Carolyn Hadfield moved to Hawaii from California (to attend University of Hawaii at Mānoa in the early 1960s, earning a bachelor’s in educational foundations) and came to side with communist theory (the Vietnam War, women’s oppression, the finger pointing at imperialism and capitalism) to answer it. “Revolution Books,” she says. After a brief discussion, it turns out they don’t have the title. “You’re best bet is Amazon,” she tells the person on the other end of the line. “But I hate to say it.” She returns to her seat next to me.
“In the ’60s, there were about six parties calling themselves communist in Hawai‘i,” she says. “With various ebbs in the struggle, floundering around theory, a lot of them left. It’s hard to be a revolutionary in Hawai‘i.” Part of the problem was the lack of a perceived critical mass. What kept Hadfield here, she says, is theory, and the people she had come to know. “Theory helped me understand that there’s really no quick fix, that reform isn’t going to do it,” she says. “That the problem is very systemic, and it’s in capitalism itself.”
Hadfield worked as a teacher and principal of an alternative school in the ’70s and ’80s, and held other odd jobs thereafter, she also volunteered at the bookstore. She is a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Refuse & Resist
July 2003, when asked about liberalism, a 23-year-old self-described "progressive leftist" and member of the activist Refuse & Resist group, Travis Thompson, responds, "I always want to laugh when I hear that term. Liberalism is kind of played out."
For 39 years, Revolution Books has provided a clean, well-lighted and welcoming place for Honolulu’s readers, activists and seekers to gather in or just curl up with a book. People, they even have chairs and tables for you to occupy!
A true community bookstore, Revolution Books hosts events such as poetry readings or film screenings almost every Sunday, as well as talks by authors and music sessions—gratis.
“All of our programs are free. Some very poor people attend who don’t have access to many cultural events,” said manager and co-founder Carolyn Hadfield who, like all the staff, work without pay.
- Reading a Revolt on March 24, 2015 Anna Harmon
- Honolulu Advertiser, Posted on: Sunday, July 6, 2003 The end of liberal thinking as we know it, By Robert M. Rees
- [http://www.honolulupulse.com/2015/03/revolution-books-nears-fundraising-goal/Pulse, Revolution Books raises $10,000-plus Mar. 18, 2015BY MINDY PENNYBACKER)