Taking Out the Dialogue: Working on the Openings at a Liberal Arts College Campus

November 3, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

Off of our team's initial efforts at a liberal arts college campus I went back to reach out to more people there—and, in particular, to pursue our team's goal of selling blocs of tickets to groups of students and professors. As that previous correspondence noted, while on the surface the scene on the campus is difficult to crack, within that "there is both a general openness to new and alternative ideas, and different sections of people on campus intrigued and even excited about the dialogue." I certainly found this to be true on this follow-up.

A young woman—a sculpture student—said, when I explained that this Dialogue was for everyone concerned about the state of the world and where it's headed, "Well, that's me—I've been really thinking about those kinds of things." She's of Native American background and is especially concerned about the situation with Native people—but her concerns extend to the way society has criminalized a whole generation of Black and Latino youth; the horrors and violence faced by women, be it under the weight of fundamentalist religion or in "modern" societies; the destruction of the environment; the confines and constrictions placed on artists; and so on. She was not familiar with either Cornel West or Bob Avakian (actually, none of the people I talked to at this outing were). When she saw the short video clip of Cornel West calling on people to come to the Dialogue, she said he "seems like a very interesting speaker." Yes he is, I said—and wait till she hears Bob Avakian live and in person, and the dynamic between these two is going to be something else. She bought her own ticket—and she also got a stack of Dialogue palm cards to get out to others. I let her know about the group rate for tickets—and encouraged her to talk to others on the campus about going together to the Dialogue.

I also talked to a Catholic priest with the campus ministry who was very open to checking out the Dialogue. In his view, Christianity and communism was not so far apart—he pointed to the early Christian communities where people shared things equally. But he felt that the problem, in either case, was that "human greed always wins out." Well, I told him, Bob Avakian has done a lot of work on religion, on "human nature," and on many other crucial questions for humanity—and that's one big reason why he's got to check out the Dialogue, along with the interaction between these two people on these crucial questions. I pointed out the remarkable range of people represented on the Host Committee—from professors, musicians, and actors to parents of kids murdered by police. He's considering coming to the Dialogue, but I didn't win him over on the spot to clearing his busy schedule. He said he will take Dialogue palm cards to fellow priests—and will tell students about the Dialogue at the next campus service.

There were a number of others I ran across who were intrigued by and drawn to the Dialogue. We haven't yet won the goal of selling blocs of tickets—but clearly, there are real openings and possibilities to be seized and acted on.


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