On a Mission to Raise Big Funds for BA Everywhere

November 4, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

I was very excited by the editorial in last week’s Revolution newspaper, “November and December: Time to Raise Big Funds for BA Everywhere,” about the major campaign to raise big funds to project Bob Avakian’s vision and works into every corner of society, and wanted to share what we’re doing in my city to apply it.

First, we really need to hit the ground running. As the editorial pointed out, “Half of donations to causes are made in November and December, and people with means are considering at this moment how their resources can make a difference.” And Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away so schedules will be filling up fast! We talked about having an approach of getting out the gate quickly and stepping back and summing up deeply as we go. There shouldn’t be a lot of complicated and unnecessary steps.

We’re going to have a small core team who can dedicate a good deal of time over the next two months, really going on a mission to reach out to more propertied people, and working on a few different levels. And hoping for this to involve some people from different backgrounds and levels of experience. At the same time we’re going to involve a broader section of people—in particular those who work with the BA Everywhere committee and others who want to volunteer to be part of important mass efforts and targeted research in this sphere.

This small core team is going to pile into someone’s place and all work together—going through lists, writing short letters, getting on the phone, tracking down ways to reach people if it’s not so easy, going out to events together where we know we can reach these people. This way we can really bear down and sum up as we go. We’re going to struggle to get meetings with people so we can really make the case in person for why they should give a serious contribution ($1,000, $5,000 or $10,000 depending on the person we’re talking to). But there’s also not a one-size-fits-all approach. If people don’t want to make time for a meeting, but will talk to us on the phone, then we should make the argument that way. If we can’t reach them on the phone and we know they’ll be speaking at this or that place, we should go there and make the case.

The main thing is there has to be a lot of fluidity and determination—what we’re raising funds for really is the most important thing in the world right now: broad societal awareness and impact with Bob Avakian’s revolutionary leadership and new synthesis of communism... that there is a whole different way the world could be up against the nightmare, disaster and cruelty of this world... the strategy, vision and leadership for this is concentrated in BA.

A lot of people will have questions and differences with all this, including as they more deeply engage it. This is a good and important part of the process. We have to join these at the same time as we bring it back to why—even as we continue to debate out these differences—they should contribute financially to BA Everywhere: making known in every corner of society that there is a program and vision that is about the total emancipation of humanity, and a leadership in BA working at that today.

Taking off from the editorial, we’ve identified three interrelated but distinct categories of (a) people we know, sort of know or can contact to begin with (people “who have supported important causes in the past or observed the movement for revolution from a distance for a while—especially those who have funds and perhaps you haven’t been back to in a while”) (b) people we should know and make a real effort to meet, given what they say/write and indications of real agonizing about the state of the world or others who may not themselves be in a position to contribute large funds but might know people in these spheres (c) scenes we should be mixing in to meet others—there are lots of examples, but you might start with a broad category like the New York jazz scene, including arts philanthropists or progressive Hollywood, Silicon Valley (including these types of centers nationally), or well-known architects. We can reach out more as we go, but mainly we want to pick one or two and begin the process.

These last two categories should involve the broader team I mentioned above—people who are maybe newer to all this, or who have less time but want to contribute. What events in the next three weeks should we aim to have a broader impact at? Is there simple research that can be done by people who are maybe too shy to get on the phone but want to help (i.e., sifting through donor lists is something anyone with internet access can do and it can save the core team a lot of time). Finally, this broader team should also do some neighborhood canvassing in wealthier areas in conjunction with the core group. Through this, we’ll also help people develop this new kind of experience and will need to lead all this politically and sum up along the way.

All this should be focused on raising funds for BA Everywhere and (at least in New York and Los Angeles), building for the formal premieres of the new film, Stepping Into the Future—On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World.

When we get the meetings, we want to mix in some different kinds of people—people with different backgrounds who can make the case at different levels but with passion and conviction. We should have simple materials as well.

The editorial pointed out that along with the new film Stepping Into the Future, BA Speaks: REVOLUTON—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live, and BAsics, we should make packets with Cornel West’s interview of BA and the mission statement of The Bob Avakian Institute (if we’re sitting down with people, we can also show them the video about the BAsics Bus Tour that went to Sanford, Florida, in 2012).

For the meeting itself, people should be ready to make the case for the impact of BA Everywhere as a whole—really making BA a household name. And more concretely, what will be done with the funds we’re raising to enable this. We’re not raising a smaller amount of funds for this or that immediate project, but we should give a sense of what has been accomplished thus far with the funds raised and in an overall sense what their contribution will go towards. The BA Institute mission statement paints an important picture of this: publicizing and promoting BA’s works and things inspired by BA’s work (including the new film, Stepping Into the Future...); paying for speaking tours, panels and interviews about BA’s work; multi-layered advertising campaigns including PR work to garner higher level interviews and media about BA and BA Everywhere; national outreach to libraries, high schools and colleges with BA’s work, syllabus ideas, a movement of showings of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and more; funding future bus tours to the metropolitan centers and hinterlands of the U.S. with volunteers from across the country of different ages and backgrounds... reaching people with BA’s work who are never otherwise reached; encouraging and promoting a variety of artistic and cultural expressions in relation to BA’s work. We want their ideas as well in all this—but we are serious, and should convey this, about changing the face of everything with BA’s vision and works.

Finally, write in to Revolution newspaper and revcom.us with questions and experience so we can all learn from each other.

I’ll repeat how last week’s editorial ended: “Again: start now to be out among those with resources, and start now to make appointments to sit down with people—schedules for the next several weeks will be filling up fast. With BA Everywhere we are giving people from all walks of life the chance to make the biggest difference that could be. This is about changing the face of everything. There is nothing more ambitious and nothing more vital—if you want a world that is fit for humanity and all the other species that live on it—than making BA and his work REAL and PRESENT in the world, now, today. Let’s get to it.”

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