A Year-End Fundraising Party with The Bob Avakian Institute
Coming Together to Discuss, Debate, and Raise Funds to Spread Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, a speech by Bob Avakian
A few days before the new year, a couple dozen people gathered for a fundraising party hosted by The Bob Avakian Institute at a small progressive café in Los Angeles. This was to celebrate and raise funds for the new speech by Bob Avakian (BA), Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.
It was a diverse crowd, including some who’ve known of BA’s work for years and others who just learned about him and came to the event to find out more. All were drawn by the topic of the film itself and because they were looking forward to meeting others who cared deeply about humanity.
There were people working in the arts, education, health care, activists with Refuse Fascism, and people from different backgrounds and nationalities, including some coming from countries devastated by U.S. imperialism. Two different people in attendance said it felt so good to be among others who are paying attention to what’s happening in the world and want to do something about it. Another young woman there has known about BA for a long time and has engaged some of his work, but hadn’t ever come to anything before. She said that the situation in the world finally brought her to come to support and find out what she could do to contribute.
The evening began with showing a clip from the Q&A that followed the speech, speaking to why immigrants cross borders in the first place. This was followed by comments from Annie Day, the director of The Bob Avakian Institute. She talked briefly about the intolerable outrages that are plaguing our world, and the understanding that BA provides about their source in the system of capitalism and imperialism, how none of this could be ended through reform, and the need for an actual revolution. This speech and BA’s work overall provides the plan and strategy for how such a revolution can be made and what that revolution would be aiming for, concentrated in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (a concrete blueprint for a socialist transition to communism).
Day also talked about what it means that Avakian’s work is not known, at a time people do not know there is a real alternative, and she then challenged everyone there to be part of changing this, to break through the decades-long assault on revolution and communism and the toll it has taken in terms of the ability for people to even conceive of a radically different world. She referenced a point BA made several years ago that listening to most people, including too many progressive intellectuals, talk about the history of communist revolution is like learning about the Civil War from Confederate generals. Because of all this, people today are more capable of imagining the end of humanity than the end of capitalism.
Interestingly, these last points, and the discussion of how to change this with BA’s work, were reference points throughout the night.
After watching the trailer for BA’s speech, the room broke into informal conversations and debate. At the same time as people were getting to know each other, and learning what drew them there, there was good struggle and debate about all these questions, especially struggle over the basis for revolution: that, to quote BAsics 4:11, “What people think is part of objective reality but objective reality is not determined by what people think.”
One question that came up was the need to be reaching out to social service and community-based organizations and people around the world—even if they don’t all agree with revolution now—because after a revolution, we’ll need a lot of assistance and infrastructure to rebuild the economy and meet people’s needs.
This was a perfect segue to the final video clip we played: “What Would Society Look Like Right After the Revolution?,” which provoked more discussion about the contradictions under socialism, including how the work we do now is connected to what will be required to go for power and maintain power after the revolution.
To illuminate the need for the new communism and BA to be known throughout society, one person shared a story about talking to a 20-year-old relative at a holiday party. He told her that so many of his friends have discussed suicide because they have no hope for the future. She said it brought home the impact of people not knowing there is another way the world can be and so much work that’s been done by BA on the basis for this and how to bring that into being.
It was a very good time. $400 was raised from this party, including donations made by people who could not attend. The Bob Avakian Institute and volunteers reached out broadly, sending out hundreds of invitations to everyone in the area that they had met over the years. The invitation itself posed a real challenge to people about the importance of BA’s work. A number of people who had not been heard from in some time sent comments back saying they regretted not being able to attend and how they would like to talk more in the coming year.
A young woman who attended, who has just recently been introduced to BA, talked about how important this event was—the feeling of unity and togetherness in the struggle to understand and change the world, knowing we might not all agree but feeling love and hope in that common desire for a deep change in the world. She took home a copy of BAsics and wants to be part of these kinds of things in an ongoing way, including figuring out how to bring this into her circles.
The LA fundraising event was simple to pull together, and much more of this is needed—in every corner of society.