p class="kicker">Interview with Sunsara Taylor|
Glimpsing a Liberated Future with Chairman Avakian
Revolutionary Worker #1254, October 10s, 2004, posted at http://rwor.org
This is an excerpt of an interview conducted with Sunsara Taylor by Luciente Zamora during the week of the Republican National Convention. The full interview can be seen at rwteam.blogspot.com.
Luciente:Can you speak to the crucial role of revolutionary communists, the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade in taking out and promoting and popularizing our Chairman Bob Avakian?
Sunsara: Let me say this on a personal level, there are a lot of things I hate in this world and that have outraged me over the years and been moved to do something about. But it's a big leap you make when you decide to be a conscious revolutionary communist.
Our Chairman has said that it's one thing to criticize, it's another thing when you're running society and it's all on you--and all the problems that humanity faces and that we're criticizing today, we're also responsible for solving them.
Somebody told me this when they heard his talk, Revolution, Why it's Necessary, Why it's Possible, What it's all About . They said, "You think if he's trying to sell you on revolution, he wouldn't make it sound so fucking hard!"
My friend told this person when we were all talking, "When he tells you all that's involved and all the problems, it actually makes [revolution] sound a lot more possible than you thought before."
When you hear him talking about how we would run society and how we would handle the contradictions that people face today, in a way that involves people and expands the "we" who is running society and leading society and creating a vibrant society where there is debate and diversity.
A society where people are discovering themselves and learning how to rule; where people are deciding what direction society should go. When you hear him talk you start to get a taste of that world and you actually feel more passionate to fight today--and this is what I think is something unique about the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade and those of us who are followers of Chairman Avakian--it's not just how horrible the world would be if we don't resist, but it's how things can be beyond the bounds of what we can fathom today and what a liberating world could be like.and that it's actually realizable.
That's a vision that not enough people have. It's a vision that we need if we're going to bring that world into being. It's a vision that people need if they are going to fight today as seriously as they can--in a way that gets us in a position to really involve people in all the complexity of things.
Luciente:Can you tell me more about this vision?
Sunsara:Many people have the impression that, and I know because I learned this in school, that communism is a gray and boring world where you're sent to re-education camp if you disagree. You hear all this bullshit about what communism really is.
First of all, it's not a hellish totalitarianist society and it's not a nice idea that would never work. It's also not that everyone has to share everything including toothbrushes or that you don't have any kind of privacy or diversity.or whatever. All of that is the furthest thing from the truth.
Today we live in a world now where diversity and creativity and languages are being destroyed all over the planet by globalization and imperialism. Whole cultures and languages are being lost. People can't really express themselves.
In a communist society, there won't be antagonisms between people--but there will be struggle. Our Chairman describes that there will always be struggle for new truths and understanding to be learned about the world. There will be struggle about what we should do with the resources that humanity has produced.
We will have to struggle against other ideas.. You may have a section of people that will want to build more hospitals and another section of people that want to build more parks.
Some people will want to put out a new form of art production.who knows, but things like that will come up. But in the future, people will be able to share in the production of society and share in producing the things that people need. The people's needs will be met for the first time in history.
People will have shelter and food and all that we need. But it's not just that. People will have those needs met and they will not be working in sweatshops. Technology that today further enslaves people will be a way to make work easier to liberate people from laboring. People will have more time to participate in running and administering society and working in the realm of ideas.
Today there are so many lives that are scripted before they are even born--they don't even have an option. In the society we're talking about, people will be able to work with ideas and be a part of scientific inquiry and studying things to find out more about the natural environment and the stars and things about nature and reality and creating and producing art. We'll have the biggest flowering of creative _expression--writers and comedians and dancers and painters.
People will share in a common abundance. In the RCYB we talk about no more men oppressing women, no more white supremacy, no more one class forcing another class to slave for them, no more one country trying to run the globe. Instead you'll have freely associating human beings. It's just so wildly different from what we're used to today.
Luciente:In your article "The Future is Waiting." you quote Chairman Avakian when he says that we don't have to hide from the future because the future belongs to us. Can you speak more on that?
Sunsara:Before I was saying that there is a lot of sense of outrage among people about what's happening--globalization, police brutality, militarization of the border, and the criminalization of immigrants in this country, and unending war. There is a lot of outrage and anger about that, but there is not enough sense that the future does belong to us.
The truth is that if you try to put yourself in the shoes of the ruling class for a minute--imagine if you were trying to run the planet and everybody hates you--and literally people hate what they, the U.S. imperialists, are doing. So they have a certain gangster logic and they have to go pummeling ahead and intimidating everyone--but the truth is, as vicious as they are, they are holding on to a world that is moving past them.
You see a new world bursting forward in the resistance of people around the planet and in people fighting back. You see it in people refusing to be a broken people. You see it in Palestine. You see it all throughout Latin America. All over the planet you see people fighting back and looking for the ways to fight back.
Let me think, the future belongs to us if we dare to rise up.it's a challenge to us. That's the importance of promoting and popularizing our Chairman.
When you hear what he's talking about and when you listen to his speeches or read his writings you really get a sense--through everything that he does--that he proceeds from the understanding that a better world really is possible and that's the direction history is tending even if it's going to mean a wrenching struggle. From that perspective he looks at the problems we are facing today and how to solve them.
When you really understand where you're going and what's in the interests of the masses of people and you can win people to the truth, then you can win people to fight more fiercely and you can help show people the way out. That's what our Chairman is doing.
When you hear him speak--this is going to be the closest in our lifetime that we're going to taste what a communist world will be like. He has such a love for the people and such an interest in humanity and reality and in the truth.
He's a real searching person. He always interrogates himself and interrogates others. If he doesn't know something he doesn't pretend to know. He tries to find out and lead others to find out and teaches them about the methods to solve the problems. Part of that is his willingness to take on the most fucked-up empire in history--we need to have strategic contempt for our enemies and know that they are not all-powerful even though they like to pretend that they are, AND strategic confidence in the masses of people.
Luciente:You're a proud follower of Chairman Avakian and you're also a very creative person and a critical thinker. You write beautiful poetry and your articles in the Revolutionary Worker are inspiring. How does the leadership of Chairman Avakian unleash such creativity and critical thinking--and unleash people to be revolutionary leaders of the masses?
Sunsara:Now, I've had to go through a lot of struggle around this. I've never done that many interviews before, to be honest. In the past few weeks I've done a lot of interviews and first you're really nervous and trying to remember all your points. But then I started thinking about how the Chairman approaches everything. He approaches things from the standpoint of fulfilling a great need. Not how you do really well yourself . . . it's like he says, you don't go out to make a great work, but to fulfill a great need.
I started to think about what his whole life's work has been. Like when you recognize a contradiction or a problem--you must lead people to solve it and it's something that you should joyously and willingly and voluntarily and consciously take up. I had to do a shift in my thinking and to think, `How does he do what he does?' I mean he's shouldering so much and it gave me a lot of confidence to say, `Do the masses of people deserve to have their interests expressed?' Well the answer is an undeniable `yes!'
Because I have followed and studied Chairman Avakian I do have answers and something to say to people!
To know that there is somebody that we can have so much confidence in.let me tell you, things can get really crazy in the middle of such an intense struggle.
We need to shift things--are we going to have Bush all puffed up and ready to rule the planet or are we going to have him with his pants pulled down in front of the world looking humiliated and naked?
It's easy to stress out in the middle of all this, but it's important to step back for a minute and see that our Chairman is leading us to solve all these problems. He's somebody who is voluntarily and very eagerly saying that he will give his life to the people.and there's a lot riding on what he does. But he doesn't stop and complain. He solves the problems and he leads people to solve the problems. I try to emulate that and it makes a big difference.
Another thing that stands out in the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, and those of us who are really trying to embody and take up the way to bring a whole other world into being, is that it's not just about getting work done.
Let me explain. The other night, after this huge protest and after we've busted our asses for weeks and after we'd all lost our voices--we came together at like midnight until the wee hours of the morning to have a party!
Even in the most intense times we have to have intellectual and artistic ferment and struggle and creative process and exchange. It's not just about getting the work done, but we have to ask ourselves what kind of world we want anyhow. Don't we want a world that gives people the ability to be creative and imaginative and to explore all the things that human beings are capable of?
He really gives me the appreciation that all along the way we need to enjoy the struggle--that we must lead people in a way that is consistent with the type of world we want to live in.
I'll be honest, I quit writing poetry for a while because I was very involved. I think a lot of people do. There are so many demands that the world needs and you're always fighting and fighting and fighting. But he struggles with us and says that the people can't just put their heads down and struggle, but we really have to wrangle with ideas and engage in different spheres and we have to make music and write poetry.
Before we end, I have a few more thoughts.
I woke up today feeling that the weight of the world is on my shoulders, but then I went through my day and talked to people in the RCYB and different people who have been out at the protests and watched some of the coverage in the media. I was really amazed by people.
I woke up feeling that there's a lot we need to do. Then I walked through my day and thought how impressed I am by people. I thought how glad I am that we have our Chairman and that we have a lot going for us. I don't think we'd be where we are right now or have a chance to get out of this mess without him.and I feel that the future does belong to us.