Revolution #101, September 16, 2007
Support Revolution Newspaper's Six-Month Expansion and $500,000 Fund Drive!
Readers Take Up the Challenge…Challenge Others
When I first heard about the fund raising drive, although I thought it was a great idea (especially extending the paper into the southwest), I was a little discouraged. Being on a fixed income, I knew I would not be able to contribute in the financial way I would like to. You can only imagine my amazement that in as little as 3 days we had raised over $500 for the paper. After reading through the fund raising packet (especially the “40 ways…” list at revcom.us) and the small article about a garage sale in #97, I was inspired to have a garage sale of my own. My husband and I committed to a $100 Team. Our team captain sent out the word on line advertising the sale and asking for donations of goods to sell. I also advertised in two local papers and the night before the sale I went out and posted signs at all the major intersections in a suburb of Cleveland.
With a week’s notice the stuff started trickling in. Everyone has too much stuff in their houses and for me it was a great exercise in being non-materialistic and clearing the decks for Revolution. Some people from the community who regularly read the paper but are not otherwise involved, volunteered to come over during the sell and help out. Since I had most of the items in my garage and backyard I moved a representative sample from each group to the front yard. I also set aside a special table to display the current issue of Revolution Newspaper, the Fund Raising broadsheet PDF, “Wanted” posters and lots and lots of T-shirts. I also stapled sheets of paper on the table labeled for each day with headings to record the number of papers, “Wanted” totes and “Wanted” T-shirts sold, and the number of people who came each day and if they had seen the ad in the paper or my homemade signs. The flip side of the page was designated to record names and addresses of people who were interested in hearing more about RCP and the reactions and comments of people who visited. I also hung Wanted Posters and Tote-Bags from my front porch.
I think one of the most important aspects of readying the items was careful pricing. I know that anyone in this country can buy anything for a dollar at one of those stores and when I go to garage sales things are often over priced. Other than a 20 ft. fiberglass canoe that brought in $100 the most expensive item I sold went for $7 (it was a humungous 6 ft. wind chime that must have retailed for $70). Most small items (do-hickeys as we call them here), some clothing and all the books were placed in bins and baskets and labeled 25 cents each. People left with boxes full of treasures that had once been collecting dust in our homes.
I scheduled the sale to run Labor Day weekend, Thursday–Saturday, from 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. In Ohio, and I assume elsewhere in the states, the first day begins at around 7:00 AM when the bargain hunters start arriving. We were ready with fresh coffee, donuts, ice water (for a donation), a big welcome and a revolutionary zeal to raise consciousness and funds. The first day of the sale we were inundated with people and I lost count but we estimate it had to be at least 100 people. The first day ended around 8:00 PM with $280 in profits. On Friday and Saturday we had over 50 people each day and the sale totaled $524 including $67 for papers, “Wanted” tote bags and T-shirts. People responded in equal numbers to the ad survey so it seems the $80 for newspaper ads and the two hours I spent putting up signs was well spent.
More importantly however, were the reactions and comments from the people. Three people had already heard of Bob Avakian. Two had read the paper online. Although many people were moved by the facts I detailed from issue #98’s coverage of the two year anniversary of Katrina, more than one woman confided that although it was important for the paper and people like me to be out there spreading the word, she could not risk losing her job. I responded by telling her that a monetary donation could possibly be her way of contributing to the revolutionary struggle.
I identified as a communist raising funds to benefit Revolution Newspaper. A lot of the younger people did not understand that communism was not equal to totalitarianism. Two women were concerned for my personal safety and asked if it wasn’t a little risky to use that terminology. We talked about the connotation of the term that we had come away with from our “duck and cover” elementary school experiences during the cold war. And I told them that if people like me didn’t stand up in the community and identify as communists then the meaning would never change and that was one of the reasons I was out here doing this today.
My most memorable customer was a young working class guy. He came hustling up the drive way with a hand full of plastic tote-bags saying, “Where did you get this shit, this is so great, my buddies are going to love this!” When he saw the T-shirts he just could hardly believe someone had captured his sentiments exactly. He didn’t have enough money on him that day for a shirt but he bought the totes and newspaper and promised he would read the broadsheet and return the next day for his T-shirt so he could show it off to his friends and family and wear it to a “peace demonstration” that weekend. He was true to his word and I expect to hear from him soon with another T-shirt order. If I don’t I’ll certainly get a hold of him.
As a result, a lot more people in my community know about Bob Avakian, the Revolutionary Communist Party USA and Revolution Newspaper. And some of them contributed to our fund raising drive. I learned a lot about my neighbors and the wide spread discontent, anger and revulsion with the Bush regime and politics as usual in this country. On the last day of the sale, my sale actually sparked another one. A comrade took some of my items that hadn’t sold to the home of another reader who put them out in her yard during a large street sale in her neighborhood and brought in an additional $45. And, with the stuff that’s left over, and more donations we are calling for, we are trying to get another proletarian friend who wants to support the fund drive to have a sale in his neighborhood on the other side of town before the snow flies here in northern Ohio.
Finally, I realized that I can make the kind of financial contributions that I wish to. Thank you so much for all the careful thought and planning that went into the fund drive kit. It really translated into real cash.
When the national fund drive was announced, a friend of mine who teaches history at a city school came to the kick-off event here. He's been reading the paper on and off for a while. He hesitated to donate at first. He spends about $4,000 a year of his own income on school supplies and other items for his students.
At the same time, he began to ask for the paper every week, and I was very moved by the fact that he would read each issue with a fine tooth comb; raising questions, disagreements, and making suggestions for other issues that the paper should cover. For example, he suggested off of reading about the "Nazification of the American University," that Revolution do an article about how "No Child Left Behind" is part of the Nazification of the high schools. He also suggested doing an article about the conditions of life and thinking of white proletarians in rural Ohio, because he was thinking about his father and why, even tho he's been screwed over so much, that he still supports the system.
Then he asked if I could round up as many back issues of Revolution as I could find, and he would buy them. He read through all these papers, and then decided to become a sustainer for the newspaper at $50 a month, for a year. Just last week, when school started, Jake was talking to his classes about the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and some students mentioned the case of the Jena 6. He was thrilled that they knew about this, and immediately called me to round up as many issues of #98 so he could get them to his class. And lastly, he told me that if we're successful with the $500,000 fund drive, he will commit to trying to get some places in his rural hometown to carry Revolution!
I am 15 years old. I’ve been doing work with the paper for several months now and I have begun to really dive into the revolutionary communist politics of Bob Avakian and the RCP. One of the first ideas I began to grapple with was the importance of the paper to the whole movement; how it is the living link between the party and its leadership to the people all throughout society.
Revolution newspaper, needless to say, exposes the system for what it is in a ruthless search for truth. It enacts the science of revolution. But the paper is at a crossroads. We are in desperate need of expanding our material base, raising funds, to take revolutionary politics out there to the masses of people much more broadly. We are at a crucial moment in history where the role of the paper must be strengthened and expanded.
This is where we all come in.
I, along with about four other youth who have gotten together, have organized a team that is committed to this expansion. This is a perfect example, if not a challenge, for people to follow.
We have organized forces.
We have set a goal: $500 by Labor Day.
We will orient ourselves before and then sum up the experience after each new opportunity, under my facilitation.
On that note:
Yes, I am a "Team Captain" for this team of committed youth, but it won’t just stop there. The vision is to form this core of youth, and then branch off. Under my facilitation, they will each develop their own leadership skills. They will then hopefully branch off, each of them forming new teams and themselves becoming "Team Captains."
Now, here’s the challenge:
Most of us youth have no income, no way of directly providing. Most of you adults have an income, a way to directly provide. If we reach this goal of $500 by Labor Day, we need people willing to match, double or even triple that amount in donations.
If you are reading this paper, you have awareness, a consciousness of what is going on in this country and around the world. The system we live under, this imperialist system, continues to threaten our lives and ruin the lives of millions of people around the world. Not only does this system continue to brutalize and oppress, it threatens the very existence of humanity.
There is an answer to this madness: the Revolutionary Communist Party. This organization is the only force that will lead us to get rid of this horrible system and bring forth a new society where the masses of people will rule. Only then can we put an end to imperialist war, starvation, national oppression, and create equality for women.
My parents were survivors of the Holocaust. They were very resourceful. They managed to elude the Nazis, escaping through three countries. But millions did not survive. They were not able to resist on a mass scale. We must not wait until the steel boots march down our streets. We must not wait until we hear that knocking at our door. Our future, the future of billions is at stake. We must contribute as much as possible to the Revolution Newspaper Fund Drive. Revolution is our voice, our written word for revolution in this country. I am challenging all readers to contribute a Day's Wages Now. Today I am giving $250—my day’s wages.
A group of supporters of Revolution newspaper here in NYC are organizing a bike-a-thon to raise money for the paper's expansion/fund drive. Some of us are avid cyclists, others not as much, so the plan shaping up is to allow participants to do lengths ranging from 25 miles to 62 miles (100 km) of a route along with lots of other cyclists on an organized ride. This way we'll be able to meet a lot of people and talk to them about the paper and why we're choosing this form as a way to raise money for its expansion.
We're going to raise money from people we know and people we meet in the process leading up to the ride, either on a distance-ridden basis or in flat donations. One of the participants set a personal goal to raise $1,000 for the paper with this ride.
Drawing on the experience of bike-a-thons or walk-a-thons for causes like funding for cancer research or AIDS treatment, we feel that this will be a way to reach out to many people, and have many of them donate and draw in others to take it up with us.
We plan to reach out to just about everyone we know—cyclists and others—telling them what we're doing and why, and using the ride as a way to introduce old friends, co-workers, family, etc. to the paper in cases where they may not know about it already. We've already got plans to reach out to people in the cycling community and let them know about what we're doing in advance of the big ride, asking them to take part in it and getting pledges for it themselves. We're really excited out about all this, and want to encourage others to be creative and think of ways where what they're into or have expertise in, can be integrated into efforts to contribute to what the world needs right now: for Revolution Newspaper to be much more widely available to more people in more areas, with even better and more expansive coverage, and for this to contribute to the kind of revolutionary movement that can really change history at a time when the world cries out for it.
The ride will take place at the end of October. For more information about the ride, you can email the organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Revolution Books in NYC at (212)691-3345. Also check out http://ridingforrevolution.blogspot.com/
I am pledging to donate $1500, $125/month until August 1, 2008 to the fund drive for Revolution newspaper. I am also pledging to match contributions to this drive from Cleveland neighborhoods up to $500 between now and the end of December. I am donating to this drive because Avakian and Revolution are single-handedly addressing the questions I have.
I am one of many "highly educated" professionals who find it impossible to pursue happiness in the context of the vexing state of affairs in the world. I don't see the point of fighting for reforms, but I do see an urgent need to promote and protect Avakian and Revolution. I have always been inspired toward radical solutions, ones that get to the root cause of the problem. Clearly capitalism/imperialism is the problem. If there is going to be a solution in time to literally save the world, I believe it will hinge on the influence of the leadership of the RCP…
Look at the criticism of the Revolution article on elections and the responses from the editors of Revolution. Have you ever read such a thoughtful discussion of some of the process of political expression, dissent, respect for the middle strata, risking defeat while attempting to maintain proletarian power under socialism? And Everest's recent article on Iraq? You couldn't get more clarity on the Democrat's inherent allegiance to US imperialism. And Taylor's review of the movie "Knocked-Up"? Beyond exposing its turning back the clock to the 50's in terms of pressure on women to sacrifice all to go through childbirth, she addresses the general terror of the times for millions of youth. And the Dennis Loo article? Soooo clear on so many questions about what is so different now compared to the 60's and what it might take to change the political landscape."
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