Taking Up the Call to Raise Funds to Put REAL Revolution on the Map
In different parts of the country people have begun taking up the call to raise $100,000—to put REAL Revolution on the map—by donating, writing statements and reaching out to others. (Share your response or your experience! Write to us at GetOrganizedForRevolutionTour@gmail.com)
As the February 19 Livestream moved close to the end and it looked like we might not reach the $100,000 goal that night, a call went out for pledges. Inspired by the livestream as a whole—especially the personal responses to the BA interviews from several donors, the announcement for the February 24 initiative to bring forward a massive movement opposed to OUR imperialist war makers, and the Revcom action at the Pussy Riot show, supporters at a watch party in Cleveland pledged to raise $400 with a bake sale on the weekend of February 25th.
It was harder to meet this pledge than we expected....
...Our newest baker had gone out of her way to bake many more delicious treats. We had lots of baked goods—but we were short on people who could take them out. But these pledges matter! Putting REAL revolution on the map THIS year matters and the urgency grows each day. That takes funds. So the teams that could go out persisted into the night until we raised the $400 we had pledged. Even so we had lots of baked goods left. So we carefully froze them and took them out this weekend—and raised an additional $200.
We also met many more people drawn to the possibility for real revolution—at laundromats, beauty salons and barbershops. Some knew us from previous sales, welcomed us back and were very glad to learn we had met the $100,000 goal and get the "Thank You" flier. People are seeing that they have taken a step to become part of the revolution when they contribute. Several took down information on how to join the zoom to learn about this revolution and ways to become part of it. And because we had summed up that we were forgetting to invite people to get eSubs to Revcom.us we changed that this weekend and three new people signed up for eSubs.
Some of us are talking about pledging to raise at least $300 each month. There are many ways we can do it—food sales, BBQ's as the weather clears, collecting money on street corners, maybe a spoken word night. Millions of people seeing the BA interviews, learning that there is a force coming together in this country to make a revolution that can do away with all oppression, now, can change this fucking world. We'll send the pledge when we have a plan firmly in place—and a challenge for everyone reading this to do the same.
$400: Cleveland watch party [for the February 19 Livestream] is pledging to raise $400 next weekend with another bakesale & we'll involve some of the people who have gotten connected thru the fundraisers this past month.
We’re sending in $461 that we received in cash donations in Houston through dinner sales and a 10x10 project taken up by several store clerks.
...A salon that asked us to come back after the last sale was really glad to see us. As we came in the door of this very busy place, the woman at the desk said, “make sure you talk to everyone.”...
A few Revcom supporters in Cleveland have been preparing and selling homemade baked goods and dinners at small businesses each weekend to support the fund drive. With Valentine’s Day around the corner we decided to make Valentine themed treats for this weekend. Most of us weren't sure exactly what that would look like or for that matter if anybody would want them. But one of us is a very skilled baker and a couple of friends of the revolution who survive by selling flowers on the street gave us a deep discount on flowers to add to our sales. So far we're only half way through this week's sale but the two teams of two who went out yesterday raised $160 in cash & at least another $30 sent on cashapp. We want to share a little of what people had to say and encourage everybody to make whatever you can, get out to everybody with what you've made together with fliers for the fund drive—and help meet the current goal.
Returning to places we'd been to before gave us a little peek into how the BA interviews, the RNL show and the fact that we are going for $100,000 to put REAL revolution on the map by collecting tons of small contributions NOW is working on people. A barber, in the middle of cutting hair, said he watched some of the BA Interview and as he started to think about it asked us to call him back when he's not cutting hair and gave his number. A salon that asked us to come back after the last sale was really glad to see us. As we came in the door of this very busy place, the woman at the desk said, “make sure you talk to everyone.”. One older woman said her first husband was in the BPP in Chicago, she got 3 things to take home and we raised almost $40 there.
At a laundromat, we spoke with the couple who manage the place. We told them what we are about and they gave their permission to go out among their customers. The woman bought a few treats, and then her husband turned to her and asked 'what kind of church is this for.' She replied, 'it's not a church, it's a revolution!'
At a very busy Barber College, we again got an ok from the manager to bring in our treats and our call for a REAL Revolution. We began by talking with a man who was waiting to get his hair cut. He was really thinking deeply about everything going on in the world and where a lot of people are at. He wondered if we're not too late. As an example, he talked about how looney people are getting, how they are losing their grip on reality, including not believing that the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria even happened. He gave us a way to hook him up with the revcoms, and said he's interested in tuning in to the livestream.
Near the end of the day, we were tired from carrying all this stuff around. We sat down outside of a popular restaurant and called out to people walking by to take up the fundraiser for $100,000 to put REAL revolution on the map in 2023. Three young women responded by saying “You're raising money to do what!.” They came over and said they were glad to see "older" people saying these things when most people aren't talking like this. They expressed their outrage at police murders. losing the right to abortion and more. They agreed to watch the BA Interview and check out the Livestream.
As part of the $100,000 fund drive to put this revolution on the map, we've wanted to reach lawyers—to raise funds and to introduce them to Bob Avakian's work. This is a strategic section of people and BA's breakthrough work on law, justice and ending oppression and exploitation needs to be seriously engaged—broadly and among those who work in the legal sphere.
Just sending emails has gotten very little response, so we decided to go directly to where we know lawyers congregate—the criminal courthouse....
About 40 people gathered in the north side church’s dining hall for the Revolution Club’s potluck dinner and Open Mic as a part of the $100,000 fund-raiser heading into its final stretch and the Livestream on February 19. Together we raised $1,100. Another $50 plus was raised at a craft fair earlier in the day.
There were enough deserts to open a small bakery. Plates overflowed with food. People came from different parts of a hyper segregated city to enjoy each other and the program. The program for the night opened with a clip from the 3-part BA interviews on the importance of having a poetic spirit to lead a revolution and the program ended with an illustrated video of BA painting a picture of what if the world could be radically different.
In between there was poetry and music. The MC, Leo from the Revolution Club, continually brought it back to the serious purpose of the night combined with a playful humor which knit together the audience as did the fund pitch. Videos included Bella Now, from Outernational and Shekib Mosadeq, calling for freeing Iran’s political prisoners and a 12-year-old Palestinian rapping to end the horrors of life under Israeli occupation. Members of the Revolution Club and community people were drawn to the open mic. Poems about Tyre Nichols, one given as Tyre skateboarded silently on the screen, celebrated in skateboarder’s terms arced into ‘time to revolution up’...raw anger expressed over yet another youth’s life snuffed out by pigs ... the rare time when revolution becomes more possible ... immigrants braving the harrowing journey fists held high. Other participants offered their poems thoughtfully picked to be in the spirit of revolution, i.e., one called “Revolutionary Love” (inspired by Cornel West) and another “Bound” by a young man who travels the city to participate in Open Mics.
The “fun” in the fund-raising was also brought by a percussionist and a bassist, both professional musicians. The drum kit, made from pans and tin food cartons, various recyclable items and very portable, was dubbed “the snack master 500" by the percussionist. A highlight of the night was Godfather, also a professional performer, who the MC noted “you might recognize him—he is one of the flashier people in the room” which was the understatement of the night. Adorned in gold and black sequined attire, Godfather said how happy he was to be part of promotion of BA and the revolution then rocked “My Girl” and the Spinners “I’ll Be Around” and ended with a soulful and rousing rendition of “Mississippi Boy” accompanied by the bass and “the snackmaster 500”. The nightcap was the percussionist and bassist leading a raucous and as one participant put it “good but chaotic” drum circle, as various noisemakers and percussion instruments, were passed out so everyone could be part of making music.
While there some new people in attendance we wish there had been more. Everyone left with a packet of materials which included, among other things, palm cards for the BA interviews, an invite to a planning zoom for International Women's Day and the Fund Drive flier announcing the upcoming Livestream, Hopefully everyone there was inspired to take up the call to go all out this week and bring many more new people into the Livestream next Sunday to meet, and even surpass, the $100,000 goal to promote the BA interviews, fund the RNL show, the revcom website, the National Revolution Tour----to put revolution on the map in 2023.
"...without the financial support of many people from different walks of life and different viewpoints, we are not going to be able to change the world."
Over the last five years working as an advanced practice clinician in healthcare, I have talked to many patients about the situation in the world: the critical battle for abortion rights and how we have to stop the Christian fascist movement that wants the complete subjugation of women, the fight to stop the rise of fascism in the U.S., and the need for the emancipation of all of humanity and a better world. Many of my patients openly know and appreciate the work I do. A few of them have even joined me in the streets, at different times. Some have donated money. One patient, because he knows the kind of work I do and the internationalist view of the world I have, “The Whole World Comes First,” recently gave me $400 “for the cause” which went to The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less! Show. He gave the donation because he has a clear understanding of how critical his financial support is, that without the financial support of many people from different walks of life and different viewpoints, we are not going to be able to change the world.
I, myself, donated $1,000 during the initial call for the $100,000 Fund Drive for The RNL Show, and I am giving $100/week until the Fund Drive ends. (I will also be giving on a regular basis to sustain The RNL Show.) Anyone who has an ounce of humanity, anyone who wants a world where women can walk down the streets without the fear of being assaulted or raped, a world where people of color don’t have to fear for their lives while driving home, a world where people are no longer commodities forced to either sell themselves or their labor to eat, a world where we rely on the truth wherever it takes us, needs to be donating to this world-changing podcast!! Think of the inspiration The RNL Show will give to millions of people around the world who see it knowing there is a revolutionary force with a strategy and leadership to win right here in the U.S.!!
Get REAL Revolution on the Map in 2023!
A small group here of people has been raising money for the fund drive through selling dinner tickets for next weekend’s Afghan chicken palau and Punjabi vegetarian dinner sale. Two restaurant owners who had read the call for $100,000 to put revolution on the map contributed dinner plates to be sold as part of the fund drive....
One dish is a Punjabi vegetarian sampler, and the other is an Afghan chicken palau dish. We decided to print up tickets for the dinners, which will be picked up next Saturday in front of one of the restaurants. Several people began taking out the fund drive and selling the tickets to their families, friends and coworkers. Some people also took them out broadly to a Halal grocery store, a soccer game and to the Black community.
A lot of this involves them introducing people to BA and revolution and while it has been challenging, the group is beginning to reach out to new people who are concerned about the future for people and the planet, but had not really seriously thought about the need for or possibility of a revolution to overthrow the capitalist/imperialist system and building a new socialist society. So far, 12 dinner tickets have been sold. We’ll have more to say about this project after it’s completed.
One man who said he didn’t think people’s thinking could be changed listened to the “Dangerous Escalation” clip from RNL said “This is important. They want to line people up behind the U.S. or Russia, but this is showing there’s another way, another option in the interest of humanity."...
A team has reached out to stores around the metro area. 170 stores have taken flyers and palmcards, and some have put posters up in their windows promoting the BA interviews—all part of building up networks of support for revolution. One goal has been to establish revolutionary change jars at several of these businesses—still a work in progress. We’ve challenged people to be part of putting revolution on the map in 2023, and introduced them to the leadership of Bob Avakian as the most important revolutionary leader and thinker in the world today.
Many businesses allowed materials to be left by the register or in an area with other promo materials. Some owners, working managers and employees immediately wanted to know more, and listened to clips of the BA Interviews or BA at Riverside church, and a number among these made donations. These materials have in some places created a stir, animated conversation and controversy pro and con. One man who said he didn’t think people’s thinking could be changed listened to the “Dangerous Escalation” clip from RNL said “This is important. They want to line people up behind the U.S. or Russia, but this is showing there’s another way, another option in the interest of humanity.”
In one fast food place, where posters were ripped down again and again, the manager won the owner to keeping our materials available to customers. He has watched a number of clips from the BA Interviews, but still had the question of how people are going to unite around revolution, especially when there's so much money and power on the other side, the questions are so complex and people so divided. At one point he told us that Black people have so many different views on what's happening and a real solution that they don't even talk with one another about it for fear of setting something off. We read him the following from Something Terrible OR Something Truly Emancipating:
As this situation develops, and the ruling class is more and more unable to rule in the old way, society and daily life for masses of people, from different parts of society, can become increasingly unsettled and chaotic, with frequent “disruptions” of the “normal” way things have been.
And as “the normal way” society has been ruled is failing to hold things together—and society is increasingly being ripped apart—this can shake people’s belief that “the way things have always been” is the only way things can be. It can make people more open to questioning—in a real sense it can force people to question—the way things have been, and whether they have to stay that way. And this is all the more likely to happen if the revolutionary forces are out among the people shining a light on the deeper reality of what is happening, and why, and bringing out that there IS an alternative to living this way.
A team has gone out to a few busy intersections in the city, with large signs in English and Spanish that read “DONATE to the $100,000 fund drive to Put REAL Revolution on the Map in 2023” and have distributed hundreds of fund drive flyers and collected a significantly larger amount in donations than in the recent past. One woman who donated $5 said, “Here’s to start you off strong”. In 2 weeks $195 has been raised this way.
Part of the nationwide Fundraising Campaign to Put Revolution on the Map in 2023. We sold plates of Iranian and Mediterranean food donated by local restaurants in support of the revolution and raised over $500.
Revolution Books organized a Giant Used Book Sale to help raise $100,000 to put revolution on the map. Saturday, February 4, was the first day of a two-day sale and a good start. We raised $562 in books sold and donations towards the fund drive.
It was a very good scene with tables covered with boxes of used books outside the store and people who had never been to the store poring over them and buying books. Many people came inside the store to check out our new books, including books by Bob Avakian about the new communism, and to talk about the very heavy world we live in and what we can do about it. On the large screen on the wall, we played video clips of the BA Interviews and of Noche Diaz speaking about the police murder of Tyre Nichols. And we talked to people about putting revolution on the map in 2023.
We mobilized new people and bookstore supporters to make this sale a success (sorting through all the donated books took days). This was part of working to further develop a community around revolution and the bookstore.
One thing that was striking is that new people, a lot of them students, came in wanting to talk. When we spoke about how we at Revolution Books base ourselves on BA and the new communism and got into how we are doing this fund drive to put revolution on the map in 2023 at this extremely dangerous time in the world, we found a lot of people were intrigued—though of course they had many different takes about what this means. And none of these people were activists, nor were they going to demonstrations (though they were not opposed to that). But they are looking at the world, seeing the environmental disaster, having some sense of the threat of nuclear war, and starting to think about how some kind of fundamental change is needed—and wanting to hear what we have to say.
Of course, this is a group of people who did select themselves by coming to the Revolution Books used book sale to put revolution on the map. But in probing into why they came, some of them commented that they felt somewhat alone—one complained that in his classes, very few of the students wanted to talk about things outside the immediate content of the class—and he thought this was a problem. Another one talked about feeling very isolated from other students. Some talked about looking for community—one emphasized that he was drawn to socialism because it is about community, about other people not just yourself. One guy said he had walked past our store for two and a half years—and never even seen it, did not know it was there. I asked him why he saw it this time. He said in part it was because of the big fuss in the hall made by the book sale. I think it is true and very important that we DID make a big fuss about the book sale. But more important, these are people who like books and ideas, and they are being jolted by the intensity of events in the world and are searching for answers—and they find something compelling in Revolution Books—most of the time, not exactly what they expected!
So—this first day was a good beginning!
As people are trying to come to grips with the murder of Tyre Nichols, on top of all the continuing horrors of this system, we’ve reached out with both revcom flyers and BA Interviews palm cards, and challenged people to join in the growing movement to put revolution on the map, starting with taking up the $100,000 fund drive. Our aim is to both involve new people and raise money as well as to build momentum for the livestream on February 19.
Hundreds of flyers have been distributed in a Black community and other diverse communities on the street, street corners, and through stores and at a college campus. At a retail center in a Black community, several people watched portions of the BA Interviews, including BA on the role of the police and people’s security after the revolution. People talked about their own experiences with the police and about their own conclusions. A common sentiment that was expressed was that nothing’s going to change, but several people stopped when it became clear to them that this is about getting rid of this system and building a different system. People were very interested in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, including on how the justice system would work. About $173 was raised.
Some of the fundraising projects we’ve planned are beginning to take shape, including selling T-shirts, crafts and other items to raise funds. Two restaurants donated Afghan Chicken Palau and Punjabi vegetarian dinner plates to be sold as a fundraiser. One person made up some tickets, and other people are beginning to sell them to their friends, family, and at a soccer game. A team of people, including some foreign-born, also set up a table outside a halal grocery store to promote the fund drive and began to sell dinner plate tickets. The people they encountered were multinational—Arabs, South Asian, North African and Latino. Many people took flyers and several people said that they would donate online, but most of them said that they needed to read the flyer first. One young Black man said that he’s glad there’s another choice and he’d like to donate but couldn’t right then and he asked for five extra flyers to give to his friends. A couple of Iraqi men who stopped to talk were interested in learning about revolution in this country, especially after they watched a clip from the first interview with BA.
In an outing outside a popup market frequented by middle-strata youth and others, a couple of youths stopped to talk about how frustrated they are with the passivity of people they know and how glad they are to know that there are people organizing for revolution. These youths asked how they can participate in this. They specifically asked, “Like if I sat down with my siblings, how would I explain this to them?” They were encouraged to learn from The RNL Show for how to make the case, and some people took copies of the FAQs on the fund drive. People were being challenged to not follow dead-end paths and to seriously engage the possibility of revolution and be part of putting it on the map. Questions like, so how can this actually be done came up, and people were encouraged to watch the BA Interviews.
Supporters of REAL revolution in Cleveland decided to do a bake sale this weekend to build off our experience selling dinners at small businesses a few weeks ago, and to reach out much more broadly—despite continuing bitter weather. We wanted to introduce many more people to The RNL Show and the Bob Avakian Interviews. And we wanted to better understand how people much more broadly are reacting to the depraved police murder of Tyre Nichols (and the two additional murders since that we are aware of) in this mainly Black city where the only “protest” that has taken place in the wake of the release of the videos of Tyre’s murder was a quiet vigil to “shine a light on police brutality”—which everyone is damn well aware of.
It was very successful on many levels. We raised $483 selling individual servings of cake, pie & cookies at barber shops, salons & other small businesses in oppressed communities. Over two days, two teams of two visited about 40 businesses. We had massive amounts of pastry. More than we expected because one friend, a retiree who is only newly really looking at the need for revolution, excitedly contributed more for the second day of the sale saying she wanted to get slices of pie packaged and ready so that we could make as much money as possible. And one of our teams was determined to keep going until everything was sold. A handful of people bought more than one piece and a few contributed without getting pastry. At $5/piece, that means at least 80 people contributed. Overwhelmingly, people contributed because they want to help Get REAL Revolution on the Map in 2023, though what they understand that to mean differs a lot from one to another. Everybody got the flyer for the fund drive, the Tyre Nichols flyer, and a palm card for the BA Interviews and The RNL Show. Close to half the places we went to took bundles of the materials to spread and many invited us to come back again. Most were invited to join the February 19 livestream to meet the revolutionaries and get to know BA.
The headline from the Tyre Nichols flyer, “How Long Will We Keep Burying Our Youth? Until We Make Revolution!” and the idea of raising $100,000 to put real revolution on the map in 2023 rang true to a great many people we spoke with. “That’s right! When will we?” “We have to do more than just march!” A security guard who contributed said he is a retired cop and now he’s anti-cop. A young Puerto Rican woman started to buy herself a piece of cake, then read the fund drive flyer, went out to her car to get her girlfriend and bought two. In another barber shop, when we approached a Puerto Rican woman, she took materials but declined pastry saying she was diabetic. When we spoke with her husband, he spoke very little English (& we spoke less Spanish). But he understood the word revolution, called his wife over and bought two for his kids. Three middle-aged men in another shop were just closing up & didn’t want pastry but each contributed $5 because “the reforms don’t fix any of it, not just the murders, none of it.” They both want to watch the interviews to see how we COULD make a revolution and one of them was especially interested in the fact that BA has written a whole Constitution for a new society where we can live a whole different way. He said he wants to check it out on the website. It is interesting that several Palestinian store owners we spoke with are explicitly making the connection between the genocide against Black people here and genocide against the Palestinian people in Palestine. There has been a lot of antagonism between many Palestinian store owners and people in the deeply oppressed Black communities where the stores are, but it was significant that people were seeing something in common in the experiences of these two peoples. And when the owner contributed, he made sure to add that we need to support the people rising up in Iran too.
The experience of this couple of days brought to mind a point made by BA in “Something Terrible OR Something Truly Emancipating...” “This rare situation, with the deepening and sharpening conflicts among the ruling powers, and in the society overall, provides a stronger basis and greater openings to break the hold of this system over masses of people. ... On the other hand, ‘left to itself’—that is, if the current character and dynamics of all this remain on the same course they are now on—this situation, the divisions characterizing it, and the outcome resulting from it are almost certainly going to become even more terribly negative. So, all this must be radically changed, in what is a relatively brief, ‘compressed’ period of time—not just weeks or months, but also not decades.” Every person who contributes in whatever way to this fund drive becomes part of refusing to leave it to itself. Imagine what these kinds of rudimentary sentiments, existing among millions right now, can become as a REAL scientifically based revolutionary force takes the national stage!
We are going back to all these places, especially where we were invited. And working to bring some of them to hold group showings of the livestream.
Recently, the Revolution Club in the Bay Area initiated a very new and beautiful thing. We hosted a fundraising dinner for the nationwide $100,000 Fund Drive to Put REAL Revolution on the Map in 2023. This dinner brought together people of different cultures and backgrounds on the basis of coming together as a community, sharing dinner, getting to know the revolution through the Bob Avakian (BA) Interviews and raising funds.
150 to 200 people came out to the January 21 Women’s March rally in Cleveland. The revcoms set up a table to raise funds, sell T-shirts and get out palm cards for the Bob Avakian Interviews. $180 was raised selling “Force Motherhood Is Female Enslavement” T-shirts. Almost everybody in the crowd got flyers and palm cards for the Interviews and there was considerable interest expressed in the Interviews, including from some involved in the movement to defend abortion rights who are agonizing about how to fight the fascist assault on this fundamental right of half of humanity.
In Chicago, we will be participating in the February 11 Handmade Market which is held once a month at a local bar. Several of us have come together to create beaded jewelry, crocheted items like headbands with patches saying “Abortion On Demand Without Apology” or “Create a World Without Rape” and other slogans as well as ponchos, and baby blankets and other items. This is one way that we can join forces to raise funds for the $100,000 Fund Drive even in the dead of winter.
We are always encouraging others to contribute handmade items to sell. One woman in the Revolution Club who came to the initial showing of the BA Interviews was very moved and decided that she wanted to donate her handmade candles. At the monthly market we also talk to people about donating to the revcoms even if they are not going to buy something. About 2-300 people come through each month, with more just before the holiday in December, so this has been a good way to not only fundraise but introduce a broad cross section of people to BA and the need for a real revolution.
A Revolution Club member recently sold $125 worth of caramel apples on her job for the fund drive. Some people donated extra. She got out the fund drive flyer as part of this. She was really excited to be able to contribute in this way, as she spends long hours at work and can't often join other club activities due to her work schedule. She said: “Being a part of the Revolution Club has been an ongoing experience... it's just a good feeling when I'm able to do my part by helping out with fundraising, knowing it’s for a good cause.”
From members of Revolution Club, Chicago
As part of succeeding in raising $100,000 to put Real Revolution on the Map in 2023, we put together a Zoom meeting with five people who were working on their 10 x 10 challenges (people with few resources pledging to donate $10 and then finding nine other people to each donate $10—with the goal of raising $100 to donate to the revolution). This collective form gave people a way to dig into the different things they were all running into and put minds together to work on solutions.
700 palm cards for the BA Interviews were distributed along with a flyer of BA’s article “America: Truly a Model of Depraved Racist Genocide.” $66 was raised for the fund drive and plans are being made to do a video showing/fundraiser in the Black community (hopefully coinciding with Black history month).
Later in the week some of us who had been at a watch party for the January 8th fundraising livestream came together in a virtual meeting to brainstorm over plans to help meet the $100,000 fundraising goal by February 19th. Inspired by the summation at revcom.us of the successful livestream and by the interview with Dr. Phil Rice on The RNL Show about fundraising for the revolution, people at our virtual gathering began to develop ideas on several projects to reach new and different sections of people. The interview with Phil Rice gave us important orientation and real confidence to reach out to people we would never have thought about previously.
Plans are in the works to make and sell middle-eastern and vegan plates, and it seems a restaurant is donating about 15 plates, which is a start. There are other collective projects selling t-shirts, jewelry and other items and also a team to reach out to professionals, many of whom are foreign-born. We’re also reaching out to another area in the region where we think there is the potential for some small salon-type events.
We’re aiming to raise $3500 toward the $100,000 goal and we’re going to keep on wrangling over how to actually get there.
Building off our earlier experience of selling baked goods to support the revolution, we wanted to do more to contribute to the $100,000 fund drive to put revolution on the map. Inspired by the description of the whole collective effort in LA to sell tamales for the revolution, a woman who had stepped forward to play a big role making and selling the baked goods, came up with the idea of selling dinners to raise funds....We wanted to find a way to reach and involve new people in many ways, introduce them to BA and the potential for real revolution, and build community around that—without standing on street corners in freezing rain, where people may buy something but aren't likely to engage for more than a moment.
At first some were skeptical that we could really organize this and that we could sell enough tickets to make it successful. But, our friend argued, there are lots and lots of people who hate all the terrible stuff happening and don't know that there's something they can do about it. They need to know we need revolution and that they should be part of the revolution.
So, after some struggle over this and some effort to figure out a plan for how we could actually do it, we set out with new resolve to sell tickets for prepared dinners—fried perch or BBQ wings with mac & cheese, baked beans, coleslaw and bread—to be delivered to home or work one afternoon after the scheduled January 8 Livestream.
We sold tickets by going out to barber shops, beauty salons & other small businesses, calling/texting people met over the course of years and reaching out to people in a couple of small, friendly organizations, as well as friends and family. Everybody we reached out to learned that this was part of the national fund drive raising $100,000 to put revolution on the map in 2023, got palm cards for the Interviews, and were encouraged to watch and share them. Many people were interested, and we saw some people take out their phones and go to the Interviews right on the spot. People were surprised and respected the audacity of raising $100,000 to put real revolution on the map NOW—AND that we were contributing to that effort by making and selling home-cooked dinners. There are lots of people here who sell dinners out of their home to support themselves—nobody else is selling them to make revolution!
A fair number of people contributed to help the effort, some without even wanting dinners, including a couple of contributions of $100 or more. Most of the people who bought tickets and/or contributed were people we already knew, but for most of them it was their first time contributing funds to the revcoms.
One woman who came to a gathering to watch the Livestream was someone we reconnected with after not seeing her for about 20 years. Turns out she has had a food truck and a lot of experience cooking in volume. She volunteered to help cook and contributed wings. Now, we had two people with actual experience in food service! It mattered. Someone else volunteered their full-size kitchen for the day for doing the cooking. It mattered. Lots of attention was paid to the quality and quantity of the meals. We were making food for the revolution—we wanted it to be good! Spirits were high and lifted higher as we began to cook to the rhythm of Revolution Rhyme and Gil Scott Heron and began talking and thinking about the kind of future society the revolution can bring forward. The whole thing has been a lot of work and a lot of fun.
Overall, it was a real success. We raised $884 for the Fund Drive after expenses. We're still learning a lot and expect to learn a lot more. Just yesterday we learned that a family member of a victim of police murder who we have known for years has been watching the RNL show and loves it—which led her to contribute $100 to this effort. We will send Thanks & Welcome to the Revolution notes to everyone who got dinners, let them know what was raised, ask if they have gone to the Interviews and what they thought of the food. We're already talking about doing another one.
I'm giving $325.... I’m giving today because Bob Avakian talks about ending all this oppression with a revolution. Bob Avakian talks about a new world, his vision is emancipating.
I find these Bob Avakian Interviews very interesting! I can say I feel the same way as he, I want to see humanity emancipated.
I’m giving $325 because you revolutionaries care for humanity and are the only organization that wants to see the emancipation of humanity.
You talk about the system of capitalism and I see violence on TV, especially all of the police killings of young people, especially the Black youth. Around the world too, look at how they killed Mahsa Amini in Iran. It’s such a bad situation going on right now, and not only in the U.S. but around the world.
I’m giving today because Bob Avakian talks about ending all this oppression with a revolution. Bob Avakian talks about a new world, his vision is emancipating.
I find these Bob Avakian Interviews very interesting! I can say I feel the same way as he, I want to see humanity emancipated.
I really do like Bob Avakian! He speaks from the heart and cares about humanity. Some of us see it the same way but don’t speak out—even people with big hearts. It would be good to have this Bob Avakian interview shown everywhere, on CNN, on the Bill Maher Show and many other places.
“I connected with y'all after I heard the program on the radio (The Michael Slate Show) and I knew what y'all was saying was the truth. I've always felt that way in my heart. When I listened to your group I felt like I connected with somebody who felt the same way I did and understood life that way and really wanted to put effort in trying to do something about it. And that's why I'm donating because I know it's the right thing to do.”
Some of us got together last night to talk how we can make some big advances—in raising a lot more funds and through that connecting more people with the revolution…. We had some enthusiastic wrangling over how we can contribute as much as possible and what difference it makes to succeed.
It was a very cold day here in the Midwest, but a very important time to get out into the world with the Bob Avakian Interviews and the $35,000 Holiday Fund Drive. We set up a table at a grocery store in the Black community and at a winter festival in a progressive entertainment area. We had the interviews playing at the table and distributed palm cards and fliers for the fund drive. While many didn’t stop due to the cold, a lot of people, particularly in the Black community, took the materials and expressed a lot of interest and initial unity. One volunteer was boldly asking EVERYONE to contribute—and people responded. We raised $58 this way, including from people who came back to the table and donated on their way out of the store. Some made comments like: “There is so much fucked up that revolution does seem like the only way, let me check this out.”
We’ve raised $350 so far from efforts on the streets, including selling beanies and t-shirts with slogans for the revolution. Much more is needed to help make the $35,000 goal by January 2.
Some of us got together last night to talk how we can make some big advances—in raising a lot more funds and through that connecting more people with the revolution. First, we listened to clips of the BA Interviews and shared our thoughts and the responses of people on the streets who had heard them. We had some enthusiastic wrangling over how we can contribute as much as possible and what difference it makes to succeed. We’ve taken out the drive to many people through emails and promoting clips of the interview but more is needed. We talked about strategic confidence and the need to put the call for funds right out front with people we meet.
We came up with a list of projects and are putting out the word for volunteers to step forward and help:
One woman reached through phone-banking hadn’t ever been to revcom.us or seen the RNL show, but based on texting her with a clip of the interview and then following up with a phone call, she said, "This makes me very happy, it gives me hope" and volunteered to help cook dinners to raise funds.
A team from the Revolution Tour has been strategizing on how to go outside of our immediate networks and reach out broadly to the middle class—for real engagement and impact with The Bob Avakian Interviews on The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show, and to raise funds to put this revolution on the map. In this, we've also wrestled with the strategic importance of reaching those among the intelligentsia who really care—challenging them to get into this revolution, at this urgent time. Read more
The Revolution Club, Chicago, has set a goal of raising $1,000 through what we are calling the “10x10” as part of meeting the $100,000 goal for the revcoms' fund drive. We are reaching out to people to themselves donate $10 and to commit to reach nine more people to do the same.
We call on people who are able to donate $100 or more to this fund drive to match these donations.
Watching the new Interviews with Bob Avakian is inspiring and challenging people, including people in and around the Revolution Club—changing how they understand the world and bringing forward deep appreciation for this person and this rare and necessary leadership for real revolution. With the call for a fundraising effort to put revolution on the map and to reach thousands and then millions with these Interviews, the Revolution Club in LA enthusiastically pulled together...
Watching the new Interviews with Bob Avakian is inspiring and challenging people, including people in and around the Revolution Club—changing how they understand the world and bringing forward deep appreciation for this person and this rare and necessary leadership for real revolution. With the call for a fundraising effort to put revolution on the map and to reach thousands and then millions with these Interviews, the Revolution Club in LA enthusiastically pulled together to discuss this and make plans. The plans were simple and featured a way for people to be involved and a way to bring people together—a fundraising festival and tamale sale at the Revolution Club Organizing Center, with a follow-up tamale sale the next day in a South Central neighborhood where a couple of club members live. We had a follow-up call during the week and watched together and discussed the fantastic segment of The RNL Show with the Revolution Club in Chicago responding to a clip from the Bob Avakian Interviews, where he speaks to the hard-core youth and those catching the hardest hell. This further inspired and unleashed people.
The tamales were an anchor of the whole plan—involving people in making them, getting orders, selling them. We planned to make 300 tamales. But, right as this was about to take off, the person with expertise in making tamales who had volunteered to make half of them tested positive for COVID and could no longer do it (she is doing fine)! Before she got sick, she had worked with someone from the Revolution Tour to put together a tutorial video so others would be able to help. With this video, people who had never made tamales before threw in to fill the need, making 200 tamales. A restaurant owner who has donated previously to support the revolution was told about this project and the contradiction of the tamale-maker falling ill and decided to donate 100 tamales to contribute to involving more people and raising much-needed funds!
One woman who has never made tamales in her life and culturally didn’t grow up with them, gave money to buy ingredients, threw a whole day into making them, and proudly came and helped to host the fundraising festival. Others who weren’t able to help make them donated for ingredients or passed out flyers to get the word out. One person came early to take charge of vision and setup for the festival and was part of hosting it throughout the day. She also donated an incredible array of earrings she’d bought from a friend who made them. She commented the festival was a celebration of the new friends we’ve made throughout this year and a way of looking forward to continuing our efforts in the coming year. A man who was planning to help with the tamale-making had a death in his family and couldn’t do all of what he planned to do, but is enthusiastically hosting the tamale sale in the neighborhood and getting the word out to his neighbors.
The Revolution Tour worked to get the word out about the fundraising weekend and the Interviews—on the trains throughout South Central and especially the area of the organizing center and the neighborhood of the tamale sale, kicking up debate and controversies and drawing forward serious interest in the Interviews. Different people invited friends, family and people who have started watching the Interviews.
At the festival, people ate tamales and drank champurrado together, with music, colorful strings of lights, and a great vibe. People from different walks of life met each other and talked about big questions up in the world while kids colored and sang songs. We watched portions of the Interviews and people broke up in different groupings to talk. A musician came and played a few songs on the saxophone.
In one grouping, a Latin American woman who has only been in the country a short while and met the revolution very recently had watched part of the first interview on her own and then the last question at the festival. The discussion was serious and warm—ranging over big questions of strategy, goal, and method. In another grouping, two Black men watched the segment of the Interview where BA speaks to the hard-core youth. One responded that he is impressed with Bob Avakian and that the young people need to know him. The other guy, younger, said BA is speaking to things he knows from his life, for example knowing people caught up in bad shit but you know their heart and know a better side to them.
This part of the Interview also resonated with others, including the woman who threw in to make tamales. She talked about how people try to get out of the life and get pulled back into it, like the story in the Chicago segment about Lanzo. She wrestled with whether people can change—saying people should change, but there’s a lot of stuff in the way. Some people want to change and some don’t, but they have to have leadership. When asked what she would want to say to people around the country about why she put so much work into this fundraiser and why it was important to her, she said the young people need to stop killing each other and they need leadership.