Revolution Online, March 30, 2009
Bay Area Revolution Feast
Dozens of people came together on March 15th and raised more than $2,000 in donations and pledges for Revolution in Oakland, CA. For some, it was their first time at a Revolution newspaper event. A young Black woman said she got introduced to the paper because of the BART police murder of Oscar Grant. A Black community college student had heard Clyde Young on the oppression of Black people just three days before. Latino immigrants from the San Francisco Mission District, teachers, and activists, joined with long-time Party supporters.
Building for the Event
A few weeks before the event, Revolution supporters talked to many people at a community college and in different neighborhoods about the paper, its role in building a revolutionary movement and why funds are needed.
We talked to people in restaurants, bakeries and delis showing them the special “Declaration for Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity” and the brochure for the Bold Initiative. We told people about the march in Los Angeles and Europe for International Women’s Day called by the March 8 Women’s Organization (Iran-Afghanistan).
Many businesses were introduced to the newspaper for the first time and donated pastries and Punjabi food. People from Middle Eastern countries were among the most receptive. One baker had never seen the paper before, but was very familiar with the Oscar Grant battle and wanted to donate because we were involved in that battle. He also was excited to find out about Revolution Books in Berkeley. A pizza parlor owner from the Sudan found out about the event the day of the feast and readily agreed to donate. An Iranian small business contributed, too.
FEASTING, CAMARADERIE AND FUNDS FOR THE REVOLUTION
A beautiful red, yellow, and black banner of the Revolution masthead stretched across the stage of the Humanist Hall in Oakland, catching peoples’ attention as the program began. Colorful flowing saris hung from the rafters and enlarged posters from Revolution ringed the walls condemning the brutal worldwide crimes of U.S. imperialism and the resistance against it.
Larry Everest, writer for Revolution, and a Revolution Club member were the emcees. Larry began with, “Why are we here? Because the world urgently needs changing—radical change. Revolutionary change. Communist change. A whole new world.”
The excerpts read from the paper brought out what a difference it would make if more people understood the world as it really is and acted consciously to change it. Joe Veale’s article, “Thoughts Provoked by the Comments of Preachers at the Funeral of Oscar Grant” and Bob Avakian’s “Revolution and a Radically New World: Contending ‘Universalisms’ and Communist Internationalism” were read from.
With passion, the poem, “Stop Police Brutality and Murder: Thousands of Stolen Lives! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” was brought alive, drawing loud applause at its conclusion:
“This system has criminalized generations of Black and Latino youth, offering them nothing but unemployment or chump-change jobs, prison, the army, an early grave. This system sees millions of youth as nothing but a ‘social problem’—to be constantly dissed, degraded, disrespected. This system offers the youth no future, no meaningful life, nothing to live for. But the revolution does.”
Clyde Young, representing the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA was a special guest who spoke on the Prisoner’s Revolutionary Literature Fund and read a letter, one of his favorites, from a prisoner on Obama, “This Could Lead People to Support this Juggernaut and All its Death and Destruction.” Clyde said one newspaper inside the prisons is read on an average by 5 people. The urgency of raising funds was brought home when he said 783 prisoners’ subscriptions will run out at the end of March unless $20,000 is raised.
Several people wanted especially to support PRLF, because they have been inspired by the prisoners’ letters about how they look forward to reading and discussing the paper, and how it gets passed around to countless others. Funds will make it possible to provide subscriptions and books like Ardea Skybreak’s The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters and Bob Avakian’s Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, which are needed in the midst of Christian fundamentalists pouring resources into pumping religion into the prisons.
Larry said there was no better thing that could people do with their money than to give it to this newspaper, which was answered by donations, of $300, $150, 100, and other amounts. He also encouraged people to get subscriptions and to become monthly sustainers. He also suggested different ways people could contribute to producing the newspaper, writing for it, helping distribute it. He talked about how people could give some money now and pledge to raise more in coming weeks, hosting fundraising parties, sustaining and going canvassing with the paper.
As the afternoon turned into evening, groups of people engaged in spirited discussions as others took to the front of the hall and danced to salsa, cumbia, Afro-Cuban and rhythm and blues music, thanks to a DJ who donated his services.
Many people were happy that we were able to raise this money. There was a feeling of camaraderie that we were sharing in the struggle to bring into being a new and better world. There was also an understanding that we need to reach a lot more people and involve them in the revolutionary movement and in all aspects of work surrounding the newspaper.
We encourage others to organize events big and small to raise funds. It can be as simple as getting your friends together, having a potluck and a party and making a fundraising pitch or larger events can be organized. One of the Revolution Club high school students said this event was, “a good mix of chilling out and politics” and that it was “really cool and totally rad.”
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