We are sad and relieved to announce that we have closed Empowerment Infoshop.
A brief history:
During the winter/spring of 2018, Empowerment Infoshop was operating within EVAC (the East Village Arts Collective space). Unfortunately, the EVAC collective fell apart after the YCL (Young Communist League) moved in and began clawing their way to hegemonic control of the space. Empowerment became a mobile infoshop. During the end of our time at EVAC, rumors were heard of a new “community space” opening soon, called B13 (also known as Baker’s Dozen). Member(s) of the EVAC collective were contacted, and invited to help coordinate this new space, but most people were wary and nobody did take the offer.
By the Fall of 2018, we were eager to move in to a new space. B13 was the most convenient option; it was somewhat affordable, had the space and amenities to support everything we wanted to do, and at the time, most of the people renting there were our friends.
Sadly, we admit we were naive in thinking B13 would be a good space for us. The stench of gentrification was faint then, but it would grow and we would learn the hard way.
Where we are now:
Baker’s Dozen perpetuates the gentrification of the Old East by helping to make it more appealing to middle-class renters and buyers. Consequently, the existing community of people without homes, as well as those who cannot afford the skyrocketing rent, are slowly being pushed out. The people in control of B13 have been vocal about their intent to cultivate a community by and for the young, the affluent, and the upper-middle class. The push to establish B13 as a trendy shopping center has only been possible by their increasingly militant exclusionary policies.
To stay at the Baker’s Dozen would be to compromise our morality as anarchists. We left Baker’s Dozen on April 1st, 2019. We are still waiting to receive back a $600 rent deposit. We will not be hosting the book fair in June. It felt defeating to close our doors, but for a variety of reasons we have made that choice. There is no planned future for Empowerment Infoshop.