Revolution #195, March 14, 2010
"From the Burkha to the Thong:
Everything Must, and Can, Change—WE NEED TOTAL REVOLUTION!"
Sunsara Taylor National Campus Speaking Tour
Something new is happening on campuses across the country this spring. In a provocative speech, "From the Burkha to the Thong: Everything Must, and Can, Change—WE NEED TOTAL REVOLUTION!" Sunsara Taylor is challenging and engaging a broad section of students to think in new ways about the world, about the situation of women, and about the necessity and possibility for fundamental change. As the announcement for the speaking tour brings out, Sunsara is recruiting a new generation for revolution and building a movement for revolution–starting now!
Learning from the experience in building for the tour in New York City, we have put together a basic organizing kit for making this happen, reaching new audiences with the most radical and liberating revolution that can liberate women and all of humanity. This is aimed towards assisting those who already have tour dates set up; and to enable those who want to bring Sunsara to their campus to envision how they could do this.
Keep in mind:
- Right from the beginning, pull together a broad organizing committee. In NYC we met weekly for more than a month, even with different people coming in and out. These meetings were a key center where we grappled with the aims of the speaking tour and questions we were confronting in taking it out. We mixed it up—sometimes with reading sections of the Declaration: For the Liberation of Women and the Emancipation of All Humanity, sometimes with poetry, sometimes with "speaking bitterness" about what it means to be a woman in this world. We strategized and made plans, and brought in new people we just met.
- Burkha/Thong street theater. Every group of people organizing for the speaking should, and can—in one form or another—do the short street theater piece initiated in NYC as the key way to promote the speaking tour. This skit concentrates in a powerful way, "From the Burkha to the Thong: Everything Must, and Can, Change—WE NEED TOTAL REVOLUTION!" Included in this kit are: the script, a basic "how-to," and an article written by an NYU student about her experience performing the skit in organizing for the tour. Remember: the point of doing this skit is to spread the word, stir up controversy, create buzz and anticipation for Sunsara's talk, and not as "a thing in itself." So, for example, it's important to bring along a giant sign advertising the title, date & time of your event, and to keep returning to the critical message, "You need to come hear Sunsara Taylor." The whole skit can be done – or even just two people in costume as a still "tableau," holding signs and flyers.
- Fundraising is ESSENTIAL. Build this in from the beginning. This packet includes some notes on fundraising, a basic fundraising letter and a sample invitation to a fundraising salon.
- Saturation, broad reach, and stir things up. Saturate with flyers, posters AND selected quotes from the Declaration and from Bob Avakian. You can make 8-1/2 x 11 quote posters—graphically designed to capture people's attention—in hallways, on street corners, and especially in bathrooms; these turned out to be one important attention-getter. We did a whole series of thought-provoking and controversial excerpts which piqued a lot of curiosity and interest, including the quote from Bob Avakian that begins "You can't break all the chains but one…"
- Make plans for follow-up in the wake of the main event. For example, Revolution Books in New York is organizing a seminar on the Declaration and a sign-up form was included inside each program.
Organizing kit includes:
- Flyer for the speaking tour
- "From the Burkha to the Thong" Street Theater
- Notes on media work
- National press release
- Correspondence from Alice Woodward on Sunsara's tour and the campaign for "The Revolution We Need, the Leadership We Have"
- Using Facebook
- "Dear NYU" – letter to campus newspaper
- Materials for the event
Keep in contact with the coordinator of Sunsara's speaking tour at firstname.lastname@example.org
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