Posts filed under Take Action

Help us ALL get to Libertopia!

This upcoming Fall is going to be an exciting season for the ALL Distro. It begins next in San Diego: I’m going to be putting on a workshop at the Libertopia 2013 Festival (August 30 - September 2), on Black-and-Red Markets – How to Build a Gift Agora, or: Left-Libertarian Counter-Economics, Grassroots Mutual Aid and Radical Left Counter-Institutions, which intended as a sort of introduction, for people interested in agorist counter-economics, to some points of productive contact with the grassroots forms of mutual aid, solidarity, and bottom-up counter-institutions emerging from the Anarchist and anti-authoritarian Left, and some expansion and workshopping of some of the ideas suggested in the comments on Black-and-Red Markets here. In addition to my talk, I’m also going to be bringing a trunk full of anarchist and left-libertarian literature with me — chapbooks from the Distro, Markets Not Capitalism, books by Gary Chartier and Kevin Carson, and flyers, buttons and magazines on left-libertarianism and counter-economics. I’ll be working with compas from C4SS to set up a table in the Festival’s exhibition space. We’ll be bringing a strong free-market anti-capitalist presence to Libertopia, passing out literature, selling books, spreading ideas, answering some questions and starting some conversations about left-wing market anarchist ideas.

This is just the kick-off for a season of travelling, talking, and spread the word: the Distro will be be distributing our literature and talking about individualist anarchism at the New Orleans Anarchist Bookfair and SFL Regional Conferences in October; I’ll be travelling to give a talk on Anarchism at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK this November; I’ll be making a research and literature-gathering journey to the Labadie Collection in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and there may be more to announce soon. More on all of that soon. But for now, we’re trying to cover the costs for Libertopia, and to replenish our travel budget, so that we can keep up with scholarship, speaking and traveling for a busy Fall season. Here are the costs we’re trying to cover:

  • To pay transportation and lodging costs to get the Charles Johnson and the ALL Distro from Auburn, Alabama to the festival in San Diego, California (approx. costs $800)
  • To rent an exhibition booth at the conference for our literature and for person-to-person outreach (cost: $400).
  • To cover out-of-pocket transportation & lodging expenses for other Molinari Institute speakers who will be presenting workshops or panels at Libertopia (approx. costs $1,000).[1]
  • To replenish the Institute’s travel budget and provide seed money for our upcoming travel to bookfairs, speaking appearances, research, etc. (approx costs $600).

You can help out here, or by using the widget over on the right. Help us ALL get to Libertopia!

Thanks! And tell your friends. Anything you can chip in will help us a lot during the upcoming season. Hope to see y’ALL there!

Also.

  1. [1] If we don’t make our fundraising goal, we’ll do equally-divided partial reimbursements to the extent possible.

Save the Gnu’s Room, Save the World

My favorite bookstore in the world, The Gnu’s Room, is on the ropes. Commercial rents near campus are high in Auburn, and until this month it looked like the bookstore would have to close in July. But there is a real chance to save the store now, and to help it not only continue as a used bookstore and event space, but also to expand into a new arts space (in the emerging Arts District in downtown Opelika). A donor has come forward with a new, low-rent location, so Gnu’s Room is trying to raise some money between now and June 15 which would allow them to cover the fixed costs of the move, and so to keep the bookstore in operation. Here’s more from the Kickstarter campaign page:

The Gnu’s Room: a non-profit bookstore and community art space has been the cornerstone of our independent arts community in Auburn, AL.

Due to the difficulties of high urban rent and waning financial support, The Gnu’s Room is struggling to make ends meet and fulfill its mission of promoting literacy and the arts in Southeast Alabama. Our community is heavily marginalized in the predominant culture of today… and those who love books, independent films, and local music have got to come together and show their support!

We are trying to raise the seed money to move The Gnu’s Room into a huge, low-cost warehouse space in the new Arts District of Opelika (supported by the Alabama Arts Council, The Railyard independent venue, and the future Cotton Seed Studios)

But we need help to make this move possible!

Pledges of varying amounts can earn you rewards like free books, tickets to our benefit concert, local artwork, and genuine ivory scrimshaw bookmarks…. Plus the added reward of keeping our artistic community strong and well…

Don’t let our favorite meeting place for all things artistic, inspirational, and happily weird disappear! The Gnu’s Room plays a vital role in serving the area with rare volumes of nearly-forgotten wisdom and creating more arts through their publishing house, Solomon & George Publishers. We want to use the freedom of the Opelika Arts District space to expand community services to include e-publication archiving of these rare works, i.e. the Gnu Library, in-house printing services, art galleries, and a scrap exchange program for resident artists. . . . The biggest challenge facing our organization is pursuing often non-existent arts funding in our state and region. We hope to overcome that difficulty by providing useful services in a retail format. For example: We re-sell donated books in our bookstore. The Scrap Exchange will sort and recycle materials to bring low cost arts-and-crafts, packaging, and garden supplies to our proactive community members. . . . The new location will create not just more opportunities for our mission, but continue our ability to provide a common meeting place for the forum of artistic and creative solutions.

— Kickstarter: Save the Gnu’s Room!

The campaign has until June 15, 2013 to reach their fundraising goal. As of press time, there’s about $2,500 left to go in order to meet it. I just backed the project myself; if you can, please consider backing it with me, and help us save this precious community space, one of the long-time strongest supporters and most open forums for the arts, culture and philosophy in the Auburn-Opelika community.[1]

Also.

  1. [1] The Gnu’s Room has been very supportive of local authors, and among other things they have been very kind and helpful to us for Markets Not Capitalism, which they generously hosted the world’s first book-talk / reading for, back in November 2011, and which they continue to sell on their shelves.

Grassroots Mutual Aid in Oklahoma

Here’s an announcement / call to action from InterOccupy.net.[1] They are helping to coordinate information about shelters, drop-offs, donations, food banks, communications & connectivity for folks affected by the Oklahoma tornados. From the post:

The absolutely devastating impact of the Tornados in Oklahoma has prompted a concentrated relief effort for those who have suffered in this region. There is no limit to who you can help or what you can do… but please do something. Many #AmeriSec members and other humanitarian groups will be on scene to help in anyway we can. This is an operation that all can assist with and if money, transportation or any issues that would hinder you from being able to help please, use social media, video and any other means to KEEP the word moving. As we have seen with #OccupySandy the impact of individuals helping with natural disaster has a tremendous impact… So Please assist in any way you can. WE ARE LEGION and WE have the ability to assist in the suffering on the ground so please help!

Please make video and pastebins with information that could assist independent relief workers and all others

— andrea @ InterOccupy.net (May 21, 2013). #OpOK Update: Oklahoma Relief

See the whole thing here, including lists of relief information and contact points.

There’s also a Community Action meeting gathering to-day (Tuesday, May 21) in Norman, Okla. From scott crow:

Today Tues May 21at 12 noon
Will be a meeting of decentralized coordination efforts: CSBI Building 1155 E Main Norman, OK 73071
Including: COBRA,[2] Food Not Bombs ,Occupy, C4ss, IWW and Rainbow folks
Hopefully a place will be set up to send donations, for people to contact them and for volunteers to gather.

— scott crow @ Facebook (May 21, 2013)

Edit (12pm). And here’s some more from Zakk Flash:

Tornadoes touched down last night in Moore, Oklahoma, killing at least 51 people (20 children among them). We can’t control the weather, but we can try to stop climate change before it gets worse, and we can definitely help build solidarity networks to respond to emergency situations.

Central Oklahoma Black/Red Alliance (COBRA) will be hosting a gathering of folks who are interested in the People’s response to the disaster. Folks are invited to come by my offices at Community Action (1155 E Main, Norman OK 73071) at noon today to discuss the current response from the Red Cross, organized labor, faith-based communities, and the like.

We’ll also be discussing decentralized relief and creative opportunities to help folks most affected by the storm. Not everyone is connected or comfortable working with NGOs and there are independent efforts that can make a huge difference. Look at Occupy Sandy as an example.

In the meantime, if you have any type of medical background/credentials and want to help relief efforts, get to the Warren Theater. If you don’t have medical credentials but want to help, get to the Home Depot in Moore.

— Zakk Flash @ Facebook (May 21, 2013)

If you want to help people in the area affected by the tornados, strongly consider offering support wherever possible, and wherever they ask for it, from decentralized, grassroots mutual aid groups like these. (They need your help a lot more than well-funded, bureaucratically organized efforts like Red Cross or Salvation Army.) Ordinary people working together in solidarity can accomplish remarkable, life-saving things.

Also.

  1. [1] This is a web project that I helped out with a bit last Fall; the same folks who provided the web coordination for Occupy Sandy in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
  2. [2] [Central Oklahoma Black/Red Alliance. —CJ.]

Grassroots Expansion for Red Emma’s in Baltimore

In Baltimore, Red Emma’s has some big plans, and they are looking for some grassroots support to build out their worker-owned radical bookstore, café and community space.

Here’s more from the Red Emma’s collective, via IndieGogo. As you may know, one of the harshest restraints on most worker-owned shops, co-ops and radical spaces are the extreme difficulties they have in paying for maintenance and expansions — you need resources to expand but you need to expand to get access to resources, and it’s hard to get bank loans, credit, or any other form of capitalization when you don’t look like a traditional corporate capitalist enterprise. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done but it does mean if it’s going to happen it largely depends on us and our networks to step up and put up the mutual support for the kinds of radical spaces that we want to see, that their institutions won’t fund. Anyway, the campaign is running now over at IndieGoGo, and any support you can send their way will really help with what sounds like some really awesome plans.

After 8 years in the storefront at 800 Saint Paul, Red Emma’s has decided it’s time to move: our current space just isn’t big enough to hold all the things we want to collectively make it do.

Over the past eight years, we’ve hosted a thousand public events, created two new radical spaces (2640 and the Baltimore Free School), organized international conferences, built an amazing annual radical bookfair, and served as a hub knitting together Baltimore’s different politically engaged communities, all the while keeping a collectively-owned and operated business open just about 365 days a year.

… We’ve just signed a lease for the fall of 2013; located at 30 West North Avenue, next door to Liam Flynn’s Ale House (itself started by founding Red Emma’s collective members!), the new space will be over five times the size of our current location.

We’ll be expanding our food operation to a full kitchen, moving beyond our current limited cafe menu to really let some of the culinary talent we’ve got in the collective shine. And we’ll be doing this in a way that makes extensive use of locally sourced agricultural products while keeping prices affordable: healthy, sustainable food should be the norm, not a luxury. We’ll be increasing the footprint of our bookstore sixfold—space constraints alone have prevented us from building the world class selection we’ve dreamed of, and the new space will make it possible to really build the kind of radical bookstore Baltimore deserves.

… The space is going to be far more welcoming; not only are we going to vastly expand the number of seats, we’ll also be full-accessible in the new space … And most importantly, scaling up is going to let us do something we’ve always dreamt of: pay the people working on the project a living wage. Our current storefront has never been big enough to reach the economies of scale we would have needed to keep funding our political mission and also pay ourselves something sustainable for the long-term; most of us work on a volunteer basis right now, and those of us who do get paid don’t get much. With the new space, our plan is to start with a living wage and work our way up from there.

Our plan and your help

Between renovations, equipment purchases, licensing, and other fees, we need roughly $250,000 to open this new space; we’re hoping to raise at least $50,000 through crowdfunding on this site, but the more we can raise here the less debt we will start off with in the new space. While the funds we raise here and elsewhere are crucial, there’s going to be all sorts of opportunities to pitch in to help us get the new space off the ground in other ways as we get closer to opening. Keep up with the status of the project by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, or subscribing to our mailing list.

The Red & Black is surviving. Help them flourish.

So a couple months ago I put up a note about the emergency fundraising campaign for The Red & Black in Portland, Oregon:

If you’re not familiar, the Red & Black is a worker-owned co-operative restaurant in Portland, Oregon. The food’s all vegan; the ingredients are mostly organic, and either locally sourced or Fair Trade. The worker-owners are organized as an IWW shop, and directly manage their own workplace. It’s also an important hub for the anarchist community in Portland, providing a venue for regular talks, films, and other community events. I just sent $50; which is more than I can really afford right now, but the Red & Black, and places like it, matter. A lot. Any mutual aid you can send their way — or anyone you can tell about this situation — will really help.

As a follow-up, here is a note that the folks at Red & Black posted a few days ago to their website and to their Facebook page. I’d link directly, but it appears that the permalinking on their website is broken; so instead:

A little over a month ago we alerted our friends and allies that the Red & Black Cafe was in trouble. We had reached a crisis point, were unable to pay our mortgage, and we made the difficult decision to stop paying ourselves. We’re happy to say, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. At this point we’re treading water and are figuring out when we can pay ourselves again.

This is due to our own grit and determination to survive and because of the outpouring of support in the form of donations and increased business. But also in the form of help. Help with things like design work, cutting our ingredient costs, & setting up amazing events…

The Red & Black clearly matters to a lot of folks!

We’re a quarter of the way to our goal of $20,000. So we’re kicking up our fundraising drive and we need even more help to reach outside of our immediate communities. We also have some awesome project ideas and could use help getting them off the ground. If you’ve got some skills, and/or know of someone who can help us out, contact us! Spread the word.

Tell your friends, family, co-workers, and that person you just met why you think we’re special!

Here are some suggestions but please do add your own:

  • 100% vegan food & drink. We are a space that is unapologetically for animal liberation. We regularly host fundraisers, prisoner letter writing nights and animal lib speakers and workshops. We’re also friendly to omnivores and, we hope, informative and not preachy on the subject.
  • Safer space: We’re committed to supporting survivors of sexual assault and relationship abuse. We are also committed to confronting and disrupting oppressive language and behavior in the cafe and we encourage the same from you or anyone else who sees it.
  • The Red & Black is welcoming to folks who are houseless. Whether or not you have an address you are welcome to: use the bathroom w/o buying something first, have free wifi, charge your phone, use the free computer terminals, get hot water, come to events or meet your friend. We are working with Sisters of the Road to explore the possibility of accepting EBT (foodstamps/snap) from houseless folks, people over 60 and people on SSI! It’s not a sure thing but we’re making every effort to figure this out.
  • Environmental stuff: We pick up coffee and supplies by massive, amazing bike trailer. Our produce is local, organic and bike delivered! We serve food from the lowest trophic level!
  • Labor movement & co-op stuff: We’re an Industrial Workers of the World closed shop (100% union members), we’re worker owned, there’s no boss and we’re all paid the same wage for the same work. Every participates in the day to day restaurant work as well as the behind the scenes work. We act in solidarity with labor every chance we get. This includes buying authentically fair trade coffee from Equal Exchange, another worker owned co-op. We participate in regional and national worker co-op efforts through the USFederation of Worker Co-ops.

Thank you so much for your support! <3

Please donate if you can (anything helps), and share widely! If the “DONATE” button below does not take you directly to the Red & Black’s PayPal page, please log in and enter “general@redandblackcafe.com” as the recipient.

Follow us on Twitter @redandblackcafe & ‘Like’ us on Facebook and get regular updates at facebook.com/redandblackcafe (please also hover over the ‘Like’ button on our page & check “show in news feed”)

Stay tuned: we’re organizing a volunteer days to make major improvements to our space.

Book your event with us! This is huge; we need your awesome events! Keep in mind that we do music, film, workshops, fundraisers for cool groups, game nights, art openings etc. For selected events, we will stay open til Midnight! It’s easy just go here: redandblackcafe.com/event-booking.