What kind of Wrocław do you want to live in?
One where nightclubs play all the latest western hits, and where McDonalds and Starbucks open new stores? A Wrocław like other cities in Poland in its relatively charming city centre and bar upon bar offering the likes of Tyskie? An inward-looking city like nearly all cities in Poland?
Or do you want a Wrocław where difference is welcomed, where people take an interest in the world outside of Poland? Where people are prepared to not sit back and take whatever those with power give us, but where people take an active part in their society to try to make it a better place? Where the art scene is flourishing?
You have a choice, now
The Falanster collective is a bookstore on ul. św. Antoniego 23. It contains all manner of literature in Polish and English (and a bit in German and French as well), literature that will, to put it simply, make you more intelligent.
This is a literature that you will not see in the likes of Empik, a store which sells heavily marketed (i.e. bland) literature. The literature which Falanster sells covers social issues, politics, history, feminism, racism, philosophy, anti-globalisation, anarchism, modern art, religion and children's books. It is top quality stuff.
There you can also buy fairly traded goods, tasty chocolate, coffee, tea, curries, rice, sauces (savoury and sweet) and spices. They are sold at reasonable prices and are for a good cause.
It's also a place where many interesting events take place. I have been to events such as talks with authors and journalists, Turkish fusion Jazz concerts, films about illegal abortions, presentations of work people have done in Tanzania, poetry readings and vernissages about new art exhibitions in the back room.
It is for me the key place which enacts the 'Wrocław: The Meeting Place: myth, in that it is a place where diversity is welcomed not out of a sense of business but a place where there is an openness to the 'other', the 'other' which can enrich our lives (and I don't mean by the commodities they produce).
Falanster are in financial bother
Therefore, you have a choice: If you want Wrocław to be a genuinely open and cultural place, you have to go there. There are not a lot of alternatives in Wrocław. You simply have go there, and buy something.
Money where your mouth is time
I'll tell you what, you can meet up with me there, and I will buy you a drink (they do teas, coffees, cappuccinos, hot chocolates, kwas chlebowy, some quality beer and fruit cocktails.
In the meeting you can have the Czarny kapturek experience! Don't worry, I'm fairly nice and I'm happily married. We can talk about whatever you want (indeed, if you are Polish you can use the occasion to practice your English) in a nice place. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a date
Let us know.
Seriously people, get your arses there, now.