As could have been predicted from the very beginning, a Toronto coffee shop that described itself as being “anti-capitalist” and in which it asked people to pay “what they could, when they could,” instead of a fixed price based on the input costs and a profit percentage, failed miserably within a year of opening.
When it opened, the cafe described itself as being “anti-capitalist, anti-colonial cafe, shop and radical community space on stolen land.” Owner Gabriel Sims-Fewer said, at the time, “I hope by openly declaring the business as anti-capitalist I can motivate people to think and ask about what that means, and let those who are already anti-capitalists of one kind or another know that this is a place for them, where their politics, ideas, and identities will always be welcome.”
Well, that didn’t work out. Turns out, businesses have to operate based on profit and cost, not “anti-capitalist” ideals and vague ideas about what should be rather than what is. The Anarchist released a statement on its website announcing the closure, saying:
It’s been an amazing experience, connecting with so many great community members, sparking desperately needed debate, raising the blood pressure of Conservatives (that includes you, “anarcho-capitalists” and “Libertarians”), fulfilling the dream of most service workers by not having to tolerate the presence of professional class-traitors (pigs and military), and experimenting with living and working in ways that don’t enthusiastically embrace the pure misanthropy of Capitalism. Unfortunately, the lack of generational wealth/seed capital from ethically bankrupt sources left me unable to weather the quiet winter season, or to grow in the ways needed to be sustainable longer-term.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Pop Coffee Works, my coffee supplier and landlords, for their generosity and patience; they could easily have sold this space, or rented for more than twice what they’ve charged me, so this place wouldn’t have existed without them. They roast the best coffee in the city, so please continue to support them if you buy coffee beans. I would also like to thank my partners, friends, and family for their huge amounts of support, without which I’d honestly be dead, or at least unhoused by now, my awesome suppliers for providing the books/art/merch that have been such a huge part of what this place is, and all the customers who have given their very vocal, and of course financial, support over the past year.
The Anarchist has been a huge success in every way I hoped, and has given me so much inspiration and education that I plan to put to use in future projects. Keep an eye on the instagram page to see what I end up doing next!
Fuck the rich. Fuck the police. Fuck the state. Fuck the colonial death camp we call “Canada”
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