Raising Funds for the Revolution Club and Developing Networks of Support for the Revolution

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From the Revolution Club, Chicago:

As we head into the end of the year and the world convulses with the disaster this system means for humanity, the movement for revolution has focused some attention toward fundraising as a crucial part of building the revolution that is needed to overthrow this system and replace it with a new socialist republic in North America. In Chicago, where the Revolution Club has been making a concentrated effort for the last year and a half, we have initiated a $30,000 Winter Fund Drive to fund this effort and contribute to developing networks of sustained support for the revolution. This letter is to share some of what we’ve been doing and learning and wrestling with.

The concentrated work in Chicago is discussed by Bob Avakian in the Q&As of the talk he gave this summer, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, especially Part 2 of the Chicago Q&A where he leads a discussion of this with the people attending his talk. He says Chicago has become a concentration point of important contradictions and struggles in society, in particular our youth killing each other and the threats by the Trump regime to even more violently come down on people. And he describes how the effort in Chicago is “to turn this around, to make a breakthrough, to where revolution became something on the ground as an attractive force, especially for these youth.” He points to the possible international effect that this could have. He says we have not yet made the breakthrough needed and we are not going to give up on doing that and points to some of the elements needed to make this breakthrough, and then he puts this question and problem to the people in the room to speak to and help solve.

Taking that same approach of putting the problems of the revolution to the people, the Revolution Club in Chicago looked at what it costs to put in the kind of effort we’ve been making and need to continue to do, and are putting this problem to the masses of people to help solve. We also are learning from BA’s talk overall and the strategy statement, HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution, and wrestling together with how to apply this to understanding and approaching fundraising in a strategic way, in relation to “aiming for something very definite—a revolutionary situation.”

Developing a Fundraising Plan

We pulled a committee together to help get us all focusing on fundraising and develop an approach and plan. And then we have had varying kinds of discussions with the Revolution Club as a whole or in smaller groupings as we’ve started to work on those plans and further develop them. Two things we have wrestled with and continued to come back to from the part of HOW WE CAN WIN on “What we need to do now,” are 1) how fundraising is part of the organized forces and leadership of this revolution becoming the “authority” that people look to and follow, and 2) what this has to do with defeating the attempts of the ruling powers to crush the revolution and its leadership, and with opposing and disrupting the moves of the ruling powers to isolate, “encircle,” brutalize, mass incarcerate and murderously repress the people who have the hardest life under this system and most need this revolution. We have also talked about how what we do with this now is training and preparation for when there is a different kind of situation, as discussed in the part of HOW WE CAN WIN, “How we could defeat them,” and the organized support and assistance of the masses of revolutionary people in their millions will be even more crucial for every need of the struggle.

One thing we haven’t talked about as much or as explicitly but is also very important to all this is the relationship of fundraising to spreading the word about the revolution and its leadership, one of the first tasks discussed in HOW WE CAN WIN and in the film of BA’s speech. Not only is fundraising needed to even be able to spread the word (funds are needed to pay for things like flyers, posters, etc.), but spreading the word of the fundraising needs itself is part of spreading the word of revolution, and breaking through the lack of hope that is suffocating people.

The plans we developed were with the actual financial needs in mind and thinking about how to involve people broadly in this and develop networks of support for the revolution: how people who support what the Revolution Club is doing and feel they are part of it can concretely contribute to that work through donating and becoming part of fundraising, and in so doing are also changing their relationship to the revolution and becoming part of strengthening the “authority” of this revolution and its leadership; how what the Revolution Club mission is in Chicago can further spread to becoming known by many more people and the basis to involve many more people (who want to see an end to the outrageous police murders and to the heart-breaking violence among the people) in supporting it.

We decided we needed to set the goal at what was actually needed, figure out a realistic time frame to meet it, and put this out to people and involve people. Our plans, some of which we’ve begun to do and others we are still developing, are: working with people to do fundraising events and projects; spreading the word broadly of the fundraising campaign through social media, palm cards, posters; working with people to reach out and involve their networks; phone-banking to supporters and contacts of the Revolution Club; and street fundraising as well as canvassing. In everything, there is the key element of people being brought into what the fundraising is for (on the level of the Chicago project, the whole revolution, and the particular immediate needs) and being able to take that out to others. To help with this, we developed a basic fundraising call and made it into a palm card that people can read and take out to others and has the ways to donate online and in person.

Events and Projects

So far, we have held two fundraising events at the Revolution Club Organizing Center and we are beginning to meet with musicians and other contacts to work on at least two more events at other locations. The fundraising events at the center have not raised large amounts of money, but they have raised some and they’ve been important in many ways. The first event raised $180 and the second event raised $106, including $40 for a beautiful hooded scarf that was crocheted by a Revolution Club supporter and donated to sell as a fundraiser.

The first event was a celebration and benefit party in November that included a ceremony recognizing and honoring new members joining the Revolution Club. In addition to the money donated, a lot of people donated food and drinks, including by some of the local businesses near the center. At that party, there was a real sense of a community of people coming together around making revolution. People joining the club brought their friends and loved ones with them to be part of this. The focus of the program and the ceremony was the Points of Attention for the Revolution, and one person commented after the program that she was inspired by the Points of Attention and another said he was struck by how this movement is for humanity, it is not selfish.

The second fundraising event was a Future People Open Mic. We decided to do this after a discussion with people in the Revolution Club about fundraising and a couple of members proposed doing an open mic as a fundraiser. We talked together about what it should be and how to do it: an open mic called Future People that is guided by and popularizing the Points of Attention for the Revolution, a cultural event that is part of what it looks like to fight for a radically new and better world, an event that puts the needs for funds out broadly and involves people in donating and raising funds for the Revolution Club.

To build for the open mic we reached out to strategic sections of people, including going out to several high schools as well as poetry and art events and other significant events. At the high schools we took the large banner we made in support of the immigrant caravan that all kinds of people have been signing. We laid out the banner and we spoke over a bullhorn about future people fighting for a world without borders, for equality of women and men and differently gendered people, for the emancipation of humanity and not for revenge. A number of students came up to put messages on the banner and were interested to hear about the open mic and what the Revolution Club is about and doing.

At the schools and at the poetry and art events we passed out flyers for the open mic that had the Points of Attention for the Revolution on the back and this was attractive to some of the people seriously checking this all out. At one event in a progressive suburb, people were gathered to hear a talk about the segregation in Chicago and the decimation of the public schools. We went with the open mic flyer and also passed out a pamphlet of the important and timely article, “Question: What Do You Do With a System That Gives No Future to Millions of Black and Latino Youth; Whose Police Brutalize, Lock Them Up and Even Kill Them in Cold Blood, and Then Covers It Up? Answer: Overthrow It.” At everything we went to, we went together in Revolution Nothing Less T-shirts and represented in a way that it was clear we were presenting as an organized force—and this was definitely part of how people engaged and related to us and drew some who seem to be looking for how to make radical change.

The open mic itself was not that well attended, but some who came indicated that word of the open mic had gotten out beyond the usual circles. There were also good and powerful performances. One young woman who performed had found about it a couple days before when she met the Revolution Club team at an outing where we had displayed the new posters of the faces of people killed by Chicago police. Her brother was murdered by police in 2010 and she brought a picture of him to the open mic and dedicated one of her poems to him and to everyone killed by police. Another person who performed is an ex-prisoner who met the Revolution Club a few months ago and has been part of spreading the word about the revolution in various ways. He wrote a “revolutionary poem” for the open mic and ended it with ripping up a U.S. flag. A number of members of the Revolution Club performed poetry or read quotes from BAsics, the book of quotations from Bob Avakian that is the handbook of the revolution. One Revolution Club member performed a poem inspired by the battle to defeat the legal charges against Maya, who is outrageously facing seven years in prison for doing a silent protest for immigrants. After the open mic people danced and talked together and one person got a copy of BAsics which she started reading on the spot, while another picked up a copy of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. A number of people took stacks of the fundraising palm card with them when they left, to pass out in places they go and among people they know.

Other Ways People Are Contributing and Fundraising

Other significant contributions to the winter fund drive so far are: a supporter crocheting and donating scarves, caps, and bags to sell for funds to support the Revolution Club; and another supporter—a doctor who herself has donated $2,000 in the last year—writing a fundraising letter and beginning to get it out to her networks. A musician is working to pull together some other artists for a meet-and-greet with the Revolution Club where we’ll develop further plans together for one or more fundraising events. A couple members of the Revolution Club are working with another musician to put together a punk show fundraiser in February. These are all important developments, even while they all need to be followed through on and the whole effort needs to grow to involve exponentially more people.


Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution

A speech by Bob Avakian
In two parts:


Watch it, spread it, fund it

Find out more about this speech—and get organized to spread it

Download, print and spread the word with this Revolution Club Chicago fund raising palm card (PDF—two-sided).


for the costs of Revolution Club Chicago’s legal defenses and challenges HERE


to support the work of the Revolution Club Chicago HERE

November 2018
A Tale of Two Cities, and the Need for Revolution

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I want you to get to know, and to donate generously to the Revolution Club, Chicago, the “Rev Club Chi.” I had the pleasure and the honor to meet them and to do some revolutionary work with them on a recent trip to Chicago.

Read more.


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