Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chicago Memorial Day picnic 
A supporter of Revolution Books designed and built a mobile display case. It was part of way to showcase the BAsics Bus Tour and other important works of Bob Avakian. The Memorial Day picnic was a perfect time to bring it out on the street and see what people’s response was to it.  People dug it, and it kind of broke away from the standard book table. The setup had been done the night before, we just opened it up and we had all the key works of the BAsics Bus Tour and enlarged photos of high school students signing a banner they sent to Atlanta. We had take-home organizer bags wrapped with the centerfold of “What people are saying” and designed for people to take out pluggers of BAsics 1:13,  copies of the “Twelve Ways That YOU Can Be Part of Building the Movement for Revolution – Right Now”, Revolution newspapers and  the sampler DVD of the Revolution talk, enabling many more people to become a part of spreading the Bus Tour campaign and the quotes of Bob Avakian.

The Picnic
On entering the park there was a new display by Revolution Books featuring the Basic Bus Tour and many of the works of Bob Avakian.  There were red flags on the park fences, and a big banner announcing the Memorial Day picnic fundraiser.  Under a group of trees, people gathered to picnic and hear about the Tour from a volunteer who had just come back from Sanford, Florida, the town where Trayvon Martin was murdered.
Before the volunteer spoke we had time to get out the BAsics plugger with BAsics 1:13 “No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that.” We talked with people cruising the park. People were very positive; a Brazilian couple dropped by and we got into that quote, they were very touched that people here in this country would have the perspective of “children here and around the world”. Others more focused on how youth have no one fighting for them; that there wasn’t a future for the kids, and how they were dogged by the police; this was mainly from Black and Hispanic people who hang out in the park or who live in the nearby neighborhood.  A few stopped and listened to a volunteer speak about what the lessons he learned  and what the masses response was to the Bus Tour about his trip into the deep South.
One 20-something guy from the neighborhood on hearing what the Tour was spreading and reading the quote bought a ticket and joined the picnic.  Two college students  traveled up to the picnic after getting a copy of Revolution newspaper at a recent teachers march and rally, and checking out the Revolution Books blog. Seeing that we were holding a picnic they thought they would come “to learn some new things” about what was going on. They got into a deep discussion with one revolutionary about the future society centering on the Constitution For The New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). They were very excited to learn that a PDF of it was available on line.  One of the young Black students was very into advanced physics and how it helped her understand the world. Both students got BA swag bags and signed up to be on the BA Everywhere list.
Several people who attended the May Day fundraising dinner for the Bus Tour came to the picnic, including family members of victims of police shootings and murder. One Black man, nodding when theBAsics Bus Tour volunteer talked about the Lynching Belt and the Bible Belt, later recounted to a revolutionary that two of his uncles had been lynched in Arkansas after trying to defend his grandfather’s land.
A middle aged unemployed white guy said that he heard about the picnic a couple of blocks away; that there were people in the park talking about revolution, so he came by to check it out. He has a Black girlfriend in Englewood and gets harassed by the cops all the time for dating a Black woman. He really was very interested in learning more about the Trayvon Martin murder, and stayed to hear more about the tour. He left his email to get more information about the tour and other issues.  A 50-something white guy came by and argued that Occupy didn’t change a thing and that most people are morons and just don’t get it.  A bike messenger who had been at Revolution Books before, read the quote and agreed, saying this would push him to drop by the store and check out what we were doing.  Quite a few white families walked by and were kind of unsure of what we were about, a few took BAsics cards.
Overall it was very engaging and welcoming, an opportunity to learn more about the impact of the Tour in the South, raise funds and bring people into this campaign, BA Everywhere… Imagine the Difference it Could Make!  

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