March 25, 2015
Anarchist publisher AK Press looking for help after a major fire
by Nick Davies
Over the weekend, two buildings in Oakland, CA suffered a devastating fire, which killed two people and seriously damaged radical publisher AK Press.
Sam Lefebvre reports for the East Bay Express that the fire started in the building at 669 24th Street, where artists Davis Letona and Daniel “Moe” Thomas lost their lives. It then spread to the building that houses AK Press’s distribution center, as well as 1984 Printing, a company that Lefebvre describes as an ally of AK Press. While 1984’s four-color printing press is undamaged, all of its ongoing projects were destroyed, a loss that they estimate has cost them tens of thousands of dollars.
AK Press doesn’t have exact dollar amounts about the extent to which they’ve been affected. In a statement on their website, they say, “We still aren’t sure the exact amount of stock that is ruined, or how long our business will be disrupted while we work hard to get back on our feet. But we do know that we’ve lost a lot, and even in the best of times, we always need your support.” Lefebvre backs up their statement about being a community-backed company, stating, “For a long-embattled enterprise sustained largely on goodwill and radical principles, the fire is massively disruptive.”
The publisher is now looking to their community for support; in the press statement, they tell people who want to help that the best way to support them is to join their monthly subscription program, Friends of AK Press. Subscribers get a copy of every book the press puts out—they’ve put out books by Noam Chomsky, David Graeber, and a wide range of anarchist activists—and those contributions go directly to their publishing fund.
AK Press is also accepting one-time donations, and they link to several other funds for people and business affected by the fire. Those include the funds for 1984 Press, other tenants in the two Oakland buildings, and the memorial service for Davis Letona.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.