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Anarchist Communications: Mutual Aid for the A-library infoshop in Estonia

Received in my inbox yesterday.

From: A-raamatukogu
Subject: Solidarity with infoshop in Estonia
Date: 25 February 2010 6:57 AM

An anarchist infoshop in Estonia needs your support to survive the harsh winter

The ‘A-library’ (‘A-raamatukogu’, http://www.araamat.org) which is an anarchist/alternative infoshop in Tartu, Estonia (Eastern-Europe) needs your help. The winter of 2009/2010 has been exceptionally cold and our heating expenses have been way bigger than expected. Since we don’t receive funding from any organization, foundation or institution, and depend on individual donations from the local scene to pay for utilities and rent, for now our monetary resources have been exhausted. We are eager to keep A-raamatukogu functioning but for that we need to pay our bills. You can help us out by making a solidarity donation to following bank account:

  • Local account code: 17001364482
  • IBAN account code: EE32 1700 0170 0136 4482
  • SWIFT bank code: NDEAEE2X
  • Currency: EUR
  • Recipient: INDEPENDENT ACTIVE MT?@c3;153;
  • Explanation: ‘Donation for A-raamatukogu’

All donations go fully to the use of A-raamatukogu and their proper and purposeful use can be verified from the bookkeeping of NGO Independent Active (http://www.indyactive.net). All work done to maintain A-raamatukogu has been and continues to be voluntary and non-paid.

What is this A-raamatukogu anyway?

A-raamatukogu is an anarchist/alternative infoshop in Tartu, Estonia, currently located on the third floor of the Culture Factory in Tartu (Pikk street 58/60, http://www.tartu.kultuuritehas.ee/). Estonia is a small ex-Soviet country in north-eastern Europe, located between Finland, Russia and Latvia. The A-raamatukogu is situated near the downtown area of Tartu, the second biggest city in Estonia which is known as the university town of the region.

A-raamatukogu is operated by about fifteen young activists (mostly university students), most of us are connected with PunaMust (a small Estonian anarchist network that is gathered around the web page http://www.punamust.org/ ) and Estonian animal rights group Loomade Nimel (‘In the name of animals’, http://www.loomadenimel.org/). We are also closely linked with the squatting scene in Tallinn (the capital of Estonia, about 180 km northwest from Tartu).

We don't have any formal or bureaucratic structure. Formalities (e.g. rent contract, book-keeping and bank account) are handled through a friendly NGO called Independent Active (http://www.indyactive.net/ ), but we find it important to point out that Independent Active is not the ‘owner’ of A-raamatukogu. Decisions are made directly by the people involved in running the place and everybody can take part in it.

The main goal of A-raamatukogu is to promote anti-authoritarian ideas, introduce alternative social, cultural and political movements and to create a space where activists and groups can gather, communicate, share information, prepare for actions or just hang out.

A-raamatukogu was first opened on June 1st, 2009. We have been regularly opened (four days a week) since September 2009. We have organized movie screenings (topics ranging from food industry and climate change, to anarchism and the Spanish Civil War), community dinners (vegan food for an optional small donation), Really Really Free Markets, info events… A-raamatukogu is a meeting ground for a local Animal Rights activists and anarchists, we have hosted poetry events and organized workshops (stencil art, creative writing, etc). All the events in A-raamatukogu have been free of charge.

In the beginning of March 2010, A-raamatukogu is moving from the Culture Factory to a ‘youth house’ called Lille Maja ( http://www.lille.tartu.ee ) which is closer to the downtown of Tartu. Rent and utility prices are also cheaper there but we still have to settle unpaid heating bills from the Culture Factory. Also, the moving process and preparing the new place takes some monetary resources.

This winter has been extraordinarily cold – temperature has been constantly in range of -20 to -10 C (that’s about -4 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit) for the past few months, dropping sometimes to -30 C (-22 F). Since we only had the possibility of using electric heating, unexpectedly cold winter has brought nasty heating bills. In addition we’ve been hit quite hard by the economic crisis – Estonia has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe (15,5% in February 2010), which especially affects young and uninsured people.

In preparation for moving, our library has been closed in February 2010, but events scheduled earlier are still taking place. We will be regularly open again from sometime in March 2010 in Lille Maja (Lille street 9, Tartu). If you are interested in any kind of cooperation, you can contact us via e-mail: info@araamat.org. If you happen to visit Estonia, you’re very welcome to drop by – we can offer you accommodation or host your project/lecture/performance.

The A-raamatukogu collective

Contact: info@araamat.org (please write in English)

You can find more information about A-raamatukogu from our webpage: http://www.araamat.org

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