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Mar 23, 20

Infoshops of the World, Unite!: A Report from Anarres in Portland, OR

Report from Anarrest Infoshop in so-called Portland, Oregon, about their recent opening amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Hello everyone, greetings from Anarres Infoshop in so-called Portland, OR, USA

What a time to move into a new space. One of our first days fully moved-in after over a year of fundraising to get a new one, was the start of this ongoing Coronavirus epidemic. As this pandemic has developed, we’ve reconsidered what our purpose is. While originally we intended to provide a community space, now we are self-quarantining. While we wanted to provide a physical library, now everybody is stuck in their homes, and 24 hour curfews are being mulled over by the local, State, and national governments.

At this time we are trying our best to adapt to the new circumstances. We’ve cancelled all our events, and focused on providing mutual aid through a supply hub in front of our shop and opening up our restroom to passersby while maintaining the principles of social distancing. Soon we will be establishing hand washing stations outside at key locations and thoroughfares, something the city government has entirely failed to do (except in the inner southeast business district…hmm…)

But we must look to the future. Since we cannot have events, our fundraising has declined precipitously and it is once again unfeasible for us to maintain our physical location. If things continue as they are expected to, we will close up our physical shop in July when our lease is up– it would be a waste of much needed resources to continue to pay rent here, when this isn’t the community space that we need right now. But the problem of how to remain a useful collective to our community hasn’t gone away.

So, we are going digital, and we’re going to be making deliveries. We’re focusing on developing a website where anyone can sign up for free weekly deliveries of essentials like healthcare supplies, organic produce, and more. Additionally, we will be focusing on creating a monthly reading group, where you can sign up, throw us a few dollars if you have some, and you get some zines and other materials which all align around a particular theme.

We also desire to work more closely with infoshops worldwide. Since we are all facing similar circumstances economically and epidemiologically, we are sure there are other collectives which are similarly rethinking the way they do things to better serve the radical community. To that end, we are establishing a group chat on Riot for delegates and members from infoshop collectives to discuss our efforts, challenges we’re facing, and work together to support each other during this slow-moving catastrophe. Please email us to get involved!

firebrand collective at proton mail dot com

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