The Flagship Revolution Books New York Will Reopen in September in Harlem

July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


At a press conference on Wednesday, July 15, Revolution Books NYC announced its new location—437 Malcolm X Blvd./Lenox Ave., just below 132nd Street, Harlem.

The bookstore’s spokesperson, Andy Zee, was joined by Herb Boyd, Harlem journalist and author (Baldwin’s Harlem and The Diary of Malcolm X: 1964, ed.); artist/musician Sophia Loren Coffee; members of the NYC Revolution Club; and supporters and friends new and old of Revolution Books, including people who stopped in from the neighborhood.

The new store is in the heart of Harlem, near the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Maysles Documentary Center, Harlem’s famous restaurants Sylvia’s and Red Rooster, and accessible to Columbia University and City College of New York, as well as thousands of residents of New York City housing projects.

The following are excerpts from statements given at the press conference:

Andy Zee:

Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books

Herb Boyd, Harlem journalist and author (Baldwin's Harlem, The Diary of Malcolm X: 1964, ed.)

Sophia Loren Coffee, Artist/musician

Noche Diaz, left, NYC Revolution Club member

This is a bookstore for the whole world. It is a place that is essential to the liberation of people of the whole world, indeed it is essential to saving the planet itself from the devastation of the environment by the rapacious ravages of imperialism that is destroying the air, the water, and the land. For this to be real, RB needs the support of thousands of people—again, donating now the tens of thousands of dollars as well as volunteering to spread the word and help with the renovation—and more, to sustain this store so that once open, it stays open.

It’s raw space right now, but take yourself to September when it is filled with people, where the shelves stretch all the way to the back of the store... where people are talking about the biggest questions facing humanity. They’re digging into the poetry, the novels, the history, the science and yes, children’s books, children’s books that promote values of cooperation, and a sense of value and morality that they should live lives [that are] about more than just themselves... And the engagement with all of these authors, and all of the films we show, will be marked by a critical thinking and a spirit that exists in no other place. Why? Because at the heart of this bookstore is a new synthesis of communism that’s been developed by Bob Avakian. It’s a pathbreaking method and approach for understanding the world. It’s a vision and an actual concrete plan for a new society and a new world.

This is a method and approach that probes the experience of humanity based on how it actually developed—digging deep beneath the surface to the underlying dynamics and stepping back to see the larger patterns. Bob Avakian has looked deeply at the first attempts of those on the bottom of society to form new societies to overcome all forms of oppression—the Russian and Chinese communist revolutions of the 20th century—digging into their great accomplishments as well as their errors and shortcomings to understand why they were defeated by imperialism decades ago and how we can do better in the future. Avakian draws from a broad range of human experience. The new synthesis of communism is a framework for a new society that is moving to end all the inequalities, all the divisions—the oppression of different nationalities; the oppression of women and people of different genders; the division between those who have the privilege of working with their minds and those who work in manual labor.

Indeed, the sense of revolutionary possibility fuels the rigor, the fun and the engagement. Authors, filmmakers, actors, and poets remark that the critical engagement and dialogue at Revolution Books is like no other. There is a passion for getting at what’s true, a morality of serving the people, dialogue carried forth with a mutual respect that comes from the profound place of putting the interests of the oppressed of the world first in heart and mind.

Herb Boyd:

[Revolution Books] is an amazing addition to the community here. My arms are open to you, I will be celebrating you, I will be directing people here... There will come a time when this will be added to the Schomburg, Abyssinian [Church], the Studio Museum, as just an incredible part of the whole Harlem infrastructure. To join that kind of company, you can’t beat that. But then we have an added value right here―revolution!

Sophia Loren Coffee:

I’m excited because of the spirit in which you do business and communicate. I know that the community really needs you and I know that they have a gem now... I’m just excited about the love you’re going to bring to the community. One of the things I want is to have a children’s corner where the children can come in and read and have a beautiful time...

Noche Diaz, Revolution Club:

I grew up in the Bronx sandwiched between where the police gunned down Amadou Diallo and where the police gunned down Malcolm Ferguson. I grew up at a time when this kind of brutality was swept under the rug... and the kind of outrage you see today was not bursting out all over society. But the reason I’m standing here before you now is not just because I was some angry kid, but because by accident I ran into people who connected me up to Revolution Books. I was born in this nightmare and I could have died just living out this nightmare. I am now living for revolution and I’m not by myself. Imagine: the youth walking these streets with nothing to do are given a way to learn about the world that they live in—WHY this world is the way it is and how it could be made different. That’s what it means to have Revolution Books here. As someone who grew up not really exposed to art or culture, I wanted to know how to fight, and I kind of had no patience for some intellectuals and artists who wanted to talk about wide-ranging things. But here I met a leader [Bob Avakian] and a bookstore and a movement that challenged me to go beyond just wanting to get back at my oppressors and my oppression... to actually become an emancipator of humanity...

Rev. Dr. Robert Brashear

A statement was sent from Rev. Dr. Robert L. Brashear, Pastor, West-Park Presbyterian Church:

We are now in the midst of a national storm that will not soon subside. There is a rising cry of outrage across the country ignited by the ongoing reality of police violence. Even more, there is a growing awareness of how mass incarceration, unconscionable income inequality and rapacious gentrification are destroying our communities and how all these are symptoms of an oppressive system that must be dismantled and replaced. At such a time as this, the people need a place where they can educate themselves about what is going on and why and how change can be made real.... Harlem is a place where all these struggles are being lived out on a daily basis and this location will help keep our energy and actions focused on what is before us. And for me, it also is fertile ground for the essential dialogue on revolution and religion, begun last November by Cornel West and Bob Avakian, to be taken to the next level. Now is the time for each of us to do what we can to welcome Revolution Books to Harlem and [make] its revolutionary vision a reality.

Announcing the Revolution Books Indiegogo Campaign
Go Online and Donate Today!

The Revolution Books’ emergency campaign to raise $150,000 has begun, and over 100 people have donated so far, from $5 to $5,000. There’s still a long way to go to make the goal which is essential to renovate the new store, install book cases, new lighting, air conditioning, and stock the shelves with the BOOKS.

Revolution Books has just launched a $30,000 Indiegogo campaign as one key part of its fundraising. Check it out and donate!


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