Long Haul — a radical community center in Berkeley that hosts an infoshop — is in the midst of big changes. After 10 years of being open only limited hours because of the security needs of a previous tenant, Long Haul has the opportunity to extend its hours and expand the scope of its activities. Long Haul is reaching out to the community for new energy and new ideas about what to do with the space. There are also two low-cost office spaces open for non-profit projects.
A dream scenario would be to massively expand hours with a ton of new projects, events and energy. Right now Long Haul is open 6 days a week but only a few hours a day. Picture being open 20 hours a day 7 days a week. For example, Long Haul could open at 6 a.m. for morning yoga, meditation and calisthenics, serve punk breakfast from 7-9 am (oops – that would actually be at 3 pm – ed.), then host theme hours and workshops all damn day. Now is the perfect time to let your mind run wild and imagine a gazillion possible uses for the space and time: activist support groups, art classes, author readings, beer brewing workshops, beginning mushroom identification, bike repair zone, book group discussions, bread-making workshop, button making hour, critical mass after-party, disco dance party, economics classes, fiddle lessons, garden seed swaps, group process workshops, herbalism workshops, kids’ story time, meetings, midnight cabaret, mobile free store, movie nights, needle exchange, out-loud James Joyce reading hour, Pilates, poetry readings, political discussions, potluck lunch, pre-protest sign making party, quiet study hall, sign language hour, silkscreening classes, song trading circle, Spanish immersion hour, Stencil cutting, traveling variety shows, website design classes, women’s self defense classes, working on Slingshot, zine making workshops — Hell yeah!
All that it takes to turn dreams to reality is for people to plug in, host the events, staff the shifts, make fliers, and participate. Creating community takes many forms. In the past, people built community in unions, churches, farmers co-ops and with neighbors. In modern society, many opportunities for community have been obliterated by capitalism — more and more things people used to do for themselves are now done by huge corporations — media replacing social interaction, McDonalds instead of shared meals, isolated commuters on freeways displacing people passing each other and chatting on the street.
Infoshops like Long Haul seek to rebuild community that has been lost, and go beyond the oppressive social rules of small towns by welcoming diversity and opening space for grassroots, anti-authoritarian action.
This is a call for new energy, new volunteers, and new visions. If you’re in the East Bay and have three hours a week to make something happen, let us know. Long Haul is just 2 blocks from BART on a vibrant radical block across from La Peña and the Starry Plough. There are available hours during the day if you have a project that needs a place to operate. Contact Long Haul at 510 540-0751 / 3124 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley.