Like fellow movements around the world, the US Communist Party suffered a crippling blow with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But a small group of die-hard members persevered.
Not far from Wall Street, on the seventh floor of an elegant eight-storey building on West 23rd Street, is the headquarters of an improbable political survivor – the Communist Party USA.
The office is bright and modern. On one wall are black-and-white photo portraits of major figures in the party’s history. The works of Marx, Engels and Lenin are stacked in bookshelves.
The building was bought to house the party in the 1970s before the surrounding neighbourhood of Chelsea became fashionable. “We got a great bargain on it,” says secretary-treasurer Roberta Wood.
In a concession to capitalist reality, all but two floors are now rented out. The revenue supports People’s World, an online publication that is the direct descendent of the party’s long defunct newspaper, the Daily Worker.