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Communist chic for chicks

By Bernard Chapin
web posted June 7, 2004

Amid all the splendid selections of texts and knick-knacks at the Chicago Printers Row Book Fair, I happened to spy three tables and a considerable amount of sidewalk devoted a company or collective called Revolution Books. I immediately went over with pen in hand. It's a local bookstore that features all kinds of radical trinkets and accessories. You could feel its rebel vibe from a few booths away as the three Caucasian comrades running the booth blared rap music from a jam box one of them had brought. Once I got there, the first thing that caught my attention was the bevy of sexy and nubile women that stood two to three deep gazing at the various items on display (the second was all the "George Bush International Terrorist" t-shirts).

I was reminded of something Harry Stein once said that the reason he became a hippy was that all the best looking girls were a part of the counter-culture. Sadly, the rebel allure is still in effect today. Before me were two beauties holding open a book by Tupac Shakur called Inside a Thug's Heart. It is a collection of his "poems" and "letters" sent to a groupie from his jail cell on Rikers Island . One of the girls read the verse aloud and the other gasped in response even though I overheard at least three clichés in the portions that were read. In the end, they bought the book and left a spot in the queue from where I could discern the other revolutionary offerings.

Noam Chomsky was everywhere along with titles by Edward Said and Michael Moore. It was the first time that I saw his bestseller, Stupid White Men, up close and I was able to make note of his cover quotation, "Still Men, Still White, Still Stupid." It was a slander directed to the "Bush Family Junta," but it would have only rung true had it been applied to the author himself.

I then noticed a girl standing off to the side passing out copies of Revolutionary Worker magazine. She looked exactly like what you'd expect and could have easily doubled as a Star Trek devotee. A copy of the magazine was pushed in my direction so I asked her what she thought about Tupac's book. She told me she didn't know anything about it but would happy to discuss ideology with me. I asked her what kind of ideology she meant. The radical answered, "I can tell you why the war is wrong." I asked her to what war she referred which resulted in her ending our conversation altogether.

I wondered if I was the only person in the bulging crowd of very normal looking people who understood that the employees behind the counter were not cheerful societal critics but instead fanatical communists. I suppose they'd call me a "McCarthyist" if I had pointed this out to them, but you'd think even an over the hill marsupial could have ascertained that these folks were the kind who thought the bad guys had won the Cold War. It'd be hard not to know that with all the table artifacts celebrating Mao, communist China , socialism, North Korea , Lenin, and the nefarious Karl Marx himself.

The collected writings of Bob Avakian were piled high on the center table. In case you're wondering, Mr. Avakian is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Wait until you see his photo online. I couldn't stop laughing. The choo choo operator cap he's wearing lets us know that he's a member of the proletariat even if his only contribution to the world of labor is slinging around poods of verbiage under the title of Chairman and Leader. Personally, I am surprised that "Leader" is still deliberately used as a title for any individual after 1945. Perhaps he should adopt a more appropriate name for himself and his ideology like "Shameless Buffoon," but then again, perhaps "Leader" is more accurate. Speaking of pictures, please note the shameless race pandering of this picture from the RCP home page. The drawing lets us know who is good and who is evil and exactly who these Neanderthals wish to save (hint: no one of pasty hue) in their primitive dialectical version of Utopia.

The communists are always looking to appeal to minorities or anybody else that they think is susceptible into confusing life in this rich and bountiful United States with the Warsaw Ghetto. A huge appeal is made to women with a deep supply of radical feminist works such as The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion and Global Women: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy. A section of corkboard containing buttons was also designed to particularly appeal to women. It featured the very predictable, "Girl Power," along with the rude, "Girls Kick Butt," and the absolutely hysterical, "Uppity Women Unite." This last one is fantastic. I hope uppity women do unite…and then collectively decide to migrate somewhere else.

After what I saw this afternoon, it's hard not to be disdainful of those who deny that radical feminism and race pandering are practices that originate from the far left and then are leaked out for mass consumption. What those people do not realize is that all of their desires for social justice and equality can only be met in a capitalist system. If the young, attractive women I saw hovering around the anti-Bush paraphernalia really wanted to help the poor they'd turn their back on these socialist shysters and wear t-shirts glorifying Bill Gates or maybe emulate him by starting a corporation employing and enabling 50,000 people all over the world. Now that's what I call lifting a brother up!

I thought perhaps that I'd hear this crowd say something suggesting glee over Reagan's death earlier that day but must report that I heard nothing.

Bernard Chapin is a writer living in Chicago. He can be reached at bchapafl@hotmail.com.

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