Fifty Shades of Red

Ivo Infiltrates

By Ivo Dimitrov

After the more or less successful venture into Hipstertown, I decide to put my new found investigative skills to the test once more. Wearing a hastily assembled disguise (read: an oversized UCU sweater), I arrive at my destination – a bookshop called De Rooie Rat, the place-to-be for lefties, socialists, neo-Bolsheviks, and every other shade of political red you can think of.

A few seconds inside and I am already more excited than I was during Introweek. Right next to the door, a poster greets me with the friendly and welcoming slogan: “CRUSH CAPITALISM! SHOW AN UNDEAD SYSTEM HOW TO DIE”. Nothing expresses solidarity and togetherness quite like Uncle Sam being brutally shot in the face by what is undoubtedly the Hand of Justice.

Admittedly, I have never identified myself with any socialist parties or principles, but who knows into what kind of big-government monster I have turned during a semester at UCU. After all, students are known to be equality-loving intellectuals, dreaming of a better society ever since the very first Intro to Sociology lecture.

So this is my chance! I have finally found a way into a secret and thrilling leftist movement and I am determined not to let it go. The room I just entered is reminiscent of the socialist life I was clearly born for – secret underground meetings with mysterious French revolutionaries, illegal movements aimed at overthrowing the tyrannical establishment, a non-stop fear of getting caught by Utrecht’s police. This is it, I realize; I have found a new me: UCU is a thing of the past.

As I make my way to the over-stacked shelves and start exploring, I am amazed by the diversity of subjects. Seriously, a cookbook section in a political bookstore? Well, they might be helpful for a future coup d’état in Dining Hall. A linguistics book telling me that English is the language of imperialism and repression?  I might be joining Equites after all – and while I am at it, change the name to Equaly-tes.

Just as I am about to ask if they have a spare hammer and sickle, something catches my attention. The little price tags attached to the pile of inspiring items in my hands. Twenty euros for a Lenin poster, intended to cheer up our Kromhout living room? Twice as much for a second-hand paperback of Marx’ illustrated Manifesto? And how on Earth am I going to afford VIP tickets for the world-famous London Anarchist Bookfair?

I suddenly realize that the brave fighter for equality behind the counter is just a student, probably saving money for that mainstream bachelor. Did I really think my leftist dream-life wouldn’t come with a hefty price tag?

Eventually I leave, disillusioned, vengeful, and ready to indulge in some fine capitalist money-making. Luckily the Albert Heijn right across the street is looking for cashiers.

Boekhandel de Rooie Rat, Oudegracht 65


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