Reflections on June 12th Marches

“Hope breaking free” … “Embryo of an alternative culture”


June 21, 2021 |

[Editors’ Note: This is excerpted from a correspondence from someone new to the revolution, who was able to attend the June 12th march in New York City, and surveyed the national impact on social media.]

… Seeing a grouping of people in the streets, marching and saying boldly that revolution is needed—nothing less—and that people are organizing now for such a revolution…and YOU should be a part of THIS revolution… well, it’s rare at this point in time… and people really got to see and feel that! I think we were a provocative and inspiring force in the streets of Harlem on Saturday, and we showed people that there are people ready to stand up NOW and organize NOW to build this movement, as well as what this movement was aiming for and why. This includes boldly saying we are in rare times where the crisis in the system opens opportunities for revolution to succeed that we could only dream of at other times, that should and MUST give the people of the world hope (with the work and leadership of the people who see the way forward, and the way out), a fact that when wielded in the right way can crack apart the fetters on people’s imaginations of what is possible—if we bring out what this makes possible, how, and why. It seems that the best way of doing this in the street is through agitation that is systematic but punchy, deep in the materialist roots of its analysis but sharp in its provocation, as BA has said aiming to be “eminently reasonable, and completely outrageous.”

[Revcoms] did really beautiful work bringing this out to people in a compelling way. This includes bringing out that any of the horrors of this system would be enough for people with a heart for the people and a sense of decency and justice to want the system swept from the earth, and then and now that freedom fighters face nay-sayers (with the vivid example from history of Harriett Tubman, and the role of today’s revolutionaries in getting people to freedom). All of this while calling people into the revolution, into the movement, on the spot, everyone within earshot with a heart for the people and a hunger for a better world!

Thinking about reactions to videos of the march, I feel like some of the biggest questions I have run into in my limited conversations center on a few key points of contention. One, can this system be re-molded and re-shaped to meet the needs of the people, or are the actions represented in the 5 Stops all embodiments of the necessity this system faces, given the underlying dictates of capitalist accumulation and the particularities of its historical development in this country, and that they will never be able to reform beyond these horrors as a result of this? And two, is this still the best of all possible worlds, because any effort at revolution will either be crushed (in contrast to the immense strategic strengths this revolution has that people do not grasp) or lead to even greater horrors (which stems both from challenges speaking to the real history of past socialist revolutions, and the need to highlight the scientific orientation and approach BA’s new communism provides for future socialist societies to address major contradictions in ways that not only get us beyond the limitations of past revolutionary societies but keep our strategic sights focused on achieving liberation for all of humanity from the shackles of class-divided society by continually taking on its remnants, all while organizing a society where people can contribute their energies and thoughts, and where they would actually want to live)….

Noche’s words outside the LA sheriff’s station where he showed how some of this could be addressed head-on in a way that is punchy but calls on the depth of its materialist analysis, especially by bringing to life BA’s discussion on the role of the police in the way he did.

Thinking back to the march itself, while the energy may have waned at times, and the striking visual of people out there, unified, lively, and serious (about the stakes, and in their sense of purpose and mission), disciplined, and righteous could have been more consistent (and I think it would have made a difference for the better if it were clear to everyone watching that’s what we were there to be and represent), I think very strong factors in giving the march its best possible character were the spirit of [the] chants [and] example in getting people into formation, in step, later making a stand with fists raised calling on the people in the projects, then finally calling us to make a right-face in front of the cops to stand boldly opposing them.

It was thoroughly inspiring to be a part of it, and I vividly remember people’s faces as we passed. In particular, I remember a woman, so stirred as the march passed, she raised her fist and trembled. It was like you could see hope breaking free. You could see it painted on people’s faces—they saw the people in the street were speaking truth and were righteous. In this way, I think we impacted the atmosphere in Harlem that day. And not to detract from the power of that, but I was surprised given how many people stopped and snapped photos or recorded videos that I couldn’t find a lot of this on social media later, but I do wonder if people talked to family, friends, neighbors about it later… and I wonder why in this time when people seem to post EVERYTHING to social media, these videos and pics didn’t seem to make the rounds… whether this is the product of fear people have of talking about this or to be seen representing for this, or something else.

Along those lines, I think the declarations of each march were incredibly powerful. Having revolutionaries go with boldness to the hated enforcers of this system, not protesting over one or a handful of brutal acts and degradation, but with a declaration TO THE PEOPLE that we see their potential strength when they decide to stand up, and that there is leadership to point the way forward, including by organizing people now to build and spread this movement, a movement that can bring down this whole system, and lead people in getting the whole world free. There were not enough people on the streets to see this stage of the march in either city… by far. But this really needs to be projected widely, along with clips of the marches (especially of the start of the march in LA… that short clip that shows them stepping off to march is just beautiful). The ceremony in NYC, with the 5 Stops, the ripping of the imperialist rag, and raising the red flag, followed by the reading of the Points of Attention were very moving and powerfully illustrate what the Revolution Clubs are about! One of the many moments where you could see in embryo an alternative culture being represented….


Watch the film of Bob Avakian’s talk,