Conversations at Revolution Books, NYC

November 2, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper |


Revolution Books in New York has been open since the day after Hurricane Sandy hit. Some people come to hang out, browse the books, and charge their phones (we are right on the edge of the vast no-electricity area of Southern Manhattan). Some people come to find good books to read while they can't get to work. But others want to talk about all that is happening now.

Most of these people, largely middle class including students and artists, have no idea what the people who catch hell every day are enduring in the aftermath of the hurricane. There are no stories on TV about the people in the public housing projects stranded on high floors with no services; no stories about Rikers Island (the New York City jail on a low-lying island), or the continuation of stop-and-frisk. What too many people think is happening is that the government is leading the process of bringing back normalcy. Those who watch the incessant TV news or listen to the radio are hearing that the government officials are proud of everyone for being resilient, helpful and patient. They hear that the Stock Exchange is already open, but not that the people in the public housing projects in the Lower East Side are still without basic human needs. They hear that the Marathon is going on as planned with people traveling from around the world to fill the hotels while thousands in the city have lost their homes.

A particularly passionate discussion took place with an artist who doubted that things were as bad as we said. This artist lost over 20 years of his art work in Katrina. There were two reasons he gave: one was his own recent experience in his neighborhood where many people pitched in to help the elderly travel to a suburb to stay with others. But then he spoke about the utter disregard the government had during Hurricane Katrina, an orchestrated and conscious disregard for the people which he was not seeing here on the same level. We shared snippets of the stories posted at And we talked about the nature of the system itself and that there is another whole way humanity can organize itself—we asked him if he ever thought about where his cell phone came from, how it got produced etc. Is this system driven merely by people's strong desire to have more and more money, or is it a system that is at its core built off the labor of millions?

Yet another response came from the editor of a respected neighborhood newspaper who had been receiving the e-mails from Rev Books. He asked if the store could write an article describing what our teams had learned going into the hardest hit areas.

Finally, the store serves as hub for those wanting to Fight the power, and Transform the People, for Revolution. New people and veterans of the movement for revolution gather each evening to make plans for the next day—most especially organizing people to manifest against the crimes of the system.


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