Revolution #227, March 20, 2011
Two Correspondences on Using the $200 Challenge
The following report comes from some experience doing phone banking to raise funds for BAsics from subscribers to Revolution newspaper:
She was glad to hear from me and said she was very excited about having discussions about the Constitution. She said that she had been clipping all the "Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon" excerpts so she could study them as a piece.
She brought out how she wasn't sure we could make a revolution in the U.S., but she did assess the current state of affairs as intolerable and the government as dysfunctional. She said the study groups and discussions gave her hope and strength.
She had been following the developments in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East. She had not yet gotten the current issue and so I talked briefly about the ensemble of articles and read her part of the article "A Profound Lesson and A Deep Challenge." I linked it to the importance and need for a revolutionary communist party in order for there to be revolution and the importance of the movement for revolution being built with the leadership of Bob Avakian. So this segued back to BAsics fundraising.
She was agonizing over why the majority just goes along with the way things are. I argued the importance of making BA accessible to millions by the publication of BAsics, with an early focus on prisoners and the basic masses and linked this to the profound lesson above. Then I asked her again for a donation to make this happen. She offered $100. She said it was a lot of money for her but it matters what you spend your money on.
She was very appreciative of the call, in part because she was trying to figure out some gnawing contradictions—like why people here are so passive and don't see through what their government is doing. The other question she was agonizing over was why some activists she knows are hostile to BA. I suggested that she consider that there are lines opposed to communism and that a lot of this focuses on being opposed to vanguard leadership. She also brought up how people don't know what socialism and communism really is. She said not just people who are influenced by the right wing. But she said a lot of people who are progressive think it is Sweden. I pointed out that even if people do know and understand socialism and communism if they haven't checked out the new synthesis of BA, then they really don't know what socialism and communism is. It is not just the best of Soviet Union and the best of the GPCR. She agreed that you had to be open to seeing the development and application of communism and that BA was bringing something new. I told her about "All Played Out" and she is going to listen to it at the Library.
She sent in the $100 she pledged over the phone. But when she received the next issue of the paper with the $200 challenge, she decided that she wanted to meet the challenge and sent in another $100.
BAsics Fundraising Meeting
I set up a BAsics fundraising meeting with an artist we have known for a long time. He had come to the hot topics bookstore event on Egypt after not being to any events in a long time. He went to the Egypt rally the following day. I knew that these "jolts" were raising questions and opening pathways to dig into the need for communism and communist leadership.
I wanted to focus on what a difference this book would make in actually changing the terms of debate in society and the world. I thought that I should frame the get together on the advanced theoretical contributions that the Chairman has been making and on that basis make a case for why this book at this time. In light of the "Strategy for Revolution" statement, I wanted to make the challenge that what the world desperately needed was communism, as re-envisioned by the Chairman and make the challenge that people should become communists and dedicate their lives to being emancipators of humanity.
I brought the Egypt statement from the Chairman. I also brought some glossy color reprints from the Chairman that the newspaper has been running that the bookstore had printed. One was the 3 sentences on Democracy, another was "The Essence of what exists..." and one other quote. And I also brought a beautiful glossy color reprint of the fundraising call for BAsics that ran in the paper.
My plan was to open with a few key paragraphs, open up some back and forth and then make the "Readers Challenge."
I started by asking the question, why this book and why now. I read the 2nd paragraph from the Harlem Stage statement "Avakian is a unique voice..." I followed that with the quote from the Egypt 2011 statement "When people in their masses, in their millions finally break free..." down to the challenge that whether or not their heroic struggle really leads to fundamental change that leads toward the total elimination of exploitation depends on "whether there is leadership, communist leadership." I ended with the bolded lines in the Egypt flier that state that the RCP has taken the responsibility to lead revolution right here in the U.S. and "The emancipation of all humanity: This and nothing less that this, is our goal. There is no greater cause, no greater purpose to which to dedicate their lives."
We started talking. I talked about what impact BAsics could have influencing people’s thinking around Egypt. I spoke of how the uprising in Egypt was being framed in terms of "Democracy" and "Freedom." My friend jumped in that the "freedom and democracy" the Egyptian people could end up with was U.S. domination. I showed him the reprint of BA's 3 sentences on Democracy. He was once a big Obama supporter, but that has changed. He talked about how he was disenchanted with the whole voting thing.
At this point I made the "Readers Challenge" and he said without hesitation, "I can do that." He wrote a check for $200.
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