BA Speaks: Revolution – Nothing Less! Bob Avakian Live Summer Van Tour

A snapshot from a mid-Van Tour gathering at Revolution Books, LA

July 20, 2013 | BA Everywhere |

Monday, July 15—On Monday after the Zimmerman verdict, the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION – NOTHING LESS! L.A. Van Tour stopped off at Revolution Books for a mid-Tour gathering in the midst of a pivotal moment where people are in the streets against the legal lynching of Trayvon Martin, refusing to let it go down, sending a different message: NOT ACCEPTABLE! The L.A. Van Tour has been focusing on building for a major showing of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION – NOTHING LESS! at the downtown L.A. Central Library this Saturday, July 20th, in the context of building a movement for revolution – fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution – and making adjustments as events have been unfolding.

This gathering was also to go over-the-top in the Indiegogo online fundraising campaign to raise big money to fund the BA Everywhere – Summer 2013 plans to get Bob Avakian and his works and vision for revolution and a whole different world way out there in society. As the gathering came together, it was announced that the Indiegogo goal of $20,000 had just been reached and across the country people were aiming for a greater goal by midnight that night!

Volunteers jumped right in, with reports of earlier that day, driving into a Crenshaw-area hood with the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION – NOTHING LESS! van and a truck with an agitator standing in the back of it calling people out to watch the DVD of Bob Avakian – teams going into the buildings, calling people out – and what people in the streets have told them of the brutality and viciousness of life under this system. Stories have poured out as the Trayvon verdict, the righteous response of the people, and hearing BA speak has vindicated the fury of people, lying just underneath the surface in normal times.

Mothers with young sons, distraught, angry, and questioning what they're supposed to do. One young man told how his brother always wore a hoodie – and was killed by the police. After his brother’s murder, his mother relapsed into drug use. “When I heard about the murder of Trayvon Martin, I cried for 3 days straight.” One man said the verdict was the “most grievous tragedy” in this whole last period of time. “I have known many Trayvon’s. I spent 26 years in prison. But that doesn’t make me immune. It hurts me to my soul.”

Others told of the sharp contradictions among the people and the way the authorities prey on that: a Latina who works at a beauty shop told volunteers how her husband used to hang out near their house, but a Black man who works with the cops would always hurl insults at what he called “wetbacks.” One day her husband finally spoke out against that and asked why he says those things. The Black man ended up telling his cop friends the vicious lie that her husband had attacked him with a knife. The next day cops came for her husband, beat and arrested him for “resisting” and then deported him! Her son has gone into a deep depression over his father’s sudden disappearance. She said, “no one knows our story.”

The volunteers have been letting people know there is a way out of this madness, where in a second people’s lives can be ruined by this system. They are finding so many who are assaulted physically by this system and then assaulted ideologically – so many being told “it’s your own fault.” People don’t know these are not isolated incidents, just happening to them, but are universal under this system, and it doesn’t have to be this way - it must and can be ended; introducing people to BA and the movement for revolution, inviting them in and finding the ways for them to do that.

BA's quote from the film, Revolution – Nothing Less!, and printed on the back of the palm card, resonates deeply with many and has a transformative effect on people: “Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity.”

One woman who heard the clips from the DVD and read that quote from BA on the palm card, went into her apartment and came back out with a donation, saying “I can’t get involved – I’m a Jehovah’s witness and I’m not supposed to be involved, but I like what you are doing!” Another woman who had been saying it’s in god’s hands, watched as a young man stepped up to get a Revolution newspaper he couldn’t pay for, and she donated $1 so he could get it. Someone emptied her change purse to donate. An older Black man said “My nephew was killed by the police. I get your emails and been following you. Give me a stack of cards and I’ll pass these out.”

In the swirl of things, people in the streets are struggling with each other over the problem and the solution, about doing the right thing, and fighting to spread and broaden the defiance. Volunteers talked about marching from the Crenshaw district (on a march with hundreds of people that went onto the freeway, getting off and heading up Western Ave.) heading to Wilshire Blvd. – a major iconic thoroughfare in L.A. far north of Crenshaw. Along the way, as they marched through Koreatown, four Korean youth were on the sidelines showing their support for the protest. One black youth went right over to them to invite them in – and the crowd went up in cheers as they joined up! People on the buses on Western Ave., seeing the march, were jumping up and down, raising their fists – all the pent up anger, but also the joy in standing up coming to the surface and people lifting their heads.

Half-way through this bookstore gathering, getting later in the evening, someone reported a news flash that said 1,000 people were protesting in the streets in the Crenshaw district, and the Walmart there had been taken over! The van tour volunteers moved quickly to gather themselves up, jump in the van and head back out! The rest of the people at the meeting continued to make plans to go forward, with speak-outs in the hoods, and finding the bridges for people under the boot of this system to join with others in standing up, lifting their sights and being heard and felt at this critical moment.