Reclaiming the Lenin statue in Seattle

As this paper has written about once before, in 1994, the city of Seattle became home to a Lenin statue that had originally been constructed in Slovakia. It was placed in the Fremont neighborhood, known by locals as “The Center of the Universe.”

However, since its arrival, the statue’s likeness has shown up in some rather unlikely places.

A few years back, an upscale pizza place (voted “Best Pizza” by many polls) started including a sketch of the Lenin statue on its delivery boxes. I wonder if they also have the “Is your bathroom breeding Bolsheviks” poster on their rest-room doors?

Next in my mail came a glossy brochure advertising condominiums. Guess whose picture was featured prominently on the front? Why, it was another appearance of Vladimir Illych Lenin in Seattle. The text read, “one of the characters you’ll encounter daily when you live at [this condo].” Who’da thunk the Father of the Soviet Union was now a “character” to be met strolling about the Center of the Universe?

Ironically, these were not just any condos. The prices start “from the $200s” (I think a few zeros are missing) and go up to $600,000. I asked myself, “are the wealthy people these realtors are hoping to attract really closet Communists?” Perhaps my Party club needs to start a neighborhood concentration there – if only it wasn’t behind locked gates!

But the final place I spotted the Lenin statue really stands reality on its head. The Fremont Chamber of Commerce added the image of the Bolshevic leader – not once, but twice – to its “Walking Guide to Fremont.” This is a branch of the same Chamber of Commerce that in the 1920s had the campaign called “Amercanism” in response to the “threat” of communism?

The same Chamber that has a “Committee to Combat Communism” in several cities in U.S. and around the world? Why yes, it is! Maybe they’ve decided to update the old saying to, “if you can’t beat ‘em, exploit ‘em.”?

Well, that was the final straw. Holly, who lives in Fremont, and I decided it was high time that Lenin was reclaimed for the working class. We placed a People’s Weekly World box just a few feet away from the statue. It’s been a great success, too! It’s possibly the most utilized PWW box in Seattle, doling out dozens of papers each week.

Since taking this proactive stance, I guess you could say I’ve mellowed a bit. Until capitalism finally breathes its last gasp, I say let them use Lenin to sell whatever they want. In the end, he’ll be found doing what he always did; supporting the working class – via the PWW.

The author can be reached at commiett@yahoo.com

If you have an interesting story about distributing the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo, e-mail it to jbarnett@pww.org