren't crushed this way. This had a powerful impact on this youth—and needs to be much more the way we step overall.

So, these are a few thoughts I have been mulling over in my work recently to really push out with the new Cornel West interview with BA and with the campaign overall to get BA Everywhere. I write this in the hopes that it spurs forward others... we have a world to win!

In conclusion, a final quote (for today) from BA, BAsics 5:23,which we should all keep in mind:

"If you have had a chance to see the world as it really is, there are profoundly different roads you can take with your life. You can just get into the dog-eat-dog, and most likely get swallowed up by that while trying to get ahead in it. You can put your snout into the trough and try to scarf up as much as you can, while scrambling desperately to get more than others. Or you can try to do something that would change the whole direction of society and the whole way the world is. When you put those things alongside each other, which one has any meaning, which one really contributes to anything worthwhile? Your life is going to be about something—or it's going to be about nothing. And there is nothing greater your life can be about than contributing whatever you can to the revolutionary transformation of society and the world, to put an end to all systems and relations of oppression and exploitation and all the unnecessary suffering and destruction that goes along with them. I have learned that more and more deeply through all the twists and turns and even the great setbacks, as well as the great achievements, of the communist revolution so far, in what are really still its early stages historically."

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