Revolution #253, December 18, 2011

We made the goal and then some!

$25,002 raised to fund the film Occasioned by the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World

   About this film: April 2011 marked the release of BAsics, a book by Bob Avakian, the revolutionary leader who has developed a new synthesis of communism. This book of quotations and essays speaks to essential questions of revolution and human emancipation. On this occasion, a range of artists, musicians, dancers and actors from a diversity of perspectives came together in a unique cultural event to celebrate revolution and the vision of a new world.

This film will tell the story of what those artists did and why they did it. It is a film for everyone who has dreamed of a different and better world or wondered how art and culture can be part of creating it.

Through the diverse efforts of hundreds of people across the country, we exceeded the goal of $23,000 to fund the production and release of the film Occasioned by the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World.

The contributions were large and small, and collective efforts ranged from bake sales and house parties to benefit events. In Chicago there was a jazz and spoken word event with jazz cellists Fred Lonberg-Holm and Tomeka Reid; in LA there was an event at Revolution Books with members from the revolution rock band Outernational and Revolution correspondent and radio host Michael Slate. Hundreds shared it online and sent out emails. And hundreds of people were reached out to by phone, many who were learning about this film and BAsics for the first time. And whether or not people were able to give, they were reconnected with, and many, many people thanked us for taking the time to call.

There is much more to learn about all of what took place and what's been learned. We look forward to hearing from the broad range of experience, why people contributed to this film and the larger discussions that were opened up in the process. A few things can be said about this now.

People were inspired by the substance of what this film is going to be about and what it could mean in the culture today. Some people from the perspective of wanting this cultural engagement with Avakian's voice made further known... others because they want to see a culture that is pointing the way towards a better way humanity could live, however they see that coming into being.

   David Zeiger, filmmaker:
I want this film to not just celebrate, but to challenge. I want, at the end of the film, to question what I thought was true coming into it. I want it to give me a hint of that better world. I want to know why Communism, as developed by Bob Avakian, is being celebrated and embraced by these wonderful artists. Is it real? Truly a new vision, or nostalgia for a forgotten and lost past? I want all of those things and more, and that's why I am contributing to this film and hope you will too.

Erin Aubry Kaplan, journalist and author:
Revolution used to just be a nice idea to me, but in these desperate and dangerous times it's become an imperative. Supporting the humane, forward-thinking and musically engaging work and message behind BAsics is not only the right thing to do, it's a great deal for the money! Satisfaction highly likely and no bailout required.

Robert Young, filmmaker:
I'm on the same page with all who see the need to raise money to help bring about an understanding of what is happening to us and the need for change. And I agree about getting the word out on Bob Avakian. The time is getting ripe for revolutionary change. So many people are finally speaking up about the inequality in society and their realization that they are not being represented in the Congress. I've donated to this film project and I urge other people to donate and help raise the needed funds by them urging others to donate. Even though times are hard and money is tight for most of us, we mustn't forget that we are all connected and need to be involved in the struggle for justice.

One person who co-hosted a house party commented that hearing the artists in the trailer, clearly coming from different views but all engaging this concept of fundamental change, was particularly inspiring. One donor commented on the IndieGoGo fundraising site, "I am very excited to be helping promote this kind of culture—a culture that reflects the better world we are trying to build!" A group of Wall Street occupiers had a fundraising party that raised $30, and they wrote this statement: "On December 10th, we came together to raise money for this film, it is a celebration of human emancipation. Be part of something larger than yourself. We challenge you. A message from some occupiers coming from a variety of different views who all want to see this film made." You can read other comments at

Another very important point to learn from is the importance of community in what was accomplished. In a society that fosters a me-first ethos and where people are so atomized, the fundraising itself—for something that could make a positive and radical difference in the world—brought people together. Through all our efforts—we had a big collective impact and enabled this important film to be produced and released... on a scale that will itself have further impact.

This community involved a whole range of people: artists, revolutionaries, students, professionals, people in the housing projects and others. This included people who have been fighting the power in the Occupy movement and in the movement to stop mass incarceration. And it included people who are concerned about the state of the world but not super involved in other ways.

People attended house parties because they wanted to find out about this film project, learn about BAsics and BA, connect with old friends and get the chance to meet new people. A number of people who came and contributed don't normally come to political events but felt they could connect through this form. The phone calling also forged or reforged personal connections. Lots of people who were called were glad to find out about this project, to hear from people they may have met ages ago. And those who were doing the calling got to find out what people are up to, how they want to help and learn their thinking in these changing times.

In this process, big questions were opened up... bigger questions that people don’t normally have an opportunity to discuss—questions about Avakian's new synthesis of communism, about the movement for revolution he is leading and the possibility of revolution in a country like the U.S., the history of socialist revolutions, human nature and whether a radically different world is viable, discussions about the concept of horizontal movements vs. the need for vanguard leadership... and people who came together got to learn about each other's lives and experiences.

This—and the efforts around Thanksgiving and Black Friday where money was raised to send copies of BAsics to prisoners—represent a significant beginning to what is being kicked off with this major campaign: BA EVERYWHERE... IMAGINE THE DIFFERENCE IT COULD MAKE! A Mass Campaign to Raise Big Money to Get BA's Vision and Works Into Every Corner of Society. We've begun to have an impact with this, and begun to see some of the significant things this mass campaign can unleash.

Along with taking time over the holidays to get together with all the people that have been reconnected with and to get together with friends and family, we're going to take everything we've learned and build for year-end parties to raise money for the BA bus tour which will kick off in 2012.

Imagine buses with eye-catching decorations touring the nation, spreading revolution and BA's voice to those hungry for it in outlying areas. People on a mission rolling through community centers, high schools, Ivy League and community colleges, from mountains to valleys, suburbs to rural areas. Showing the film of Bob Avakian's talk Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About in classrooms and community centers. Getting Avakian's memoir, and other key works, out all over the country. Reaching the youth, visiting the Occupy encampments that have sprung up all over [and finding the people who have been kicked out of those Occupy encampments but ARE still finding the ways to fight the power], going to where there is outrageous oppression going down, taking a week in an inner city...and then another inner city... "The BA bus is coming to your town."

Ask a DJ or a band to play, get a space... a rec room, community center or church... or there may be someone who wants to open up their home. Local businesses or artists might volunteer door prizes which can be raffled off at the party and ask for a $10 contribution for tickets. These will happen nationally all on the same week from 12.26-12.31 so whatever is raised from one party contributes to the whole effort.

Write in to Revolution newspaper with your plans so these can be publicized and learned from. Also, stay tuned to Revolution newspaper for more reporting from the efforts over the last week and for updates on the film itself.


from Bob Avakian's BAsics 2:8:

"Let's imagine if we had a whole different art and culture. Come on, enough of this 'bitches and ho's' and SWAT teams kicking down doors. Enough of this 'get low' bullshit. And how come it's always the women that have to get low? We already have a situation where the masses of women and the masses of people are pushed down and held down low enough already. It's time for us to get up and get on up.

"Imagine if we had a society where there was culture—yes it was lively and full of creativity and energy and yes rhythm and excitement, but at the same time, instead of degrading people, lifted us up. Imagine if it gave us a vision and a reality of what it means to make a whole different society and a whole different kind of world. Imagine if it laid out the problems for people in making this kind of world and challenged them to take up these problems. Imagine if art and culture too—movies, songs, television, everything—challenged people to think critically, to look at things differently, to see things in a different light, but all pointing toward how can we make a better world.

"Imagine if the people who created art and culture were not just a handful of people but all of the masses of people, with all their creative energy unleashed, and the time were made for them to do that, and for them to join with people who are more full-time workers and creators in the realm of art and culture to bring forward something new that would challenge people, that would make them think in different ways, that would make them be able to see things critically and from a different angle, and would help them to be uplifted and help them to see their unity with each other and with people throughout the world in putting an end to all the horrors that we're taught are just the natural order of things. Imagine all that."


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