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Clairifications re: Infoshop & RCNV

Hi,
I was asked to come on Robert Norse's radio show tonight at 6pm, but I won't be able to make it. I have written the following points that present my perspective on the situation, as one of the more involved individuals in the infoshop collective from the beginning.

To Robert, I should note that I don't really think it is helpful or useful to phrase the situation as "Infoshop VS RCNV", which sensationalizes and confuses the issues involved. Also, it appears to be primarily Bob Fitch, rather than the RCNV at large, that is behind the decision.

I should also mention that our collective has many very mixed feelings about the news-media in general, and the role it plays in society, and I personally see no point in wasting our time giving journalists headlines. Probably the only reason large media outlets were interested in the story was to capitalize on the spectacle of the word "anarchists" – as if there was any common public understanding of what an anarchist is, other than an assortment of media-created fear-inducing images. The mass media will not produce anything other than paralyzing, deadened commodities of opinion and image, and it’s effective purpose is one of mediation, not communication.

1. It is true that our use of the space was exceeding the limitations set in the renting contract - in terms of traffic and 'hanging out', and general over-use of the shared space (the large entry-room). What is unfair is that we were not given notice of these complaints and concerns before the decision was made to kick us out. So we were offered no chance to correct them. Given this notice, we would have put every effort in to making necessary policy changes and decisions to keep our space at the RCNV basement.
It seems that Bob shows a general disregard for the amount of work, sweat, and blood put in to the infoshop space. After these four months of being open, we were just beginning to have things set up the way we wanted them, investing hundreds of dollars we don't have in books and literature, and now it's all going to be gone in a couple of weeks. Ending our lease is basically killing our project.

2. Another significant factor, I believe, is the obvious cultural and class differences between the general infoshop clientele and staff (low-baggin' youth) and the general RCNV staff. A man named "Dick" (I don't know his full name) who apparently pays Bob a small fee each month to conduct business meetings in the shared office space, treated infoshop staff people very disrespectfully, making comments like "You stink, take a bath" and talking spitefully to his clientele about us. It is unfortunate that a positive, mutual working relationship of understanding with the RCNV was not developed, rather then one of non-communication and unilateral decision-making. For instance, we would have gladly helped find tenants for the vacant office spaces if Bob had spoken to us about the situation.

3. Bob claims that above all we failed to make a "safe, welcoming" space, however, we put a lot of work in to doing just this. Of course, welcoming for us does not indicate a sterile business office - and one can see that the infoshop's atmosphere is quite a contrast to the RCNV's. But I fail to see how our space was in any way 'unsafe'.

4. At this point, it seems beyond unlikely that Bob will offer to continue renting the space at 509 Broadway to us. Unfortunately, upon much dialogue, the collective that put so much work in to starting and maintaining the 509 Broadway infoshop is not feeling that we have enough committed people or resources to start a whole new space at this time. Individuals involved in the infoshop have ideas of other radical and community projects they wish to focus on that would be less draining and difficult to simply maintain. This could change. We have high hopes that in time, as fresh energy and new people come along, a new space will open up with the wonderful Anarchist lending library and many of the hundreds of books and zines that we made available.

Footnote: We urgently need a place to keep the anarchist library for the interm between now and the next infoshop-type space that opens up, since we have to move everything out of our current space by the end of the month. Interested people should get in touch. (infoshop (at) hushmail.com)

(sorry this got posted twice)
 
 


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