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.
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.
On the 174th anniversary of the publication of The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, comrades of AIKS, AIAWU, and SFI shared their experiences of reading Marxist literature over the years. @VijooKrishnan @vikramsarvahara #marx pic.twitter.com/lLLsZDPFws
— AIKS (@KisanSabha) February 21, 2022
Indian left-wing publisher Leftword Books also hosted an event in the capital New Delhi, celebrating the Manifesto and other red books.
From the vibrant #RedBooksDay events organised by the @LeftwordBooks at the @MaydayBookstore from where the idea of celebrating red books day emerged two years ago. We celebrated with revolutionary songs, lecture & reading Communist Manifesto in various languages#RedBooksDay2022 pic.twitter.com/ZbOfVmVuaD
— Nitheesh Narayanan (@NitheeshNaranan) February 21, 2022
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.
Half million Communist Party members will read and discuss EMS's books introducing the fundamentals of Marxism on the #RedBooksday in Kerala. Reading session will be held in 35000 branches of Communist Party of India (Marxist). #RedBooksDay2022
— Nitheesh Narayanan (@NitheeshNaranan) February 19, 2022
#RedBooksDay2022 events by Purogamana Kala Sahitya Sangham (PuKaSa, Progressive Association of Arts & Letters) in Trivandrum, Kerala today. Actor-director Madhupal, CITU state secy. KS Sunil Kumar, writer Ashokan Cheruvil & PuKaSa secy. AG Oleena were among those present. pic.twitter.com/LiYCkx6CUJ
— Subin Dennis (@subindennis) February 21, 2022
— Bharathi Puthakalayam I பாரதி புத்தகாலயம் (@Bharathi_BFC) February 21, 2022
— CPI(M)AP (@apcpim) February 21, 2022
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.
📕✊ New York, NY, USA celebrated #REDBOOKSDAY2022 at @PeoplesForumNYC with a live reading and discussion of the #CommunistManifesto, screen printing, button making, manifesto cover creating, a film screening, a live concert, and all kinds of delicious red foods! pic.twitter.com/FNBfWpE4v8
— International Peoples' Assembly (@peoplesassembl_) February 21, 2022
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!”
— The People's Forum (@PeoplesForumNYC) February 20, 2022
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”.
Nazis attacked a book reading tonight in providence pic.twitter.com/gWS2pO8wJg
— Third Int’l Players Anthem (@guateguanaco) February 22, 2022
America 2022, at my community library’s reading of the Communist Manifesto for international red book day. pic.twitter.com/HNKgs0jbiD
— Alexander Herbert (@AHerbert45) February 22, 2022
We held a peaceful celebration of the Communist Manifesto tonight for 45 minutes, until it was interrupted by a crowd of fascists and Nazis
— Red Ink Community Library (@RedInkPVD) February 21, 2022
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?”
Reading and discussing two fundamental red books, the #CommunistManifesto by #Marx and #Engels & #WhatIsToBeDone by #Lenin with @potere_alpopolo youth at @ExOpgJesopazzo in #Napoli #Italy. Acquire tools to build revolutionary occasions and seize the time.
Happy #RedBooksDay2022! pic.twitter.com/5rW7todRVb
— Maurizio Coppola (@Mau_Ri_83) February 21, 2022
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.
Today members of Abahlali baseMjondolo @abahlali_abm celebrate #RedBooksDay through a collective reading of the #CommunistManifesto in Durban, South Africa. pic.twitter.com/n72mfItfoH
— International Peoples' Assembly (@peoplesassembl_) February 21, 2022
In South Africa, workers of the National Metalworkers Union (@Numsa_Media) holds its Communist Manifesto reading group in the Free State as part of #RedBooksDay2022. Do join us in this process that culminates on 21 February around the world: https://t.co/FCJ0RtdZq8. pic.twitter.com/H9HZaZ14ZL
— Vijay Prashad (@vijayprashad) February 20, 2022
In Caracas, the Simón Bolivar Institute held a “debate and lecture on the importance of red books”.
Desde el Museo Boliviano, en Caracas, a 174 años de la publicación del Manifiesto Comunista, los invitamos al “Debate y lectura sobre la importancia de los Libros Rojos” 📕#21Feb pic.twitter.com/lCC9hVi4nA
— Instituto Simón Bolívar (@ISB_VE) February 21, 2022