Bringing Revolution – Nothing Less! to the “Malecon” on the Hudson

July 20, 2013 | BA Everywhere |

Wednesday, July 17—It was a brutally hot day in NYC, affecting everyone, including those on the Van Tour. We decided to take the van to a park along the river, an area popular among Dominican people in Washington Heights (north of Harlem), reminding many of the scene along the “Malecon” seaside highway in Santo Domingo where thousands of Dominicans hang out on hot evenings in the summer.

We took the banner from the side the van to where the people were and got to playing large sections of the BA Speaks: Revolution – Nothing Less! DVD, along with cuts in Spanish from Bob Avakian’s previous film Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About.

Many, not surprisingly, were in a kick-back-and-party mood, but a significant number were drawn to figuring out how do we get out of the situation we are in. Immediately some young Dominicans came and watched, angry about the whole set-up in the U.S. and about the outrageous acquittal of George Zimmerman. One said: “Everything he is saying is true, it is factual.” Quickly things got into questions of strategy – how do you actually make a revolution in the U.S.? One said that sounds fine but “that is a long road to haul” and was searching for a quicker/easier way to have revolution that would be harmful and definitely would not lead to real human emancipation. In response, points from “On the Strategy for Revolution” in BAsics (and we also had copies of Revolution #226, a special issue on that) were read and debated. They were not fully won over on all that but seemed to be really seriously grappling with the points made and are interested in getting their friends together and seeing a lot more of film, including on this important question of strategy for revolution.

A woman who saw a good chunk of the first disk of the Revolution – Nothing Less! DVD set at the welcome event for the van tour two days earlier (see "A Whole Scene of People of All Ages Watching Revolution – Nothing Less!"), made a point of coming out with us again and watched a whole lot of the second DVD. There were parts that she asked us to rewind a bit to hear a second time some parts she didn’t understand, and she said afterwards she really wants to pull together the money to buy the whole DVD set. She said "Hearing BA and talking with you all gave me a different perspective on life. I understand more about reality and standing up for myself, just wanting something different and it can happen even though the police and others are keeping everybody down, we have to try to find a way out, a better life for myself and the world." Two copies of BA Speaks: Revolution – Nothing Less! were sold, and people want to organize gatherings to watch and discuss it with their friends. In one case language will be an issue, so there may be a combination of showing some Spanish parts of Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About, along with the new film. A woman from a health clinic wants to show it to an informal group of women she is a part of where “we talk about serious issues, people will be really interested in this”. As discussion unfolded with her the idea of the gathering also having a fundraising character also developed – given that a number are health care professionals. There will be follow-up to carry through with this. In addition, in the two and a half hours on the “Malecon” we gathered $41 in donations for BA Everywhere, along with getting out a lot of Revolution/Revolución newspapers.

Some of our crew were surprised that, in addition to many people outraged by the verdict in Florida, that we encountered some who actually supported George Zimmerman and the acquittal. We had to take that on. Some really backward forces are getting promoted in the Spanish media (particularly that controlled by reactionary Miami-based Cuban exiles) that argue that because Zimmerman’s mother is an immigrant from South America that Zimmerman is Latino and somehow this cancelled out the basic fact that Zimmerman was doing what the system has trained him to do – racially profiling of Black (and Latino) youth, seeing them as “suspects” to be pursued and even murdered, and that Zimmerman for that reason had a whole system backing him up. It was significant last year that a group of Puerto Rican and Dominican activists organized “Latinos for Trayvon” to take on this shit and the day before there was a march of 100 mainly Dominicans in Washington Heights demanding Justice for Trayvon. But what we saw out in the park indicated that this backward/reactionary shit is still getting a hearing among a section of people, and still needs to be taken on, which we did.

Before the park closed, we organized a roving march, carrying as our banner the van display on BA Speaks: Revolution – Nothing Less! and chanting as we went in Spanish and English: “We are ALL Trayvon Martin – The Whole System Is Guilty – We need Revolution – Nothing Less.” This had a big impact, drawing forward a lot of people. We wish we had done things like that from the beginning.