Dear readers,
Construction is under way at the new home of the People’s Weekly World editorial and production offices in Chicago, from where we hope to be reporting to you on Election Day.
Since the PWW editorial offices moved from New York to Chicago in 2001, we have been housed in offices rented from the Lithuanian Workers Educational Society (LWES). The Lithuanians’ building had been home to the progressive Lithuanian language newspaper Vilnis since the 1920s. Vilnis, like many progressive foreign language papers of that time, had a fraternal relationship with the Daily Worker, the PWW’s predecessor, which was launched in Chicago in 1924. Nowadays, the PWW editorial and production staff electronically transmits the pages of the paper to Prompt Press in New Jersey where the paper is printed. But for many decades, the Vilnis was printed on a web offset press in a full print shop on the first floor of the LWES building. Legend has it that the first U.S. English-language edition of V.I. Lenin’s “State and Revolution” rolled off the presses of that print shop.
When the Vilnis building was claimed by eminent domain by the city of Chicago to build a police station two years ago, the LWES decided to buy and renovate a new building just down the street, in the same historic Bridgeport neighborhood. The LWES, a not-for-profit corporation, has planned the new facility to be a resource for the community. A public meeting room will hum with classes, forums and cultural events year round, and will be available for use by labor and community groups. There will be space for art exhibits and performances by groups from the neighborhood. The center’s resource library and bookstore has among its resources historic books and pamphlets from a century of labor, civil rights, and political struggles in the Midwest, the records of Chicago’s Lithuanian working class and socialist movements, and all issues of the Midwest/DuSable edition of The Worker newspaper. In addition to the PWW, the Illinois District of the Communist Party and Young Communist League as well as the Party’s national Labor Commission will have offices in the building, making it a Midwest hub for the Party’s activities.
The renovation is being done in keeping with the values and traditions of the Lithuanian Workers and the PWW — with a diverse work force, union labor and an environmental-friendly design and construction practices.
Interior demolition has been completed, and this week the carpenters began building the dry wall partitions. The electricians, plumbers and sheet metal workers are roughing in those systems. In the next few days, we will see the drywalling completed and the beginning of floor patching. Look in this space again soon for further developments.