Failing Portland Anarchist Cafe Blames Capitalism for No Capital and No Customers

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A notorious anarchist-friendly Portland cafe is the latest victim of the slow economic conditions. The Red and Black says it’s just days away from closing because it doesn’t have enough customers, no money and no prospects. Capitalism is to blame, they claim.

Most of all we want everyone to know that as much as capitalism tries to beat us down, we’re determined to keeping pushing on!

Things are dire. They actually admit to absconding with money people gave the cafe to fix a broken window, writing bad checks and are now even working for free.

Our finances have reached a crisis point. …To be blunt: we are unable to make our mortgage payment on time and we’ve bounced checks to some of our vendors and staff. …The most dramatic and immediate change is that we’ve decided to work without pay until we can turn this situation around.

And, for such an anti capitalist mob, they certainly rely a lot on the capitalist model to keep things going. Weird, no? 

Our situation is compounded by the fact that we have never had anything near a comfortable amount of working capital. We attempted to raise sufficient capital during the fundraising drive we held when we decided to buy our building.[emph mine]

Perhaps it’s due to their business plan.

[W]e are a radical, queer-positive safer space; an important hub for many overlapping grassroots political projects, a cop-free zone, an amazing vegan restaurant, a music venue, a hangout and meeting space for Industrial Workers of the World union members, a low income collective household upstairs— the list goes on. We make most of our food from scratch which is labor intensive and because our ingredients are (mostly) organic, they are more expensive. [emph mine]

The anarchist cafe is just steps from the St. Francis Church where every lefty group claims a headquarters, including Occupy Portland. As I’ve reported here Occupy Portland is having difficulty paying its bills, too.

Maybe the Red and Black should look for new customers–including cops.  When the anarchists refused to serve a new Portland cop who walked in one day in 2010 to get a cup of Joe, The Victoria Taft Show took coffee to the Red and Black and served them instead.


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