Portland, Ore.'s In Other Words Closing
In Other Words, the Portland, Ore., feminist bookstore and community center dubiously made famous by the show Portlandia, is closing at the end of the month, the store announced on its website. As the Oregonian summed it up: "The statement cites reasons including increased expenses and the lack of funds, volunteers, and board members, along with an inability to 'reform and re-envision' a space founded on 'white, cis feminism (read: white supremacy)' to make it more reflective of contemporary feminism."
Founded in 1993, the store had financial difficulties in recent years. In 2014, it publicly sought funds and more volunteers to help it continue to operate. And in 2016, it repudiated Portlandia, which had set some sketches in the store, which it called Women and Women First, run by humorless feminists. (The store charged, among other things, that filming crews left the store in a mess, that it didn't profit from the filming and that the show's politics and take on Portland were negative.)
In Other Word's closing announcement said that the store "periodically discusses closing because of a lack of money and people. This isn't sustainable, especially emotionally, for the people who come here and work to provide this space as a resource to Portland Feminist communities. Even if funds poured in, and masses of people showed up in response to this announcement, we would not continue our tenure here.
"We cannot continue because we know reform does not work. The current volunteers and board members stepped into and took over a space that was founded on white, cis feminism (read: white supremacy). It's really difficult, actually, impossible, for us to disentangle from that foundational ideology. Volunteers and board members tried to reform and re-envision the organization, and have found it unattainable to do, especially with so little resources. We have experienced this as a very real reminder that reform doesn't work. Patriarchy, White Supremacy, Capitalism cannot be reformed and ever serve the people. Abolition is the goal."
In Other Words added that Critical Resistance Portland, which "seeks to build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe," is working to keep the space open as a community center.