Welcome

The Bloom Collective is an infoshop and lending library consisting of informative materials directed toward social justice. Collectively we strive to offer resources that cover issues which are often neglected in our society. We wish to both provide information for and accept information from our neighborhood and community, and hope to extend our efforts to those who share common ideas of global justice. We believe sharing our collection of resources locally is one of the many ways to inspire change and promote equality globally.

The Bloom Collective is located at 8 Jefferson Ave SE, Grand Rapids MI.

storefront

The Rise and Fall of 8 Jefferson

Hello blossoms,

We come to you in these cold and trying times with news both tragic and hopeful. Alas, the past, present, and future are colliding for our small collective, and the times, well, they are a changin’.

After one year in our storefront space, the volunteers at the bloom recently found ourselves facing a “three-pronged Crisis”. Financial, communication, and structural issues came together simultaneously, nearly to our demise. As we came to the end of our fiscal year and our financial reserves were at their lowest, we were informed that our rent would be increasing anywhere from three to ten times the former rate, (part of a larger gentrification program happening on Jefferson ave). Volunteers scrambled to form a plan to make up the gap in funds, and many new folks became involved. However, after much hardship (and several long meetings), the collective has come to a consensus that we ought to close our doors, if only temporarily, and give ourselves and our members fair time to adequately plan, flesh out our mission, and whatever cash we might need so that we may relaunch the space with an open and sustainable organizational structure at some point in the future.

Volunteers are going to do their best to keep the bloom as operational as possible during our hiatus, even though the space itself will be closed. We plan to do this by continuing to meet on a regular basis (every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month) and keeping in touch with our membership via email and the website about the changes that are happening. So send us an email if you think there’s something we can do for you, or if you want to help.

We also want to take a moment to recognize our partners who made our past year on Jefferson Ave possible. Our Kitchen Table and the IWW have both shared the shop with us and helped us with rent at various points, which has gone a long way to taking some of the stress off of our volunteers. We thank you.

Perhaps we most need to thank Bartertown Diner and their generous worker-owners, who have shown this crusty bunch of volunteers more patience than we could ever expect from a landlord. This continues even in our final thirty days, as evidenced by the fact that if you need to return a book or DVD and no one is in the shop, Bartertown has a drop-box available inside the diner. Just ask one of their staff if you can leave our stuff there, and we’ll come pick it up.

Thanks Bartertown. You’re the best. We’re gunna miss you.

Many bloom volunteers will be taking these last days in February to pack up and clean the space before we have to be out on the first. You can help by bringing any of our materials you might have back as soon as possible; please no later than February 15th. The IWW will be holding regular open hours at the bloom from 6-9pm on Monday nights. Otherwise, look for our open sign and check the facebook page, as various activities, events, and work days are happening at 8 Jefferson before we close.

Stay close and stay warm, comrades. The Spring lies ahead.

Love & Rage,

The bloom collective

What does the world need now?

We put together a survey to help us with organizing our collection, planning relevant events, and making sure our hours are accommodating. We’d appreciate if you took some time to share your thoughts with us.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1f_sVIE6Emc6hvh2eTdwcMPGcScrfY9lpYNiL35JAfHw/viewform

The survey will run until January 7th, so please get your responses in before then.

All personal information will be kept private. All questions are optional.

Love & Rage,
The Bloom Collective

Doc. Night: Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media

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We are showing the first half of Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992), a documentary film that explores the political life and ideas of Noam Chomsky, a linguist, intellectual, and political activist. Created by two Canadian filmmakers, Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick, it expands on the ideas of Chomsky’s earlier book, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, which he co-wrote with Edward S. Herman.

The film presents and illustrates Chomsky’s and Herman’s “propaganda model.” The propaganda model is a conceptual model that states how propaganda, including systemic biases, function in mass media. The model seeks to explain how populations are manipulated and how consent for economic, social and political policies is “manufactured” in the public mind due to this propaganda.

The theory posits that the way in which news is structured (through advertising, media ownership, government sourcing and others) creates an inherent conflict of interest which acts as propaganda for undemocratic forces.

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The event is free, but donations are warmly welcomed.

Parking is freely available on Jefferson and surrounding streets.

Discussion to follow.

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/617204348343173/

Conflict Infrastructure: a talk by Aragorn!

ImageThe Bloom is pleased to announce, we’ll be hosting Little Black Cart author, Aragorn for a talk on “Conflict Infrastructure”

  • October 8th
  • 7:00 pm
  • 8 Jefferson Ave. SE

Read the essay: http://aragorn.anarchyplanet.org/2013/08/15/conflict-infrastructure/

“In the 1990s the internecine conflict between (North American) anarchists was not red vs green or insurrectionary vs platformist, but those who believed that anarchists should develop infrastructure vs those who believed that anarchists should build a (national) organization. The debates raged but more than that people practiced this difference, something one could do day-to-day. This conflict isn’t the main one today. By and large, anarchist practices that are day-to-day are dismissed by other anarchists for being charity (FNB for example), or sub-cultural (infoshops or show spaces). The valorized project is an occasional one, whether an insurrection or a bookfair: happening no more often than once a year in a specific location. The rest of the time is for waiting or writing or traveling to somewhere else”

also check out LBC: http://littleblackcart.com/

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/615166618535436/

 

Gentrify This: an art show

The Bloom is currently accepting submissions for an art show at our space (details below)

Gentrify This: The myth of progress, history, growth & the supposed inevitability of it all.

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The goal is to explore the topics of gentrification, cultural appropriation, artprize, urban renewal, displacement and art as an agent of gentrification. To offer a venue to works that are challenging and antagonistic to power structures at a time and place where they’ll be seen by those outside the art scene and activist ghetto.

We want to make art, but don’t want to kick people out of their homes.
How can we express ourselves and simultaneously fuck with the status quo?
We want our community to have better food, better water…
to be free to walk around without the fear of assult…
Is it possible to make our neighborhoods better?
to have more gardens and less hypodermic needles in the gutters…
more graffitti but less bougiousie boutiques…
block parties without corporate sponsorships…

Is it possible to ride a fixed-gear bike without welcoming developers into the area?
Can we fix our block up and make it better for ourselves without permission from the nieghborhood planning commission?
How can I perform my poetry and not contribute to another fucking starbucks?

 

The show will be up for visitors during our regular open hours (Tues-Sat 11-7*)

 

submissions:send an e-mail to bloomcollective@gmail.com with:

  • photo/description of work(s)
  • title
  • medium
  • artist statement (to be included in signage and a zine to be handed out at the show)
  • contact info for artist
  • price (if any. we aren’t taking commissions)

you can RSVP on our facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/575035205892165/

* our open hours are maintained by volunteers who have complex lives filled with important work, open hours subject to the brutality and chaos of working class life.

Closed for Painting

The infoshop will be closed this week, Sept. 3-7, for construction. As you may know, we are making some improvements to our space. (We just picked up the paint!)

If you need to drop off a book or anything, there will be volunteers here working who should be able to help you out.

We will return to our regular hours next week:
Tuesday through Saturday, 11a to 7p.

Correspondence from Sean Swain, anarchist prisoner

We got a letter in the mail today from anarchist prisoner, Sean Swain… and I don’t know about you, but it seems like confinement hasn’t extinguished his spirit.

 

seanswainBad News: Civilization is Collapsing.
Good News: It was Never Worth a Shit Anyway.

24th June ’13

Dear Bloom Collective –

I’m writing from the Special Management Unit of MANCI in Ohio [Mansfield Correctional Institution] where prison fascists have framed me as a leader of the Army of the 12 Monkeys on the basis of my ideology. In other words, because I’m an anarchist and they want to silence my writings at seanswain.org, I’ve been subject to a 9-month State-terror campaign.

Friends have posted zines of mine on the site and I wanted to write to you in the hopes that you will consider distro-ing some of my work. I’m including a poem on the flipside. Hope it finds you kicking the darkness until it bleeds daylight.

They can’t get us all,
Stay dangerous.

Freedom,
Sean

PS: Because half of my mail is stolen by the fascists, I advise everyone who writes to me to send an e-mail to insurgent.ben@gmail.com so counsel Robert Fixrahes [sp?] can send me a listing & monitor what I actually receive. Fascists… you know how they are…

seanswain2My Hand

This is my hand.
With this hand pressed to the fiberglass, I greet
those who come to visit.
This hand gripped seven thousand captive nights.
This hand dragged friends from the maelstrom of teargas and blood.
This hand. My hand.
This hand fights for liberation, yours and mine,
  because so long as one of us is chained,
  none of us are free.
This hand sharpened pencil stubs on a concrete floor.
This hand wrote a history of oppression to outlive oppressors.
This hand. My hand.
This hand will one day shade my eyes
  from the brilliant light of the sun,
  brush fragile blades of grass,
  caress the ocean’s rolling cold,
  hold my newborn child.
This hand will one day form a clenched fist of victory
  over those who build fences.
With this hand pressed to the fiberglass, I
  smuggle to you the only gift I can afford,
  Past unsuspecting guards
  who cannot fathom the true danger
  of a one-word message…

FREEDOM

 

We’re gonna try to get some of Sean’s zines printed for our library and for distro. And if you want to write to Sean or learn more, here’s some links:

http://seanswain.org/

https://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/army-of-12-monkeys-resist-behind-bars/

https://denverabc.wordpress.com/tag/sean-swain/

“I AM WORTH A FORTUNE!” Summer Zine Tour

Thursday, July 4th

The Bloom Collective is hosting the Grand Rapids leg of the
“I AM WORTH A FORTUNE!” Summer Zine Tour

Collin Brennan of Continental Interlude

Matt Whispers of Effigy

Jim Joyce of Let It SinkI Am Worth a Fortune! Summer Zine Tour

The Bloom Collective is hosting the Grand Rapids leg of the
“I AM WORTH A FORTUNE!” Summer Zine Tour

Matt Whispers of Effigy
Jim Joyce of Let It Sink