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Harlem's Revolution Bookstore Uses Trump to Raise Funds

By Dartunorro Clark | December 30, 2016 10:22am | Updated on January 3, 2017 9:46am
 Raymond Lotta poses in front of a book display at Revolution Books in Harlem.
Raymond Lotta poses in front of a book display at Revolution Books in Harlem.
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DNAinfo/Dartunorro Clark

HARLEM — Inside Harlem's Revolution Books, a special display was laid out after Donald Trump was elected president.

It includes books on Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust with the subhead: “What we can learn from history.”

Alongside it are T-shirts that read: "America was NEVER great."

“We are calling it out for what it is,” said store spokesman Raymond Lotta.

The shop's management is hoping Trump's leadership, and strongly-felt opposition to it, will help fund the future of the business, which openly strives for the overthrow of the capitalist system and its replacement with a socialist one based on the principles of Bob Avakian, chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

The bookstore, at 437 Malcolm X Blvd., launched a fundraising push it calls the “65 Defiant Days” — it started 65 days before the inauguration — using the election of Trump to create a political movement.

Lotta said Trump ran a campaign based on “white supremacy, xenophobia, patriarchy and expanded war.”

The spokesman said the bookstore can serve as a community space to create a counter-movement.

It is working with grassroots activists, calling on mass protests in Washington in the vein of Occupy Wall Street to create a “political crisis” before the inauguration on Jan. 20, he said.

“This is the discourse before it happens,” he said.

Revolution Books is stocked with tomes that aim to expose the inequalities of the world and shed light on what can be done to overcome them, a spokesman previously told DNAinfo New York.

It has experienced financial woes in the past, moving to Harlem from Chelsea last year after 40 years  because of rising rents. Lotta said the fundraising, together with building opposition to Trump, would be used to secure the store's future.

He said Harlem provided the perfect home for Revolution Books because it has “a rich political, intellectual and cultural history that’s part of the energy that feeds into the store.”

It’s also looking to start an NPR-style fundraising model, where patrons purchase memberships to ensure a steady flow of funds.

The bookstore is looking to raise $40,000 by the new year. It's already collected $37,000, Lotta said.

“We can’t keep this open by selling books alone,” he said. “We are fighting for our survival. This bookstore is needed more than ever now.”