High School Student on the Film:

"It answers questions but calls on people to ask more questions!"

March 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


These are excerpted from the words of a high school student who saw the rough cut of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! The only questions she was asked were, "What stood out to you?" and "Why should people be in the theater on March 16 / 17 for the premiere?" Read a fuller transcript here.


Before I saw the film I had learned about the lynchings during Jim Crow and before that, and I used to think, these people were fucked up. They took slaves, they killed Black people, they were fucked up. It was always about the individual. Like, some people didn't do that, and some people did. It was never about, like, all the things that made that OK. That's what society was comfortable with. So I was always angry, I thought, how could you think that was ok? How could you see that and not say anything? I had all these questions about lynchings, and all these things I never understood. I never questioned the entire environment they were in. The way people interacted with each other and saw each other. People's environment affects them so much, causing things to be normalized, things that should never be normal. So I never took into account the whole context. It's like people's ideas are manufactured in a way that's telling them how to respond to this or that thing. So in the film, he's talking about the lynchings. And you can see the little white kids smiling. And they're going to the lynchings and people are hacking off the body parts of the Black people, and the white people are having a picnic! Those things I didn't know, they spoke to the state of the environment people were living in. And suddenly I wasn't mad at all those individual people. I wasn't mad at the little boy who laughed, or the little boy playing with the fire that was burning a man alive. I was just angry about the whole system that made that seem OK. The laws that made that seem right. What people had been led to believe. People's vision of worth. It was so mind-blowing to me because I understood something on a whole different level.

And what he said about not just taking revenge. It just answered so many questions I didn't know I had. Doubts in my head. Or refuting other people's arguments. Why this can't be about doing wrong against those who wronged you. It's not about raping the rapist or killing the white people, it's not about that. That's what I feel like a lot of Black nationalists are about, and I don't get on board with that at all. It's the relations that people have with each other, that's what causes them to be so… cruel. Which became so much clearer to me. It isn't about revenge at all. Revenge doesn't, it doesn't take into account the situations that make people the way they are. Like, if somebody does a horrible thing. It doesn't question the bigger system, the bigger problems. It doesn't address that people are born on different levels, people have had horrible lives, and some people have had privileged lives. People didn't choose that. Revenge doesn't address what makes that OK to begin with. If you just get revenge, you're not getting at the root of the problem. You're not getting at the relations, the whole environment, the causes, the motivations, that made it happen. You just get that it happened. That's a very narrow form of justice, whatever justice is. People should be questioning the situations that make all that possible. Or they're not addressing all these deep inequalities, the effects of privilege, all these things that are the basis for what happens in the world.

Before this film I really didn't realize how many great things people have done, or even understand why people do terrible things. Now I know: people are not done doing great things. This is NOT the best that we can do. People could do so much better than this. It's so, so possible. Revolution… Nothing Less! speaks to me, more than anything else: this new synthesis of communism has to be fought for and put into place.

Hearing the history of how great humans can be, understanding the past communist revolutions, has really set it in stone for me. Before, I would be like, these are ideas on how something could work. It was never solidified in my brain: this could really happen. In some ways, this HAS happened! People are not all bad. It became real. It became different from just another person's ideas on how society could work. This is something that can happen. A revolution. And in the right direction. He's getting into what worked and what didn't. He's not just another guy with some ideas about how society could work. It wasn't like learning from somebody who's just a philosopher. This is real. He could be our leader. It's so possible! I just have to stress that because so many people don't have hope that things can really change. Thinking THIS is all we can do! And he said it in such plain language, that I could understand. Because what a lot of people who have a lot of good things to say do, is use all these terms I don't know, and then I just shut down. Analysis like this, and leadership like this, and saying it like that, so people can understand, is just a testament to how all this is possible…

I think that it's really important for people to be there [at the premiere] because not only all the questions they have, and all the beliefs they have that need to be challenged, but like, later on, there needs to be more people around that are talking about these things. More people who are informed, and understand what BA is talking about, and give historical references to things and challenge each other, and debate. That's a great thing! Having a lot of people there, and bringing people with a lot of different outlooks is so important. People will leave with a lot more answers, and a lot more of the right questions. They should be there to talk to other people who care about the world, about making this revolution. About whatever comes up that they hear that they need to debate out. It's so crucial. That's why I know I'm going to be there. People will be inspired.

I love this film. You know? I love this speech, and the way he, like, breaks it down. If it even causes someone to question what he's talking about, and having people there to speak to it, that's so much more beneficial than even just researching it on your own. This will help you not only be more politically conscious, but it pulls out the right questions. But not just that. It answers questions but it calls on people to ask more questions! You SHOULD be questioning what makes your society the way it is! To be less quick to trust what somebody says to them. It's incredibly important…

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