Revolution#116, January 20, 2008

Berkeley Fundraiser

“This paper is really important to me and that’s why I support it”

We received this correspondence:

In the midst of one of the biggest storms to hit Northern California in recent years, over 60 people gathered in Berkeley to support Revolution newspaper’s half million dollar fund drive and the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF), and to help humanity to prepare to face the more powerful storms—political storms—to come.

The program took place at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian-Universalists, home for many anti-war, environmental and social justice groups and events. The program was organized by the Social Justice Committee of the Fellowship along with honorary hosts from labor and local politics together with some Revolution newspaper supporters. Along with the mainly older activists that frequent the worship hall were immigrant workers, other proletarians, Black activists, youth (including a group from the local Revolution Club), and ex-prisoners. The successful fundraiser added over $3,500 to our national goal, and it introduced many new people to the paper and to two of its writers, Luciente Zamora and Larry Everest.

Luciente Zamora spoke to the unbearable hardships the people of Mexico face under the weight of the devastating economic and political consequences of being a neo-colony of the U.S—for example, the wages that immigrants working in the U.S. send back home rank second only to petroleum revenues as the greatest source of Mexico’s national income. Luciente was interrupted by loud applause when she said, “There is not an immigration problem, but there is a capitalism problem!”

Larry Everest challenged people to struggle with others about coming to grips with the reality of the horrors facing humanity and taking responsibility to do everything in the real interests of the people of the world. Revolutionary possibilities, he said, are presented to us by the workings of the system, but only if we understand the world, and on that basis, fight to change it. Larry encouraged people to get to know Bob Avakian through the pages of the paper—especially his envisioning of what a new world could be and how to get there—and pointed to his talk “Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity,” currently being serialized in Revolution.

In welcoming people, one of the hosts, an organizer of the Social Justice Committee, said she hoped that this program would be “the beginning of a very regular series where we can work for revolution and accomplish our goals.” She understood that many would say “in Berkeley, we are speaking to the choir,” but added that from here we “can spread out across the country and the world.” Referring to a large photo of her late husband, a courageous, tireless and well-known activist, she said, “He loved the Revolution newspaper and we used to read it all the time.”

Another of the hosts, a long-time educator and co-founder of the Education Not Incarceration coalition, wrote a check to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund and encouraged others to dig deep as well. She held up a photo of a group of prisoners with a copy of Revolution and said, “When I looked at it, I saw one newspaper and 17 prisoners. But that symbolizes how many people you can reach. So I am going to urge you to contribute to the PRLF.”

An ex-prisoner and a defendant in the San Francisco 8 trial stood up during the fund pitch to donate. Revolution, he said, is “a beacon of light to those people who are in the darkness. This paper is really important to me and that’s why I support it.”

After the program, there was much discussion among the people around questions like conditions that immigrants face and whether there really is a possibility for revolution. There was also great eagerness to find new ways to raise money and to reach more people in the next three weeks to bring the newspaper expansion/fund drive to a successful conclusion.

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