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 "email@example.com" as the recipient.
Follow us on Twitter @redandblackcafe & @@e2;20ac;2dc;Like' us on Facebook and get regular updates at facebook.com/redandblackcafe (please also hover over the @@e2;20ac;2dc;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.
I just read this note from the Red & Black Cafe’s page on Facebook. 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. (The website doesn’t seem to have a post about the current situation yet; but you should be able to use the PayPal donation buttons in this post. I just attached a note to the donation asking them to put it to use wherever it would be most helpful.)
From the Red & Black collective, via Facebook:
The Red & Black is in trouble. Our finances have reached a crisis point. This situation has been brewing for many months as our cash flow slowly dried up. To be blunt: we are unable to make our mortgage payment on time and we've bounced checks to some of our vendors and staff. A couple of days ago at our collective meeting we contemplated shutting our doors for good.
So what happened? Like many other local restaurants after 4+ years of recession (depression?): we need more business. In this economy many people have less money to eat out. Our situation is compounded by the fact that we have never had anything near a comfortable amount of working capital. We attempted to raise sufficient capital during the fundraising drive we held when we decided to buy our building. While we did raise enough money to make our down payment, we were far from our goal. This left the collective financially vulnerable to the point that a slow month could bankrupt us.
While there are several things we do that don't make a lot of business sense, financially, they are things we refuse to compromise on. We are welcoming to unhoused folks who often can't afford to spend money at the cafe. We make most of our food from scratch which is labor intensive and because our ingredients are (mostly) organic, they are more expensive.
We are also much more than just a restaurant. We are a community space; specifically we are a radical, queer-positive safer space; an important hub for many overlapping grassroots political projects, a cop-free zone, an amazing vegan restaurant, a music venue, a hangout and meeting space for Industrial Workers of the World union members, a low income collective household upstairs— the list goes on.
In order to meet this challenge head on we're making changes that we believe will not only avert catastrophe, but put us on a path of financial sustainability. The most dramatic and immediate change is that we've decided to work without pay until we can turn this situation around. This decision is both difficult and easy to make. Difficult because we, as individuals, can't afford it for long and because we are a closed union shop with the goal of paying ourselves a living wage. But the decision is also easy because the alternative is something none of us want: losing the Red and Black.
So we are fundraising $20,000 in donations, gift certificates and merchandise sales. This amount would not only cover our current obligations, it would mean having an adequate amount of working capital for the first time. We would be able to afford to go back to a paid wage, to purchase adequate equipment, fix the window, and keep the building. This is a crucial time for the Red and Black and we need your help!
Please visit our website www.redandblackcafe.com to donate and Twitter @redandblackcafe for updates on our hours and menu.
It’s Sunday Sunday Sunday. Let’s get Shameless Shameless Shameless.
It’s my blog, so I guess I’ll have to go first. This weekend, the November 2010 issue of The Freeman was released; among the articles in this month’s issue are:
- Kevin Carson, The Distorting Effects of Transportation Subsidies
- Sheldon Richman, The Most Dangerous Derivative
- Wendy McElroy, An American Stasi?
- James L. Payne, Can Government Save Us from Manmade Disasters?
And — the reason for mentioning it to-day, specifically — there’s also:
- Charles Johnson, There’s Too Little Trust in Government? It Just Ain’t So!
Secondly, preparations continue for my appearance to present Women and the Invisible Fist, and to represent the Molinari Institute at the the Radical Philosophy Association conference on Violence: Systemic, Symbolic, and Foundational in Eugene, Oregon. I’ve been working over the paper for its final form before the presentation. If you’re interested in seeing a copy when it’s ready, just drop me a line and I’ll make sure you get one. In the meantime, I’d like to send out a big thank you to the folks who have generously contributed $40 to Molinari to help cover the costs of getting me to Oregon. The point is–thanks, y’all are awesome. If you, too, would like to help me reach the Willamette Valley and support libertarian contributions to radical scholarship, check out the announcement post, or toss a few coins into the hat right here:
Anyway, so that’s me. How about you? What have you been up to this week? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about.
- I’m not familiar with Payne’s previous work, but this article is a really nice reminder about government’s direct role in ecologically toxic mass insecticide spraying — often without the consent, or without even informing, property owners whose land was being poisoned from the air.↩
- Previously mentioned in these pages when it appeared as an online feature: GT 2010-08-23: The only Good Government is No Government.↩
- Mostly footnote work right now, but if you’ve read one of my papers before, you know that the way I write, damn, the footnotes are a lot of work; once I finish that, next up is a couple timed readings to make sure that I won’t run over.↩
- That should cover at least the distance from Independence, Missouri to the Kansas River. If the hunting’s good, and we don’t lose anything crossing the river, and nobody dies of dysentery, it may even last us to Fort Kearny.↩
Rad Geek Speaks: “Women and the Invisible Fist,” bringing Molinari to the Marxians, and Libertarian-Left Radical Philosophizing
I’m pleased to say that my paper Women and the Invisible Fist: How Violence Against Women Enforces the Unwritten Law of Patriarchy has been accepted for a panel at the Ninth Biennial Radical Philosophy Association Conference next month in at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
The RPA, if you’re not familiar with it, publishes Radical Philosophy Review, puts on conferences of its own, and puts on regular panels at the American Philosophical Association Eastern and Pacific Division meetings, on (engaged) radical philosophizing, critical theory, feminism, postcolonialism, academic Marxism, and the like. As RPA would have it,
Founded in 1982, RPA members struggle against capitalism, racism, sexism, homophobia, disability discrimination, environmental ruin, and all other forms of domination. We also oppose substituting new forms of authoritarianism for the ones we are now fighting. … We believe that fundamental change requires broad social upheavals but also opposition to intellectual support for exploitative and dehumanizing social structures. Since this conference’s theme is Violence: Systemic, Symbolic, and Foundational, I figured that the Invisible Fist essay was apropos, and might provide a chance for some interesting Left / Left-Libertarian engagement and dialogue. Since the program committee seems to agree, I will be there representing the Molinari Institute. If you happen to be around southern Cascadia next month, here’s my panel. It’d be great to see you there:
Violence: Systemic, Symbolic, and Foundational
University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon
Conference Program available online
V-E: A Culture of Violence Against Women
Friday, November 12th 2010, 3:45–5:15pm
Rouge Room, Erb Memorial Union
University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Chair: Gertrude Postl, Suffolk County Community College
Christa Hodapp, University of Kentucky. Identity Through Destruction
Charles Johnson, Molinari Institute. Women and the Invisible Fist
Jacob Held, University of Central Arkansas. Revisiting MacKinnon via Rae Langton: Pornography as Illocutionary Disablement and Civil Suits as a Means to Enfranchise the Silent Majority
I can’t speak for the others; but here’s my abstract. (If you’ve read the post with a similar title, you’ll already have a general idea; but there’ve been some changes, and like all academic enterprises, this one needs a tl;dr summary.)
When feminist theorists challenge the common dichotomies of pervasiveprivatecrimes frompublicpolicy, and ofpersonalproblems frompoliticalstruggles against oppression, antifeminist critics often treat the challenge to this distinction as if it were a simple replacement of theprivatewith a conventional understanding of thepolitical– treating feminist analyses of patriarchy as little different from the use of conspiracy theories to explain the prevalence of male violence. I argue that, contrary to these canonical misunderstandings, the central insights of feminist analysis of patriarchal violence may be articulated with help from a surprising source – the work of radical libertarian social theorists, in particular the Austrian free-market economist Friedrich Hayek. Using philosophical analysis and critique to charitably reconstruct Susan Brownmiller’s "Myrmidon theory" of stranger-rape, as presented in Against Our Will, in light of Hayek’s conception of social order as importantly structured by emergent "spontaneous orders" which are "results of human activity but not of human design," I argue that the dialogue provides critical terms to articulate the radical feminist critique of rape culture, while also claiming and importantly enriching the concept of "spontaneous order" as a tool for radical social critique. When this analytic reconstruction is supplemented with a discussion of recent empirical data on the pervasiveness of rape, drawn from social-science and public health literature on male violence against women, it reveals a distinctive picture that should be of prime importance both to radical feminists and to serious libertarians: a pervasive, diffuse threat of violence that constrains the liberty of women in everyday life to move and act and live as they want, but which, unlike the kinds of State violence which male radicals are accustomed to discussing — modes of domination handed down according to explicit State policies, ratified through political processes, promulgated from the top down and consciously carried out by officially appointed or deputized agents of the State — expresses itself instead in attitudes, behaviors, and coercive restrictions that are largely produced by bottom-up, decentralized forms of violence without conscious collaboration or conspiracy, sometimes in conflict with the explicit provisions of the law, in which women are battered into the social position they currently occupy as if by an invisible fist. I conclude that this unexpected convergence of Brownmiller and Hayek provides (1) a mutually illuminating dialogue on methodology in radical social theory and analytical understandings of structural violence, (2) a surprising synthesis of radical critiques of the construction of identity with radical critiques of domination through the state, and (3) an opportunity to ramify and radicalize understanding of both the feminist insight that "the personal is political," and the Hayekian insight that society is structured by emergent orders that are "results of human activity but not of human design."
Interested? It’d be great to see you there. And, if you’re interested in supporting radical libertarian academic work, left / left-libertarian engagement, and the occasional quixotic effort to repurpose Hayekian economics for the purposes of individualist anarchist and radical feminist social theory, then you may also be interested to know that I’m raising some money on behalf of Molinari to help the Institute cover the costs of getting me out to the conference. The budget is also attached, for the curious.
Meanwhile, I’m going to be in Eugene, Oregon and its immediate environs — I will probably also make at least one trip up to Corvallis, if I have the time — for a few days a month for now. Of course, I’ve been hearing all about Eugene all my damn life as an activist; but I’ve never made it out there yet. So, any suggestions on places to go (bookstores, infoshops, eateries, local sights), or people to meet? (How about you, gentle reader, if you’re in the area?) If so, drop a line in the comments!
- A refined, expanded, and paper-ified version of the thoughts I was working on in my Women and the Invisible Fist post here at the RGPD.↩
- If the Marxians won’t come to Molinari, then I guess Molinari must go to the Marxians.↩
- All contributions go to the Molinari Institute, with an earmark noting that it’s for the RPA presentation; any proceeds above and beyond actual costs will go towards our slush-fund for future awesome left-libertarian academic engagements.↩