Revolution #173, August 16, 2009

Building a Revolutionary Movement... Right on the Spot

Dear Revolution,

I am writing to share a few experiences and ideas for building the campaign to spread the RCP’s new statement “The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have.” [Revolution #170, July 19, 2009] What we’ve been trying to do is to create some real buzz about revolution in the community and at the same time enable people to get involved in building this revolutionary movement right on the spot.

In one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, we wanted to prepare the ground in advance for the RCP’s new statement. This is a community where there are foreclosed homes standing everywhere—glaring testimony to a bankrupt system which is rotten to the core. On the boarded up fronts of these foreclosed homes someone apparently put up billboard-like walls with some of the back pages and centerfolds of Revolution. One of these posters called out the brutal beating of Rihanna, another defiantly declared: “A Fetus is Not a Baby.”

When the new statement came out, we went back to the community and found that some people had been studying and discussing the posters among themselves. We approached three young women on their porch. One of them said she wanted another copy of the newspaper, and they all began discussing the different posters they had seen up on the walls. Later, a young man called Revolution Books and said he had been reading the posters as he was working at rehabbing these foreclosed homes. When the revolutionaries came through again with the new statement, he got really excited and he wanted to share his ideas on how to spread this much more broadly in the neighborhood. Another youth from the same area called the bookstore to say he really liked the new statement and the issue “on the females.” (“A Declaration for Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity,” Revolution #158, March 8, 2009) He said he would join us at the bookstore for a discussion of that issue and would try to pull some of his friends into it.

We also developed “organizer kits” in nice red plastic bags which we take out on every outing and prominently display when we set up tables. They have been very well received by people, and are a main form of drawing people into the campaign on the spot. During one neighborhood outing, we got out eight kits in the last 45 minutes after deciding we needed to give a lot more emphasis to calling on people to spread the word and get down with this more deeply.

The $3 kit (we charge more whenever possible to supplement costs for people who can’t afford more) includes five copies of the new statement, a copy of the new Manifesto from the RCP (in newspaper form) [“Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage,” Revolution #143, September 21, 2008], “The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System, and the Revolution We Need” [Revolution #144, October 5, 2008], “A Declaration for Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity,” a promotional plugger for Bob Avakian’s memoir [From Ike to Mao and Beyond], and, a copy of the “sampler” of Bob Avakian’s DVD, Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About. One teacher bought 50 copies of the statement to use with his high school students this summer, and we’ve decided that we were aiming too low in the number of copies of the statement, and need to include more copies of the statement, including fliers of the shorter version.

When we take these materials out, some of the people we meet are finding the ways to become part of this campaign. We were out at a street fair wearing Revolution tee-shirts, and a man in his 30s came up to our table and wanted to know: “What is this revolution about?” He said, “I’m down with the revolution. Where is my tee-shirt and what can I do?” After discussing what this is all about and showing him some segments of Bob Avakian’s DVD he left with an organizer kit, a tee-shirt, and the special offer (Bob Avakian’s DVD and a 10-week sub to Revolution). He said, “Bob Avakian is going to teach me about being a revolutionary.” A vendor we met is getting the statement out to all her customers and has made suggestions about where in the community to show the DVD and distribute materials, and a delivery driver is helping to get the statement out as he does his runs.

A reader

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What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond