Planting seeds, setting terms, and bringing forward new followers

Reflections from a Revolution Tour Member



After a long winter, the revcoms on the National Revolution Tour are hitting the streets again… to the masses, with revolution. We are out with a new orientation and new materials and analysis, and seeking to plant the seeds today for a harvest so urgently needed… principally wielding Bob Avakian’s New Year’s Statement, as well as the piece “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity,” we are out to make big advances over this next period towards organizing thousands of people into this revolution, to follow Bob Avakian and the path he is forging. Very crucially, we are stepping to people with this: If you wanna get free, then you need to follow BA.

* * * * *

The streets of L.A. are often barren, even in more “normal” times. The neighborhoods of the oppressed are not always abuzz with activity, in the same way they can be in other cities. This can be an acute problem for the revolutionaries: how do you impact masses when the masses are not amassed? One of the ways is to cut through the silence. So we’ve been taking out a very LOUD sound truck, equipped with an agitator or two, and a TV to play video clips. Right now we’ve been focusing on the montage segments from The RNL Show which bring alive the article “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People…”

Teams of Revcoms break out from a starting point, going to each side of the street. Some put up posters—including of the “seeds”—short, sharp, high-impact quotes from BA’s New Year’s Statement—saturating the walls and poles with BA’s words and the statement’s striking title: A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity.

Others go out to accumulate—this can mean quite literally going up into an apartment complex, with one comrade stepping out into the courtyard around which the various apartments are arrayed and making an announcement: “HEY! THE REVOLUTIONARIES ARE HERE AND WE ARE TALKING ABOUT OVERTHROWING THIS SYSTEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE—AND WE HAVE THIS LEADER NAMED BOB AVAKIAN WHO YOU NEED TO COME AND LEARN ABOUT”... Through all this, some of us developed this running orientation and challenge to people: “We are here now. We aren’t here all the time—so YOU need to come out of your homes check out this video about this leader.”

On our first outing doing this, some people, in handfuls, did turn their faces to revolution, coming out of their houses or apartments to come to the sound truck and hear for themselves just what we were talking about. And when they did get to the truck, a whole new process was opened up.

The montage segments of “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People…” provide a very important solid core for all this—it does a lot of work with people that a lot of diffuse but “good” conversations cannot and will never do alone—really introducing what this leader is all about, and putting both the work and the person of BA right in front of people, straight up and unfiltered. Now, there is a struggle that has to be waged to get people to watch, and to stay engaged—but it’s a struggle well worth it. In our conversations with people we also kept bringing it back to the basics of: we are organizing for revolution, that we follow BA and why people need to follow him.

* * * * *

We set out in the neighborhood where we did a lot of work last year around the protests and resistance sparked by the murder of Dijon Kizzee. Some people in this neighborhood recognized the “RNL” (Revolution—Nothing Less) shirts—one older woman actually had an RNL T-shirt from that time—but no one really knew about BA. We set out to change that. Once again, the “seeds” posters were posted up and down telephone poles and electrical boxes—while once again we called people out into the street to hear the sound truck. We had less success this time with bringing people into watching the clips, but we made an impression on many people, including by sharply challenging them with the challenge to follow BA and step into the revolution. One man stopped and talked to us for a while—a comrade was really struck by his T-shirt, which was emblazoned with a graphic image of Rodney King’s bloodied face. Though he started off by saying that he was down to protest but he was really “ready to burn shit down”—we challenged him with BA’s statement that we need to want revolution enough to be scientific about it, and that if we just went off and did a bunch of crazy shit tomorrow then we would get smashed - and what good would that do? By the end of our discussion he had a somewhat better understanding of what we meant by revolution, including that it would need to involve millions of people at the decisive hour, and that we aren’t ready to launch that right now, but we need to get busy preparing for such a time, and as such you should step into this revolution. He followed us on social media and took a stack of the “Seeds” posters to get up. He also planned to be a part of an upcoming Zoom call to get deeper into the revolution and wanted to learn more about the new communism.

One woman who was familiar with some of the struggle around the Dijon Kizzee murder was at first having a hard time distinguishing both what we meant by revolution, and what we were saying that was different from other groups (she’s heard these other groups talk about this or that case of the police murdering somebody, and the struggle for justice around those particular cases). After a back and forth, the comrade talking to her made this analogy: if you have a cancerous tumor, you don’t want to treat it with herbal teas—you have to dig it out. You have to go to a doctor and go to the science to figure out what is the real problem, and what you have to do about it. And by analogy, this is what BA has done and why what we’re talking about is different. Once this woman got this, she said that she had never heard anything like what we were talking about—actually ending police murder and terror once and for all, through overthrowing the existing system and replacing it with a radically different system, with a new Constitution that would codify this. And once again, leading with BA, the scientific understanding he's developed (and in this case with the vision that he’s laid out in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America), and what revolution makes possible, was decisive.

* * * * *

Another spot we hit up was this skatepark where a couple dozen youth were hanging out. When we got out of our cars and started setting up our sound truck, all wearing our “RNL” shirts, some youth took notice and came to check this out. A few of us went around to gather people around the truck—and this is where we identified we needed to wage a lot of struggle—over why people should take the time to get into this. One of the things we came up against, as we often do, is the feeling and attitude of “I gotta do me—there’s nothing that we can do to change the world, so I just gotta look out for myself.” We called that shit out, telling them: “If you like the ways things are, with everything that’s happening from police murder to the mass rape of women, then we won’t chase you. But these horrors ARE happening, and we have a way out with leadership in Bob Avakian with a fighting chance to win…”

One Black youth watched one of the video clips on “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People...” with several of his friends, and a struggle erupted when he said “OK. I understand people had to fight for that back then, but we’re free now. And the only reason people still get killed by the police is that they don’t act right.” A comrade sharply replied: “So you think George Floyd just wasn’t acting right?” The young man held firm, insisting that he “would never put himself in that position.” The comrade hit back with: “You sound like a slave saying ‘yessa massa, yessa massa’ and ‘if you get whipped, then it’s your own fault for getting out of line.’” We also challenged this group with the 2 choices from BA: “...we have two choices: either, live with all this — and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—or, make revolution!” The reactionary youth was the only one speaking up. The interaction kinda fizzled out after he started spouting some shit about how everyone is responsible for their own place in society, we are all really free, and that women chose to be prostitutes, etc….

We didn’t leave things there. Some of our crew was still out among the skaters when this crew came back and joined them. They were trying to whip up an atmosphere where the revolutionaries didn’t feel welcomed. “This is our skate park. They shouldn’t be coming around here.” But not everyone agreed. Things divided out into two, in a good way. One youth said to a comrade that “you’re trying to do something to make the world better and that’s the right thing to do.”

Towards the end of our time there we had a substantive engagement with a group of Black youth in their 20s who watched some of the videos. From the video, one of the guys really “got” what we meant by revolution and asked what we need to be doing now? We said that now's not the time to wage the all-out revolutionary struggle, but now IS the time to be urgently working for this revolution, to organize the thousands who can lead millions. He said, “oh, I get it. You're in the recruitment phase?” We said, “Yes, and we're here to recruit you to follow BA. There's too few of us right now and this is what humanity needs.” He was weighing the question of what his life is going to be about. His friend said he wasn't sure, “I got to take care of my family, pay my bills, even though I know my death isn't going to mean shit.” We talked about what is worth living and dying for—revolution and the emancipation of humanity, vs. a lightweight or bullshit death of just doing for self... and what's it going to mean for humanity and the planet if everyone just looks out for their own self while the fascists are organizing and the planet burns? They were seriously weighing this and made uncomfortable by it—in a good way. They said they would look BA up on YouTube and would read the New Year's statement, which they got copies of, and then they headed off to play ball, but the woman stuck around because she wanted to see the next video clip. She really felt that we needed revolution, and was very excited to learn more about BA and read his writings. She also said she would come on a Zoom call to get more deeply into this and took a few of the “seeds” to spread around.

* * * * *

Stepping out in this way was certainly new, and how we were talking about BA and how people were being introduced to him were radically different from how we would go about it before. So far it has been translating into a different dynamic, where people are very much relating to BA the person and his work much more directly, and therefore getting a much better grasp of who we are, what we’re about, and what we are seeking to organize them into. There’s much more to learn from applying all this, but a real beginning and changed course has been started out on.

Episode 45 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show
We Follow Bob Avakian. You Should Too. Why? Because Humanity Needs Revolution!

Read more

Now available as a PDF pamphlet:
Booklet | 8.5x11 sheets



Get a free email subscription to

Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.