Revolution #210, August 29, 2010
Second Successful Webathon
Putting Revolution Farther on the Map, Hour by Hour
In the days before the second national "Put Revolution on the Map" webathon August 8, a group of subscribers to Revolution newspaper pooled pledges to issue a challenge to viewers to match their combined pledge of $500. About an hour before the webcast began, a phone banker reached a subscriber of Revolution newspaper. Their conversation about Bob Avakian ended with a $1,000 donation, specifically to promote the Revolution Talk online and the upcoming publication of Basics.
The webathon goal was $12,000. As the webcast went live, the thermometer opened with almost $2,000. Hosts Sunsara Taylor and Annie Day told viewers about The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have campaign spreading to New Orleans, Detroit and Arizona, funded by proceeds of the last webathon. They began to go deeply into one of the objectives of the campaign—making Bob Avakian a "household name." A clip of the police murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland was followed by a clip of Bob Avakian's Revolution Talk: "There is a conspiracy...to get the cops off!" Will Reese, standing before a clothesline on the set hung with copies of the Message & Call and images of Avakian, told of showing clips of the Revolution Talk on the streets in the neighborhoods and people on the street stopping to watch and talk.
As the second hour began, a donor made another challenge: "I'll give $100 if 5 others will." A young woman from the Bay Area who had been at an event with older people discussing Berkeley's history of resistance, said, "I'm donating because I want to put revolution on the map for my generation." Annie Day described the concept of BAsics, "You can't make revolution if you don't know the BAsics." Throughout the webcast, quotes from Bob Avakian to be in the upcoming pocket-size book were read by the hosts, and more clips from the Revolution Talk were shown.
The thermometer just passed $4,000 as the third hour began a longer series of clips from Raymond Lotta's talk "A Capitalist Oil Spill: A System Not Fit to Be Caretakers of the Planet, & the Revolution We Need!" The phones rang and online donations came in, as people tuned in to the webcast, drawn by Facebook and calls from their friends. Staff at a Revolution Books store emailed: "During the matching funds challenge, a man on SSI came into the bookstore to see if there was a Sunday afternoon program. He didn't know about the web-a-thon but watched part of it and at first said he didn't have a dime. But when he heard that a person who was unemployed had donated $100 and then heard about the matching funds challenge for the 3rd hour, he said he would donate $25 out of his next SSI check and he gave a date. He stayed a little longer even though he was in pain and listened as Sunsara exposed the rate of incarceration in the United States. He kept shaking his head. I asked him why he was donating and he said, 'I'm donating to help the revolution.'"
As special programming from the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund began, the goal was half reached in donations and pledges. Actors read letters from prisoners to Revolution newspaper, and a former prisoner issued a challenge to people to "adopt" a subscription to the newspaper for a prisoner because hundreds of prisoners are waiting to receive subs. (all online at prlf.org) A donor called in to say, "This country is heading in the wrong direction. Nothing but major change will do it. Revolution sounds reasonable and extreme. I have heard about revolution for over 20 years. But I was never really into it. But now I can see it...I always thought it was possible to change it from within, but not any more."
After four hours, the thermometer showed $8,000. Travis Morales, who had just returned from Arizona, where the fascist anti-immigrant law had been enacted and protested, welcomed viewers in Spanish. He sat down with Sunsara and described how dangerous the SB1070 law's provisions are to the lives of immigrants, and what revolutionaries had to say in Arizona. "We don't have an immigration problem; we have a capitalism problem," said a billboard in Phoenix. Someone the revolutionaries had met in Arizona during the protests sent in a pledge, saying "I'm not a communist but this Revolution Talk needs to be out there; as well as this paper."
Going into the last hour, the goal was still more than $3,000 away. Sunsara, Annie, Will and Travis asked people to "Think about what a difference it would make for people to know that there is a movement for revolution being built right now, and that movement has a leader, Bob Avakian, with a strategy." The pace picked up. A donor pledged $1,000 in honor of the Chinese Revolution and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and in honor of Bob Avakian who refused to let that pathbreaking revolution be buried, saying, "When China's revolution was defeated, a lot of people quit believing in revolution but Avakian's work has made it a real possibility again even in this country."
At $11,990, a volunteer taking pledge calls pulled out $10 from her bag to make it $12,000. This was a successful six hours! Hundreds of viewers watched the webathon, some in groups, with new donors contributing to the movement for revolution. The proceeds will fund online advertising for the Revolution Talk; the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund; showings of the Revolution Talk in New York City parks; promotion costs for BAsics; and printing of the Message & Call: The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have.
You can donate online at revcom.us; send checks/money orders to RCP Publications, or drop donations at any Revolution Books.
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