A WORLD TO WIN    #25   (1999)

Note on the Worldwide Campaign to Raise Funds for RIM

By the Information Bureau of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement

The campaign to raise funds for RIM has begun to strengthen a web of internationalist support among the oppressed and their allies in other social classes stretching across the continents. Although not all reports are in, and the campaign is in different stages in the different countries, some glimpses of the struggle to carry out the campaign reveal a tremendous international effort and the enthusiastic participation by many revolutionary masses and supporters of the parties and organisations united in RIM.

The campaign is centred on a call for a half-day's wages in all countries, "no matter on which side of imperialism's tentacles you are born". This is a way of taking into account the vast inequalities in standards of living in rich and poor countries. In Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world, the average daily wage comes to 20 US cents or about 13 pence in rural areas, and twice that in the cities. Here, where the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is leading a People's War against the old state, now in its fourth year, over 150,000 people in the Western rural areas alone, where the People's War is strongest, gave one-half day's wage to support RIM. The high stakes were not lost on either side: one comrade was martyred in the course of carrying out this campaign. The sacrifices made to strengthen RIM were, according to reports from Nepal, connected to great enthusiasm for the Movement, and many eager questions from comrades and others about the latest developments in RIM and in other countries, including the rest of South Asia. The goal in Nepal is to double the amount raised so far.

In India, comrades of the CPI (ML) Maoist Unity Centre went to several different areas. Most who contributed were casual workers from the rural areas, although some women garment workers also contributed day's wage, which in that part of India comes to 34 rs or just under 1 USD. The comrades also went to very impoverished slums. At one of these, near Mumbai (formerly called Bombay), people at first reacted angrily when they heard about a fund collection, but after its purpose was explained they were very keen to hear about the People's War in Nepal and other revolutionary news. Most of the men were out of work due to lockouts or redundancies. In another region, middle-class salaried employees, some of whom read A World to Win, contributed a half-day's wage.

Bangladeshi peasants mobilised by the Proletarian Party of Purba Bangla (PBSP) participated in the campaign by giving quantities of rice. Across the globe, comrades in Mexico overfulfilled the goal they had set for the campaign, through a variety of public and less public activities among different sections of the masses. They carried out agitation in the universities, went canvassing door-to-door in proletarian and other districts, and mobilised peasants to make handicrafts for sale. A public cultural and political event was held in the capital, at which supporters gave generously.

Colombian comrades report that there is much affection for and great expectations of RIM in their country, and that the campaign has brought new people closer to the Revolutionary Communist Group (GCR). They organised a semi-public exhibition of the history of proletarian revolution in three cities, attended by more than one thousand people. This was accompanied by a major distribution of information and propaganda on the Movement in working-class and other neighbourhoods, partly in order to build a broader audience for the exhibition. Now they are developing a slide show to take out the half-day wage campaign.

Comrades and supporters in the United States successfully carried out the fund drive, raising significant sums through the half-day wage campaign and donations from different sections of the people. RIM was introduced to thousands of new people, from the kick-off effort on May 1st 1998 to the final push on International Women's Day, March 8th 1999. One form of fundraising popularised was collective projects (yard sales of second-hand clothing and books, bake sales, making and selling dinners in neighbourhoods) organised together with the masses. Especially in the early stage of the fund drive, these projects helped broaden the base of forces who could then take out the campaign to others, beyond their own individual contributions. Bilingual banners of the planet breaking its chains were taken to local parks on the weekend, and people were encouraged to pin money on them as a show of support. Many people stepped forward to donate. In one area, donations came from a wide range of people - from basic, multi-national immigrant proletarians to youth active in various recent protests.

In Europe, comrades united in RIM jointly organised a fund-raising concert in Duisburg, Germany, just after the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto in December 1998. This internationalist event brought together revolutionary supporters of RIM from Turkey, Kurdistan, Peru, Iran, Denmark, Afghanistan, Germany and other countries (see box).

Even where there are not yet Maoist parties or organisations in RIM, individuals and small groups of sympathisers in Holland, Greece, Spain, Portugal and the UK actively carried out the campaign by going to supporters and to revolutionary masses with flyers and other materials like the cassette tape of revolutionary music We Only Want the World.

In the course of carrying it out, the international campaign to raise funds for RIM has begun to answer many of the questions and helped to settle the ongoing debate and struggle that inevitably comes up in stretching to successfully wage a battle of this nature, so vital to the growth and development of RIM's work. What does internationalism mean when it comes to raising funds - to what degree can we "afford" to spare time and resources to support RIM, that is, the world proletarian revolution in its own right, when there are so many urgent needs in building the movement and organisation in a particular country? How much of a basis among the masses themselves exists to support such an international movement? How to involve the poorest of the masses whose heart is with the campaign? How to struggle with middle-class allies to give as much as they can and to mobilise their friends and contacts to do likewise? Overcoming obstacles through debate over these and other questions, understanding the long-term benefits of training the people in internationalism within one's revolutionary base and learning how to tap the ideas and enthusiasm of the people for revolution to develop new ways to raise money, including out of the enemy's sight, are all important aspects of bringing a strategically important campaign such as this to a successful conclusion. Letters and reports on these continuing activities are welcome.

Aim high and go all out to raise funds for RIM!

Letter from a comrade in Denmark - 16 December 98 Revolutionary Concert to Raise funds for RIM

"Waking early in the salon the following morning, all of us joined together to clean and prepare the place for the concert. People in the kitchen went into action to prepare breakfast; the sound system was set up and the musicians and performers practised. There was a great feeling of excitement and anticipation, a thundering celebration in support of RIM, of what has been achieved and what will be achieved, and in honour of the comrades who gave their lives for the revolution. The overwhelming feeling was that everyone was going to go all out to make this the best revolutionary concert/ revolutionary cultural event possible. This is serious business: as Mao said, in revolutionary art we must be 'red and expert', revolutionary in meaning and of a high quality. Some performers not originally scheduled also stepped up on stage and took part.

"The concert began with a great battle dance from the Peruvian comrades and revolutionary Peruvian music. The rest of the concert included revolutionary music from Turkey, Kurdistan, Denmark (songs in English and Farsi), some great radical rap and poetry and revolutionary marches. People danced, participated, shouted slogans in the breaks between performances. Comrades introducing the groups did so with great energy and really kept the whole event rolling, and apart from some technical problems with the sound everything went well. The book tables were also active selling books, posters, records, tapes and magazines.

"A speech was given, informing comrades of Mumia Abu-Jamal's situation, and one comrade quickly drew a large poster of Mumia which everyone was called on to sign for the campaign to free him. Long queues formed rapidly. Comrades in the kitchen made great sandwiches, which kept everyone going. Everybody in the salon was actively engaged in the concert, whether performing or supporting the artists, and all the performers were cheered loudly. The salon was full of red-hot energy, young and old comrades together, songs sung in different languages, a transfer of style from East to West, West to East. Internationalism. Art against the system, Cultural Revolution. I was glad to be there. Proud to be a part of it. Thank you to all the comrades who worked to make it happen.

"The spectre of Communism manifested itself in Duisburg! Alive, Red and Dangerous!

Workers of all Countries Unite!
Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!
Victory to the People's Wars Raging in Peru and Nepal!
Long Live the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement!"