The shops of Central Square embody Cambridge’s quirky spirit. This often under-explored stretch of Mass. Ave. is an eclectic collection of restaurants, specialty stores, and, of course, book stores. Up the staircase of one small storefront at 550 Mass. Ave. is a particularly revolutionary spot: The Center for Marxist Studies.
Originally established in 1974 as a campaign headquarters for the Communist Party member and senate candidate Laura Ross, the Center now operates as a bookstore and educational center, holding classes, workshops, and lectures. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry—it’s only open three hours a week.
There aren’t many faces in the store when we walk in, except for posters featuring Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx. We do get the chance to talk to Donald Donato, one of the Center’s staffers. This leftist center is a time capsule full of books, artwork, and posters that take visitors back to another era.
Donato believes that the bookstore’s programming is very relevant to citizens of Massachusetts. The Center has hosted events with Black Lives Matter activists and the Committee for International Labor Defense. “We don’t have any illusions about having a revolution and taking over DC,” he says.