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Vanishing Boston

A field guide to Boston's 'lasting' treasures — to be enjoyed before they're razed in favor of chain stores


Revolution Books (Harvard Square)
Lucy Parsons Center (South End)
There are shades of difference between their philosophies. Revolution Books, which has miraculously maintained a presence near Harvard Square since 1979 — even if it's been forced from its old ground-level storefront into smaller upstairs quarters and keeps shorter hours these days — sells books and leaflets promoting the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). The Lucy Parsons Center, which was founded in 1969 (as Redbook) and moved countless times before finally ending up in the South End, sells radical leftist books and might be described as having more of an anarcho-communist bent. The former hosts discussions about RCP Chairman Bob Avakian's newly published speech, "Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy." The latter sells such books as Take the Rich off Welfare and Gook: John McCain's Racism and Why It Matters. (Their version of a clearance sale, according to a sign in the window: "Free Bush Book — Whether You Voted or Not!") But both exist in precarious circumstances. It's remarkable that Revolution Books has managed to stick it out for so long, especially in such a high-rent neighborhood. (Hell, Maoist literature isn't even selling so hot in Beijing these days.) But who knows for how much longer? And as the Lucy Parsons Center pleads on its Web site, "Although we are proud to demonstrate that an all-volunteer collective can survive in [the] capitalist United States . . . without support from our community, we could not continue to function."

— Mike Miliard

REVOLUTION BOOKS | 1156 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 617.492.5443 | THE LUCY PARSONS CENTER | 549 Columbus Avenue, Boston | 617.267.6272

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