Revolution #268, May 13, 2012
From a Reader
Going All Out to Raise Funds for the BAsics Bus Tour Through the South
I thought Revolution newspaper readers should pay special attention to this first-hand correspondence on raising funds for the BAsics Bus Tour. This person raised over $1,200 and, as you can see, got some very enthusiastic responses—building important political support for the tour and involving people in the whole BA Everywhere campaign. I got very excited reading this, but it also struck me how there should be many reports of this kind. They took a pretty simple approach, deciding to prioritize this fundraising and going out very broadly. So I wanted to put a challenge to the readers of Revolution newspaper to learn from this and really go all out in the next week to raise funds and excitement for this BAsics Bus Tour.
"A bus tour through the South bringing revolution and communism? Do you realize how historic this is? I hope to fuck you are filming this, and if you're not, you are depriving generations of chronicling an historic event....
"Taking it to the people. This is such a great idea. The imagery of a BAsics bus in the parking lot of a shopping mall or a school or neighborhood or any area of congregation or just motoring along a highway to spread the word is visionary."
—A university professor of media studies
"It is crucially important, at this terrible time in our history, to reach out to citizens whose access to discussion of alternatives to the political and economic chaos in which we live is very limited. The BAsics Bus Tour is a brave attempt to help remedy this situation. The participants have my respect, admiration, and wishes for success."
—A university professor of philosophy
I've been able to reach quite a number of folks around the BAsics Bus Tour, and in the work for this have built up both anticipation for this very important part of BA Everywhere and at the same time community being built through this. Most of the people I've talked to are professors, but also include actors and family members.
First for myself was the question of prioritizing things I needed to do and things that could wait. The importance of this BAsics Bus Tour, and in particular going through the South, was clear to me that this is going to be potentially historic. By the way, many referenced the Freedom Rides of the early '60s for comparison, and I found myself both uniting with that sentiment, and also struggling with them that while radical and very important for that time, we didn't have a Bob Avakian back then with the analysis of revolution and the vision of a whole new world that we have now and are bringing onto the scene.
Looking from the revolution back, one can see the importance of speaking to a section of people who can be described as—and this came from one of the donors who is an actor, and who grew up in the South—"Most of these people get their primary analysis of history and current events from the Christian Broadcast Network and Fox News." Explicit in the conversations with these professors was the question: "Are we going to cede this section of masses whose interests are with the revolution and communism to these monsters?" I learned through going to many professors—about two dozen—that this could truly make a difference, and what began to happen is that not only did a fair number of them contribute, and some quite a bit, but they also came with suggestions about how to do this tour, and questions like: “Will there be a running blog? How much publicity are you generating in anticipation of this? What about the youth being reached in this?” A Black professor from Louisiana told me she wants to weigh in on how to handle certain situations. One law professor asked me: "How many lawyers are you bringing with you through these areas?"
All these professors have gotten BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, as well as the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). And there is a need for all of you out there reading this to think through why a good number of people will want to introduce people to Bob Avakian, especially through the book BAsics. Imagine the difference it will make. When I talked with people, I opened up the book to a few quotes or one of the essays—I personally had the most engagement with the essay, "Reform or Revolution: Questions of Orientation, Questions of Morality," which is a conversation starter for sure—and then asking "Imagine people hearing this or reading this or the 'Imagine' clip in the Revolution talk DVD since this will be a multimedia bus tour."
Now, to be honest, there is sometimes a bit of arrogance coming from especially those who have access to certain spheres of inquiry and tend to "know it all," but this really is something they want those who don't have access (as the philosophy prof said) to know. The professors also admit they can't reach or even speak to this section of people like BA does. And you want to let them know that part of what this BA Everywhere has already accomplished is the fact that about 1,100 copies of BAsics are in the hands of prisoners who have requested it, and the only reason those books are out there is because people contributed to make that happen. People need to know the scope of this, including the fact that while, this tour through the South is huge and challenging, it is the second of more to come, and part of projecting Bob Avakian to many millions.
An important thing to bring out is what we are doing among the basic masses to raise money—from a barber donating $100, to bake sales, to raffles. This in a good way challenges these professors, who tend to have some more resources to step up. And we should be very lofty in what we ask for. This BAsics Bus Tour will cost $20,000. You can make a big difference by donating $500.
Through this engagement about the BAsics Bus Tour there was a visible understanding that the RCP is serious about making revolution and speaking to the social base that right now hasn't a clue about this movement for revolution and most of what they hear that is "oppositional" to the government is from the Tea Party and even to the right of that. As I mentioned, while many referenced the Freedom Rides, they also know that this is a much different thing, both because of what's changed in the world as well as the verdict on communism. But despite this, they feel that here is someone—Bob Avakian—who can connect with people, even though it will be a grand challenge, as well as someone who has been listening to them and can articulate their interests.
One last point: this is too important a project to worry about being told "no" for a contribution (in fact several professors said no), and even there we want to find out why not, but still people need to know that this is happening and we even want to get back to them at a later time and keep them in the loop of what is happening with this campaign.
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.