Libraries, Archives, Technology, Impending Doom
A few weeks ago I wrote about how pig-fucking awful neo-liberalism is. (Sometime I wonder what potential future employers will think when I apply for jobs with them and they look up this blog and see that I use words like “pig-fucking” to talk about the profession.) One of the perpetual rallying cries on neo-liberalism’s proponents is “bootstraps!” That is, they demand that the only sound solutions to the structural problems they’ve created are individual ones — people who find themselves in a rough spot should lift themselves up by their bootstraps. Which isn’t generally possible when one does not have boots, duh.
But sometimes folks manage to find themselves some bootstraps and do some shit.
In 2009, the activists and hip hop artists Rebel Diaz opened the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective is an abandoned warehouse in the South Bronx. By all accounts, it was totally awesome and did a lot of good stuff for the folks involved and the wider community. They’d recently started up the Richie Perez Radical Library. The collective resided there for almost four years (during which time a judge who dismissed a case against Rebel Diaz told them to “keep up the good work”), until the landlord fucked them over by denying them a new lease and then calling in the cops.
On February 28, cops with guns drawn poured into RDAC in the middle of the day and forcefully shut the whole thing down. They — in shades of my own experience with the People’s Library — emptied out the place while being rather unkind to all the materials the collective had provided for themselves. Like many other radical cultural institutions in NYC, RDAC is now an itinerant refugee.
Turns out we aren’t actually allowed to have bootstrap, either.