Revolution and Religion: a Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian
©2014 by Alice Walker
If the murder of our youth is considered insignificant to those in American society who make the laws, those of us who love the children, and their parents, and ourselves, must awaken to the reality that the political system we find ourselves prisoners of must be abandoned. What is to be done?
This question is approached with courage, dignity, and clarity in this conversation between Cornel West, a Christian revolutionary, and Bob Avakian, a Communist revolutionary. The way will not be easy, but when has it ever been? We will not all agree, on anything, but when has that not been so? Rage, I believe, has no future. Destruction is not a cure. Calling people the names of innocent and quite decent animals is really beneath us as offspring of those regularly called everything but children of God. As they phrased it so poetically. What do I believe shifts reality: deep study of the causes of our suffering, helpfulness toward those we see are struggling, teaching the illiterate to read, feeding those without food, clothing those without clothes. Housing the homeless. In my opinion the saying attributed to Marx “From each according to his ability and to each according to his need” would not seem out of place among some of the teachings in The New Testament, itself a manifesto. Both have been mocked and derided by masses of humans, as they strove to climb over others to get to the top of the hill. We can look at both again, in light of this historic dialogue between brother Avakian and brother West. Our lives on this planet, and the life of the planet itself depend on our ability to learn how to study as well as protest. That is why, in the Sixties, students who were arrested in the South, carried their books with them to jail. That is why, in Mississippi, we considered teaching reading and writing a fundamental act of rebellion.
We will probably never, as a people, relinquish our solidarity with Jesus. And why should we? Jesus was a revolutionary himself. Chasing the money lenders out of the temple isn’t all he did. Get to know this man, deeply, not as a sacrificial lamb hanging on a wall, but as an exemplar of compassion, empathy and courage. And fierce intellect. A public intellectual, indeed.
Realize he is born over and over again, as well, in all people who hold the characteristics he embodied.
Get to know why Communism is so maligned. In hindsight it is almost amusing to consider how “Godless Communism” was the phrase that most impressed many people away from Communism, when in fact the crushing of Communism was about the rich being determined, by whatever murderous means necessary, to keep their wealth. Does anyone today believe the owners of most of the stolen wealth in the world care about God?
Thank you, brothers West and Avakian, for this ray of light. We shall know the truth, if it is the last thing we ever know. And who knows what future for humanity lies beyond our knowing.
Reprinted with permission