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An Interview with a Latin American Youth

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Post 30 Mar 2004, 08:29
I really liked this article because it shows that Communist work among the masses does get results if you work hard enough...

Interview with a Latin American Youth

On Our Chairman and the Importance of Atheism
Revolutionary Worker #1235, April 4, 2004, posted at

Manuel is a 22-year-old construction worker who immigrated here from Latin America more than five years ago and provides much support for his family back home.

We asked Manuel what impact the writings and speeches of RCP Chairman Bob Avakian have had on him. It was a wide-ranging discussion on the leadership of the Chairman, the books and articles Manuel has been reading--"Could We Really Win?," "Grasp Revolution, Promote Production"--and the importance of the Revolutionary Worker newspaper. Here we focus on the impact of Avakian's writings on religion and how Manuel became an atheist.

One time when I was working in the barrio, I saw a poster from the RW and it said "Looking for a Plan to Change the World?" and then it showed pictures of people in Nepal, Philippines, etc. I saw that and I was like, "Man, where is this coming from?" I saw RCP on it and I wanted to know how to find those people. After I read it I felt like that's exactly what I want--to change the world.

I read "Could We Really Win?" a while ago and that's a huge question. The Chairman gets into it and really breaks down that things are possible. That's one of the very special things about him- -the methods he has for leading and teaching people. What he's writing about now, the history of socialist society, the contradictions we face, in the new series ("Proletarian Democracy and Proletarian Dictatorship: A Radically Different View of Leading Society"). That's very important for people to know. Not just giving leadership, but also getting into things in a deeper way, developing science and dealing with questions of life and death, and it helps people know the history of socialist society--an important tool to tell people that another society is possible.

The Chairman talks about the whole world.he invites people to make a commitment, he invites people to raise up their sights, their views and look at things at this moment of history we're in and the need to transform and change things. When he writes about the moment of history we're in--we're in a moment of history and production that have brought the proletariat to a certain place. He says the moment of history we're facing right now, that we could actually transform the world and make it different.

When you look overall, you see things the international proletariat has in common. I was telling someone in the Youth Brigade (RCYB), when I go to buy gyros or shish kebab, I find a guy from Kosovo, from Greece, etc. I'm a laborer, I'm also exploited, taking shit every day. I see what these people have in common with me. The oppression and exploitation we face and the duty we have to transform things. The Chairman talks about this.

And he is very passionate. He says we need to do revolution for the whole of humanity, for the whole world. After I first took that in, I thought about a lot of things, because he means it, about how we need to do this not just for us, but for the whole planet--tell me there is no greater love than this. That is really touching--there is nothing greater than eliminating this whole system, for a love of people. After taking that in, like for real, the most meaningful thing all over, I thought how revolution in this country would be a festival, a big party for humanity. there wouldn't be a place in Latin America where people wouldn't celebrate the fall of U.S. imperialism, and when it comes to Africa, forget about it. There is no place in the world where people don't suffer from U.S. imperialism--India, Nepal, China. And not just in terms of let's take them down, but it will be really meaningful to give birth to something different. The suffering of millions of people, he gets into all this, and what it would be for people to see something different. It's in terms of that, that I say there wouldn't be anything greater--to transform whole world and humanity--into a beautiful world. A world where you'd like to live. Because this is a piece of shit world we live in, a toilet world.

Another thing is that he shows why communists represent a whole different future. I don't know how old he is, but for youth, to find somebody that is about his age, with all these ideas--a man with the ideas and with the dreams of the youth, the kind of world people want to live in..

Liberation Without Gods

He shows the way this system keeps people in the bottom, people are locked out of what's gonna liberate them. When he gets into religion and all that, I think it is really good. Because he is really revealing, showing what religion really is. He also makes the point that we have to unite with everyone we should unite etc. And in the paper, he talks about going out to progressive Christians, etc. But he exposes how religion is used in India, everywhere.

Some people said that he is too hard on religion, but it is good that he rips into it. Honestly, there are things that have to be said. I hate religion. My grandmother has fifteen kids and they were poor--a poor peasant, and every time they went to church to say that they didn't want more kids, the priest would say, "You're gonna burn in hell." The whole role the church plays in the oppression of women. You gotta say things the way they are. Look at people who are now in power, they believe they're on a mission from god. And everything they do in the name of god--in the Philippines, Afghanistan, etc. The Native Americans they killed in name of Jesus. So it is good the Chairman says it.

As a proletarian, an immigrant, who has lived in a third world country--my existence, since I was a little kid. You become conscious of things, look at things in a different way--the different way that kids look at the world in a third world country than here. My existence has been hard.

Marx said this thing about religion is the heart of heartless conditions, that is 100% true. You grow up with that, god represents all your hopes and you're taught that when you're a kid. It's like an idea you create in your mind, it's something you give birth to. It's an idea so powerful that you find hope, find comfort in it. It's the opiate of the people. Drugs and religion are the same thing--existence is hard, so let's smoke a joint and make it easier. That's why people use drugs.

People go to church and get their dose of brainwashing. And your whole life is based on god. It's been hard for me--I remember when I was younger, I read the bible a lot and I was into religion for a long time. They used to tell me when I was a kid that god created the whole thing, but I wanted to learn about history so I read the bible. But when I started philosophy classes, it made me question.

When I started becoming political, I was becoming agnostic--there is "something" but he doesn't have an affect on real life. But as I got more radical, I said, "frag this, there is no such thing!"

Religion is a powerful tool, because it is created to control you through consciousness. Now that I'm atheist, I feel so free, I feel like I took a 10-pound weight off my back, like I broke a chain. Your whole understanding of the world is much more advanced. When I started becoming more radical, I saw how limited religion was. I also read "Liberation Without Gods" [a pamphlet by Chairman Bob Avakian].

"Liberation Without Gods" showed the way religion was used in the first societies. Religion creates a consciousness in you--if I didn't agree with my father, I'm a sinner, I'm gonna burn in hell. It's a psychological war.

Once I became an atheist, it was so liberating. It's sad, when you're hopeless and you're putting all your hopes in something that doesn't exist, that's cruel. Pray to something that doesn't exist, that's a cruel game. Making fun of suffering of millions of people. My being an atheist was tough for my family, when we have discussions, they stay quiet, because they know I'm right. They're old-fashioned.

With my friends at work, it's really hard and shocking for them. One time when I told a friend I was an atheist, he just stared. It's hard for people because all their life is based on it. If they think they're standing and you move, they feel like they're gonna fall.

I think they were impressed but thought it was a shame. On the other hand, I remember this guy and I was telling him to do something better with his life instead of getting drunk all the time. He asked if I was going to church because I'm serious, etc. But I told him I was an atheist and he stayed quiet.

Some people get defensive when you tell them god doesn't exist. I have a relative who I think is a Christian Fascist, she goes word-for-word by the bible. We were having discussions and I told her god doesn't exist, and I'm an atheist. It was like I was playing with fire. She was upset, she told me the spirit of the anti-Christ was speaking through my mouth. She called me a satanist. She said I was gonna burn in hell, but after that she calmed down. I told her that in the name of her god, people have killed millions of people, Moses and all those people killed millions of people, and all those things are celebrated in your bible. We talked about Lot--how he gave his daughter to be raped, and god celebrated that. She said I had no right to question god. Those wars were blessed by god. This is backwards thinking.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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