BA Everywhere Fundraising Dinner in LA:
Raising Funds and Coming Together

April 18, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


On April 14, around 40 to 50 people gathered in LA for a dinner to celebrate the release of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and raise funds for BA Everywhere. Many had been to the film premiere; others to the film showings and discussions at Revolution Books, some had just recently met revolutionaries on the street. There was a lively, revolutionary atmosphere from beginning to end. People of all ages, nationalities, walks of life, and from several countries greeted old friends and met new ones as the event began. Beautiful new BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts were snapped up and put on, making a visible presence in the room. In the spirit of the celebration, one woman paid for her ticket and bought two T-shirts to donate to the Revolution Club.

Michael Slate, a revolutionary communist who writes for Revolution newspaper and hosts a radio show on KPFK, welcomed everyone to the dinner. A buzz of conversation and laughter rose from the tables as people sat down to eat. The diversity of the movement for revolution was expressed in the really delicious international food that everyone enjoyed—Persian lentil soup, vegan chili, rotisserie chicken donated by a vendor from the a farmer’s market, enchiladas, tamales, homemade pies prepared for the celebration, and much more, including a Persian potato-chicken salad with ‘revolution’ spelled out in pickles on top. Almost all the food was donated by people who are part of the movement for revolution, vendors and restaurants.

Members of the LA Revolution Club came forward as a group and stood together in front of the room. They were warmly applauded with real appreciation for the significance of young people stepping forward as emancipators of humanity. They read some of the statements people had made about their experience of the film. One of the Revolution Club members read a passage from BA’s memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey From Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, entitled "Mario Savio," where BA describes how he was troubled by the assumption that being part of the Free Speech Movement included opposition to the war in Vietnam, which he was still studying at the time. She said she wanted to read this passage to make the point that people who unite in the movement for revolution will be debating, studying, and wrangling with and thinking about many topics as they go and that they should be willing to step outside of their comfort zone, becoming a part of this movement for revolution as they learn more about it.

The remarks of the main speaker took off from the comments that were printed from Andy Zee in NY. She also drew from the recent piece from BA, “A Fundamental Point of Orientation, Approach and Objective.” And emphasized the role for everyone there in being a part of getting out this new film as they are getting more into it themselves—people might not agree with everything, but if they see the importance of getting it out, they should run with the Revolution Club and the BA Everywhere network to take the DVD out to thousands of people at the LA Festival of Books, May Day, Cinco de Mayo and the Fiesta Broadway—major opportunities in the next few weeks to introduce people to BA, this new film, and Revolution newspaper, and raise funds for BA Everywhere. Along with talking about the importance of fighting the power overall, she emphasized the importance of working now to build powerful support for the hunger strike called by prisoners in the California SHU for July 8, 2013.

The evening was filled with lively discussion and engagement with BA, with the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and with the movement for revolution, on many levels. Some young people who had met revolutionaries on a street corner weeks before the dinner told their experiences of being brutalized and jailed by police. Hearing about the planned hunger strike and the prisoners' call for peace between different nationalities in the prisons and jails, one of them, a Latino brother, told the story of when he was in jail, handcuffed to a chair, the police tried to get him to fight a Black guy handcuffed to the chair next to him—the winner could go free. They refused. He and his friends left the dinner with a much clearer picture of what the movement for revolution is about, excited about going to the Festival of Books.

Someone from the middle strata, who has been getting into the DVD himself, said he was moved when he overheard one of these youth talk about wanting to get one of the new T-shirts, but not having the money to afford it. This person from the middle strata said he wants to start a fund for the youth to get revolutionary T-shirts, and wants to take this idea out to others as part of BA Everywhere.

A student who had heard a presentation from an RCP supporter in his college class last year met revolutionaries again just before the dinner and came to the celebration. He said that the excerpt from the DVD on human nature answered a question he had raised in the class, and he left with a copy of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian. A woman who was active in the '60s told a diverse group how BA had been talking to her when he challenged '60s people to remember that they were right back then, and to act on that understanding.

One group held a lively, wide-ranging discussion in Spanish, struggling over religion and wrangling with how to find the ways to get out the DVD and raise funds for BA Everywhere even with the limitations of working and family responsibilities. They came up with a plan for a fundraising DVD showing.

After the dinner and program, people didn’t want to leave; they sat talking, or table-hopping, for another hour. The room was electric—deep engagement and discussion punctuated with jokes and laughter. Finally everyone helped clean up and went home with left-over delicious food and plans to spread BA Everywhere in the coming weeks. "This was amazing," one person commented as he left. "It was like a new cultural revolution."

More than $900 was raised for BA Everywhere.


Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.