Red Books Day celebrated around the world as people cry, “Workers of the world unite!”

February 21 marks the 174th anniversary of the publication of the Communist Manifesto, one of the most widely read books in human history

February 22, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
At the People's Forum, Red Books Day attendees design their own Communist Manifesto book cover

This past Sunday on February 21, people’s movements around the world celebrated Red Books Day, marking the 174th anniversary of the publication of the Communist Manifesto. Social organizations, left-wing publishers, political parties, and other left groups held live readings of the Manifesto, including other celebratory events.

The Communist Manifesto, published in 1848, holds a special significance to those who participate in the struggle for a better world. According to Miguel Yoshida, assistant editor of Brazilian left-wing publisher Expressão Popular, something that makes the Manifesto special is its “analysis of emerging society, the foundations of which is the same as those we live in today: the exploitation of human beings by human beings, how some get richer at the expense of the labor of others.” In this way, the words of 1848 still ring true today.

The Manifesto has been published in almost all world languages, and is one of the most widely read books in the world. The phrase “workers of the world, unite!” continues to inspire millions, if not billions of people worldwide into action. 

Since the manifesto, many other books have contributed to the Marxist canon. Red Books Day is a celebration of all “red”/communist/socialist/left-wing books, as well as the mass movements that they influence.

India

Across the country of over one billion people, peasant organizations, unions, and Marxist parties organized Red Books Day events. The largest peasant organization in India, All India Kisan Sabha, along with the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), and All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU) participated in a discussion of Marxist Literature in the SFI office in New Dehli.

Indian left-wing publisher Leftword Books also hosted an event in the capital New Delhi, celebrating the Manifesto and other red books.

Other celebrations were organized throughout the nation, including in the communist-lead state of Kerala. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) organized a massive collective reading of the works of Indian communist E. M. S. Namboodiripad, with over half a million members participating in 35,000 branches.

 

 

United States

New York City-based movement incubator the People’s Forum organized a day-long celebration for Red Books Day. Activities included a live reading of the Manifesto, artistic activities such as screen printing, button making, and book cover designing, and a concert. 

Co-executive director of the People’s Forum, Manolo De Los Santos, finished out the live reading with a special emphasis on the phrase “workers of the world, unite!”

Meanwhile, in Providence, Rhode Island, a group of Neo-Nazis angrily interrupted a collective reading of the Manifesto. The group of black clad, masked white men shouted outside the leftist bookstore hosting the reading, holding a flag covered in Nazi symbols and shouting “go home, Commie scum!” The next day, the bookstore put out a response, tweeting, “While we…wanted to highlight the relevance and importance of the Manifesto today, we did not want it to be so stark, so ugly”.

 

Italy

In Naples, left-wing party Potere al Poppolo organized a discussion of the Manifesto as well as Lenin’s famous work, “What is to be Done?”

South Africa

In Durban, shack dweller’s movement Abahlali baseMjondolo held a collective reading of the manifesto. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) also held a reading in the Free State province. 

Venezuela

In Caracas, the Simón Bolivar Institute held a “debate and lecture on the importance of red books”.

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