(en) Lucy Parsons Center in Boston needs help

Chuck0 (chuck0@geocities.com)
Tue, 28 Oct 1997 11:48:29 -0500

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---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 01:19:48 EST From: Mark Laskey <kronstadt@juno.com> Reply-To: fnb-l@tao.ca To: fnb-l@tao.ca Subject: Boston Radical Info shop / Anarchist Center in need of help...

Warmest of greetings from the chilly city of Boston, I'm writing not because of the burning "spam issue" that has plagued my e-mail as of late, but to let folks know what is going on with the Lucy Parsons Center and its un- certain future here in Boston. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Lucy Parsons Center, I will give a brief history... The Lucy Parsons Center was founded in 1970 as the "Red Bookstore" and has struggled and survived to be one of the oldest radical centers in North America. In 1992, with more and more "reds" being replaced by, shall we say "those who fly the flag of black", and a "bookstore" that was continuing to lean in the direction of a "center", the Red Bookstore became known as the Lucy Parsons Center. (named after Lucy Parsons, who wrote for a number of leftist publications, helped form the I.W.W., fought for the 8-hour day, and organized under the flags of anarchism, communism, and socialism at different points of her life, to further the causes of labor, the poor and unemployed, racial justice, women's equality,etc. She was once described by the police as "more dangerous than a thousand rioters". She was also the widow of the anarchist Haymarket martyr Albert Parsons. ---- you will be quizzed on this all later!) The Lucy Parsons Center carries thousands of radical books, periodicals, magazines, pamphlets, t-shirts and buttons from all over the world and is also a meeting place for groups such as the I.W.W., Homes Not Jails, the East Timor Action Group, the New England Anarchist Federation, Queer Revolt, and the Womens Revolutionary Action Group (WRAG). It also has radical movie night once a week and works very closely with the Boston Prison Book Program (as well as being a drop off and pick up spot for lefty-information used by countless hundreds!). Unfortunately our days at the center are numbered... In June of this year, we got a notice of demolition for our building. Now aside from Lucy Parsons, our building is home to all kinds of diverse shops and independent businesses, such as an Ethiopian restaurant, a cheap diner, an Oriental buffet, and an African American clothing store(not to mention stores that have been there for over 80 years), all of which are just struggling to stay afloat. The rich developers want to raze our building and in its place put up a mall-like structure (complete with a Gap, Barnes and Nobles, etc.) with a high-rise apartment complex to house the wealthy. What the developers thought would be a relatively simple business investment, has sparked a massive wave of resistance that has divided the Central Square community. There have been thousands of signatures for anti-demolition petitions, numerous protests (sponsored by Lucy Parsons, Homes Not Jails and the ad-hoc group Save Central Square), major articles in all kinds of local papers, politicians running on anti-demolition platforms, and opposing graffiti has mysteriously appeared throughout the city. Besides the obvious result of this demolition (evictions), it raises concerns of gentrification, displacement, land ownership, community vs. profit, cultural diversity, etc. And as most people would agree, this demolition would completely destroy the social fabric of the square, create rent increases, and take OUR community and place it in the hands of corporate chain-stores and wealthy property owners. We have put up a strong fight this far, but we are running out of time (demolition is scheduled for January of 1998!). We are in desperate need of money to try and block this legally, and if this does not work (and we are pretty realistic in believing that it will not) we are in even more desperate need of money in order to relocate... So please help us if you can. Thank You.

In Solidarity, Mark c/o Lucy Parsons Center 3 Central Square, Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 497-9934


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