Reds go green in new digs

All merrymakers of goodwill invited to grand opening celebration!

NEW YORK — Communists are using the upcoming grand opening of their newly renovated, environmentally friendly national headquarters here to let everyone know that the “reds” have gone “green.”

But the grand opening red/green theme goes another step — a holiday celebration.

The grand opening/holiday party will take place Thursday, Dec. 13, from 4-8 p.m. at 235 W. 23rd St., and will feature a special performance by labor folksinger Anne Feeney.

The family of organizations that occupy the revamped space are inviting friends, members and staff, as well as the construction workers and designers who brought the project to life, to join the festivities.

The hosts include the Communist Party USA, the Young Communist League USA, People’s Weekly World newspaper, Political Affairs magazine, International Publishers and Advance Realty, the building’s owner.

The Communist Party’s national headquarters is located on the top floors of an 8-story building in the heart of Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, an up-and-coming center for arts and the media.

A capital campaign raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years from supporters of the party and its publications to make the ambitious project possible, said Roberta Wood, secretary-treasurer of the CPUSA, who also served as the renovation’s project manager.

The project’s award-winning architect, Jonathan Boyer from the Chicago-based Farr Associates, explained his vision: “The design of the Communist Party offices was conceived as a holistic embodiment of the ideals of the organization that it sheltered,” he said, citing the values of equality and respect for all people.

“It is not enough to save some energy or reduce some toxins in the materials,” continued Boyer, a pioneer in sustainable design. “The project had a larger vision to demonstrate an environment which was healthy, full of natural light, constructed of recycled materials, and filled with color and art on the walls.” Boyer’s plan is open, both vertically and horizontally, as a symbol, he said, of the organization’s free and open expression.

Late last Thursday teams of New York-area People’s Weekly World readers could be seen coming in and out to pick up bundles of the paper, which they would circulate to transit workers. “Gone are the days when going to a progressive political headquarters or meeting hall meant you went to a dark, dusty place,” one woman said. “It is a pleasure to come in here and to meet here. It makes you feel renewed and energized before you go back out into the struggle.”

Guests at the grand opening will be treated to a viewing of numerous great works of political art and a display prepared by New York University’s Tamiment Library, which is curating the extensive archives donated by the party earlier this year.

Among the art are paintings and drawings that portray the struggle of the international movements for peace, justice and socialism. Included is a painting that depicts the inmates at the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp liberating themselves from their Nazi captors, said the project’s art curator Santi Suthinithet.

A Russian poster from the Soviet era shows a cartoon caricature of Lenin sweeping kings and capitalists off a globe.

Other paintings and drawings present powerful scenes from various struggles during the history of the United States, including the copper miners’ strike featured in the movie “Salt of the Earth,” demonstrations against the war in Vietnam and the fight to free Angela Davis.

jwojcik@pww.org