AKA is a space dedicated to anti-state, anti-capitalist, anti-colonial and anti-oppression politics and practices. We value community, mutual aid and solidarity. We value practices where people look out for each other and don’t rely on the state to meet our needs, and especially practices that take care of those who need it. We want to neither be dominated nor dominate other people or groups. We believe in our individual and collective freedoms. But that doesn’t say a whole lot about what actually *happens* at AKA!
There are a number of different types of activities that happen at AKA. On Mondays and Thursdays we have open hours for our library/bookstore called Blue Heron Books & Zines. During these times you are welcome to come in to read, borrow and buy books and zines, have a cup of tea, talk with people about anarchism or all kinds of other things. At other times, collectives of AKA and other community groups host events and political meetings in the space.
When AKA is hosting an event you can usually expect…
– The event to be free or pay what you can, with no one turned away.
– An accessibility ramp up to the door.
– To be welcomed by someone. This usually means someone will say hi and ask your name and tell you theirs. They might ask you more about what brought you to AKA and tell you a bit about the space. Feel free to ask!
– A cozy, comfortable space with lots of books and posters to look at, and chairs for about 35-40 people (with varying degrees of comfort). There is a small kitchenette to make tea and use dishes and a microwave to heat up food if you like.
– A single stall accessible washroom with a change table, menstrual care items, and a sharps container.
– Books and toys for kids! You can find them on the green shelf by the door.
– No assholery. This is our basic principle of how we treat others and expect others to treat us and the space. We do our best to offer a space that is as comfortable and welcoming as possible. If someone is acting in a harmful way towards others, we intervene and sometimes we might ask someone acting like a jerk to leave.
– A space for learning. Questions and sharing perspectives are encouraged, while everyone is responsible for their own words.
– People may want to know your thoughts and encourage you to share them.
– Discussions. Events like talks, film screenings and other events often have a conversational component. We usually sit in a circle so we can all see each other, and to organize our conversations, we have someone who is facilitating the discussion and keeping a “speakers list” to make sure everyone who wants to speak gets the chance.
– Introductions. We will go around the circle to share our names and sometimes pronouns. At the end of a discussion, we will also do a “check out”, going around the circle a second time to share final thoughts, talk about upcoming events, and say goodbye.
– On the subject of pronouns: if you are uncomfortable sharing your pronouns, you don’t have to! But if someone shares their pronouns with you, please respect them. Malicious misgendering is definitely an act of assholery.
Sometimes groups organize events for people who self-identify with specific identities – for example, trans folks, or Black, Indigenous, people of colour and mixed race folks. We do this because sometimes it nice for folks who experience oppression to have a space to be together and on their/our own.
When other people host events here you can expect that the event will still be free or a low cost. Though events organized and hosted by other groups are run autonomously by them, so some of what is described above might not apply!