Revolution #211, September 2, 2010

"We Tried a New Thing"

We made a number of forays to festivals and neighborhoods in recent weeks to get out the Message/Call and to spread the image of Bob Avakian. In doing this, the leadership of Bob Avakian was pivotal in our agitation, and we were able to find creative ways to use the Bob Avakian image cards, which were very helpful in generating interest amongst masses in the Message/Call as well as in checking out various literature, including Revolution, the Manifesto, Constitution, and Image posters, with people checking out Away With All Gods!, the memoir, etc.

At an art festival we tried a new thing. We started by saturating the area with a lot of the image cards. Almost everyone took one and when some of them asked who it was we told them that was what they needed to find out. When people got the cards, you could see them turning them over obviously looking for a clue about what it was all about and then often looking kind of quizzical—provoked. Then after thoroughly saturating the crowd, we set up a table at a good location right near one of the venues with a big enlargement of the image along with a 3' X 4' poster with blurbs from Bob Avakian's memoir From Ike to Mao and Beyond, including the blurb from Cornel West. We had some of the key books by Avakian on the table, and two of us went out in the crowd with the broadsheet of the Message/Call telling people we had the answer to the question and talking about the revolution we need and the leadership we have with Bob Avakian.

We got out about 300 broadsheets as well as four bundles and got about 10 names. The cards had definitely created some interest in the Message/Call. We ran into several people who had heard of Bob Avakian—a couple of them from going to the bookstore, one at an event he couldn't remember, and one of them said that he had seen something about the Revolution Talk online, possibly on Youtube. None of them had previously known what Bob Avakian looked like. One older Black guy who had heard of Avakian from the store came over to the table to check out the memoir because he wanted to see something about his life—how serious about revolution was he. He didn't get the book but got a Revolution Talk card to check him out online. Two of the vendors posted the Call along with the image card up at their booths and took bundles for their tables to pass out to people at the event and elsewhere. One of the vendors said that she had gotten the Call during a demo around Oscar Grant, that it was "so right on" and that this was what we needed to do—build a movement for revolution. She said that she was very concerned about many of the things that the Call addressed and felt like it was true that it was a system which had to be overthrown. Another young white guy who posted up the Call at his crafts booth said that he wasn't sure about communism but definitely felt that this was more and more a fascist state. He was quite shocked by Obama and said he was very interested in checking out Bob Avakian online, especially the Revolution Talk to see if he thought it would really be possible to make a revolution in the U.S.

Several people checked out the enlargement of the image and the quote at the table, noted that the image was the same as the one on the card, and stopped by to look at the Call and literature to find out more. It was quite apparent that the fact that the card did not have text on it, which was so unusual, definitely intrigued people and opened the door to more engagement, particularly around the role of leadership.

At a concert we went to, what we did was pass out the cards to people entering the concert in the morning, telling people, "Your mission: find out who this is today." This generated a lot of intrigue and people dug it. In the evening when people came out from the concert, we were out there with the big enlargement of the image and the Message/Call, which drew people to talk to us and get the broadsheets.

At another festival, we distributed a lot of the image cards while others were passing out the broadsheets. A lot of curiosity was created by the cards and when leaving the concert many were drawn to the enlargement of the image, with the blurbs about the memoir. Some wanted to find out more about Bob Avakian, saying, "Look, that is what Cornel says about this man! I want to know more about him." They would talk to people passing out the broadsheets and get the Revolution Talk palm cards. Of course, controversy was also aroused because of this—controversy about white leader, religion, etc. Because that festival was a two-day event, a good number of people who got the broadsheets (and the image cards) the first day came back to us the second day to get bundles of the Call, saying that they wanted to help get it out after reading it and agreeing with it.

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What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond