I recently travelled to the west coast – Victoria, B.C., Seattle and Portland – and had such fun adventures including checking out great bookstores and infoshops. It was especially inspiring and useful now that I’m back home getting Diggers ready for this season. We’re opening again on Saturday, June 2nd and everyone is invited to help us celebrate the day.
Now, back to my travels. One of the highlights was going with my friend Tara (so great to catch up with friends!) to Camas in Victoria. I picked up interesting zines and free local lit, too, so much so that I mailed everything back to my place before travelling on to the US. Beside the fact that I like to travel light, I’m not sure I would have wanted to carry what I picked up through customs.
In Seattle, I went to Left Bank books. Located right in the downtown Pike Place market, the store has been collectively operated since 1973. Owned and run as an anarchist collective, it has no bosses or managers. Decisions are made in bi-monthly collective meetings based on a consensus process.
I could have browsed there all day! I did pick up more zines here, too, which I’ll have in the Diggers shop this summer if anyone wants to read them.
Portland was where I spent the last week of my trip, and it did not disappoint! Awesome town. Unfortunately, when I went to the anarchist Anarres infoshop, I found it closed. But fortunately, even mainstream bookshops in that town have rad books. The Powell’s on Hawthorne, just down from where I was staying, had books I wanted, though no zines.
I did find a treasure trove of books and zines at Microcosm (check out the video on their fb page) and put in an order with them for Diggers as soon as I got back home (more on that in my next blog post).
I always visit public libraries wherever I go. Seattle’s was impressive and I spent half a day there. Half a day at a communal table in a public library is highly recommended if you want to get a feel for a town or city.
The public library in Portland, though not as initially impressive, did have zines and I spent a few hours at the downtown branch where I also found copies of the Industrial Worker, the quarterly publication of the IWW.
Speaking of the IWW, I was lucky enough to catch up with folks from the Burgerville Workers Union. A chance meeting on the bus with one of the workers on his way to the picket made it especially nice for me because I got to take part in their 2-year anniversary celebration and soft picket at the Powell BV location.
What they’ve accomplished is exciting and an encouraging example of how collective direct action can change our lives for the better.
This trip was full of beauty – the Hoyt arboretum was a fave – and unexpected inspirations including lots of wheat-pasted posters of resistance to business-as-usual,
BLM signs on people’s lawns, street art, cheap and extensive public transit, water fountains everywhere, worker and community owned shops,
lots of vegan food and so many plants! Everywhere, flowering trees and greenery between sidewalks and roads, and sometimes over them.
And bikes. Lots of bikes. And dogs, of course.
Next post is about the new books that just arrived in the shop. Please consider following the blog if you’re interested in updates.