Dem Congressional Candidate Founded 'Socialist,' 'Revolutionary,' 'Anti-Capitalist' Bookstore

Lisa Brown's bookstore described as 'explicitly socialist'

Lisa Brown
Lisa Brown / Twitter
October 29, 2018

A Democratic congressional candidate in Washington founded a socialist, anticapitalist bookstore in the late 1970s.

Lisa Brown, who is running in Washington's Fifth Congressional District, founded Left Hand Book and Record Collective in 1979, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Articles of Incorporation filed with the Colorado secretary of state on May 17, 1979, reveal Lisa
Brown was a founder of the Left Hand Book and Record Collective for the purpose of "operating a
retail business engaged in selling books and records to the public."

The bookstore's Facebook page describes Left Hand as "Boulder's one-stop-shop for all socialist, resistance, revolutionary, radical, alternative, and anti-capitalist literature."

A 2013 Boulder Weekly article describes the store in greater detail:

For nearly 34 years, Left Hand has been, in the words of our Facebook page, "Boulder’s one-stop shop for all socialist, resistance, revolutionary, radical, alternative and anti-capitalist literature." The guy who wrote that line is an anarchist and included the word "socialist" after I complained. Actually, we sometimes just say we feature "progressive" literature in an effort to reach out to more mainstream folks.

According to the article, "the store started in 1979 as a project of the Boulder chapter of the New American Movement (NAM), a democratic socialist group founded by activists of the 1960s student New Left."

The New American Movement later merged with the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee to form Democratic Socialists of America.

In her 1986 doctoral thesis, Brown expressed gratitude for this group's role in her life.

"Other great women in my life include Golie Jansen, the members of the Boulder Socialist-Feminist Collective, and the members of the Spokane Women’s Group," Brown wrote.

An article from 2013 about the bookstore's closing describes it as "explicitly socialist," adding that "Boulder residents will have to find a new place to get their fill of Marxist literature."

According to Left Hand's website, the bookstore "phased into more books about Central America" when the Central America solidarity movement was "getting going."

Lisa Brown has admitted to "working in opposition to U.S. policy in Central America" while she taught at the University of Central America. While teaching a macroeconomics seminar in Nicaragua in 1990, Brown was "one of hundreds of so-called ‘internacionalistas,' cooperating with Nicaragua's outgoing Sandinista government by offering technical skills."

The "internacionalistas" strongly supported Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, leader of the Sandinistas.

An article from the time noted that Brown's "brand of economics is not the free-market kind embraced by the conservative UNO [National Opposition Union] coalition." Brown said at the time that she liked Nicaragua's mixed economy, "in which banks and other institutions are state owned."

Brown was also a member of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, an anticapitalist organization that works against American policy toward El Salvador.

The Brown campaign did not return a request for comment.

Published under: 2018 Election , Washington