Revolution book located at 437 Malcolm X Blvd, on 131st street and Lenox Ave in Harlem is not just a bookstore where you find cutting edge books, such as novels, science, history, philosophy, and children’s literature, but is the political, cultural and intellectual center for the movement of revolution. At the heart of this bookstore is the work, vison and leadership of Bob Avakian, who is the chairman of the revolutionary communist party, that according to Raymond whom I interviewed at revolution books has made “a breakthrough in a scientific approach to understanding and transforming human society and making a truly literately revolution in today’s world.”
Raymond said “this is a bookstore where people come to find books, the people and the engagement about why we are confronting all these injustices and horrors in the world today”, citing the recent string of “murders of black men” by police. “This is the bookstore where you come to find out what’s at the root of this, why is this happening? And what to do about it, and what is the revolutionary why out of this.”
“Revolution is this new synthesis of communism brought forth by Bob Avakian, and people come to Revolution books to find out the true history of this country, and its role in the world today, and what’s at the bottom of all this inequality, all of this environmental destruction, and the degradation of woman, what is the bottom of this system, a capitalist imperialist system, and what is the way out? That is Revolution, so here where people from the neighborhood from across the block, from the projects, can mix it up with intellectuals and scholars, where artist come and authors do reading, and have this kind of discourse and these kind of books, and a strategy for revolution, this is unique, it all come together here.”
Raymond told me that at Revolution books “We like to say that this is the most radical place on the planet, with big arms. We have this extraordinary array of books, why? Because we want to learn all that we can learn from human endeavor from human experience, from the insights of historians, the work of scientists, and also fiction and literature is so critical, because we are talking about the role of imagination, the aspirations of billions on this planet, that’s captures the lives of billions on this planet, captured in novels, in theater, in all kinds of cultural works, and it’s about the way the world is, and the way the world can be; and we are learning from and interacting with all of this at this store, because it is about creating a world in which human beings can truly flourish. This is a bookstore for changing the world”
Revolution books originally opened up in Union Square, and then moved to Chelsea and was there for 15 years. They lost their lease in Chelsea in May of 2015, and waged a big campaign to open a new space in Harlem. All the employees and staff are volunteers, and have a core of dedicated people working for their cause. Revolution books constantly have fundraisers to expand their inventory of books to offer the public.
I asked Raymond what is the mission of Revolution Books, and this is what he had to say: “The movement of revolution to emancipate all of humanity to be a center of political, intellectual and cultural activity, where people can connect with the movement of revolution.
While I agree with some of the ideas, such as fairness and equality for all, but cannot say if the way they think to get there is the right way or is the answer for our troubled and flawed society. The aspirations are Nobel, but are the methods? Everyone must figure for themselves what to do to make our world a better place for everyone.