WCBS Atlanta asks Sunsara Taylor to call in on Good Friday!
This last Friday, Altanta talk-show host Derrick Boazman asked Sunsara to call in.
They wrote: "It’s a Tell the Truth Friday and in our discussion of Easter and Good Friday, the notion of atheism came up. Thats when we called our good friend Sunsara Taylor to give us her views on her belief. Click the audio link to hear the extraordinary conversation…"
Co-sponsors: The Platypus Affiliated Society & World Can’t Wait
Participants: Sinan Antoon, Wafaa Bilal, Laura Lee Schmidt, Sunsara Taylor
“If you are troubled about the state and direction of the world…if you are repelled by both the arrogant assertion of empire by the government and leaders of the U.S. and the fanatical backwardness of Islamic fundamentalism, what should you be doing?”
The U.S. government has arrogated to itself the right to rain down death on countries in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa...to continue to hold thousands in prisons all over the world without trial and utilizing torture...to step up repression against those who within the U.S. attempt to organize against this…and, now, under the cover of “humanitarianism,” to carry out military intervention, with European allies, in Libya to reassert its dominance.
We sense there’s a lid on response to these crimes from people within the U.S. who don’t want the U.S. endangering the world, but who see the growth of oppressive Islamic fundamentalism, and fear strengthening it.
The resulting paralysis is morally unacceptable, as is the support some progressives have given to U.S. military operations in Libya. Meanwhile, Islamic fundamentalism, presenting itself as an “alternative” to Western domination, continues to assert itself, including in the recent popular uprisings in the Middle East. And so in Egypt, we see attempts by fundamentalist forces to put a brake on the radical aspirations of people, especially women.
Is there an alternative to both empire and Islamic fundamentalism? At a time when the uprisings in the Middle East have given renewed hope to many, there is a chance to break through this impasse and to explore, debate and frame the possibilities of a different way, adding to the urgently needed political oxygen that the peoples of Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere have injected into the atmosphere.
Through this exchange, we seek to create space to engage, wrangle, and test the ideas of a diverse panel of prominent artists, scholars, and political thinkers about alternatives to these two unacceptable options – in a world crying out for fundamental change.
Sinan Antoon, a poet, essayist, novelist, and Associate Professor in the Gallatin School at NYU is the author of I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody, and The Baghdad Blues, a collection of poems. He lived in Iraq through the Gulf War, and directed a documentary in 2003 about the occupation of his native Baghdad. He was nominated for a PEN Prize for his translation of poet Mahmoud Darwish.
Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal, an Assistant Arts Professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, is known internationally for his on-line performative and interactive works provoking dialogue about international politics and internal dynamics. Bilal's work is constantly informed by the experience of fleeing his homeland and existing simultaneously in two worlds – his home in the "comfort zone" of the U.S. and his consciousness of the "conflict zone" in Iraq. Laura Lee Schmidt is the East Coast Assistant Regional Coordinator for the Platypus Affiliated Society and an editor of the Platypus Review. She gained her master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture and will continue her graduate work as a PhD student in Harvard's History of Science program. Sunsara Taylor is a writer for Revolution Newspaper, a host of WBAI's Equal Time for Freethought, and sits on the Advisory Board of World Can't Wait. She has written on the rise of theocracy, wars and repression in the U.S., led in building resistance to these crimes, and takes as her foundation the new synthesis on revolution and communism developed by Bob Avakian.
"If you have had a chance to see the world as it really is,
"If you have had a chance to see the world as it really is, there are profoundly different roads you can take with your life. You can just get into the dog-eat-dog, and most likely get swallowed up by that while trying to get ahead in it. You can put your snout into the trough and try to scarf up as much as you can, while scrambling desparately to get more than others. Or you can try to something that would change the whole direction of society and the whole way the world is. When you put those things alongside each other, which one has any meaning, which one really contributes to anything worthwhile? Your life is going to be about something--or it's going to be about nothing. And there is nothing greater your life can be about than contributing whatever you can to the revolutionary transformation of society and the world, to put an end to all systems and relations of oppression and exploitation and all the unnecessary suffering and destruction that goes along with them. I have learned that more and more deeply through all the twists and turns and even the great setbacks, as well as the great achievements, of the communist revolution so far, in what are really still its early stages historically."
From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey
from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist,
A Memoir by Bob Avakian, 2005
#23 page 166 in BAsics, from Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian
now on the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics, join Ruby Dee, David Murray, Maluca, Matthew Shipp, reg e. gaines and more in a Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World
“It is easy to have a society where a privileged intellectual elite has considerable freedom to grapple with ideas—as long as they stay within certain confines and don’t fundamentally challenge the existing order….
The hard thing is turning all of this upside down without stifling the critical spirit, the wrangling over ideas and theories and so on. Because we have also seen from history that it might be quite easy to institute a kind of monolithic system where only a few ideas are allowed to be debated out and where there is not real critical thinking and dissent. And we have seen that, to the degree that this is a tendency in socialist society, it works against socialism, against the revolutionary transformation of society, against the advance to communism.”
“The End of a Stage – The Beginning of a New Stage,” Revolution magazine, Fall 1990
included in BAsics, from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian
BAsics is available at your local Revolution Books, at Amazon.com and here
And this Monday, April 11, 7pm in Aaron Davis Hall at HarlemStage, join with others On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics, A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World.
Why should you be there?
Here's what Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books wrote:
"Do not underestimate the power of being at Harlem Stage on April 11. You need to be there for a celebration that transforms all of us, with impact far beyond the night and the 4 walls. It will be a joyous evening with outstanding musicians, actors, poets, and visual artists who span the 60's to today, dramatically fused with readings of prisoners and others' reflections on revolution, along with readings of Bob Avakian's own words... a theater filled with the electricity of hundreds of people from Harlem and around the country with eyes on the future."
"If you can conceive of a world without America...
—without everything America stands for and everything it does in the world—then you've already taken great strides and begun to get at least a glimpse of a whole new world. If you can envision a world without any imperialism, exploitation, oppression—and the whole philosophy that rationalizes it—a world without division into classes or even different nations, and all the narrow-minded, selfish, outmoded ideas that uphold this; if you can envision all this, then you have the basis for proletarian internationalism. And once you have raised your sights to all this, how could you not feel compelled to take an active part in the world historic struggle to realize it; why would you want to lower your sights to anything less?"
Revolution #169, June 28, 2009
(quote originally published 1985)
Join Ruby Dee, David Murray, Maluca, William Parker, Matthew Shipp + More
"People look at what religion calls "the heavens." They look at the stars, the galaxies. They can see a small part of the vastness of the universe, and they can imagine the greater vastness of the universe. Or they can look on a small scale, look with a microscope and see a small microbe or whatever, and be amazed by what goes on internally within that. They can ponder the relationship between what you can see with a microscope and what you can see with a telescope. This is a quality of human beings. Human beings will always strive for this. Far from trying to suppress this, or failing to recognize it, we can and should and will give much fuller expression to it.
Communism will not put an end to--nor somehow involve the suppression of--awe and wonder, the imagination, and "the need to be amazed." On the contrary, it will give much greater, and increasing, scope to this. It will give flight on a much grander scale to the imagination, in dialectical relation with--and in an overall sense as a part of--a systematic and comprehensive scientific method for comprehending and transforming reality."
from "Materialism and Romanticism: Can We Do Without Myth" Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy, 2005
quote of the day: "Look at all these beautiful children who are female in the world."
"And in addition to all the other outrages which I have referred to, in terms of children throughout the slums and shantytowns of the Third World, in addition to all the horrors that will be heaped on them—the actual living in garbage and human waste in the hundreds of millions as their fate, laid out before them, yes, even before they are born—there is, on top of this, for those children who are born female, the horror of everything that this will bring simply because they are female in a world of male domination. And this is true not only in the Third World. In 'modern' countries like the U.S. as well, the statistics barely capture it: the millions who will be raped; the millions more who will be routinely demeaned, deceived, degraded, and all too often brutalized by those who are supposed to be their most intimate lovers; the way in which so many women will be shamed, hounded and harassed if they seek to exercise reproductive rights through abortion, or even birth control; the many who will be forced into prostitution and pornography; and all those who—if they do not have that particular fate, and even if they achieve some success in this 'new world' where supposedly there are no barriers for women—will be surrounded on every side, and insulted at every moment, by a society and a culture which degrades women, on the streets, in the schools and workplaces, in the home, on a daily basis and in countless ways."
included in BAsics, from Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian
but the world does NOT have to be this way.
join us "On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics, A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World." Monday, April 11, 7pm at Harlem Stage
an evening of music, poetry, readings, dance, visual art.. from different spheres, and different views but all determined to break open the atmosphere, change the conversation and envision a whole other way the world could be. with Ruby Dee, David Murray, Matthew Shipp, reg e. gaines, Maluca, many more, find out here
“...I am heartened to see that the social idealism that I once considered and still consider quintessentially American lives on in full force through people like Bob Avakian. For him, hope is not just a campaign phrase, and never will be.”
from Emory Douglas, Revolutionary Artist,former Minister of Culture, Black Panther Party:
“Bob Avakian continues to Educate to Liberate."
from John Santos, musician:
“…'On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World,' will be a major step towards the free and open exchange of ideas and real alternatives that merit the consideration of the greater international community of working class citizens and those of conscience who know that a systemic change is necessary and long overdue.”
from Matthew Shipp, musician:
“…in times like these the ideas of someone like Bob Avakian must be studied... we need voices like Bob to let youth know there are alternatives within this system that is corrupted to the core."
from Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Princeton University*:
“…, this is the occasion of BAsics, which is a celebration of revolution and a vision of a new world… You're gonna see an alternative to a world in which we live.”
from David Zeiger, film maker:
“The great revolutions of the last century have themselves become, in the minds of most people, the best arguments against communist revolution. How can that be overcome? I'm honestly not sure it can. But one thing I know is that without the profoundly new work that Bob Avakian is doing, it never will. And without that work being in the mix of debate in this world, it never will.”
from Elaine Brower, National Steering Committee of World Can't Wait* and anti-war military mom:
"On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World" is one of these events when the seriousness of the situation gives us pause to re-think the present and change the future. Anything is possible if we make it so."
from Richard Brown, Co-Founder, The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, founded by the SF8:
"I have spoken with all members of the SF8, and because of the respect that we all have for Bob Avakian, we would like to be listed as a whole, and not just me as an individual. And I am very excited about this book coming out."
from Carl Dix, founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party:
Bob Avakian, with the work he has done to advance the science of communism, and the breakthroughs he has made in the theory, method and strategy of revolution, provides a source of hope and daring on a solid, scientific basis.”
* for identification purposes only
Buy the book at www.revcom.us, at your local Revolution Books or at amazon.com
Sunsara Taylor is a writer for Revolution Newspaper, a host of WBAI's Equal Time for
Freethought, and sits on the Advisory Board of World Can't Wait. She has written on the
rise of theocracy, wars and repression in the U.S., led in building resistance to these
crimes, and contributed to the movement for revolution to put an end to all this. She takes
as her foundation the new synthesis on revolution and communism developed by Bob
Avakian. You can find her impressive verbal battles with Bill O'Reilly and various
political commentary on things from abortion to religion to cultural relativism by searching “Sunsara Taylor”