Friday, December 03, 2010

Crimethinc: Building a New Kind of Infoshop

Building A New Kind Of Infoshop
by Peter P.

On Saturday, November 13, a new and experimental infoshop in Winona, MN, opened it’s doors to the public. The Burrow is one of the first new infoshops to open since the controversial essay “5 Steps to Reviving Your Failing Anarchist Bookstore“, and at a time when long-standing infoshops are throwing in their towels, this account offers insight into the new models still unseen.

This story begins where our coverage of small-town organizing left off in Rolling Thunder #7. What follows is not only an account and recipe for a new type of space, but a possible intermediate step in anarchist organizing in long-term communities.

If You Build It . . .

Early on, the plan was to put a space in our home. Our friends and colleagues have known about our wild dreams for the last two years — that we’d be able to have a social space independent from the rest of our house. Now that we’ve finished most of the work, a community is waiting for us.

We knew from the start that making good on our promise would mean a lot of work and time. It would mean learning how to do things we’d never done before. Perhaps most importantly, it would mean we would have to care enough about the outcome to do things well.

The process was long, though. Visitors passed through to see the space in wholly different stages and shades. Before any work was done the wallpaper was sagging, the plaster dripping, like some paper street soap company.

The walls were first to go. We had to tear down the old walls, swinging hammers and crowbars. Carpenters call this doing “demo” and it is similar, in many ways, to the anarchist sense of the word. Of course, it wasn’t all smash. We shoveled plaster and lath. We scooped armloads of asbestos vermiculite. It was dusty, disgusting, probably deadly, and it had to be done.

To Read the Rest of the Essay and to See Pictures of the Journey/Process

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