Revolution #272, June 17, 2012
Scenes from BA Everywhere
Week of June 10
“Scenes from BA Everywhere” is a regular feature that gives our readers an ongoing picture of this multifaceted campaign, and the variety of ways that funds are being raised and the whole BA vision and framework is being brought into all corners of society. Revolution newspaper is at the hub of the BA Everywhere effort—publishing reports from those taking up the campaign. Revolution plays a pivotal role in building an organized network of people across the country coming together to make BA a household word. We urge our readers to send in timely correspondence on what you are doing as part of this campaign—send your reports and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Memorial Day Fundraising Picnic in East Oakland
From a reader:
A fundraising picnic to support the BAsics Bus Tour was held in a park in East Oakland on Memorial Day. It was a successful event, with over 60 people participating, 40 of whom were from the two ’hoods nearby. This event was publicized by a crew of revolutionaries that went out with fliers, Revolution newspaper, and the palm cards of BA’s quote (BAsics 1:13). A banner about supporting the tour, with BA’s quote on it, was also taken out broadly, inviting people to sign or write statements in response. In the course of doing this, many took up tasks or responsibilities for various aspects of this picnic.
The picnic site had been selected by people from the area a week before. Kids at the park were immediately attracted by the banner, and upon learning about the bus tour and that it just finished a trip to Sanford, Florida, these kids (grade school and junior high) were very inspired and started telling us what they knew about the killing. They all learned to read out loud the BAsics 1:13 quote, and were given the task of decorating the picnic site. A young Black woman, a high school student who we met a few days ago, was key in organizing the kids. She was very outraged after hearing from a middle-aged Black woman who talked about the killing of Trayvon and how in the old days Black men were often lynched and hung on the trees. She and a junior high kid climbed up a tree behind the picnic site and put up two big displays (of BAsics and BA’s Three Strikes quote). A huge “Enough Is Enough” banner was also posted by them right in front of the park entrance. Before the picnic began, seven or eight kids, together with a young woman and a revolutionary, marched around the park to invite others.
A Black man in his early 40s took charge of BBQing. He brought a friend to the picnic as the second cook. Together with a couple women, they also took care of serving the food. The wife of this man played a key role in the program. After welcoming people and introducing people to what this historic bus tour was all about, the program started by several people from the ’hood reading some of the statements written on the banner described earlier. Other statements made by people around the country were also read.
Then the report-back from the tour was shown and broadcast. We raised about $95 at the picnic for the bus tour. Another highlight was reading out loud BA’s quote by several people from the ’hood. A young man, who is a member of the People’s Neighborhood Patrol, then did a “call and response” with the quote in Spanish. He also spoke about the People’s Neighborhood Patrol, and pointed out that traveling with the patrol when they go out is one of the “12 Ways That YOU Can Be Part of Building the Movement for Revolution—Right Now.”
A call was made encouraging everyone to take up the BAsics 1:13 palm cards and other material to post up and get out. These bundles and packets were prepared during the picnic with several people participating, along with two of us. By the time most of the people left the picnic, most of the material on our organizing table was gone. (The next day, we ran into a woman and a guy who told us that in the evening of the picnic they went out together and got out all of their cards and fliers. They asked for more.)
This picnic was a good beginning. You can get a glimpse of the tremendous potential among the basic people that can be unleashed by the bus tour and BA’s quote. And building on what we’ve done so far, we will step up our efforts in June (and beyond).
BA Everywhere @ Open Studios
We received this correspondence:
A couple of us took out batches of glossy postcards with BAsics 1:13 at the Open Studios in our city. (Readers: you can download your own PDFs of the cards from revcom.us, and print them at any drugstore.) Open Studios is where artists open their studios, share their work, and try to earn some money selling their arts and crafts.
Themes of environmental devastation, human alienation, and—not so often but part of the mix—oppression of women and Black people were a significant element in the mix, sometimes expressed explicitly, more often subliminally, through color, texture, sound and street art. Someone set up a bunch of abandoned refrigerators with graphics documenting their carbon footprint—the impact on global climate change. One group of young people was passing out handwritten Love Letters, and making a statement about the impersonalization of this society. The letter they gave us began “I understand how easy it is to get caught up in the day to day grind of life...” One of the letter writers is reading Capital by Marx.
A photographer who documents Black youth and their lives with powerful, humanizing posters allowed us to read BAsics 1:13 out loud—reaching visitors and buyers in his studio. He broke the silence afterwards by saying “that’s true.” Another artist spent 15 minutes looking through our materials carefully, and then asked, “So, are you saying these socialist societies became what they became, in part, because of a lack of free speech?” That started what should be a long-term conversation on BA’s new synthesis with him. What was interesting, to me, was how willing many of these artists were to take up some specific tasks of making revolution in the realm of art and design, which we were asking them to take up. We challenged people to do that even as we encouraged them to learn more and engage with this in their own ways.
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