In the early morning of March 21, the building behind ours caught fire.
Two people lost their lives. The fire
moved to the mixed-use warehouse building we share with 1984 Printing and 30+ residents. Everyone in our building got out safely, but several units were completely destroyed. There was extensive water and smoke damage to other units, including the ones occupied by AK Press and 1984 Printing.On the afternoon of March 24th, the City of Oakland red-tagged our building, which prohibits us from occupying it. We don't know how long this will last, but it obviously means we can't conduct business as usual.
We know how many of you support what AK Press does and the important role it plays in independent and radical publishing. A lot of you have been asking what is the best way to help us in the midst of this chaos and disruption. In fact, the outpouring of support and mutual aid has been pretty damn amazing. There was a small army of people here helping with clean-up over the weekend, and we've already raised some emergency funds from generous donations via PayPal (thank you!!) while we were working out the logistics of coordinating a larger fund drive.
But we and our neighbors can all still use help, and we want to make sure everyone affected benefits from the same kind of mutual aid we have seen. In our case, while we have lost thousands of books and pamphlets, our first concern is the smaller presses who we distribute. Several of them had inventory damaged. We want to make sure we are able to pay them so that they can keep going and reprint their books. Second, we are concerned about all the work we are currently unable to do: the books not being shipped out, the files not getting sent to the printer while we are kept out of the building. We are working out the details of our insurance, of what stock is and isn’t covered, but we won't see any insurance money for quite a while and we’ll definitely need some support until that happens, and to make sure our losses aren't passed on to other publishers we distribute.
Our neighbors at 1984 Printing had a ton of paper, materials, jobs in progress, and computers damaged. Residents of the building lost varying percentages of their belongings. Some lost everything.
So, if you can help, it’s pretty simple: whatever you donate will be evenly split three ways between AK Press, 1984 Printing, and our affected neighbors.
And all of us will be very, very grateful.
The AK Press Collective