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

Day Three in South Central, Los Angeles

July 19, 2013 | BA Everywhere |

Wednesday, July 17—The Van Tour volunteers started the day reading articles – articles speaking to the most important questions of the hour, giving a picture of developments nationwide, and providing important orientation to revolutionaries (and all who yearn for a better world) in this societal jolt in the wake of the Not Guilty verdict handed to Trayvon Martin’s killer. Then we headed into a South Central neighborhood for the third day – driving thru with the van and showing clips of BA Speaks: Revolution – Nothing Less! Bob Avakian Live on a flat screen TV from the back of a pickup truck

Since the neighborhood youth took to the streets Monday night, the police have come out in force with both overwhelming intimidating presence and harassment, as well as walking around playing “officer friendly,” including passing out flyers about protecting speech but violence being unacceptable. This, after they shot rubber bullets, attacked and arrested youth, and continuing threatening people in a mass way. There has also been a media barrage saying the same thing. People are still very angry, but the protests in the neighborhood have died down for the moment. A protest and march of about 150 people was held in Beverly Hills, involving people who are determined to get the message out more broadly in society that this verdict will not be accepted.

At our first stop in the neighborhood, on a block we hadn’t been to before, people were really welcoming, opening up and sharing their life stories – something we are experiencing overall everywhere we’ve been going these last few days. We met two people there whose relatives had been killed by police.

Throughout the day we encountered how some people in the neighborhood were summing up the experience of youth taking to the streets – that they were rowdy or violent and that this was wrong, and the wrong way to express opposition to the verdict. We used the statement from Carl Dix, whether these youth will have a world where they can flourish or the Zimmermans can run amok. One of the controversies in relation to this particular thing around the youth, people were thanking us for doing what we were doing, going into the community with this, but juxtaposing that with what the kids were doing. We made clear we were there with them, and will continue to be. We didn’t have to work too hard to win people over to the understanding that it is extremely important when the youth who are targeted by this system stand up, even when there are excesses or mistakes – and what the youth need most is to connect that righteous fury and rebelliousness with revolutionary leadership and scientific understanding so it can more and more consciously be part of making revolution. And there were people who took materials so they could be part of the process of making this connection.

Many people are trying to sift through and figure out all this stuff, including where all this comes from. People have been taking a lot of materials – stacks of cards, of Revolution newspapers, people have been reading them and coming back for more, donating to it. One of the contradictions among the people that developed when the youth took the streets Monday night is that there were some Latinos who were attacked by Black youth. A Black woman who is married to a Latino man understood the history of this country, the antagonisms, which weighs her down, but hopes that things can change, for her kid and others. She took materials, statements and palmcards, got a copy of Revolution newspaper and was able to see the importance of getting this out to her neighbors. One of the volunteers shared with her BA’s example in Revolution – Nothing Less! of the masses living in the projects: Latinos and Blacks living next to each other and having no idea of what they’ve gone through. Many people saw the importance of getting this out to their neighbors and friends to open up the conversation. What difference it would make for people to talk about what’s in Revolution newspaper and what BA is saying.

There’s been a willingness to share experience and ideas. We’ve called for and done speakouts in the neighborhoods the last two days. At least five people have voiced their anger, thoughts, and stories. One woman heard us as she was driving and felt compelled to stop, because as she put it, she fears for the life of her son and for all Black young people and she felt like she needed to say that. This day, the police came and tried to intimidate people with their presence. Many were not deterred from stopping to get materials and talk to us, though did not want to speak on the bullhorn in that situation. Others stood on the sidelines waiting for the police to leave, and when they finally did leave, came over to talk with us and were very glad we hadn’t backed down. There were others who purposely came out and stayed around watching the whole time - so that the police knew there were people watching what they were doing.

That evening we went to a park in the neighborhood that has a “Summer Night Lights” (SNL) program: lights are left-on on the basketball courts until 11 pm, music is played, and food is distributed, as the “officer friendly” part of the city’s anti-gang program. There were about a hundred people there, especially youth and young kids. This is the most people we’ve seen together all at once in the neighborhood because of the main aspect of how the police terrorize the area – the gang injunction. And several people we talked to at SNL spoke bitterly about how four or more young people, including little children, can’t hang out together in front of their apartments without being hounded by the police – not even with their relatives.

We played the film and people came up: an Egyptian woman talked about the realized reality “this is my first son, is this going to be the future that he has” and was compelled to watch the film and take stacks of newspapers, fliers, and palmcards. After watching a clip she talked about Egypt and distrust of white people. But, when speaking of BA she said his ethnicity did not matter because what matters is what he’s saying - it’s really important; that matters more – plus it should be all different kinds of people talking about this. An older woman talked to one of the van tour volunteers in the park about Trayvon Martin and the woman told the young woman, “I read a really good article about this in that paper that’s in that guy’s hand,” pointing to one of the other volunteers, “you should read that paper, I think it’s called Revolution.”

We’ve been getting out our revolutionary materials – saturating the neighborhood by hitting different parts, daytime canvassing, afternoon speakouts, and SNL - re-meeting people we’ve met throughout the days or people who have gotten materials and read it. We are pulling together a picnic tomorrow and inviting everybody we’ve met - people have been happy to hear about the picnic and the screening at the Central Library – because of the opportunity to come together and wrangle over the way out.