Revolution #161, April 12, 2009

Fund raising for Revolution newspaper: “at the edge of two worlds”

Revolution received the following correspondence:

The fight to accomplish the Bold Initiative [see issue #147] brings us necessarily to the edge of two worlds: The world we have now and the dire consequences of it remaining the same, and a world that could be. If this coming to the edge does not drive the effort to build a financial base for Revolution, we will be deploying pretense and will fail. What is required is not just staring into the face, but far beneath the surface of the entanglement called the objective conditions, where the reach of things is vast, and things and people are interconnected, where different contradictions interpenetrate and things constantly become something other than what they are.

This is a world historic moment of defining tendencies, possibilities, and indeterminacy. We can draw our line of sight to where time collides with necessity, and opportunities emerge for building a revolutionary movement with the newspaper as its pivot, even as necessity constrains and greatly complicates matters. The blinders have to come off to see that the motion and development of things is not linear, not predetermined, not static.

What do we see, and fight for, and win over in this interpenetration of contradictions? A lawyer in a metropolis at one end of the country stands before a judge in an august court of law where vying corporate interests dispute multi, multi million dollar settlements. At the same time, a lawyer in a rural setting at the other end of the country sits aside a desolate cell trying to defend a young inmate whose life has already been judged and condemned as worthless.

One lawyer is choking on what he grasps as the crisis of capitalism as a world system. He is thinking that Avakian just might have a point. The other lawyer won’t give up on the Obama solution in the face of all evidence, but won’t just write off revolution, its opposite, either. From this entanglement where the action of one immediately, if imperceptibly, affects the other as they both become part of a movement, though at opposite ends of the country, has come many hundreds of dollars to support the newspaper. With a sense of time that is both urgent and calm, and with struggle that sees the scope of what is being built here, these seemingly disparate strands with all their contradictions can be drawn into a more and more coherent whole.

All the different contradictions and outcomes lurk beneath the surface where a particular struggle to contribute and sustain has its own dynamic. At the same time, the particular struggle is part of a larger dynamic, the creation of a newspaper that is not an end in itself but an essential part and a hub for creating a revolutionary movement (which itself is a part of a larger project). People can sense where we are coming from, say for instance, if it is instrumentalism, even if they do not express it as what’s universal in one context is particular in another.

In one part of the country is a Latino professor who enjoys the privileges of academia. In another part of the country is a Black social worker whose intellectual aspirations are tied down by the daily demands of life and the exhaustion of trying to rescue lives that are moored to a sinking ship. Both have roots in the liberation struggles of the 60s. One is very cautious in the face of the state and its agencies of control. The other is not naïve but is more willing to risk something. One has no illusions about Obama. The other feels an allegiance to Obama as bearer of a Black badge of honor. Both are critically religious, though one has a more deep rooted faith while the other is more skeptical. Both value the newspaper for its power of exposure and provocation, but draw the line when it comes to revolution and communism.

From these different contradictions situated in two different people, has come some hundreds of dollars to sustain the continual development of the influence of the paper.

Other examples show how this effort to build a movement takes innumerable forms. A nurse caring for the dispossessed says, “I will send a check.” A recent college grad who works for Obama who acknowledges relying on “blind faith” that things will turn out ok, pledges to contribute when he has some money. Even those from various dispositions of age, work, or mentality, who for one reason or another said no, the very encounter and willingness to wrestle with the idea of the emancipation of all humanity and how it could be done, draws them into the determination to transform the landscape, even if at the margins.

We are staring into an abyss of needless suffering and observing a brutal system shaken to its foundation. Seeing the real contradictions that are at work, and identifying how they interpenetrate and change, and how they can be resolved in the interests of the great majority of people and ultimately of humanity as a whole, is the larger perspective we must bring to the particular requirements and methods of raising money for Revolution newspaper.

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