Revolution #234, May 29, 2011
Raising Funds... And Preparing for Revolution
From a reader
In thinking about the 30-30+100 drive, it is important to see this in light of the campaign, "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have." This 30-30+100 drive also ties in with one of the deepest questions of the Cultural Revolution in our Party—whether we are serious about making revolution, or whether we are going to drift into (and eventually take up and defend) the spontaneous revisionist path of "movement as an alternate lifestyle" that might call itself revolutionary, but is NOT in fact preparing for revolution in everything it does.
The funds being raised in this drive are all about being able to actually carry forward on the projects being targeted in this drive—publicizing BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian; getting that book into the hands of thousands of prisoners; producing a film of the really inspiring April 11 cultural event on the publication of BAsics; and sustaining Revolution, the voice of the RCP. These funding targets are all crucial—if very beginning—objectives to meet.
The overall goals of the "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have" campaign focus on letting people very broadly know about this revolution and what it's all about; making Bob Avakian, and his leadership and work, known to millions and much more of a point of reference in society; and bringing forward new cores of communists and revolutionaries. BAsics is a major instrument in every dimension of that. We are really just beginning to learn of the potential impact of this book. Everything we can do to get this out there—most all of which requires money—will make a difference.
With the newspaper, the goal of over 100 new sustainers will not only enable the paper to keep coming out but to further and more deeply fulfill its mission as "the key instrument in developing an organized political network, among the most oppressed and other sections of the people, which can have a growing impact on the political scene and the society (and the world) as a whole, building up the forces of revolution and influencing ever broader numbers of people" (to quote the Party's statement, "On the Strategy for Revolution").
This drive also has a larger dimension. When we raise funds for these specific projects, we also build the movement for revolution. We are giving people a way—a very important way—to be part of this movement. We are organizing people, now, to be part of changing the whole world.
We need, right now, to have many comrades and supporters of the Party going to people with BAsics, letting them see the brochures on what is envisioned with the different projects, and giving them ways to support and be part of this effort. And this should not be a one-shot deal; with those who donate, we should be getting back to them as they "live with" BAsics, and perhaps get deeper into BA's work, and we should definitely be both learning from their responses and letting them know how things are developing and what their donations are helping to bring into being.
We also need, right now, to have many comrades and supporters of the Party winning people to sustain the newspaper. And then once people have been won to sustain, revolutionaries need to be going to them and talking with them, consistently, listening well to what they say and learning from them, improving our paper as we learn from them, and working with them to figure out further ways that they can contribute... while fully valuing the contributions that they make through their activity in sustaining.
To come at it a little differently, one night a few years ago I was watching Pat Robertson on TV—the reactionary Christian fascist preacher who runs the Christian Broadcasting Network. Robertson was pitching to his social base to donate, and especially directing his pitch to those with very little income—saying that even those who can only give 5 or 10 dollars a month are doing their part of get Bibles into Arab countries, or whatever other reactionary notions he was promoting at the time—"and wouldn't that be worth the sacrifice of a few cups of coffee a month?" Why? Because he needed the money? Yes, in one sense; but Robertson gets serious backing from the bourgeoisie and does not really have to raise money from the masses in the same way that revolutionaries do. But Robertson does see the importance of building up an organized, committed base to his reactionary movement, one that feels that they are part of what these Christian fascists are trying to do and one that is being prepared for days to come.
Now our aims and objectives are diametrically opposed to Robertson's—for one thing, we are engaging people to think critically and act consciously to bring in a whole new and far better world, as opposed to being religious robots set on reinforcing and intensifying oppressive social relations. But shouldn't we be at least as serious as these reactionary fascists? And again—can we say we are really serious if we are NOT paying at least as much attention to organizing people to concretely support and participate in the revolutionary movement on whatever level they can, as these criminals like Robertson do to line up people for reaction?
It's important for us to understand this: when people give for the first time, we are beginning a relationship with them. This relationship should be rich and multidimensional even as it ultimately has everything to do with accumulating forces for revolution. As they continue to support these kinds of projects and efforts, the relationship should be deepening. Comrades and supporters who win people to sustain should consistently work with these new sustainers, learning more (and helping the Party to learn more) about their conditions and about their thinking and about the conditions and thinking among the people they live and work with. We should be learning about their aspirations and how they see things and what holds them back. We should be getting a deeper understanding about the ways in which the works of Bob Avakian and other works, as well as our newspaper, are connecting with them—the questions that these works are answering and the new ones being sparked.
We should, through all this, be getting an increasingly deeper sense of the kinds of ways that people see fighting the power and the kinds of questions that have to be joined and answered... for revolution. Some—perhaps most for a time—will want to mainly continue as supporters and sustainers of different kinds, and we should make sure that they understand how meaningful their support is. Others will want to take up other activities as well. But, even taking into account that some people drop away for a while or even for good, the overall motion should be an ever-deepening relationship with greater numbers of people.
This has importance in every section of society. This is one part of what is being spoken to in the statement on strategy:
All along the way, both in more "normal times" and especially in times of sharp breaks with the "normal routine," it is necessary to be working consistently to accumulate forces—to prepare minds and organize people in growing numbers—for revolution, among all those who can be rallied to the revolutionary cause. Among the millions and millions who catch hell in the hardest ways every day under this system. But also among many others who may not, on a daily basis, feel the hardest edge of this system's oppression but are demeaned and degraded, are alienated and often outraged, by what this system does, the relations among people it promotes and enforces, the brutality this embodies.
This kind of orientation toward fund-raising also begins to work on and change the culture. When there is a growing section of people who are seriously supporting the revolution—donating money to something bigger than themselves—it goes against the whole miserly "what's-in-it-for-me" mentality that is so promoted and so prevalent right now.
So all this should be kept in mind—and the connections consciously forged in practice—as we carry out this drive. Again, the specific goals of this particular fund drive are very important in their own right and we should all be thinking about how we can meet them; but as we do so, the relationships and organized ties that we build must be part of laying a foundation from which the movement for revolution can forge ahead further.
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