Revolution #222, January 16, 2011

"Toughest Questions"

"Your name scares away millions..."

Editor's note: We received from a reader the following "tough question from a friend," and we encourage readers to respond.

Here's a thought I've had about names.

If the Republicans used words for their name to describe who they actually are, they would call themselves the Radical Fascist Party.

That name would alienate millions and millions of Americans. But it would be a really good description of who they are. I recall that you said your organization's name is an accurate description of what your organization is, and that's the way it should be. Well, no. Actually that name is a very poor description to the masses of people in this country. The words in your name are loaded with almost 100 years of a massive negative thought campaign against them. Those words evoke frightening images of atheism, terrifying nuclear war, duck and cover, loss of personal property, gulags, Siberia, and so many many more horrifying images that were drilled into the heads of the American public.

That name is the biggest turnoff in the U.S.A. today. If you all worked really hard at it, you could not come up with a worse name in this country at this time. It alienates millions and millions of Americans.

The GOP does not call themselves the Radical Fascist Party, because they have the best marketing people in the world working for them. The corporations who control the GOP employ the best marketing people—and those people also work for the GOP. (People virtually always give their loyalty to whomever is paying their salaries.) They do amazing marketing campaigns that make the corporations' products and services and the GOP appear to be wonderful.

Look at what they've done for the Tea Party. Despite all the hype the media puts out about the Tea Party being a grassroots movement, the reality is that the Tea Party is the result of an amazingly sophisticated PR campaign paid for by corporate/GOP dollars. They've used "American" words to appeal to the vague discontent of ignorant people who suspect the government and don't realize how much the corporations control the government. "Tea Party" is a reference back to the Boston Tea Party—how safe, how patriotic, how appealing.

When your name scares away millions and millions of people, they will never learn what you stand for and what your ideas really are. They will run away in droves. You don't stand a chance. You will continue to be a relatively small irrelevant group viewed with suspicion and fear by the masses.

I've thought about this for many years—ever since I did marketing for a civil liberties organization years ago. The best chance of reaching out to the American public is by using names that are easily acceptable to those masses. Innocent words, patriotic words, American words with positive connotations. This is just basic semantics. The best chance is to co-opt the right—use their words to bring the people in to your meeting hall so that they will be able to hear and read your ideas.

The Toughest Questions You Face...

We want to know the toughest questions that you run up against. When you are getting out Revolution newspaper, or wearing the T-shirt with the image of Bob Avakian, or in some other way representing for revolution... what questions do you run up against that provoke you, or intrigue you, or bother you—and that you want help understanding and answering. Especially if you are newer to the movement, or cut off from other revolutionaries—we want to hear from you. Send us the questions you run up against, and we'll do our best to answer them. Not only that, we'll ask everyone else who reads the paper for help. If you can, tell us a little bit about who tends to ask you these questions, and how you understand and respond to them. You might also want to let us know a little bit about what you're doing—without going into specifics, in what kind of situation are you building the movement? For instance, whether you are selling the paper on a campus, or wearing the BA T-shirt in a neighborhood, or debating with people in prison, etc. But that's optional. The main thing is this: we want to hear the questions you're running up against.

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