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(en) Canada, Vancouver, BC: The anarchist Spartacus Books Destroyed By Fire

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 26 Apr 2004 17:39:28 +0200 (CEST)


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News has just come out that Vancouver's only collectively-run
anarchist bookstore, Spartacus Books, was destroyed by fire this
morning along with three other small businesses. The bookstore
began in the 1970s with radical students from Simon Fraser
University who were disatisfied with the quality of books available
on campus. Since that time it has served as the key focal point of
the anarchist and radical community more generally in
Vancouver, which makes this event even more tragic. More
information will be posted shortly when it is known...
Update on the Destruction by Fire of Vancouver's Spartacus Books

posted by Yang on infoshop.org

today was the day that vancouver's collectively-run, non-profit,
radical bookstore, Spartacus Books went up in smoke.

this morning a bunch of us got frantic calls about the building
being on fire, but none of us imagined that when we got there all
that would be left were a facade and crumbling walls. the entire
building, which also housed Blunt Bros and apartments, was
pretty much completely gutted by the fire.

the rumour circulating all morning-afternoon at the site was that
the fire started in a dumpster in the back alley. that's all we know
right now, rumours. there was lots of talk about rebuilding,
relocating, etc. unfortunately there is a great lack of funds and
prohibitively high retail rental prices. however, we will regather
and replan. in fact there's already a collective meeting planned this
tuesday night at 7pm, location to be determined.

Spartacus Books started as a book table at Simon Fraser
University in the early 70's. it was started because some lefties
wanted to buy books together to save money, as well as to create a
much-needed local source for accessing radical political material.
from its inception, the bookstore had a reading area to encourage
people to read, but not necesarily buy. this was especially
important because there was a belief that people's knowledge
should not be limited by their disposible income, especially
knowledge about oppression, resistance, and liberation.

non-profit since day one, Spartacus was collectively-run, meaning
there is no "boss" and that there needs to be a general agreement
among the collective members on any decision made. although
difficult and tedious at times, this management structure has seen
the store survive a number of financial crisis, and well enough that
we even needed to hold 30th anniversary events last year. in fact,
the walls were like a record of the last 3 decades of various major
political events and issues of the time told through posters: many
1970's posters from various struggles in South America against
US domination, a sketch of Ho-Chi-Min (the famous vietnamese
leader), a picture of Che Guervara eating ice-cream (one of my
personal favorites), various ones marking Indigenous resistance in
north america (including Kanasetake, AKA Oka, Quebec, and
also the attack at Gustafsen Lake in BC), all the way to the poster
promoting the anti-WTO protests in seattle in november, 1999.
and they were even with-it enough to put up a Bus Riders Union,
"Transit for All" poster!

anyways. you love and lose, just to learn and love again.

for the past few years, Spartacus Books (which BTW has nothing
to do the any "spartacists" people, pleez), was widely used by
communities ranging from lefty academics (profs) to street youth
punks who sometimes treated the reading room like their living
room. it was the hub for many people, politically and socially. i
think this will be the most immediate loss, the space, at a time
when already so few like it exist, not due to a lack of need, but due
to the same basic economic inqualities that forces so many people
to work shitty jobs or sleep on the street. Spartacus Books has
always been a labour of love, only made possible by the
increadible amount of time and energy put in by many hundreds
of volunteer collective members over the decades. right now, we
have almost 50 collective members, about 20 of whom are
regularly active (have regular shifts and/or attend meetings), while
the rest (like me) occasionally fill-in for shifts or do other things to
help support the store. a lot of people's love and labour went up in
smoke today as well.

so now we move forward. there is already talk of having a
"summer of fundraisers" and maybe finding and creating an even
better space. as always, the future depends a lot on what we do
today.

Source: http://resist.ca/story/2004/4/25/22422/7778


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