For 39 years the Brecht Forum has provided a vital space for Marxist popular education and movement building. Earlier today Brecht's Board of Directors sent out an email entitled "An Ending Is Also a Beginning" announcing that the organization will soon be closing its doors. The closing was brought on by several factors — a difficult economic climate, soaring rents and the debts Brecht incurred at its former home in the West Village which it left for Brooklyn last fall. Brecht's Board of Directors will hold a public meeting at the Brooklyn Commons on Wednesday April 16 at 7:30. For more, here's the full statement released by the Board:
Dear Friends of the Brecht Forum,
It is with a heavy heart that we, the Brecht Forum’s Board of Directors, write to you, our beloved community, of our decision to close our doors.
As many of you know, these last few years have been financially tenuous for us. While our space on West Street in Manhattan provided a crucial home to the movement over the years, we struggled to keep up with its costs, and the four months that we were closed following Hurricane Sandy only served to exacerbate our troubles. Rising Manhattan rents forced us to Brooklyn, but we have incurred debts and costs that are insurmountable.
Despite your continued support over the years, the economic climate, combined with the realities of real estate in New York City, have simply made the provision of space impossible for an organization of our means. Unable to pay what we owe and struggling to maintain daily operating costs, we made the heartbreaking decision to close the doors of the Brecht Forum so that the larger project we all care so deeply about may survive in a different form.
We know that this announcement is coming as a shock to many of you, particularly in light of our recent move to the Brooklyn Commons and our hiring of a visionary new Executive Director. We too were hopeful for our new beginning, but it has become clear that in a rapidly gentrifying city, we have been living on borrowed time, and that despite the strong support of our community, this configuration of our project is unsustainable. As the Board, we feel that we will best honor the incredible legacy of this organization by closing the Brecht Forum with dignity.
Despite closing our doors, the larger project of the Brecht Forum is clearly not over. We believe closing only signals the need to organize harder and smarter, to find a sustainable way to build movement power and support popular education in New York City. The four decades of revolutionary thinking and building that took place at the Brecht Forum will live on in the next steps taken by all of the important individuals who collectively make the Brecht Forum so special.
Each of you has played a vital role. We thank you for the many years of dedication, love, labor, and thought that you all have contributed to our community. Without you, we could not have done it. We’re also asking you to make one more contribution to our community.
Please help us move forward by bringing your questions, your love, and your rage to a conversation on April 16th at 7:30pm at the Commons in Brooklyn where we reflect and begin a conversation on what kind of organization our movement can and will sustain in the future.
Thank you for your years of support, dedication, and love.
The Board of Directors of the Brecht Forum