Who We AreEdit
Internationalist Books is a volunteer run collective, a not-for-profit bookstore, a progressive community center, and community owned cooperative. The store was founded in 1981 by political activist Bob Sheldon. Originally founded to provide alternative information during the anti-apartheid movement in the 80s, the Internationalist has become a center of activism, political discussion, creative grassroots organizing, and a space which brings together people of all ages, sexual orientation, ethnic background, political beliefs and gender identity.
Internationalist Books provides new and used books and magazines on diverse subjects from beat literature to gay and lesbian fiction, alternative health to political theory. We specialize in hard to find, alternative, underground, small press, independent, and nontraditional literature. We sell sidelines such as self-published 'zines, postcards, bumperstickers, spoken word CDs and politically oriented T-Shirts.
Our customers and volunteers come to us with a love of literature, a desire for current news and cultural meaning. They look for new and used unusual, cream of the crop, and progressive material. At Internationalist you'll find a local community of liberal thought and discussion, a safe space for gays and lesbians, literature by and for people of all different ethnic backgrounds, global news and perspectives, a space to hang out and connect with local activism, and build a warm relationship with staff who essentially volunteer their time because they love the bookstore too!
Internationalist Books is cooperatively owned by over 300 community members, who pay $20 a year and receive store discounts, invitations to special events, and a role in decision making. We are run by a Board of Directors made up of members, volunteers, and staff. Over 40 people volunteer 3 hours per week, running the store and all its programs. Internationalist Books provides a number of programs, from independent author readings, organizing workshops, free vegan meals every Sunday, alternative movie nights on Mondays, an east coast independent speakers network, a bimonthly newsletter, special ordering services, and meeting space for various groups. The programs and operations of the store are run by the volunteer collective, with regular meetings the last Sunday of the month at 4:30.
Internationalist Books and Community Center exists to amplify the voices of marginalized people and movements by improving access to information vital to a just and democratic society and by supporting local and global movements for justice.
"We are dedicated to the position that we have no country: we do not support mindless patriotic pleas for 'national unity,' nor are we interested in keeping America number one. We support the unity and liberation of oppressed people worldwide and are working toward the day when all oppression and inequality will be removed from the earth." — Bob Sheldon
To provide a physical space for elaborating progressive ideas, politics, and culture. To operate a bookstore and library providing community access to publications which express alternative views to mainstream media and educational institutions. To be a cooperatively-owned resource center for activists and community members to meet each other and collaborate on local and global issues.
These apply both to our internal processes and our external work.
Fostering free speech in an environment that is safe, tolerant, and inclusive. Making decisions through participatory democracy. Seeking to be inclusive across socially-constructed barriers. Working collaboratively through open and honest dialog with each other. Making effective and sustainable business decisions without engaging in cutthroat capitalism. Incorporating joyfulness and creativity into everything possible.