Expanding the Circulation of Revolution
When great events shake the world, or when life-changing questions are being posed broadly in society, Revolution responds weekly, bringing truth and a revolutionary perspective to a uniquely diverse audience. Currently, supporters of Revolution actively and creatively take up distributing and popularizing Revolution among all sections of people each week. This has already made possible:
• Distribution on campuses of “The Nazification of the American University,” which helped students and faculty begin to connect the dots and confront ominous attacks on critical thinking and free speech.
• Hundred of thousands of copies of a special issue of Revolution, speaking to the abandonment of the people of New Orleans, were distributed all over the country in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
• On May First of this year, tens of thousands of copies of the special issue, “We Are Human Beings, We Demand a Better World, We Will Not Accept Slavery in Any Form” were distributed at immigrant rights marches around the country.
• And, at a moment when people are looking for fundamental change, over 3,000 people distributed over 500,000 copies of “The Crossroads We Face, The Leadership We Need”—a special issue on Bob Avakian.
But far more is needed to introduce the paper to the many thousands who do not know it yet, to have widespread reach on a weekly basis through both the print and on-line editions.
In the immediate period, Revolution aims to triple our current weekly print readership, as well as continue to distribute as many as hundreds of thousands of copies of special issues. And to expand the e-subscription list (e-subscriptions to Revolution are free to readers, but cost money to send through our reliable e-subscription service).
Currently, Revolution’s distribution is mainly in pockets of the larger cities through a few outlets and relying on the efforts of many volunteers. But for our readership to expand, we need to enlist new distributors, contract with commercial distributors, make it possible for homeless people to sell the paper and keep a share of the money, and other distribution innovations that will allow us to reach way beyond our current distribution networks.
Commercial distribution will allow the paper to get into many outlets throughout the country in the small towns and cities, as well as in broader areas of major cities – to expand the reach beyond what is possible with volunteer distributors. At a time when many progressive people in far-flung areas are feeling isolated, this can be their lifeline!
Advertising and promotion of both the print and online versions of Revolution is necessary to let people in all these different areas know this paper exists – as well as where and how they can get it weekly (locations, subscriptions, e-subs).
Revolution needs to be at conferences and other events throughout the country where people are coming together and seriously debating and discussing the questions facing humanity. In the last year, Revolution held workshops and distributed the paper at the U.S. Social Forum, had a table at the American Library Association national convention, attended the Alternative Media Conference in Memphis, Coachella Music Festival in California, to name a few. Table fees and promotional materials, entrance fees, travel, and accommodations are generally not covered by sales of the newspaper – but the paper reaches key new audiences and travels back “home” to new regions.
Readers of Revolution pay for the print edition of the paper in individual sales and subscriptions, and this covers much of the cost of printing and shipping at our current level, to our current distributors. But the costs of doing this expansion and advertising will not be fully met through increased sales alone.
We have had many experiences with retail vendors, as well as some commercial distributors selling Revolution. These experiences have been difficult to sustain and expand with our current financial model. Our current operating budget depends on dedicated volunteers selling papers at $1/copy, and we will expand that network of volunteers. But to have this paper widely accessible, we also need to distribute it far and wide through vendors, and we cannot expect to collect $1/copy from them. And we need to be able to back up retail and regional wholesale distribution of Revolution with advertising and promotion—things like ads on buses and bus benches letting people know where they can go to find the paper.
“While being shuffled around in this prison unit I so happened into a cell that had a copy of Revolution (April 2nd) lying on the floor. Being an avid reader, and curious by nature, I proceeded to read the paper keeping in mind that my culture has painted communism as the ideology of the atheistic devil-worshipers whose only goal is to oppress the common man into total submission to the state. Since I have “Enemy of the State” boldly tattooed across my breastbone, I’m obviously against any ideology that promotes further oppression. However from what I was able to read from Revolution, after several readings, it seemed that I had been misled and communism has possibly been misrepresented to me. I would be very interested in learning more about Mr. Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party, unfortunately I’m indigent and, as such, only able to rely on the charity and good intentions of person outside willing to donate to my education. I would very much like to subscribe to Revolution, but of course I lack the funds…”
—A prisoner in Texas
“ We understand that the subscription rate is a subsidized amount and the cost of postage may be quite high. We also know the financial constraints a revolutionary paper has to face in a capitalistic society, but still we request you to continue the present arrangement of sending a complementary copy of Revolution as the financial situation is even tighter for a small third world revolutionary group like ours. We want you to know how much useful the paper has been for us. Apart from exposing the underbelly of the capitalist beast, it has been providing us very useful insights about the fights and struggles of all American peoples. We have used material from it to regularly write about the brutal police repression in the U.S., about Peru, about struggles in Latin America, and other struggles around the world.”
—Readers in India
“ The first article I ever read from Revolution was reporting on President Bush’s new nuclear policy—his development of “mini-nukes” and bunker busters, and his statement that he felt he had the right to strike first, even with nuclear weapons. I hadn’t read this anywhere else and thought it could not possibly be true. I decided to fact-check the article using White House sources. It was all easily verifiable. Why doesn’t the mainstream press report on stuff like this?”
—A professional fact-checker
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.