Spartacus Books is being evicted!
Here's what some of us think about it. Feel free to share this statement:
WHO WE ARE
Spartacus Books is a nonprofit bookstore and resource centre run by a collective of volunteers. We have been located in or around the Downtown Eastside since our doors first opened in 1973.
As an independent radical bookstore, we carry books, zines, comics, and magazines you won't find anywhere else, covering a range of subjects including anarchism, race and society, community organizing, gender, queer studies, feminism, radical theory, First Nations, prisons, labour, imperialism, DIY, political economy, ecology, and literature. We host regular anticapitalist events and meetings, and we offer free computer and Internet access and a free public phone available 24 hours a day. We aim to be a safe, welcoming, inclusive space for our neighbors and an organizing hub for Vancouver's radical community.
SPARTACUS BOOKS IS BEING RENOVICTED! We are being kicked out of our current location in the Heatley Block at 684 East Hastings St. Our landlords, who bought the building from Atira Property Management in late 2012, have terminated our lease and told us to vacate the premises by July 31. The owners have been doing renovations in our building and are also forcing out our neighbours. It's clear that we are all facing the threat of renoviction, as new rents in the building have as much as tripled.
We are not the only community space in this situation. Rhizome Cafe recently announced that they are closing due to rising costs, and VIVO Media Arts Centre has just been given notice to vacate the space they have been using for the past 20 years. These rent increases and de facto evictions are part of a larger process of gentrification — a process that is forcing our friends and neighbors from their homes in the Downtown Eastside and throughout Vancouver.
It's not just social spaces that are affected. In 2012 alone, with over 850 residents already living in shelters or on the streets, the DTES lost another 426 affordable rooms to higher rents. Formerly-affordable housing is being renovated and rented out at higher rates; new condo developments like 60 W Cordova and Sequel 138 are marketed to the middle class, as are businesses like Pidgin and Save-On-Meats. As neighborhoods are transformed to appeal to a more profitable target market, open and inclusive community spaces are squeezed out, while low-income residents are marginalized, harassed, evicted, and displaced. Our eviction is just one part of this bigger picture.
WE ARE LOOKING FOR A NEW HOME! If you know of any spaces that might be a good fit for a radical bookstore, resource centre, and community space, please let us know! Spartacus Books will be in its current location at 684 East Hastings St until July 31 or until we move, whichever comes first.
If you'd like to support us, you can buy our books, donate to help us cover the costs of moving, or stop by our space with kind words, baked goods, or offers of mutual aid. Better yet, organize with your neighbors and allies to resist gentrification! We want Spartacus Books to be around for the next 40 years, and the best way to make that happen is to SMASH CAPITALISM.