Revolution #205, June 27, 2010

Spreading the Message and Call: "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have"

New Shoots, New Questions

In some key communities around the country the campaign, "The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have" is starting to become visible. Over 187,000 broadsheets with the Revolutionary Communist Party's Message and Call were distributed in 10 days and some very lively revolutionary scenes were created on the streets that had people taking notice, reading the Call, taking copies to distribute to their friends, donating funds for the revolution and asking "Who is that man on the T-shirts?" This is a good beginning to the summer-long effort to distribute one million copies of the Call.

While we have not yet fully achieved a situation in these communities where the revolution is pushing enough into people's worlds that it is being engaged and debated on a really broad scale, through this 10-day effort many new people have come into contact with the revolution, some controversy has been created, and there are some pockets of people beginning to wrangle with it among themselves, and new people are stepping forward and helping to spread the statement and the campaign.

These are some important new shoots and a critical task in building the revolutionary movement is to follow up on and develop these shoots.

People who have seen the image of Bob Avakian and read in the statement about the revolutionary leadership he is providing and want to know more about all this; people who have jumped in to help spread the statement in various ways—all these people need to have the opportunity to see the Revolution Talk and find out for themselves what Bob Avakian is saying and what he's all about. We need to make sure they have a copy of the full Message and Call, and we need to introduce them to Revolution newspaper and talk to them about the vital role it plays in bringing out the truth about this system and as a scaffolding for this revolutionary movement. And we need to tell them about the need to sustain Revolution newspaper. Sustaining the paper is a way that many people can right away give concrete support to the revolutionary movement even as they are learning more about it. All of these things are critical ways for the revolutionary movement to sink deeper roots and to build a firmer foundation from which to expand.

Below are some further sights of sounds from the nationwide effort:

  As part of making Bob Avakian a household word, his image is appearing everywhere. Above it is projected on a wall in Los Angeles.

A Black man from the area dropped by to tell the revolutionaries his 14-year-old son had been given two years in juvenile detention. He seethed with anger. "I want to preach to the world about this damn system." He was on his way to work and said he could not join us on the spot. He took a few statements and started to walk away and then came back. "Give me some more!" he demanded, "I'll give them out at work and on the way to work." Another person we know said like many others, "I got it, I got it." He said the statement was put on his door, under his door, his wife and his son had brought it home. "It's everywhere," he said.

On this Saturday night we have two new volunteers with us—one who is just getting to know about the revolution through a friend, and a young high school woman who comes rushing up to the corner, out of breath, asking if we are accepting volunteers. Her mother brought the Message and Call home and thought she might be interested because "I'm always talking about communism, communism, communism." She wants to know how Avakian has developed Marxism because "isn't it kind of old?" She jumps into helping to flyer and at the end of the evening the younger folks head off to meet each other and get more into what this movement for revolution and Avakian are all about.


With the visuals being so important, the image played an important role in capturing people's attention and imagination. Sometimes people would turn around, after getting a statement, and come back just to ask, "Who is that?" And people were struck by the image to the degree it seemed more "everywhere" than we actually managed to get it. Several people came up to us saying, "Who is that, I've seen that picture EVERYWHERE."


People who were fundraising with the big buckets at a downtown arts festival said it made a big difference when they put out that this was part of a nationwide campaign to distribute 200,000 in 10 days and a million over the summer—giving people a vision of what we are trying to accomplish. People were dropping $5 and $10 into the buckets. It was very important that BA's image was very much out there and about 1,200 image cards went out that evening. And as a few of our crew were leaving, one guy jumped in front of them and said, "Okay, I just need to know —WHO IS that on your t-shirts?!!" That evening we distributed almost 3,000 broadsheets and raised $91.


We began to bring into focus—for ourselves—what it means to achieve saturation in the neighborhood where we returned day after day. We did things we have never done before, and mobilized a number of people who came to the conference in NYC who had never been involved in such an effort before, giving us all a sense of collectivity that felt like we WERE building a movement for revolution, even if in embryo.

Dozens of people asked us "who is on your shirt?" Dozens of store-owners or managers put up posters of BA. We played segments of the Revolution Talk in some of the stores, getting out cards for the talk in a way we never have before, in response to their curiosity, a sentiment we encountered much more than in the past when we just handed out flyers. One of the musicians who joined our team rigged up a sound system that had a powerful effect, blasting the Chair's voice at the train station.

There is a good basis to build for this anti-July 4th picnic in this neighborhood, as we have established a different kind of presence, among many people who have seen us over the years, have heard us talk about revolution, but sense something new is happening, a movement with a leader they want to know more about.


We had three volunteers who worked with us on the saturation teams which made all the difference in reaching our goals. One volunteer who is very familiar with the neighborhood took 500 on his own to a park in the area and got them all out, as well as running with us on a team. Another who was very new went around on a team for a couple of days and then took a bundle on his own. A third volunteer, a white professional who has participated in other ways, but not very much in the realm of broad work, said that he was really glad he was involved in this. He said that since the conference (which he attended) he is seeing that the party is becoming more serious about making revolution happen. He said going out with the statement really gave him a feel for what we need to deal with among the people, the sharp contradictions that exist in relation to revolution and communism.


Another phenomenon that was quite pervasive was people taking up stacks of the statements and distributing them to others and in more than a dozen cases coming back for more. In one housing complex that has been the target of police abuse someone took a bundle and got them out to the residents and then asked for more. Popsicle cart salesmen were seen distributing the call off their truck. We went through a laundromat and a young Latino approached us to ask for another bundle. As we circulated to the other side of the laundry, a Latina asked us for a stack of palm cards with the image. It turned out that she was the wife of the man who had approached us and she said that she wanted the image because this might be the picture of the man that the leaflet talks about.

One morning, we went to the day laborers' corner and played the statement on an iPod to a group of workers. They listened intently and one guy commented that he really needed to have a CD of that statement. The engagement at this spot revolved around the two different paths to power in the two different type of countries. For this grouping, this was the first time that they encountered a revolutionary strategy that differs from the one in the third world. The section of the statement that kicked off this discussion was: "It is true: now is not yet the time, in this country, to go all-out to seize the power away from those who rule over us..."


On the final day of saturation, at least 7 blocks of broadsheets were torn down from the poles by a religious woman who mobilized her children to help take the posters down. This happened after we had flyered at two churches (with fairly positive response overall, and some excitement and curiosity generated among youth churchgoers), which may have been part of what drew the attention of this woman to the broadsheets. While it was disappointing to discover that all of our work had been for nothing, as one member of our team said, "The woman who tore the statement down must have read it, at least as far as the part about god. She must have realized that this message would have a huge impact to have gone to all this trouble, and she felt threatened herself, and told a lot of other people about it." This gave us a different perspective on the significance of the statement and showed how, in its own way, the negative action of this woman stirred up another level of controversy that may have drawn more attention to the Message and Call.

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