Revolution #227, March 20, 2011
A Plan to Break BAsics into the Atmosphere
The RCP's statement "On the Strategy for Revolution" emphasizes that one important element of making revolution is:
To learn from the Chairman of our Party, Bob Avakian, spread the knowledge and influence of his pathbreaking leadership, and defend and protect this rare and precious leader. Bob Avakian has dedicated his life since the 1960s to the cause of revolution and communism. While providing practical leadership to the Party and the revolutionary movement, he has deeply studied and summed up the world historical experience of the communist revolution and the socialist societies it has brought into being—the great achievements and the serious problems and errors—and has studied many other fields of human experience and knowledge. He has advanced the science of communism and made decisive breakthroughs in the theory, method, and strategy of revolution and the final goal of communism throughout the world. It is crucial for growing numbers of people to know about and study his talks and writings...to defend and protect him...to take up the leadership he is providing, which opens new pathways for revolution.
The coming month must and can mark a leap in this aspect of revolutionary preparation. A new book—BAsics, from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian—should both make this leader and the revolution that he's all about much more widely known and serve to bring forward a new generation of revolutionaries. This book will be a very accessible, and very concentrated, selection of quotations and short essays laying out some of the essential building blocks of Avakian's thinking and his pathbreaking leadership.
The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, and the sharpening contradictions within the U.S. itself and disappointment with Obama, have given rise to widespread questioning among many; at times like now they need to hear about this leader and the revolution he's all about, and be spurred to find out more by picking up this very accessible work. More: there are many in the new generation inspired by these uprisings and in agony over the future, daring to dream about new things, for whom this book can be a major part of giving direction and sustenance to that agony... and that inspiration.
What follows is the outline of a plan to make this next month count as much as possible in building this movement for revolution. But how real this plan becomes—how powerfully it gets effected and how much, in turn, it unleashes new energies and sets in motion new relationships—depends on our regular readers taking this up and taking this out, and making sure that we hear how it's all going. Take what follows as a guideline within which to take initiative... improvise and learn from new developments and people's ideas, and send us your thoughts and experiences... through all of this, forge new relationships with people.
Within this plan, a special program taking place on the occasion of this book's publication and celebrating revolution and a vision of a new world plays a key role. This program will take place in New York, in Harlem, on Monday, April 11, and we are covering this elsewhere. What follows below is a plan that encompasses, but is not limited to that program, to really make a big impact with this book's upcoming publication.
The key dates, and the key things to be doing to build this:
Right now: Carry forward the BAsics Challenge (see revcom.us/a/224/basics_challenge-en.htm) and raise funds to make sure that people know about this book! If you have been raising funds, sum up what you have done—including the obstacles encountered but also the advances made. We want to re-emphasize: raising funds is giving people a chance to learn about this movement, engage it in depth, and support it. Building a movement around meeting the BAsics Challenge gives people a sense of contributing to something larger than themselves, a sense of being part of a movement that really is about a whole different future... and involving them in figuring out how to raise funds from others to meet the challenge deepens that. And it's crucial to getting word of this book out there into society, in different ways. For those in NYC especially, use the poster in this issue of the centerspread. Use the back-page poster this issue as the opposite side. Win people to post this... and use the PDF to create palm cards.
What to do right now:
- Get this challenge out to people you know, and to people you are just meeting.
- Plan forays into areas where there are progressive-minded people who can be reached with this vision of change and moved to contribute to it.
In all this, use this issue of the paper (#227), with the statements from the hosts of the April 11 program, to give people a sense of the scope and breadth of the movement that is taking shape.
March 21: The full list of hosts and artists will be published. Use the PDF of that list as the opposite side of the palm card for the event, and print up new cards.
March 25-28: On the heels of really getting out the Party's statement on strategy, and widely distributing the current issue of the paper, there should be a massive distribution of palm cards publicizing BAsics on these four days, building for the book's release. Envision: teams of people taking out cards, along with other materials, to campuses and high schools on Friday and Monday, and cultural events over the weekend; teams fanning out through communities of the oppressed, while networks of readers within those communities are activated to receive and get out the cards in all kinds of different ways; teams getting out the cards in the areas of the city where artists and young people of different nationalities mix it up, as everyone goes out in the first flush of Spring. Cities should set goals for what gets out between Friday 7 am and Monday night—and then report how they did—in what should be a major information blitz for the book's upcoming publication.
The cards publicizing the book should be the leading edge of this effort; but there are other important materials mentioned above that should be filling out the picture for people. Teams that take this onto campuses and into communities can assemble a display with a striking enlarged graphic of some of the PDFs on the paper site publicizing this book and other materials. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic of North America (Draft Proposal), the statement "On the Strategy for Revolution," the RCP's Manifesto, Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, Avakian's memoir From Ike to Mao...and Beyond and other foundational materials should be there for people. Let people hear—and have copies of—Avakian's spoken word piece "All Played Out." If they can be created in time, distributors can be wearing—and selling—shirts with the book's slogan, "You Can't Change the World if You Don't Know the BAsics!" Others should be wearing the T-shirts with BA's image, or with the Revolution masthead. Create a stir—as part of getting out these materials! Get this issue of the paper out to people—and when people show interest, get them to buy subs.
What to do right now to prepare:
- Prepare to produce massive quantities of the cards once the PDF for the book goes up on this site;
- Prepare people you know for the weekend of March 25-28, drawing out their ideas on where and how to get these cards out.
Also, start now to work the April 11 program into your plans, even if you are not close to NYC.
- Talk to people about ways to relate to and be part of—even from a distance—the big program on April 11 in New York. IMPORTANT: There are many people who would want to go to this if they knew about it—the truth of this is illustrated by the breadth of the host committee and their comments—so don't fail to let people know about this so that they can arrange their work and travel accordingly!
In that regard, plan for delegations. Organize to raise funds from different sections of people—a neighborhood, a school—to send a representative to NY. This can be a way that people become part of this and amplify the impact of the event itself—but this needs to be planned now.
- Get to local people of prominence in the arts and sciences, and radical politics—tell them about the book, strategize with them about publicizing it (including writing their opinions of it on blogs or Facebook pages or, if they have access, submitting reviews to local papers), and let them know about this program. Talking about BAsics—and bringing a few quotes and the "All Played Out" piece when you do—is a good way to introduce BA to people who should have been knowing about him all along.
March 28: Next issue of Revolution—featuring statements by prisoners on revolution, Bob Avakian, and BAsics. Let the voice of the radical and revolutionary prisoners who are connecting with this leadership ring into society, and let people read and hear the ways in which this is connecting.
What to do right now to prepare:
- Let people who are working to oppose and resist the way in which this system has criminalized whole generations of Black and Latino youth know about this book, and this issue of the paper.
- Look now for conferences or events or groupings that are forming up in your area to fight "the new Jim Crow"—this massive and systematic criminalization—and get word of this (and that issue of the paper) to them.
April 5: Official date of publication of the book. By this time areas and individuals should have at least an initial shipment of the book. There can be celebrations at bookstores or other venues welcoming the book that night. These should be celebrations, and not speeches or lectures, and can have remarks from a range of people.
What to do right now to prepare:
- Plan the time and place of the event, and announce it. Make sure that people you work with know about this and are telling others about the date.
April 7: One person who teaches in prison recently wrote us that "word is you're nothing unless you have a BA degree"—let's take that spirit to the campuses. Follow up on the campuses where you saturated with the cards, especially campuses with a reputation for intellectual ferment and history of radical struggle. Create a scene: play "All Played Out" where students gather; go into coffee shops and bookstores and read quotes from the book; find teachers who will let you make an announcement, or make an announcement themselves. Make a connection: bring that issue of the paper with the prisoners' writings and let the students hear voices from the hellholes of America.
Things to do to prepare:
- Let all the people you've met on campus over the past few years know about this. Make time to have coffee with people—even people you haven't seen in a while—and find out what they're thinking about in these days of big changes.
- Talk now to professors about this, and set up ways to make announcements in classes on the 7th itself.
April 8-10: Major street efforts to sell BAsics, in the communities of the oppressed, as well as areas where artists and young people live. Get this book out there!
April 11: "On the occasion of the publication of BAsics—A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World," in New York City. Comrades in New York of course will be focusing on this for the whole next month as the leading edge of carrying out the plan above. But regular readers everywhere should be promoting this as well. There should be delegations coming from other cities; volunteers who come early to help get the word out or work on the program; messages from well-known people to the event; and, very importantly, fund-raising. What has already been brought forward—the letters and PSAs from some of the hosts, and soon the letters from prisoners—should be used very widely. There is something jelling, something stirring, in relation to this leader, this movement and this book in particular. It will come together on April 11—and take another leap at that point, propelling the book—and the whole idea of this revolution—into the consciousness of many many more people.
To return to the beginning—there is much to do, but everything we're doing is interconnected. Everything we're doing is about building a movement FOR revolution. The publication of BAsics, and everything happening around that publication, can, should and must mark a big leap for that movement.
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