Dem Congressional Candidate Boasted in 2017 About Founding ‘Socialist,’ ‘Anti-Capitalist’ Bookstore

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The Democratic congressional candidate in Washington's 5th Congressional District boasted in 2017 about founding a far-left bookstore in the 1980s.

Newly uncovered video shows Lisa Brown speaking about the "socialist," "revolutionary," "anti-capitalist" bookstore, named Left Hand Books and Record Collective, she founded in the late 1970s.

"When I lived in Boulder, Colorado, I was part of a group that started a book and record collective – vinyl, of course – and we were known as Left Hand," Brown said during a keynote address for a luncheon of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane. "And you might think it stood for our politics, but it also stood for Chief Niwot, who was the tribal leader of the Southern Arapahoe people.

Brown went on to mention that the bookstore invited social activist and historian Howard Zinn to speak, and she concluded her speech with a quote from him.

On Oct. 25, 1989, Zinn gave a talk entitled "Second Thoughts on the First Amendment" at the University of Colorado at Boulder to benefit Left Hand Books. He considered himself "something of an anarchist, something of a socialist. Maybe a democratic socialist."

Established in 1979, Left Hand Books is described on its Facebook page as "Boulder's one-stop-shop for all socialist, resistance, revolutionary, radical, alternative, and anti-capitalist literature."

The bookstore was founded as a project of the Boulder chapter of the New American Movement, a democratic socialist group that later merged with the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee to form Democratic Socialists of America.

In a May 2017 interview with the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, Brown also expressed admiration for communist leader Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, naming her when asked "Who is the greatest hero we have never heard of?"

Jeffrey Cimmino

Jeffrey Cimmino   Email Jeffrey | Full Bio | RSS
Jeff Cimmino is a media analyst at the Washington Free Beacon. He is a senior pursuing a B.A. in history and a minor in government at Georgetown University. Prior to working at the Free Beacon, he interned at National Review and the Foreign Policy Initiative.

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