Revolution #222, January 16, 2011
Needed: A Mass Movement to Take Out the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)
“This Constitution (Draft Proposal) is written with the future in mind. It is intended to set forth a basic model, and fundamental principles and guidelines, for the nature and functioning of a vastly different society and government than now exists: the New Socialist Republic in North America, a socialist state which would embody, institutionalize and promote radically different relations and values among people; a socialist state whose final and fundamental aim would be to achieve, together with the revolutionary struggle throughout the world, the emancipation of humanity as a whole and the opening of a whole new epoch in human history—communism—with the final abolition of all exploitative and oppressive relations among human beings and the destructive antagonistic conflicts to which these relations give rise.” (From the Introductory Explanation: On the Nature, Purpose and Role of this Constitution [Draft Proposal])
In the weeks since the publication of this audacious and visionary Constitution, hundreds of people have gotten it. It is impacting on a wide range of people—from those who are committed to making revolution to those who are agonized about the world as it is—and open to thinking about and discussing new views.
Among those who have been part of the movement for revolution, the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) has stirred tremendous interest and deep engagement. This is evidenced in part in the letters sent to this newspaper. And wherever people have come together to discuss its content, there has been lively grappling with its vision of the new society, the relations among people that are embodied in this work, and how this society would function. It has given people who long for revolution a deeper sense of what that revolution would actually do—and through study, wrangling and wrestling with the document, advanced their understanding of the goals of this revolution. Many have deepened their commitment, as revolutionaries, to bringing this new society into being—and beginning on Day One of the new socialist republic to confronting and working through the contradictions to transform society towards a communist world.
For others, this Constitution challenges all the preconceived ideas people have about what socialist society would be like—and shows how things could be different. Is socialism an airy pipe dream or worse, a nightmare? Can it actually work? Yes, and how it will work is presented in this historic document. It contains a sweeping framework for moving from the capitalist epoch to a communist world. And this Constitution concretely shows how that could be done; it envisions and models a new society. There has been a vivid glimpse of the potential the Constitution has to change how people look at the possibility of a different—and far better—world. Many who have been skeptical are looking anew at socialist society—and compelled to rethink the views they have held. Including about the possibility for this Party, with the leadership of Bob Avakian, to lead in constructing a truly new and liberating society. And it has been welcomed by many who disagree with sections of it—and others who have even more substantial disagreements—but all of whom feel these are burning questions.
This Constitution has resonated in unexpected and unanticipated ways. And it has stimulated, as it says in its Introductory Explanation, the “serious and substantive engagement with this Draft Proposal, and vigorous discussion and debate about what it puts forward as the kind of society and world to be not only imagined but actively struggled for.” We should not underestimate what we have glimpsed—the pivotal role this Constitution can play in raising people’s sights to a new world; and we should definitely not stop with what we have accomplished.
The engagement and the ferment this Constitution provokes needs to spread broadly throughout society and the world. This Constitution must find its way into the hands of many people—and a mass movement must be unleashed around it.
We must build on the beginning climate of serious wrangling and substantive engagement and questions and disagreements with this Constitution. In this way, the Constitution can not only be a framework for a whole new society but an impetus in building the movement for revolution today. We do not live in the best of all possible worlds... and another world and society of humans is possible. As many people read this Constitution and see there is a road which leads to the emancipation of all humanity, more people will be moved not only to get this Constitution out more broadly, but to work for revolution.
Look to this newspaper and revcom.us each week for continuing discussion of the Constitution, and guidance and direction for maximizing its impact throughout society. In an ongoing way, this newspaper will play an important role in uncorking the ferment and discussion of this pathbreaking work—and will serve as the scaffolding of the movement to get it out in the world. Let’s get a vibrant back and forth where people are anxious to get their hands on each new issue and are actively going to revcom.us to see the latest discussion on some of the key issues concentrated in the Constitution. Beginning this week, we will be publishing correspondence from readers with their thinking on the Constitution as a whole and different aspects of it. Already we have featured the light projections of the Constitution cover on a UN building in New York City and in Berkeley at Sproul Hall. Imaginative and creative popularization like this should be unleashed everywhere—and this paper will play the key role in letting the whole movement know what is happening and in people connecting up with each other.
And then on that basis and with that direction... take the maximum initiative to get the word of this Constitution out and get it to people. Already, there has been a beginning outpouring of ideas for how to get this out into the world. A few of them are outlined in this article... and we look forward to more!
Four key tasks now to launch this mass movement:
1) Promote the Constitution in a multitude of ways. Beginning with getting palm cards out all over the place: in neighborhoods, on campuses, in bookstores and coffee shops, at barber and beauty shops. Make plans and post (with permission) the center spreads on the Constitution which have appeared in Revolution in places where they will stir broad interest. Get the word of this up on the Internet... on blogs, websites, and out through listservs including internationally (in English and Spanish)—and raise the funds needed to post the ads everywhere. (Art work is available for different size ads at revcom.us.) Nationally, RCP Publications is aiming to buy ads in selected, key print and Internet publications... and funds are urgently need to do this!
2) Circles and networks which are growing up around this paper should meet and discuss the Constitution. Inviting people who have gotten the Constitution to these discussions can be an important way to expand the circles. Start a book club or organize discussions where you live or work or go to school to discuss the Introduction and Preamble and then go through the Constitution Article by Article. Meet at the same time each week, so people will know when and where to find you. Or begin an informal discussion group at Revolution Books. Combine this study with looking at the Revolution Talk by Bob Avakian (revolutiontalk.net). Write to this paper with your questions/experience.
Putting this into the hands of high school teachers and students is one important avenue for reaching into different sections of society... from the neighborhoods and communities to people from different walks of life. Teachers: Write to Revolution with your thoughts on a syllabus that could spread far and wide.
3) Distribute this Constitution everywhere... think creatively and make plans to get this out to different groupings of people... people in the projects and neighborhoods in your city... to legal scholars and legal organizations of different nationalities...to academia...to environmentalists and scientists... to writers and people in the arts... and many others. Buy five or more and then sell them to your friends, colleagues, people where you live, etc. Take it into classrooms and distribute and discuss it there. And mix it up—with people from the projects and neighborhoods going to the campuses and students going into the community. Contribute to the fundraising efforts to fill prisoner requests so this Constitution penetrates into the hellholes of incarceration.
Focused work needs to be organized to get this Constitution out to the college campuses. This document will challenge students, provoke debate, and should inspire many from among this new generation of students to join the movement to bring a whole new world into being. Right now, we should begin with truly massive distribution of the palm cards and posting of the promotional materials. Raise money to take out ads in campus newspapers. Set up book tables in busy quads and thoroughfares. And select specific departments and classes where short presentations are made—and books sold. Law schools, biology and ecology departments should be buzzing about this historic document along with ethnic studies and humanities. Talk to professors about incorporating it into their curriculum and about hosting brown bag lunches to discuss it among themselves.
In key neighborhoods and communities, go door to door with palm cards and to sell the Constitution and the newspaper. Develop the ways and means to bring this to people’s attention through posting the materials and bringing people together both in mass speakouts and discussion. But don’t stop there—bring people together in circles to deeply engage with what this Constitution is saying. And organize all kinds of fundraising.
Take this Constitution into the midst of outbreaks of struggle involving all sections of the people—wherever ferment and debate is unfolding around the kind of society we live in. And especially where questions of the real nature—and legitimacy—of this society and those who run it are opening up.
Distribute it at all kinds of gatherings where there is developing ferment and debate about the state of the world, including conferences of educators, Marxists, scientists, librarians, and more. And these days, with all the tea baggers and the like pushing out the U.S. Constitution, there is a lot of hoopla about the U.S. Constitution being whipped up and events organized to discuss it... let’s get into the middle of these with this radically new way society could be organized. And where it’s possible: challenge people to debate! In the next few weeks, Revolution newspaper will be printing challenges to discuss and debate this document—and its readers can take these up and take them out.
Work with RCP Publications to get it into libraries and bookstores of all kinds. (Go into your local Revolution bookstore or write to RCP Publications if you would like to work on this project in your area.)
4) Fundraising is a crucial front. $20,000 is needed for major national advertising and promotion, to fill prisoner requests for the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) and to spread it throughout this country and around the world. This is an audacious and visionary draft proposal—and this should give rise to an outpouring of creative ideas and collective projects to raise money, including parties and fundraising salons and sales of art and photos, food and other things! Reaching out to individuals from all sections of society—including many new people—for donations is an important way to meet people, get them the Constitution and draw them into the discussion of it—and a critical part of this mass movement we must build. And there has already been some beginning but important experience in academia, for example in raising significant funds in this way. Materials are available at the Revolution bookstores and from RCP Publications. Specifically, $4,000 is needed for 400 copies to be sent to prisoners. See PRLF.org for how to make a tax-deductible contribution or send a non-tax-deductible contribution to RCP Publications. Earmark your contribution for prisoners’ copies.
So, let’s go to it and build a mass movement around the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)!
Promotional materials, English and Spanish, for the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
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