Slingshot collective has made all of its publications in a cozy loft at Long Haul — a radical community center in Berkeley — since 1992. Now, our future here is uncertain after Long Haul’s landlord, the Northern California Land Trust (NCLT), announced plans to demolish the building in 2024 and replace it with an 8-story apartment building. NCLT has received $2 million in grants — against a $40-$50 million price tag — and they are actively seeking loans and investments.
In April, NCLT offered to rent Long Haul a “comparable” space at the new building with terms “comparable” to the current lease — but the offer lacks details and says it “does not create a binding agreement between the Parties and will not be enforceable.” The current rent is below market and some of us are skeptical that rent at the new building will be cheap enough for Long Haul to afford.
In May, Long Haul responded to the offer by writing “Long Haul has more to lose than it has to gain from the proposed redevelopment. Long Haul is happy in the current building, which meets Long Haul’s needs…. Being displaced for months during construction is not in Long Haul’s interest. While Long Haul does not support destruction of the existing building, it agrees that returning to the new building … is preferable to being displaced.”
So far NCLT has ignored the May email and hasn’t provided any updates on whether the mid-2024 date is still on or delayed. Long Haul doesn’t have any idea when it may get a six-month notice to move.
Long Haul is the perfect place to make Slingshot. It has been a radical center since 1979 and it has a funky, underground vibe — murals, radical posters and shelves stuffed with zines and books line the walls. Everything is handmade and DIY — it has a feeling you don’t get in a sterile new building. Besides Slingshot, Long Haul hosts a needle exchange, a community printing press, grassroots organizations, a weekly anarchist study group and meetings and events. It is open to the public 5 days a week, operated collectively by volunteers and welcomes all types of freaks rather than being devoted to soulless consumerism like everywhere else.
The precious thing about Long haul isn’t just the old building — it’s the community and the continuity with radical struggles that have taken place here over the last 44 years.
If the building gets torn down, Long Haul will need help moving its radical historical archive that contains thousands of publications dating back to the 1960s. Email email@example.com if you can help. Slingshot will find a new place if we have to — until then we’re enjoying every minute of the sweet afternoon sun streaming through the skylights onto the crazy artwork jigsaw puzzle going into the zine — while we still can.