Revolution #147, November 16, 2008

Fundraiser for Revolution:

Ceviche, Gorditas, and Strawberries and Cream

We received the following letter from readers in Los Angeles:

Dear Revolution,

Looking back on what we’ve achieved through the last few months of taking revolution and communism boldly out to the masses, there’s something to learn about a developing revolutionary communist movement and the rippling impact it has from the fundraising we did right at the beginning in the month of August among Spanish speaking proletarians.

A circle of us regular readers of Revolution set out to raise $1000 to fund the Party’s ideological initiatives announced in the August 3 centerfold of the paper. We went out to some friends who had been getting the paper out and coming to the programs at the bookstore. We knew they wanted to help the paper expand. One person in particular, new to working with ideas, was really challenged by the intensity and enthusiasm of others in getting into the science of communism to really struggle with this. When she goes out to sell the paper, she talks to the masses about this struggle—about how this paper opens doors in your mind, the things you find out about that you would never know otherwise, the things it makes you think about that you’ve never thought possible before. Then in turn, she says that these discussions help her raise her level. She thought she just didn’t like to read but she found out that what she didn’t like was reading alone. In a group it’s fun and you learn more.

Our circle studied and discussed the centerfold in the newspaper about the initiatives: The new Constitution [of the RCP], Bob Avakian’s new book Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, the special issue on the oppression of Black people. We started throwing around ideas for fundraising, Should we make tamales to sell or hold a garage sale?

Someone said they could make the best ceviche anybody ever tasted and we were sure to raise a lot of money for the paper. So we invested $250 and bought lemons, shrimp, octopus, crab, clams, fish, tomatoes, onions, olive oil, bay leaf, and tostadas. When we went out on the street, people agreed it was the best ceviche they had ever eaten and came back for more or bought enough for the whole family. We talked to them about the paper and tried to sell them subscriptions while they ate. One guy was very interested in the new Constitution and we brought him to the bookstore to the Constitution celebration.

We went to a corner with a lot of vendors we know. One vendor who also distributes the paper brought a cooler and got a bunch of cups of ceviche to take to another corner to sell them there. Some of his friends read the paper but think there’s too much anti-communism among the masses for the paper to have broad appeal. They started complaining that the ceviche was too expensive.

But the fundraising project was put out as a challenge to them: here are some people who believe so strongly that we can take that anti-communist shit on, and fight with people to be scientific and recognize that revolution and communism is what they and the masses worldwide need that they invested their money, time and work not to make money for themselves but for the newspaper, ¿y ustedes, cabrones?... This had an effect of “hmmm, something’s happening here….”

Since then one of these vendors has stepped up to the challenge, he gets a bundle of papers every week and pays for them up front. There’s a new respect and seriousness there. Another guy took ceviche to sell to his family and talked to them about the garage sale project. A cousin donated a nice TV that somebody later had a garage sale and sold it for $50.

We took part of the funds from the ceviche sales and bought strawberries and cream. It was one of the hottest weekends and we sold it out on the street, together with the newspaper. People ate strawberries and talked about “who is this Mao Tsetung guy?” Then some other people collected some stuff and had two garage sales on the street.

But people wouldn’t stop talking about the ceviche so we made it again, and followed that up with some gorditas. While we cooked all this stuff, somebody read the newspaper out loud, and we threw around ideas about how to get across our message and get people involved. We thought about making stickers to put on the ceviche cups “Have you read Revolution newspaper?” “Do you know who Bob Avakian is?”

All along in this process, we didn’t ever let determinism creep in and blind us to the terrain we changed with our work! People are watching this, thinking about things they’d never considered, or unearthing hopes for revolution and a better world that they had buried in their youth. We need to lead that forward with getting this newspaper everywhere. We surpassed our $1000 goal and some new readers were developed in the process.

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