Filed under: Anarchist Movement, Announcement, Gentrification, Midwest
We’re asking for help to keep Boxcar Books & Community Center going. For various reasons outlined below, we’re facing difficulty keeping our space open and need help. We currently don’t have money to pay rent for April, and will have to close if we can’t raise at least $1000 by next week.
The last few years have been very difficult for Boxcar financially. Indiana University contracted all of its textbook sales out to Barnes and Noble and prohibited professors from ordering books for their classes through Boxcar, which was enormously damaging for our revenue stream and visibility to students.
Simultaneously, the city and state governments’ failure to adequately care for the population of people experiencing extreme poverty and/or homelessness in Bloomington has set up a situation where Boxcar is the only indoor location in or near downtown where people can rest their feet or get out the rain or cold without being obliged to spend money. We refuse to turn people away based on what they do or do not have in their pockets, and we won’t budge on that principle. However, managing this situation has required an incredible effort on the part of our small collective, to such a point that for a time it became very difficult for us to run the store efficiently and we lost several volunteers and a lot of customers as a result. In addition, those seeking to gentrify Bloomington have targeted Boxcar for its refusal to be complicit in social cleansing.
As all of this has happened, Boxcar has continued to expand its project of being a visible, unapologetic radical space. It is home to the Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project, which sends thousands of books and zines each year to prisoners across the United States. It hosts events by Bloomington Anarchist Black Cross, including a monthly prisoner info and letter writing night, benefit events for prisoners, and a monthly anarchist movie night. It facilitates and houses a twice-monthly anarchist reading group that has become a popular, visible point of connection to anarchist ideas in Bloomington. It is the only consistent space in Bloomington in which anarchist, revolutionary, and otherwise subversive literature is consistently available. Most importantly, it has served as an informational hub for social struggles, including the September 9, 2016 prison strike.
Losing this space would be a serious blow to dozens of anarchist projects in Bloomington and anarchist struggle here as a whole.
We’re grateful for any help we can get in this difficult time.