Therefore, Young Americans for Liberty is encouraging all YAL chapters to ask the question on your campus "Are we rebuilding the wall?"
Charges that the federal government is inching ever closer to communism are far from new – this 1955 academic editorial contends that arresting all card-carrying members of the communist party would have little effect on our march toward communism: Our own politicians will get us there quite handily on their own.
In fact, the American government began to nail into place each of the ten planks of communism long before the Berlin Wall fell. Can you suggest a policy of our government which fits with each plank? Check out these sites here, here, here, and here for modern assessments on which you might base your own list of comparisons.
On November 9th, Young Americans for Liberty, Students for Liberty, CampusReform.org, and Young America's Foundation are sponsoring a national day of activism to protest our country’s communist tendencies and our government's attempt to metaphorically rebuild the Berlin Wall…on our own soil. Take action to educate your campus and raise awareness about America’s drift toward communism!
YAL CHAPTER RESOURCES
- Free copies of Young American Revolution #4 - The next issue of Young American Revolution is right around the corner. The cover art is themed with this event and will include articles on the subject. Reserve your stack of copies to be mailed to your YAL chapter by applying here.
- Apply for a $100 Activism Grant - Thanks to the generous support of our donors, your chapter can receive a $100 check to purchase materials to make your event a success. Apply for the grant when you apply for copies of YAR.
- Best Wall Contest
- First prize - $500 Activism Grant for future projects
- Second prize - 3 signed copies of End the Fed
Read the "How to take action" section below to learn how you can build a wall on your campus. YAL is offering prizes to the to the top two chapters with the best, biggest, and most well-thought-out wall. Take pictures, record video, send us news stories, and write a description summarizing your days events, and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winning entry will be awarded Tuesday, November 17, 2009.
HOW TO TAKE ACTION
1. Build your own wall. A well-designed "Berlin Wall" will demonstrate the United States’ alignment with the ten planks of communism. First, do your research and brainstorm creative ways to demonstrate how the American government has moved closer to communism. Second, gather supplies to build a “Berlin Wall” on campus. Cardboard boxes, plywood, drywall, or whatever other material you find at Home Depot or on campus are examples of useful wall materials.
2. Reserve space on campus for the event. Contact the Student Activities Office and attempt to reserve the most high-traffic area available. Document in writing this entire interaction in case your request is unreasonably denied. If you believe your request is refused unfairly, ask for a written refusal. Let YAL know of any denials. We can help you fight for your freedom of speech.
3. Invite allied organizations. Ask other conservative and libertarian organizations on campus or in the outside community to sponsor your wall and help you purchase the supplies or help run your table. This is a great way to strengthen cooperation between different groups and increase your network of volunteers and members involved with your chapter.
4. Hold a planning meeting. Before the event, hold a planning meeting to make signs, design handouts, go over talking points, make the wall itself, make a schedule for manning your table, decide on any additional activism ideas (see below) that you want to implement, and prepare your publicity plans.
5. Designate one media spokesperson. Make sure they are prepared to provide any media outlines with coherent, intelligent statements mentioning 1.) The details of the event, 2.) The reason for the event, 3.) The philosophy behind the event, and 4.) Your YAL chapter.
6. Earn media. Success depends on how many people see your activity. TV, radio, and newspapers are still the most consumed media. Earned media (media outlet reporting on your event) is the best media. Click here to learn several important publicity tips you can use before, during, and after the event. Here is a quick timeline to follow:
1. Send out a press release a few days before your event
2. Follow up with a phone call to confirm they recevied your release
3. Send a media advisory out the day before or morning of the event
4. Call again the day of the event to confirm the outlet's coverage.
5. Prepare a press release outline to go out immediately after your event.
6. Add the important details from your activity, and send out your release in time for the evening news cycle.
7. Promote! Make flyers, use side-walk chalk, talk to the on-campus groups, and spread the word that you are holding this event on November 9th.
8. Prepare for opposition. Keep a video camera available at all times, and record any aggression -- both verbal and physical. If some behaves belligerently, ask why he or she objects to your exercise of your right to free speech. For more information on how to deal with opposition on campus, reference Fight Back.
9. Fight America’s slide toward communism! Set up your Berlin Wall early on the day of your event or the night before. Make sure your chapter members are present when scheduled. Engage passersby and explain to them the reason for your project: the United States’ alignment with the ten planks of communism. Ask them to write on your Berlin Wall any policies they can think of that limit individual freedom. Distribute your copies of Young American Revolution, informational flyers (at the bottom of this page are several sample flyers, handouts, and signs that you can download and edit to contain your group’s information), draw people’s attention to any other ideas you are doing that day (see below), and ask interested students to sign up with your chapter. Maintain enthusiasm throughout the day.
10. Email all your pictures, videos, and news articles to email@example.com. Very important!
11. Contact Media (again) The fact that your event is over does not mean that your public relations work is done. Earned media can be extremely useful to you. Click here to learn several important follow-up publicity measures to do after the event is finished. Even if an outlet doesn't cover your story, the more press releases you send and phone calls you make, the more familiar they will become with your chapter. If you are persistent, you will get through and earn media for your YAL chapter.
These additional activism ideas can be used to increase the impact of your protest of communism. Complete as many of these ideas as you can -- or think of some original possibilities -- to add to your effect.
- Interview the man on the street. To bolster your November 9th event, plan ahead to conduct “man on the street” interviews about a week beforehand. This should give you ample time to edit the video footage you collect.
Procure a video camera or flipcam (you may be able to borrow one from your college library, student activities office, or student government) and find out what students and faculty members on your campus know about communism and the Berlin wall. You might consider describing -- but not naming -- American laws and asking interviewees if the policies in question are from our country or communist Russia. It’s possible that many respondents will mistake American policies for communist ones.
Other questions to consider might be: Can you define communism?, Can you define capitalism?, or What is the difference between communism and capitalism?. Film the results, and loop your footage at your display table when you put up your wall.
- Host a Communism vs. Capitalism Lunch. Invite students to two-course lunch. For the first course, communism, serve only one type of bland food, like instant mashed potatoes. Have members of your group act as communist officials, dictating to students where they may sit, whom they may speak to, how much they can eat, etc... Remember to treat everyone equally.
Make this a dramatic street theatre project -- be creative with the ridiculous demands for control and uniformity made by the “communist officials.” Once this course of the meal is finished, take participants to the second course: capitalism. Offer them a buffet of food featuring a number of different options and allow them to choose what they want.
Hand out informational flyers that explain the differences between communism and capitalism as students leave. Tweak this idea as necessary to make it work for your campus.
- Talk in class on November 9th. Find a way to introduce a discussion of communism and capitalism into your relevant classes. This would be most appropriate in political science, philosophy, economics, business, and sociology courses, but it might be applicable in other cases as well.
Be polite, and do not obstruct the professor’s lesson plans. If possible, use class time to generate a dialogue about these two systems of economics. Prepare your talking points in advance -- perhaps incorporate the ten planks of communism and the list your group composes to demonstrate the United States’ drift toward communism.
Ask all the members of your club to talk in class about communism on the same day to raise awareness and generate interest in your mock Berlin Wall, table, and any other projects you decide to do.
- Use spray paint to bring grafitti to your wall in a creative and fun way. The grafitti art will mimic the appearance of the original Berlin wall.
Be creative! These are only a few ideas. Brainstorm and come up with your own unique ways to celebrate the 20th anniversary and make students aware of communism. Do you have another idea that might improve the effectiveness of a campus group’s Berlin Wall display on November 9th? Submit your idea to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It may be added to this list for other campuses to use!
Additional Resources and Events
Students for Liberty will be sponsoring campus organizations for the November 9th event. You can find an activism handbook and more on their event page here.
Young America's Foundation is also sponsoring campus organizations as part of their "Freedom Week 2009." You can find more details (and a great mockup of a "Berlin Wall") on their website.