Revolution #251, November 27, 2011
BA Everywhere... Imagine the Difference It Could Make!
A Mass Campaign to Raise Big Money to Get
BA’s Vision and Works Into Every Corner of Society
The editorial in the November 6 issue of Revolution, "BA Everywhere... Imagine the Difference It Could Make!" made an important and exciting announcement: A Mass Campaign to Raise Big Money to Get BA’s Vision and Works Into Every Corner of Society.
And to do just that, it said:
We are launching a major, multi-faceted fundraising campaign to project BA, his voice and his work way out into society—far beyond what it is today. A fundraising campaign which will raise the necessary major money to make this possible. A fund drive that unleashes and develops imagination, defiance and community in everything it does.
Imagine what we could change... and imagine how we could change it.
Recently, across the country, mass conferences were held to get into this big vision. People who have defied the powers-that-be at the Occupy encampments came together with the new Freedom Fighters who are determined to STOP "Stop and Frisk" and police murder and brutality, with students from high schools and colleges, with artists and doctors, lawyers and academics, with people from the community who catch hell every day under this system, with revolutionaries, and many others. The conferences were scenes of lively brainstorming, as people learned from each other and joined together to launch this campaign to raise big money to get BA’s vision and works into every corner of society. Taken as a whole, hundreds gathered in a nationwide collective effort to dig into what difference this campaign can make in effecting a radical and fundamental change in the social and political atmosphere throughout society.
Coming into the conferences, participants read the "BA Everywhere" editorial, which imagined the impact this could have and set forth the essential vision and goals of this fundraising campaign ("BA Everywhere... Imagine the Difference It Could Make!" Revolution #249, November 6, 2011). This provided the framework and starting point for discussion. Plans coming out of the conferences begin with a serious launch of this campaign in the weeks between now and the end of 2011. There are dramatic plans to raise big money in 2012 and achieve our goal of making BA a household word.
There were two sessions at the conferences—each opening with video clips followed by presentations. (A file to burn these clips to DVD is available at revcom.us/BAfundcampaign.) Following this intro are slightly edited excerpts from the presentation outlining some beginning—big—plans which opened the second session and unleashed an afternoon of people energetically throwing in with their thinking and ideas. It is our hope and intention in publishing these excerpts both to inform people of how they can contribute beginning now—and to spark more ideas!
The time is now for this campaign to take off, with contributions being given online to fund the film Occasioned by the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World at indiegogo.com/basicsevent and with a big outing on Black Friday to raise money to send BAsics to prisoners. Let’s get BA Everywhere!
Revolution newspaper will be at the hub of this effort, publishing frequent reports from those taking up this campaign and ongoing thinking about how to make new advances. It will play a pivotal role in building an organized network of people, a national community, who are taking up this campaign, connecting the work of people across the country to make this voice... this person a point of reference for all of society. We urge all our readers to correspond with Revolution. Share your experiences and ideas for how to get BA Everywhere and reach our fundraising goals! Write about the toughest questions that people are bringing up—and let’s begin a dialog about how to answer them! Get your copy of Revolution (in print or online) every week to get and stay connected with this movement.
Envisioning 2012 (Excerpts from the speech)
[W]e talked about WHY we’re doing that. We talked about how this system is a horror; that it doesn’t have to be this way; that because of what BA has done, there IS a viable way out of this and a way forward into something better; and that it’s up to us to get that out there and make it real. Now we have to get into the WHAT of that and the HOW of it.
We’re getting to the time when people start thinking about what they want to see happen in the year to come. So let’s collectively try to envision a 2012 where at the end of the year we can say, "Wow, you know what? We made Bob Avakian a household word. We made it so that a whole lot of people are checking out different possibilities and when they do, they not only have heard the name, but they have some sense of BA and what he represents. We changed the mental landscape of people in this country and even around the world. And we’ve done it in a way that has both drawn from and given inspiration, direction and meaning to a growing movement of fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution."
Now we’ve got a whole set of ideas on HOW to do that. But let me say three things about those ideas. Number one, they require a whole lot of money to do them right—and we do intend to do them right. So that’s why we’re launching this massive, multi-pronged fund-raising campaign. Number two, these are still rough ideas—some of these are going to spark ideas in your minds or in the minds of people you take them to, some of these are going to get modified or expanded as we take them out, and some are going to get discarded when we see that they don’t really measure up to what we need. But the point is that taken together, they should give us a vision today of how all these things can work together to get us to the goal I laid out. And number three, remember that in the very raising of funds for these ideas, we’re also spreading the word about BA as we do this, and we’re also building community and building movement.
Right now, we’ve got six big ideas for next year.
"I hope he gets number one Amazon.com. We need to get this kind of word, this kind of conversation out—it needs to be disseminated, it needs to be in the mainstream more. We got to stop thinking that this kind of stuff just belongs at the very, very fringe of society..."
"I wish I had a copy of BAsics in high school so that I could counter the bullshit being taught to me. I didn’t have that opportunity, but there are millions of students today who need to hear the voice of Bob Avakian so they can join the fight. BAsics presents an essential challenge to all that is oppressive and intolerant. It paints not only a picture of a new world, but it leaves room for innovation and growth, as a communist future will have, as Bob Avakian says, ‘a solid core with a lot of elasticity.’"
"I want to urge everybody out there to get their hands on this book and to help get it into the hands of others, not just prisoners, but into the hands of youth who are in danger of becoming prisoners themselves... Help them unlock their potential and give them a sense of purpose that doesn’t involve killing each other. Give them an alternative to the criminal lifestyle that doesn’t involve conforming to this horrid system. That is what they need, that is what they ache for. They want to rebel, they just have to be introduced to the correct way to do so. Put them on the path to becoming communists..."
First, we’re going to get BAsics much more out into society. That means raising funds for a dramatic national advertising campaign; it means raising funds to get BAsics on a more massive scale into prisons, into the schools and into the hands of people who are fed up and looking for a whole different world; and it means talking to people who have some expertise in how you break something out in a much bigger way into the world. It means raising funds for all kinds of BA and BAsics gear... for example, defiant T-shirts with quotes from BAsics, T-shirts and patches with the BA image, reaching the youth across the country who are looking to speak loud, bold, and make a statement in their style.
Second, we’ve got an idea for a whole movement of cultural events and works that are the result of the wellspring of creative energy connecting with and inspired by BAsics or other works of BA... You saw some of that in the trailer from the cultural event last April that we showed. And as important as that event and the works produced or shown at it are—and as important as it will be to produce the film of this so it can reverberate throughout society—it’s just one of many pieces that could be part of a major cultural flourishing. Think about visual arts exhibits, think about concerts and dance and theater, poetry slams and videos. Think about panel discussions and symposiums and dialogues on what kind of culture we need, and what kind would be possible in a radically different society. Where you begin to get a sense that there are artists stretching across different disciplines and outlooks who are all doing work that relates to this framework.
Third, we’ve got an idea for a whole BA film project. We’re talking about raising serious funds for many different kinds of short films and videos that could be made... inspired by Avakian’s words and speeches and documenting the impact the further projection that is having on different sections of people... what it’s drawing forward from all kinds of people... prisoners and suburban mall rats, immigrants and ivy league students, secretaries and social workers... the controversy, excitement and radical vision all that’s provoking. And we are considering an idea to raise funds for a major documentary film about BA and his vision getting out into the world—and being of the quality to play at film festivals and on public or cable TV.
Fourth, we’ve got some people who can put forward this vision in a compelling way. So let’s raise money so that people like Raymond Lotta, Carl Dix, Sunsara Taylor and others have the financing to crisscross the campuses and take on all comers in debates and dialogues, and to bust into the talk shows and op-ed pages.
Fifth, we talked about this Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) (revcom.us/socialistconstitution). This really does put forward a way to re-organize society on an emancipatory basis. Let’s raise the money to make possible high-profile dialogues with other thinkers and people with different ideas; let’s raise the money to create and promote lesson plans for teachers at various levels; and let’s raise the money for a major symposium where this sets the framework and scholars and activists with different viewpoints debate it out. All this and more can make this Constitution something that transforms the whole framework in people’s thinking about what is possible... and what is desirable.
And finally, let’s raise funds for a national tour of the BA bus heading out to communities all over the country and raise funds to free up full-time organizers to be on that bus. Imagine young people hanging out on the corner in front of where they live... or hanging out in a 7-11 parking lot... and this bus with eye-catching decorations rolls up with bright letters REVOLUTION... and "You can’t change the world if you don’t know the BAsics." You hear this voice projected through loudspeakers... "we need a revolution... the most radical revolution in the history of humanity." A bunch of people jump out and start talking about BA, the revolution, about a whole other way the world could be... saying things you felt like you always felt but could never quite put into words. And this then gets on the news in the local areas, and online, and into the broader public awareness.
* * *
Now the overall point of this is not just a lot of good things. The idea is to get all this working together—working in synergy—so that together they create something new. Through all this and more we’re aiming to create a situation where this becomes un-ignorable and where those who begin to raise their heads—and to ask why—have this circulating in their minds... a situation where those who take the first bold steps of fighting the power also find out about what BA represents. Where all this taken together creates space for a different idea in people’s minds about what’s possible.
We want to create a situation where BA is a reference point. What do I mean by that? Well, when people are debating whether and how to change society, you want someone to be saying, well, what about BA and what he puts forward? And where people have some sense of what that is and feel like they have to know enough to have an opinion on it. We want to create a situation through this massive fund-raising campaign and all the projects that make it up where people feel compelled to engage the whole BA vision and framework.
And we think that this plan has the potential to do that.
But we’ll be doing something else as well. The editorial we’ve been referring to makes a key point in this regard:
Fundraising—if it’s done right—does two things. It raises the money that is badly needed to make a huge difference; and it brings people together—in this case to engage with BA, and what he represents and the whole process of changing the world. And the fact is that there are many, many people who may not agree with everything BA stands for, or who feel that they themselves need to learn more about this, but who also understand very deeply how important it would be, what a difference it would make, to have this voice and vision being projected, and engaged and debated, by people in every part of society. ("BA Everywhere... Imagine the Difference It Could Make!" Revolution #249, November 6, 2011)
In doing this, everyone’s efforts will be part of something that is bigger than themselves but in which their actions, creativity, and participation will be decisive. Again, think about the connections that can get forged between different sections of people... what it changes when a university professor agrees to match the contributions that are raised in one housing project in a weekend... or a group of youth all come together for a car wash or yard sale to reach into the prisons with the essential revolutionary truths in BAsics... we’ll be changing the world, and breaking down walls as we do.
People from different walks of life will be coming TOGETHER to think about these things and wrangle deeply over them and relate them to their own experiences, in all different kinds of places and all different kinds of scenes—from campuses to basic neighborhoods, from the prisons to the Occupy camps, in all kinds of cultural scenes and concerts, and out into the suburbs. We’re talking about people who are looking to change their whole lives... and those who only have maybe an hour a week that they can put to this, but want that hour to mean something... and people in between. There needs to be a place for every one of those people in this campaign.
We’re talking about a whole range of activity to raise the required funds... one-on-one meetings with people who have the resources to contribute many thousands of dollars, big mass activities where you’re collecting single dollars, fives, and tens through bake sales and big parties... door-to-door canvassing and online fund-raising. Big efforts where we all act together all across the country to accomplish a big goal in a week or weekend. Whether you’re a handful of people in Kankakee, Illinois, or a few dozen in Harlem, New York... whether you’re setting up a dramatic street-side display or selling dinners in a neighborhood, you’re coming together for a BIG COLLECTIVE IMPACT... forging community and raising broader awareness as you do. And whether you’ve got big questions and big time constraints, or big ideas and a lot of free time... there’s a place and a need for you.
This has to involve thousands and thousands of people, from different perspectives, in a range of activity at whatever level people are able to contribute. The editorial also made the point that "if you are a decent, thinking person, a person with a conscience, someone who just can’t go along with the notion that it’s acceptable for great social injustices to repeatedly be tolerated or swept under the rug, then this campaign is for you." Well, let’s just say that applies to many, many, many thousands of people who need to be reached and involved in this.
And through this, we’re talking about having a big impact in society through the projects we’re able to fund and in the fact that we’re all coming together to do so... which has a bigger impact in society... which draws forward more interest, debate and engagement... and more people who want to be part of this campaign... which has an even bigger impact on society... which... OK, you get the idea.
And each thing that we accomplish—if really learned from, and amplified—can put us in a different position to make greater advances. See, this won’t go in a straight line march. If we do this right, it’s gonna be more like a series of long jumps. With a long jump, you start jogging down the track at a certain pace, building up momentum and picking up speed, and then you leap as far as you can. You take a minute to brush the dust off and catch your breath, figure out what you did right and wrong, and then make another jump—this time further and higher. This is where the analogy has a limit because we’re not just talking about going further on the same ground but even changing the platform from which we’re making those leaps.
In other words, we’re getting ourselves organized and spreading the word for some big fund-raising effort, meeting new people and drawing them in as we do, and then the effort itself—the jump—spreads the word about BA, raises a lot of money, and involves new people. We accumulate funds... new people... and new knowledge about how people are thinking, and how to engage with them.
And here’s a further point: all these different projects are working together... and then they’re working in relation to the ways in which people are also coming forward and fighting the power, getting into Revolution newspaper, and the rest of the very important components to this movement for revolution. There’s a powerful back and forth here... as people are standing up and fighting the power, big questions arise about what we’re up against... and what will it take to bring into being a whole different world... BA’s works, his voice, and vision actually becoming a point of reference will impact all that... increasingly forging hope and daring, bringing—and breaking open debate over—a scientific understanding of the world, encouraging people to think critically and on a global scale.
I want to emphasize: we are talking about a whole ensemble of things—a whole creative, compelling mix of the different elements of this campaign. This campaign to raise big money to get BA’s vision and works into every corner of society ALONG WITH a WHOLE package of fighting for a different and far better world... all this will come through to people.
* * *
All of us together are setting out to make a very big difference in the world with this...
...if we succeed with this—if we collectively raise enough money to make it concretely possible to project the whole BA vision and project into all corners of society and to introduce him and what he is bringing forward to millions who are not yet familiar with his works and vision; if the framework he is bringing forward and advocating for becomes increasingly debated and wrangled over by thousands and by millions of people from all walks of life; if, together, we manage to accomplish this, this will actually make a very big difference. The whole social and political culture will "breathe" more freely, people will wrangle passionately over "big questions" concerning the direction of society (like knowing that much of the future of humanity hangs in the balance) and the times will once again resonate with big dreams for fundamental change and the emancipation of humanity. ("BA Everywhere... Imagine the Difference It Could Make!")
Let's do it!
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