Revolution #249, November 6, 2011


Announcing: A Mass Campaign to Raise Big Money to Get BA’s Vision and Works Into Every Corner of Society

“I hope he gets number one We need to get this kind of word, this kind of conversation out—it needs to be disseminated, it needs to be in the mainstream more. We got to stop thinking that this kind of stuff just belongs at the very, very fringe of society...”—journalist and writer

“I wish I had a copy of BAsics in high school so that I could counter the bullshit being taught to me. I didn’t have that opportunity, but there are millions of students today who need to hear the voice of Bob Avakian so they can join the fight. BAsics presents an essential challenge to all that is oppressive and intolerant. It paints not only a picture of a new world, but it leaves room for innovation and growth, as a communist future will have, as Bob Avakian says, ‘a solid core with a lot of elasticity.’”—student from the Midwest

“I want to urge everybody out there to get their hands on this book and to help get it into the hands of others, not just prisoners, but into the hands of youth who are in danger of becoming prisoners themselves. ... Help them unlock their potential and give them a sense of purpose that doesn’t involve killing each other. Give them an alternative to the criminal lifestyle that doesn’t involve conforming to this horrid system. That is what they need, that is what they ache for. They want to rebel, they just have to be introduced to the correct way to do so. Put them on the path to becoming communists...”—a prisoner from California

These are things people have written us after reading BAsics, a book of quotations and short essays from Bob Avakian. They feel the need for more people to know about Bob Avakian—his vision and works. And so do we.

To do just that, we are launching today a major, multi-faceted fundraising campaign to project BA, his voice and his work way out into society—far beyond what it is today. A fundraising campaign that will raise the necessary major money to make this possible. A fundraising campaign that unleashes and develops imagination, defiance, and community in everything it does.

Imagine what we could change... and imagine how we could change it.

BAsics has had a real impact, with virtually no advertising and a shoe-leather sales force weighed down by day jobs. Now imagine BAsics with a serious advertising budget that could project with broadness and consistency, and with people freed up full time to get it out. And that’s just a beginning.

Artists have done amazing and inspiring things off this book, and other works by Avakian—and there are more exciting projects in the works. Now imagine if there were the money to fund these projects, the money to advertise them, the money to document and record them and then to publicize and distribute them on a level that begins to come close to their quality and potential reach. Imagine the people inspired... and imagine the new kinds of culture and cultural scenes that begin to emerge...

Prisoners—when and where they can get it—have taken this book up as a lifeline. An important, a precious, connection is growing and taking hold. But there is still not enough money to fill nearly every order that comes in from prisoners! Imagine if there were the money to not only fill those orders, but to spread the word through the 2.3 million prisoner population, and to hire a publicist to make known to the general public that there are people in these dungeons who are transforming themselves into emancipators of humanity.

Imagine buses with eye-catching decorations touring the nation, spreading revolution and BA’s voice to those hungry for it in outlying areas. People on a mission rolling through community centers, high schools, Ivy League and community colleges, from mountains to valleys, suburbs to rural areas. Showing the film of Bob Avakian’s talk Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About in classrooms and community centers. Getting Avakian’s memoir, and other key works, out all over the country. Reaching the youth, visiting the Occupy encampments that have sprung up all over, going to where there is outrageous oppression going down, taking a week in an inner city...and then another inner city... “The BA bus is coming to your town.”

Imagine Raymond Lotta, Carl Dix, Sunsara Taylor, and others with the funds to really tour the campuses, and communities, speaking powerfully to the need for revolution and a whole new world, popularizing the re-envisioned communism that BA has brought forward—radically challenging and changing the discourse—and, as a key part of that, promoting this fundraising campaign.

And imagine all that getting documented by filmmakers and film students, becoming the raw material for films and other forms that could spread it all even further. Imagine films and other works of high quality getting into the festivals and theaters and onto cable TV—this could really happen, there are the people and there is the potential... but there is not the money.

Imagine the mix of people from different walks of life coming TOGETHER to think about these things and wrangle deeply over them and relate them to their own experiences, in all different kinds of places and all different kinds of scenes—from campuses to basic neighborhoods, from the prisons to the Occupy camps, in all kinds of cultural scenes and concerts, and out into the suburbs. And imagine all this taking place in the midst of—and providing a framework and context for—all the efforts being launched to fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution, whether against mass incarceration or against pornography and patriarchy or other outrages and other sites of resistance that the movement for revolution will relate to. A whole ensemble of things—a whole creative, compelling mix of the different elements of this campaign, and a whole package of fighting for a different and far better world—will come through to people.

Part of this mix gets created in the very ways you raise funds. Fundraising—if it’s done right—does two things. It raises the money that is badly needed to make a huge difference; and it brings people together—in this case to engage with BA, and what he represents and the whole process of changing the world. And the fact is that there are many, many people who may not agree with everything BA stands for, or who feel that they themselves need to learn more about this, but who also understand very deeply how important it would be, what a difference it would make, to have this voice and vision being projected, and engaged and debated, by people in every part of society. So let’s imagine again, from a little different angle—let’s imagine a week, or maybe even a weekend, where a goal is set to raise so much money to achieve a certain, concrete goal—to fund and distribute, say, a short film of actors reading letters from prisoners responding to BAsics. Imagine all kinds of people, all over the country, doing different things to meet that goal. There are big parties, with food donated from local restaurants, in the projects and on campuses. Car washes, bake sales, and yard sales are organized and publicized. In another part of town, there’s a big cultural benefit. A fundraising salon is held among wealthier sections of people. Maybe someone with more resources publicly pledges to match whatever is raised by a big group of people in a housing project. Everyone participating in something that is bigger than their individual efforts while at the same time, their individual efforts have a decisive effect as part of that. Imagine the lively discussion over BA and what he’s all about going on in the midst of this. A social movement and community can be forged through this, a sense of momentum and excitement at accomplishing big breakthroughs and then seeing how the funds translate into an immediate impact in society... laying the groundwork for more fundraising breakthroughs.

This is a battle for funds with a very specific goal—to project this person’s voice and work into every corner of society. Because of BA and the work he has done over several decades, summing up the positive and negative experience of the communist revolution so far, and drawing from a broad range of human experience, there is a new synthesis of communism that has been brought forward—there really is a viable vision and strategy for a radically new, and much better, society and world, and there is the crucial leadership that is needed to carry forward the struggle toward that goal.

Projecting this voice... making this person a point of reference for all of society will make a HUGE difference! So let’s imagine one last time—at least for now. Imagine the difference it could make to the whole social atmosphere and culture of this whole country if thousands, hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions more were actively being made aware of the works and vision for a whole new society and world brought forward by BA. Some people would passionately agree, some people would passionately disagree, some people would for now simply feel the need to get better informed in order to understand it better. But people throughout society would be debating and wrangling over truly “big” questions about the nature of the present system (capitalism-imperialism), a concrete and worked out vision of an alternative way of organizing society which really would benefit the vast majority of people (as put forward in the recently published Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), a document that embodies the new synthesis of revolution and communism that BA has brought forward).

Imagine if these were the kinds of things that served as the framework that people could debate and bounce off of as they developed their thinking and worked out points of agreement and disagreement. Wouldn’t that be so much better than what too often characterizes things today—with many people still in denial of reality and either avoiding altogether the “big questions” about whether and how to better organize society, or still clinging to the hope that this horrendous system could somehow be fixed if we could just find some better person to elect to high office. And for those who are lifting their heads and questioning and critiquing the direction of things more often these days, and are newly engaging in much-needed active resistance: What, here again, could be better than being offered a fully developed, coherent framework for what to do to remake society, a framework which includes many new and provocative insights and a very different method and approach and which has been developed and further fleshed out and sharpened up over the past few decades by BA. Imagine what a difference it could make if hundreds of thousands and then millions were actively discussing and debating the pros and cons of what he is proposing.

THIS—effecting a radical and fundamental change in the social and political “atmosphere” of this whole country by projecting the whole BA vision and framework into all corners of society where it does not yet exist, or is still too little known, and getting all sorts of people to engage and wrestle with it—is what this massive fundraising campaign is all about. You can love and agree with most of what BA has to say, or you can disagree with a lot of it, or you can just feel like you don’t know enough yet to be sure one way or another, even as you find yourself drawn in and attracted by different elements... but if you are a decent, thinking person, a person with a conscience, someone who just can’t go along with the notion that it’s acceptable for great social injustices to repeatedly be tolerated or swept under the rug, then this campaign is for you.

Because if we succeed with this—if we collectively raise enough money to make it concretely possible to project the whole BA vision and project into all corners of society and to introduce him and what he is bringing forward to millions who are not yet familiar with his works and vision; if the framework he is bringing forward and advocating for becomes increasingly debated and wrangled over by thousands and by millions of people from all walks of life; if, together, we manage to accomplish this, this will actually make a very big difference. The whole social and political culture will “breathe” more freely, people will wrangle passionately over “big questions” concerning the direction of society (like knowing that much of the future of humanity hangs in the balance) and the times will once again resonate with big dreams for fundamental change and the emancipation of humanity.

All this and more will be further developed and unfolded, beginning with conferences this month for people who want to take part in getting this started. So... let’s do it!

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