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Personal Stories by People Collecting Signatures

(ordered from most recent on top to oldest at the bottom)

Today (June13, 2014) as I was having my groceries rung up, I noticed that the man bagging them was wearing a PDR button. I showed him mine and we talked briefly and I encouraged him to visit this website, which he hadn't done. Then the woman operating the cash register asked if she could have a button too. Sadly I didn't have one on me to give her but told her I'd bring her one next time I shopped there. --John S.




[The following is from a post to the PDRBoston email list from John Spritzler on May 24, 2014]


There's a barber shop in Jamaica Plain (part of Boston) where I've gotten my hair cut for 20 years and today I went there to say hello and the barbers (three of them) gave me a This I Believe (TIB) signature sheet filled up with 33 signatures they had collected from customers in the last week. This is a qualitative jump in our signature collecting--the first time that people other than founding PDRBoston members have collected TIB signatures for egalitarian revolution. If this trend of more people starting to collect signatures continues, getting our goal of 130 million signatures eventually will be very possible indeed. We now have 1020 signatures, almost all from the Boston area.


The barbers' joining the explicitly egalitarian revolutionary movement happened because earlier I had prepared a clipboard with blank "This I Believe" signature pages and with a PDRBoston sticker (our button image) at the top, and asked one of the barbers if he would use it to collect signatures. He said yes. That simple!


Interestingly, one of the barbers told me today that, while many people signed, some refused to, and he found it perplexing and disturbing. It was perplexing because, it turns out, the ones who refused said they agreed with the first part (about ours being a fake democracy and how capitalism was wrong) but they disagreed with the paragraph that reads:


"Laws should only be made by meetings at the local level open to all who support equality and democracy. Social order on a larger scale—such as complex economic coordination—should be achieved by voluntary federation of local communities and work places, not by laws written by so-called “representatives” in distant capital cities or by commands from CEOs imposed from above."


As the barber and I discussed this, it became apparent that these "refuseniks" were Marxists (of which there are many in this section of Boston, known for being a haven for left/liberals and for having its own leftist "revolutionary" book store and a separate leftist publishing business.) I explained why Marxists would not sign anything with this paragraph: they are not really for democracy because they think ordinary people, being "dehumanized by capitalism," are not "ready" to really be in charge and that, instead, the Marxist party needs to be in charge, with a strong central government that it controls "in the name of the workers." (I discuss this more here.)


As I also mentioned to the barbers, we have experienced Marxists initially refusing to sign but then a week or so later, when they saw others signing enthusiastically, they signed too. Marxism attracts good people and when they have to choose between egalitarianism and elitist Marxism, many (though not all) will probably choose egalitarianism.


The barbers have more signatures on a partially filled signature page, and I gave them another sheet for after that. Let there be one, two, three, many egalitarian revolutionary barber shops!




[The following is a post to the PDRBoston email list from Abram Spritzler on May 9, 2014]




I hope to show all that there are simple and easy ways to be a revolutionary. It does not mean what we typically think it means. The following is not a collection of things only a super outgoing person can do. You can do this. And it WILL have a big impact. The following is what revolutionaries should be doing TODAY. These are the appropriate steps to take at this juncture in time. Feel free to email me questions about the details or anything.




On Sunday, as some of you know, John and I were at Downtown Crossing. We had the set-up I made to hold 4 posterboards; the logo board, the signature boards, and the This I Believe board. To one side was John collecting signatures, and the other side was me, standing on a milk crate reading This I Believe through a 32 inch, green non-electric bullhorn. When I got to the line "In the United States we have a fake democracy," I repeated the line four times. A surreal scene that we imagine will not be so surreal before too long as more and more people come to see that they are not alone in believing that we live under a dictatorship of the rich. We learned some things, like that we should be on or next to the sidewalk, so people approach us from a distance and thus have time to absorb what we are doing - we were at the intersection, where people are turning corners to happen upon us, and then quickly heading away from us and the intersection. We will also use a pithier and shorter version of This I Believe, one that has less 'legalese.'




On Monday I placed our teacher leaflet under every teacher's car windshield wiper at Madison Park High School and the O'Bryant High School. I asked one woman walking through the lot where the teachers' parking ended and the Whittier Health Center parking began. She told me, and I gave her a leaflet and spoke about what it said. I told her that the testing was designed to take up so much time that teachers had no time to really teach or make learning interesting enough to keep kids interested in staying in school, and that the test had a pre-set failure rate to make sure that a certain number of kids fail, feel dumb, and accept low-wage and dead-end jobs like flipping burgers. She said "that's so true, finally, someone is saying it!" She was very enthusiastic about checking out the website as she has a 13 year old who taking MCAS right now.




I posted the same leaflet in the same fashion at the Timilty School, the Hennigan, and the Curley School. One woman I know from farmer's markets was parking her bike at the Curley School, and she asked for a leaflet, I happily obliged. Just before the Curley School and the Hennigan School, I placed a sticker next to some others on a lightpole. Some guys were walking by and they stopped to look at what was apparently their friend's sticker. I walked backwards a few feet thinking they were looking at my sticker. I joked "aw, I thought you were looking at my sticker." One guy read it, and liked it, and so I gave him one, and told him we were real, in Boston, and that I lived in JP. He said I should stop by the barbershop where he works. I asked which one, he told me, and then I proceeded to leaflet the Hennigan School. Then I went to the barbershop. He said he didn't think I would show up. We talked about how to promote the idea and PDR, he had creative ideas, like passing out water bottles with our sticker on it, having ripped off the original label. And he had an idea for a rally with free hotdogs that his friend could make a brand so we could literally brand each hotdog with our website. Trying to build his business clientele as a barber drives his creative marketing ideas. We spoke about how society should be, and why it isn't that way now. He has great contempt for the very rich. And when I spoke of racism being used to divide us and in particular to make us afraid to even try to come together because the media tells us that no one wants to come together, he said "oh, there's racism out there, but not enough to stop this" as he held up a sticker. This is EXACTLY the attitude that topples regimes. There IS racism out there, but not enough to stop the people from uniting and defeating the plutocracy. He offered some 'copy' for a rally poster, "Unite the People! The People Are Coming together!" I think since he is the type of person we want to come to the rally - someone who we don't already know, we may indeed use that text in the event of us putting on a rally. What do people think of that potential rally poster text? We exchanged a bunch of stickers for business cards. I will be keeping in touch with him for sure.




I dropped off ten copies of We CAN Change The World at a very good and cute little store in the heart of JP. I had made arrangements that they would be the place for folks interested in the reading group I have started to purchase the book for 3 bucks, all money going to the store for their service. I then put up 20 or so ads for the reading group around Centre St. The ads do not mention PDR at all because this reading group approach is admittedly very 'back door.' I am attempting to trick JP readers into exposing themselves to some of the best ideas they will ever encounter. These ideas have big consequences, and this is often a turn-off, we don't like to hear news that changes everything. But hear it they must! For once you hear it, you cannot go back and you would never ever want to, for the book professes HOPE, REVOLUTION, and REAL DEMOCRACY!




I put about 25- 30 of our posters up around Grove Hall and at bus stops along the walk back to JP. And in the morning, I called some of the people we got contact info from for the purpose of meeting to talk more over coffee. WE HAVE THREE APPOINTMENTS NEXT WEEK TO TALK TO ORDINARY PEOPLE IN DEPTH ABOUT REMOVING THE RICH FROM POWER! To think that all this time, just asking for a time to have coffee and talk more was the ticket. This is amazing news and is a qualitative shift in what is happening. Later in the day I bumped into a 'lefty about town' on the train, someone I have met before at 'lefty' type events. He offered me a socialist newspaper, and i said no thanks. He asked why, a bit surprised that I declined. I said loudly enough for the rest of the train car to hear me (but not obnoxiously loud) "I'm not into socialism." We then had an exchange in which I attacked the ideas that Marxism/Communism/Socialism are based on. He made false statements about the Spanish Revolution after I mentioned it. He became defensive, as those who adhere to dying ideologies often become when those foolish ideologies are sharply and competently attacked. I made it clear to him and everyone listening that Marxism and capitalism both share the same wrong view of human nature - that we are all selfish and self-interested. I said how Marxism completely ignores the subjective desires of people to live in an equal society, to live in solidarity with others because it is the right thing to do - NOT because it achieves their selfish desires and narrow self-interest. He made rude implications that PDR was a bunch of well-off white kid anarchists. Not quite realizing how rude his implications were, i was unable to address them for the assumptive slander that they were, and to make clear to him that his saying these unsubstantiated things was a defensive and childish thing to say. He made the point that his workers party was helping the worst off - the blacks. I made no mention, unfortunately, of the millions of white people below the poverty line who are treated with utter contempt by the system, or that we are in Grove Hall every Saturday. Though, we are not in Grove Hall because we objectify black people, we simply know (as a fact now) that Grove Hall has good anti-ruling class people who respect the fact that a father and son team work together to get signatures (you are all invited to join this team, any Saturday - it IS fun). The left is dying, and in the words of Kirk in Star Trek 6, "Let them die!"But, interesting to note, his workers party union is the union the bus drivers are part of. He informed the that the strike last year was actually a lock-out that the bosses were able to spin 180 degrees in the media. Amazing, atrocious.




I will be attending a 'democratize the schools' conference. I will try to attend the Capitalism in Education workshop, the Israel/Palestine in Education workshop (put on by JVP), and the Somerville PTA workshop which will talk about how a strong multi-ethnic PTA was formed in Somerville. I will wear the button and pass them out, as well as leaflets about the topic of each workshop. When people see that there is an alternative to the left, and it isn't the right, and that we are capable of growing (fingers crossed about these coffee talks next week), we will start to make an impact on the explicit dissent community of Boston.




Meet us at the Grove Hall Stop n Shop at 12 noon to 1:15. Thanks for reading this long but inspiring update. -Abram Spritzler. "Let's remove the rich from power! Have real, not fake, democracy. With no rich and no poor!"



The people of Boston are starving.....for talk about removing the rich from power.



On the train home from the Dragon tonight, I man my age asked me about my button. He asked me if I was serious, if I thought we really could remove the rich from power. I told him yes, and I answered all of his questions. He asked about how money was power, so how do you remove power from the rich? I told him money was power in a society based on money, but society does not need to be based on money. We talked about how a janitor is as important as a doctor, and both contribute so both deserve all they need. I gave him the button and got his name. He lives in JP. I told him to check out the webpage and pointed out the url. One thing interesting was how yet again, when speaking about these issues, people cannot help but pay attention to the conversation. When you say things like "we don't need money," or "the rich have no right to the power that they have," people start to pay attention. I hope to see him again. I should have asked him to give me a phone number and meet up to talk more- I will not waste the next opportunity! --Abram Spritzler, April 29, 2014




For several weeks I've been wearing the PDR button and carrying extra buttons in my jacket pocket to give out. Whenever I go grocery shopping or to fill a prescription at the drug store or to make a transaction with a bank teller (the human kind, not an ATM machine) or buy something at a department store, I always ask the person ringing up my purchase or whatever, "What do you think of my button?"


And virtually without exception the response is that they lean forward to read it and after reading (often out loud) the first "Let's remove the rich from power" part their face lights up into a big smile, and when they finish reading it they say (and it's almost always these exact words), "I love it!" And then I ask them if they'd like a button and they say "Yes" and I give them one and point out the at the bottom and invite them to visit it to learn more. Often this has led to a longer conversation about why we're doing what we're doing in PDRBoston, and why we're trying to let people see that they are not alone in having revolutionary egalitarian aspirations.


I'm sure the reason the button is so popular among the people I've been showing it to has a lot to do with who, exactly, I'm showing it to: ordinary working class people, not academic professionals or corporate executives.


I hope lots of other people do what I've been doing with the button so that they can expericne what I've experienced and not have to just take my word for it. The experience is very encouraging and makes it evident why it is so easy to collect signatures for This I Believe, and therefore so important to do so, to let people know that far from being alone, they are in the majority in wanting an egalitarian revolution. --John Spritzler April2, 2014




Last Thursday in Central Square, giving out a multitude of our statements, I found it to be an eye opener indeed. I gave out many statements as John spoke out and sought folks out to sign, those willing to see a future Revolution, a grander scale

of things to be.


As the time unfolded, one could see the same variety of people one sees in life, doubters, believers, those that hope, and the hopeless, those that would listen and sign, those who would talk and not sign. Those, who take the handouts, but would that bring about a change? Also, those that would laugh at what they were thinking that it was improbable for our ideas to ever grow or unfold.


Noticeable was the ability on the part of darker people to really understand what we were about. They gave our ideas more reception, and more quickly.


So inspiring to see those signing, and then, ringing the bell of Revolution with gladness, brightness one rarely sees in others. The happiness by believing in a future with freedom is easy to see in their eyes, and I was moved being there. It was as if the Democratic Revolution was now moving along, much more than remaining in its infancy.




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