Revolution #208, July 25, 2010
Raising Funds for Arizona Freedom Summer
Revolution received the following correspondence:
Since the introduction of the anti-immigrant law SB1070 in Arizona, a 16-year-old has been murdered by a U.S. border patrol, terror is being inflicted on the residents of Arizona, other states are trying to implement similar laws, while a list was "leaked" with detailed information of supposed illegal immigrants within Utah. We set out on a mission to return to communities that were part of the 200/10 saturation effort to call on them to take up and support the comrades who are currently in Arizona.
We went to an area of East L.A. to raise funds and mobilize broad sections, in support of Arizona Freedom Summer. Knowing well the implications of this in Arizona and also the outcome this would have around the country in legitimating new norms against immigrants, our orientation was to instill in people the need to resist these crimes in Arizona and put this to a halt—but also to bring to people a deeper understanding that things don't have to be this way and that another world is possible. We set out to do this by taking out the call in Revolution newspaper to join the Revolutionaries in Arizona along with the Party's message and call "The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have.." Our goal was to raise 150 dollars. We went into every shop, restaurant, hardware store and the dozen or so beauty and barber shops and the scattered taco trucks. What helped in fundraising and what we did that afternoon was shake the can every chance we got. While a few declined many gave what they could. We received a 20 dollar donation from a young woman at one of the beauty salons we entered. We had a pretty solid crew that day, while one comrade agitated two distributed the paper and raised funds and one would walk around the sometimes crowded launder marts with a poster that had images of ICE units and masses being detained awaiting deportation with the slogans "We are all illegal! We don’t gotta show no stinkin papers!" in Spanish. Outside the shops we also had "Why do people come here from all over the world" amplified from a mega-speaker in Spanish. We boldly asked for donations and called on people to donate whatever they could because there are people in Arizona right now who are mobilizing broad sections of people to resist this law and they need their support. We called attention to the paper, and in particular the message and call on the back page, and the need to support this movement for revolution by calling attention to the section in the call, "The days when this system can keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those days must be GONE and they CAN be." We laid out that Arizona is not all these fascists are after but this is where the battle is at this very moment and whether there will be a movement to bring something else into being would be up to what we do here.
Many people remembered us from before, waving hello and, at one barber shop, commenting on the Message and Call. All three barbers had read the call and had many questions arguing that human nature holds people back from making change. In one restaurant we met a young woman who asked us "is this the party of Bob Avakian? Is this Bob Avakian's party paper?" She had known of the party from years back but had many obligations that kept her from coming around. She commented that she loved how bold we were in going into the different stores spreading revolution. She wanted to maintain contact and got a sub to reconnect. By the end of the day we raised $130 sold 50 papers and one sub.
The following day, at a progressive Black church, we had a positive response. After and before the congregation, most engaged with us and said they are not in support of the law. The pastor spoke to this during the service at some point. We got several people to pledge donations and contacts serious about going to Arizona. A Black youth who was originally in the area to visit his friend stopped by the table and was outraged to learn the Oscar Grant verdict and went to his friend to tell him the news. He didn't have any money to take a paper but we encouraged him to fundraise for a copy of the paper, among passersby. He ended up hanging out with us for 30 minutes talking to everyone that came by reaching out and calling on the "sisters and brothers" to support. He would approach people and say "sister/brother have you heard about OG? Have you heard about Arizona? Do you have a minute so I can tell you why I'm so angry about what I just learned? Let me walk with you." He let people know that he just decided to do this because he felt passionate about this and if he could he would get in a car right now and join people up. Many people liked his energy and appreciated what he was doing, folks thought he was part of our core and later on asked if he was still around. This spirit of no holds barred is important and it makes a difference. The fact that he had no qualms about talking to people he never met before, going up to cars, stopping traffic, running across the street to talk with people and walking with folks. People got excited when they saw his reaction. But, in a predominantly Black community where we've done work around the Message and Call, we got a very different response. We're summing up that we need to be a lot bolder with the message "We don't have an immigration problem, we have a capitalist problem!" particularly in Black communities, because the sentiment exists that there is an immigration problem. And as one woman mentioned we have to get louder and struggle for unity because of what it would mean if there was no resistance, "who would be next?" We do need to resist to radically change the current climate of fear and resignation to one of defiance and resistance.
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.