Bringing BA to the School of the Americas Protest

December 9, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


We received the following from supporters of Revolution Books in Atlanta:

Supporters of Revolution Books made the annual trip (90 miles south of Atlanta) to Columbus, Georgia on the weekend of November 17, to the site of Fort Benning, a vital base for U.S. imperialist armed forces worldwide, and notorious in part for its “School of the Americas,” a decades-long training ground for the officer corps of U.S. supported/directed dictatorships of many Latin American countries. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into exile by those trained at the School of the Americas (SOA), and for this reason the School of the Americas has been historically dubbed the “School of Assassins.”

We strategized over how to bring the BA Everywhere…Imagine the Difference It Could Make! campaign to the people who come from all over the country (and other parts of the world) to the annual SOA protest. It is an interesting mix of youth, who are new to the protest, and elders, many of whom have year after year for over 20 years come to “Shut Down the School of Assassins.” Two speakers this year told of how they had been cruelly tortured, one in Paraguay, another in Chile; and the person spearheading this protest since 1990, Father Roy Bourgeois, has spent more than four years in prison for “crossing the line” into the base repeatedly.

Days before the SOA protest on November 17, Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza erupted and we wanted to make sure there was visible opposition to this outrageous attack. To make a big splash and create thoughtful discussion, we decided to display one of the giant panels we had saved from the southern leg of the BAsics Bus Tour this summer. On it, in huge words it said “USA is NUMBER ONE… Terrorist” followed by the Abiodun Oyewole (of the Last Poets) poem called “Rain of Terror.” And underneath this display we featured the slogan, “Stop U.S./Israeli Assault on the People of Gaza!” Dozens of people, particularly the youth, not only stopped but stooped down to read the entire poem, and were drawn to our booth. Inside the booth we had a poster of BAsics 5:12, “After the Holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the state of Israel.” Several people, young and old, really appreciated that insight.

Another key part of our plan was to inundate the protest with the palm cards with BAsics 5:7, “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives” and 5:8 “Internationalism – The Whole World Comes First,” and to draw people forward in particular to engage with BAsics, the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), as well as highlighting the special issue of Revolution #285 “Get BA Everywhere!” As a fundraiser for the BA Everywhere campaign, people had baked brownies which we sold under a sign “Brownies Hand-Made by Communists,” which people got a kick out of (we sold out and raised a total of $84).

A dramatic feature Revolution Books brought to the SOA protest this year was a bold expression of how the military is a concentration of the oppression of women, “The Military Culture of ‘Be All You Can Be’ Patriarchy (Inside the military and the lands they invade and occupy)” as a part of the Call to “Take it to the Streets! Stop the War on Women!” on November 17. (See for report and pictures.) This attracted crowds throughout the day, particularly young women. Most everyone who came by left with BAsics 3:22 “You cannot break all the chains, except one…,” and we sold several copies of the special issue of Revolution: A Declaration: for Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity.”

As we sold Revolution #285 to a number of the youth throughout the day, we also made a point of promoting Cornel West’s interview with Bob Avakian. Most had never heard of BA (or Cornel West). Many of the youth who were interested in finding out about this revolution were from faraway places like Iowa and even Canada. Some were interested in getting the paper distributed in their hometown, and having people from the Revolutionary Communist Party address their college classes via Skype. They were totally fresh in their openness to communism.

A number of the veteran religious activists who have lived in other countries were curious and often friendly. One woman who had lived in India had a favorable view of the Maoist movement there because of the writings of Arundhati Roy, and wanted to know what we thought about it.

In contrast to the openness of many of the youth and the curiosity of some of the older activists was the attitude of some anarchists who dismissively and dogmatically scoffed at the booth as they passed by. We challenged them as to how they planned to fundamentally change the world, and why they should be open to engaging with BA and his new vision of communism, even with their significant differences, if they were really serious about fighting to liberate humanity. This approach actually led to some brief, but more thoughtful, exchange.

The day was non-stop with vibrant discussions around the exhibit for N17, communism, the need to oppose the murderous crimes against Gaza, the mass campaign of BA Everywhere. In the midst of this righteous protest to stop the horrific crimes perpetrated by the School of the Assassins, there was a great deal of debate and discussion over what is the underlying problem, and what is the solution.

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