Revolution #158, March 8, 2009

From Revolution Readers:

La tamaliza audaz—The Bold “Tamaliza”

After we read “A Bold Initiative” (the article that came out in Revolución on November 16, 2008) that announced the REVOLUCIÓN initiative, we were filled with enthusiasm for raising funds to contribute to it. We were inspired by the part that talks about how it will broaden who the paper reaches: “Tomorrow, Revolution will be distributed in many more sections of society…reaching and affecting tens of thousands.” We decided that since the xmas holidays were coming we could sell tamales, “we should have a Revolución tamaliza [tamale fest]!”

Since there are a lot of different tastes, we thought we should make pork, chicken, cheese with chile strips, sweet ones and even vegetarian tamales. We were going to need: masa, corn husks, chicken, cheese, California chile, chile de árbol (small but very hot!), garlic, onion and other vegetables. Right away we went to the masses to solicit their help and talk to them about this bold initiative. One person who works in a grocery warehouse—and who buys the paper regularly—donated $50, he wants the paper to be distributed broadly and was very glad that we were so enthusiastic about raising funds. His brother sold us the vegetables at a good price—almost free. Another person who works in a poultry store got us very cheap chicken and several other people (two teams of four) that read the paper helped to make tamales, one woman even missed a day of work so that she could fill the orders that we had gotten.

We made up a form so that people could make orders and in that way know that the money is going to Revolución: a dozen for $20, ½ dozen for $10 and singles for $2. The bookstore Libros Revolución helped us in our efforts, they sent the order form out by e-mail and some people picked up their tamales there. We got a lot of orders! Some wanted tamales for their office parties, others for their students, or to share with their loved ones. All in all we sold 400 tamales and collected $530.

Making vegetarian tamales was a challenge, because to make them we had to break with old tamale traditions. In other words, we had to change the recipe—normally the masa is ground together with lard (that comes from animal fat)—and so we couldn’t claim to have a vegetarian tamale if we made it that way—it’s like telling a vegetarian to just eat the vegetables from the beef soup, or just take the pepperoni off the pizza. So we had to get masa made with vegetable oil, not with lard. It was a new thing. The masa came out ok but we definitely have to figure out the filling better. It was a learning experience, but with the suggestions of others we’ll make a better one—we’ll end up with some fucking good vegetarian tamales!

Even after xmas we kept on getting orders from people who wanted tamales for New Year’s. This effort filled us with enthusiasm and motivation to keep on raising funds, involving more and more people, including we want to have a class to train people to make tamales. We have pledged to do one activity a month—it could be tamale sales, or maybe corn on the cob or chiles rellenos, all to promote the newspaper and waking up the interest in other people in that way, always talking about the importance of what we are contributing to—developing a revolutionary movement with the newspaper as the hub and pivot.

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