Revolution #186, December 20, 2009
Saturating Inner-City Schools with "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have"
Saturation week got off to a slow start in our area. After the first couple of days, we asked ourselves this question: were our plans based on the need to make a qualitative leap in saturating key areas and involving many people to accomplish that? Or were they trapped in too small a vision based on thinking that "what is necessary is what is possible, and what is possible is what is already being done"? Out of this struggle, we came up with a loftier and much more inspiring plan, and there is an initial sense that new things are being done and people are being unleashed, including people just beginning to join in this campaign and movement, and we are beginning to saturate some key places.
So far this week we have distributed about 15,000 of the concise version of the statement, aiming to distribute another 25,000 in the next three days. Three inner-city high schools have been saturated with the statement. All of these schools were places where students participated on different levels in the October 22nd National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality.
At one school, several students took a stack of 500 flyers and passed them out to everyone they could find during lunch. Other students got the statement when speakers came to talk in their classes. Some of them saw it again—and many others saw it for the first time—when a team passed out flyers in front of the school, playing the audio of the concise version. One student listened to the audio and approached one of the people passing out flyers to ask how he could join. He took a stack of flyers, and stickers promoting Bob Avakian's Revolution Talk, to distribute in the school. At this school, the Revolution Talk stickers are already a presence. One student told us that anybody who has a sketch book has a Revolution sticker in it. A group of three young women covered themselves in stickers and walked down the street passing out flyers to other students. A few students also bought the current issue of Revolution because of wanting to read the Precious [movie] review, and in this way also came to take up stacks of the message and call to distribute. Many Black young women at this school said they have watched the movie with their mothers, aunties, godmothers, etc., and they all said they know at least one Precious in their lives.
At another high school, a team went once early in the week and got out a few hundred flyers. We went back at the end of the week and even with those few flyers, there was already a buzz—all the history teachers were talking about it in their classes. One history teacher told students the flyer was bullshit and not to read it. It seems another history teacher worked it into his lessons about communism, and according to a student, seemed to like it. Some students took stacks of flyers into the school to distribute and others passed them out on the spot. Especially in the wake of Obama's announcement to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, many of these students expressed the need for radical change. A team that went back to the high school in the afternoon included two older Black men who live in a nearby neighborhood, one of them who just found out about this revolution at the October 22nd protest and has been watching the Revolution Talk and reading and distributing Revolution newspaper since then.
At the third high school, a teacher took 200 flyers to distribute to his students and said he would also get it to all the teachers in his department. This teacher recently had revolutionaries come to speak in his classes and reported that in the wake of those speaking engagements, his students have been asking to see more of Bob Avakian's Revolution Talk. A student we met a couple weeks ago and called during phone-banking, said we need revolution. She got online and watched the clips from the Revolution Talk and met us the next day to donate money and pick up a stack of 500 flyers to distribute at the school and in the neighborhood. One afternoon more than a thousand flyers were distributed outside of school in small stacks, but many of them ended up on the ground and we summed up that the likely reason for this is that there wasn't enough engagement with students on the content of the message and call before they took the stacks. When we went to the other schools, we made sure to play the audio statement loudly and had many color photo displays of the pictures in the full-version statement—and this made a big difference in how quickly students were able to understand what this was about and take it up on that basis. At this school a two-person team went back during the football playoffs and distributed 800 flyers at half-time to students and parents who helped pass the flyers down the rows of seating and took extras to get to other people later.
One other short anecdote: some of us were thinking about how to make an impact with the statement at a large garment factory that employs thousands of immigrants. People come in around 5 or 6 in the morning; there are four entrances, and big parking lots that security guards kick you out of if they catch you passing out flyers. A two-person team went to the factory and decided to just go inside. They jumped on the elevator with the workers and got off on the cafeteria floor. In the half-hour before they were discovered and thrown out, they distributed 1000 copies of the concise version message and call in Spanish—aided by several of the workers who took stacks of the flyer on the spot.
In the course of all this, one important conclusion we reached is that the more we bring out not only "The Revolution We Need..." but also "The Leadership We Have" that heightens the possibility of being able to make this revolution, the more we are able to draw forward those who are more inclined to think we need revolution. We are also summing up the need to really take up the model in the Revolution #184 editorial ("Saturate—far and wide—everywhere people turn—with: 'The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have'") of teams where there is someone agitating especially for funds, to be able to raise much more money and bring more people into supporting this campaign.
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