What People Are Saying About
Revolution & Religion:
The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion,
A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian
Ardea Skybreak, On Attending the Dialogue Between Bob Avakian and Cornel West
Ardea Skybreak: “It was like there was magic in the air. It was one of the most hopeful things that I’ve seen in a very long time. I think it was historic in many different dimensions: in terms of the topic that was approached; the people who were involved in it, the two speakers; the moment in time. I felt like I was able to see a great demonstration of morality and conscience applied to dealing with the problems of humanity—that both speakers stood out this way.” Read more
Before the Dialogue:
from Ed Asner—Actor, Emmy Award winner: “We need it desperately…”
I have been a fan of Cornel West for many years. I have been deeply impressed by his intelligence and his purity and to find him in dialogue with Bob Avakian, a fearless leader of the left is a consummation to be wished for. Work prevents me from being at the dialogue, but know this, I envy all of you who are. If hope and clarity can only come from this dialogue to lighten the dark times we live in, then I would wish this same dialogue will be played throughout the land. We need it desperately.
from Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Author of Wizard of the Crow:
The gap of wealth and power between the have and the have-not nations of the earth and the social haves and have-nots within each of the nations, is deepening and widening daily, with the irony that the haves, between and within nations, depend on the resources of the have-nots for their power and privilege. The result is material and spiritual misery of millions. This condition is human made not God made. It can only be righted by human action. A discussion on the role of religion in the struggle for material and spiritual emancipation of the human has never been so necessary.
October 11, 2014
After the Dialogue: Observations from the Audience
from a woman from Europe who was raised Muslim: “Depth and concern about the conditions of women in the world…”
I’ve never heard anyone—man or woman—talk with such depth and concern about the conditions of women in the world like Bob Avakian did in this event. I found myself crying and standing up in applause in what seemed to be inappropriate times in recognition of this. He spoke with the same conviction in regards to Palestinians when he explained that the Democrats—not one of them—said a word about the massacre in Gaza by the Israelis.
from a Black man in his sixties: “We need to give more thought to how people live while they are here and not pie in the sky.”
I’m a Christian. One of the things that struck me listening to the communist is that much of what he said is at the heart of, is foundational to Christianity, in terms of the Kingdom of God. The unfortunate thing about it is that the Christian religion gets a lot of criticism because we think a great deal about the pie in the sky by and by, thinking about a different world and getting the pie in the sky by and by. The reality is I don’t care if this is scientific or unscientific, this is a world full of people. One of the things I like to say to young people is part of the reason that a lot of these people get caught up in all these rituals they get caught up in it and can’t let it go. Because they’re thinking and acting like everything in this world is going to be forever. The graveyard in every society is an object lesson that nobody in this world is going to stay here and this world is not forever. But we need to give more thought to how people live while they are here and not pie in the sky.
from a white male, graduate student: “The creativity of the human spirit is something that needs to be allowed to flourish…”
BA said something that I didn’t expect, but something that touched a very unique chord in my heart. He began talking about the recent comet landing and the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake as being just as important as all of the arts.
This comparison of science and arts, placing them on equal footing and as interchangeable manifestation of human motivational needs hit me particularly close. I recall at one point trying (with little success) to convince one of my professors that science is also an art. Hearing BA validate this sentiment was refreshing and I wish I could have been as eloquent as him when addressing this professor. The creativity of the human spirit is something that needs to be allowed to flourish. Without this, we cannot be fully human. This is what a revolutionary society needs.
from a young Black woman from Chicago: “I didn’t know that Bob Avakian was a Caucasian male…”
What surprised me was that, first, I didn’t know that Bob Avakian was a Caucasian male, and it surprised me that he spoke the truth like that, because usually a lot of Caucasian people wouldn’t do that, ’cause they don’t want people to know the truth, you know? And I feel like he really broke it down, and that was just really interesting, because the way they broke the subjects and the situations down I really understood it, and I feel like it’ll change things, change the world.
from a 12-year-old Black youth from Chicago: “All the information about WHY most of our Black people are getting killed for no reason”
They said it’s always the Black people that get killed for no reason. What surprised me? Knowing that it’s always us—like my brother who was killed by police. You shoulda came because it gives you all the information about WHY most of our black people are getting killed for no reason.”