Last Labor Day a leftist library opened in the Mt. Hope neighborhood featuring a collection of historical pamphlets, journals, and modern zines. Last Monday, Red Ink Community Library — “a safe corner for radical thinkers to sojourn, learn, and network” — was holding a reading of The Communist Manifesto when about 15-20 cowards and bullies arrived with a Nazi flag, hiding behind masks, pounding on the windows, spewing hate. Upon learning of the event, neighbors, elected officials, and anti-fascists everywhere recoiled in disgust, and a show of support soon materialized. WPRI reports:
Gov. Dan McKee was among the crowd of people showing their support for the library Wednesday.
“We need to make sure we send a very strong message that this type of behavior … there is no place for that in our state,” McKee said.
[Library director, David] Raileanu said the support Red Ink has received from the community has been encouraging.
“As a person whose Jewish heritage stretches back more than 100 years in the city of Providence, to have the support of the Jewish community and know that they are standing up and raising their voices against this kind of hatred and violence is very meaningful to me,” he said.
Do I want to sit around reading The Communist Manifesto? Not at all. But, as the saying goes, I’ll die defending your right to do so. There is no greater threat to American democracy right now than far-right, white nationalists and their allies in the Republican party. I worry that what befell Red Ink last Monday will be repeated at polling places across the country this November.
Steve Ahlquist of Uprise RI provides context:
Due to the publication of The Communist Manifesto, February 21 is celebrated internationally as Red Books Day and the Nazis apparently came in response to this event which was advertised on Facebook. Video from both inside and outside Red Ink Library shows nearly two dozen Nazis wearing masks to hide their faces.
From the ProJo.
“I don’t know what they wanted,” Raileanu said. “I know they did an effective job of disrupting our event. They did an effective job of being terrorizing.”
(David was manning the desk today when I poked my head in. He said there had been no new developments.)