Revolution #206, July 4, 2010
Report from the Conferences:
Making Bob Avakian a Household Name
One of the highlights from the recent conferences on the Revolutionary Communist Party’s campaign, The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have, was collective brainstorming and percolation that got kicked off about how we’re really—in a mass, societal way—going to accomplish the goals of this campaign. On the foundation set by the main speech, people were alive to the stakes of accomplishing these goals, and the potential, and ideas came pouring out in a collective process. It was the beginning of something that needs to run through this whole campaign—to continue to step back and analyze: What will it take for this campaign to achieve societal impact, for revolution to be really on the map? Is what we’re doing part of that? Are there openings we’re missing? How does a particular effort or breakthrough synergize with other efforts or breakthroughs? What can we learn from what we’ve done—right and wrong? And how do we maximize all that and get it all working together... to really begin a new stage of revolution?
This atmosphere was definitely felt in the workshops to make Bob Avakian a household name. The day before the workshops, we’d had serious discussion and wrangling with a theme of the opening speech on the importance of Bob Avakian—to this whole campaign and to the movement for revolution:
“Without Bob Avakian and the work he did and is doing—without Bob Avakian and the courageous struggle he waged, and led—it is very likely that there would BE no communism today, at least no vital and viable communism. Without Bob Avakian, it is very likely that there would be no Party in the U.S. today—at least no party that is really a vanguard of revolution—nor would there be a revolutionary movement.” (Read the whole opening speech at revcom.us/a/203/conference_speech-1-en.html.)
This was foundational right along with what the Message and Call of the campaign lays out about BA’s leadership. And this concentrates the basic reason why we should speak about this leadership for revolution with no apology—and challenge and inspire people to get into BA’s work, to learn more about this and how this is true, and so crucial in putting revolution on the map. This main opening speech at the conference deepened people’s understanding of this and unfettered their thinking. One attendee at the conference said, “Once you really understand this and get why it’s true, you actually have a responsibility to tell people.” And in the workshop itself, someone else said “That’s the spirit we need on how to break through and we should take a lot of pride in that.”
People also drew on some of the main themes from the second day’s speech (read the whole speech at revcom.us/a/205/conference_speech2-en.html): on the relationship and interpenetration of all three goals of this campaign (these three goals are explained in “Opening Speech at May 29-30 Conferences on the Campaign, ‘The Revolution We Need… The Leadership We Have,’” on page 6 of this issue), the importance of saturation and the need to be “utterly outrageous and eminently reasonable.” There was fluidity in the discussions and in people’s thinking—a lot of emphasis on the importance of synergies and people seeing or hearing about BA from a lot of different angles. Someone said, “We need to come at this so it’s in a lot of mediums at the same time; on walls, T-shirts, projections, fliers in the same area, things on the radio... wherever you turn, this is injected into all these different places.”
These workshops pulled together people’s different kinds of experience and knowledge, different strengths and sensibilities... all throwing in to figure out how to reach a common and critical goal. People’s ideas built on each other or informed and gave rise to other ideas. Someone suggested we have a BA day where everyone wears the image T-shirt and all across the country does stuff to promote BA—on campuses, in neighborhoods, figuring out how to get into the media. Someone else took off from there, agreeing this could be a really big deal, and said maybe we could do it the day BAsics is released (BAsics will be a back-pocket-size book of 100 or so quotations from Bob Avakian to be released in Fall, 2010).
There were big ideas and wild ideas. Someone suggested raising money for billboards with the BA image, for the Revolution talk and with BA quotes to build anticipation for BAsics (see photo of billboard above). There were different ideas around “flash mobs” or living tableaus using BA quotes. There was a lot of thinking around this in relation to July 4th events or other places where media will already be (this would be something where people stand somewhere with enlarged quotes from BA, or just the image making a dramatic and artful presence). People suggested different kinds of videos including a mix of people talking about why they’re into BA: one on the Revolution talk (which people can begin doing interviews for at the anti-July 4th picnics) or a video that mixes in well-known people with people from the neighborhood with everyone starting out their rap, “I’m into BA because...” or “I’m interested in BA because...”
There was also discussion of how we should be making an impact at the summer concerts and festivals where the revolution and revolutionary leadership really becomes THE thing—getting bands to wear T-shirts with the image, or post it on their bass amps, fliering big-time with the Message and Call, getting out the BA image and getting BA quotes out everywhere, going straight on into the most controversial questions in the crowds—religion, revolution and communism. One person who lives in the projects had another idea around the image, wanting to wear the BA image shirt every day because it makes a statement, and people will start asking, “Why are you always wearing that guy on your T-shirt?” And this will crack open a discussion of who BA is and what he’s about.
People had all kinds of different brainstorms on the relationship of BA’s work and voice being in the midst of where people are fighting the power, as well as fundraising and Internet promotion of BA overall, and especially the Revolution talk.
The discussion was electric, and these were just a small number of the ideas that the workshops came up with. And even more than all the great ideas, as important as those are, you felt the beginnings of a movement of appreciation, promotion, and popularization of BA—with creativity and boldness. This is a new thing—and something we need to learn from, build on, and carry forward. It will be a vital part of this campaign as a whole, and the movement for revolution that we are building. And all the good ideas were themselves part of trying to figure out how to accomplish that larger process—and the essential role of Bob Avakian to that. The feeling in these workshops—and reflective of the conferences as a whole—was that we are beginning the fight for a new wave of revolution, with all the creativity, determination and defiance to go out and make that seen, heard and felt. Keep the ideas and lessons from your experience coming!
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.