Who we are
We are a group of people with different backgrounds and experiences operating a collectively-run political vegan café in Berlin. Our aim is to suggest a positive alternative to the omnipresent dominance of carnistic culture, capitalist interactions and market economy.
Our vegan café promotes anti-speciesist and sustainable ways of living, based on compassion, solidarity, environmental awareness and non-exploitative relationships. We strive to provide delicious and affordable vegan food of good quality and fair production -as much organic, locally grown, seasonal and fairly traded goods as possible.
Being a work-collective means that we make all important decisions consensually and we aim to counter hierarchies and privileges that exist or might develop in our daily interactions with each other and our surroundings. At the same time we want to provide a safe and secure workspace for all members of the collective, while working in a self-governing and cooperative fashion.
We aim to create a counter-cultural place that is non-discriminatory thus creating a safe, comfortable space for all people. Our dream is to provide a space for: political discussion, intersectional activism, sharing, creativity, inspiration, the active exchange of knowledge and skills and bringing together both people and ideas. Our café is open to the neighbourhood as a meeting point for individuals, groups and projects supporting political, social and ecological change. The café operates on a not-for-profit basis, donating surpluses to support political causes, such as social projects, alternative economy structures, anti-spe initiatives, other work-collectives etc.
Why a collective?
We have chosen to be a work-collective as a response to our own need for self-determination in our work life and in order to create a paradigm alternative to the capitalist concept of labour. For us our work is a part of our life where we want to incorporate our creativity and our need to be productive and joyful. We aim to create a working environment where we feel comfortable, safe, accepted, cared for and able to express our individuality. The café will be a work space where we can also interact as political entities able to exchange opinions and express our beliefs.
In this workspace we want to redefine work and reconnect different spheres and concepts of our everyday life that have been separated by the predominant capitalist logic. These concepts and spheres include manual and mental labour and work and leisure time. We do not want to consider our labour as a sacrifice, but as a creative occupation that responds to our own needs and preferences, where there is no pressure to perform, but space to discover what is important to us, to learn new skills and to influence directly the goals of our work .
We seek to find a sustainable way of managing a commercial activity that can maintain us within the capitalist frame we live but which we also try to change. As a work-collective practice a positive alternative to the ‘traditional’ business model, to the concept of maximum profit and continuous growth and its resulting system of violence and inequality regarding access to resources and power. In contrast to the prevalent exploitative, authoritarian and competitive relationships in the labour sector, we aim to establish a secure and cooperative working environment. Our target is to create a work place without hierarchies and competition, built on companionship, solidarity and trust. We strive for a self-defined and emancipated workspace where we have equal rights and responsibilities, we have direct participation in forming our working conditions and we make decisions in a collective, consensual way. At the heart of our self-organization lies the statute. The statute is a social contract that we have given ourselves to ensure our functioning as a collective and radical project. Furthermore, we have regular plenary sessions that are facilitated and moderated to ensure consensual decision-making that is attentive towards privileges, mechanisms of exclusion and power-structures. We do not support or tolerate decisions of the plenum or the behaviour of single members of the collective that violate the personality rights or the human dignity of other persons.
We don’t consider ourselves owners of the café, rather as caretakers of a place which is part of the vegan and political community of Berlin. We are working in solidarity with other collectives, projects and movements that aim for radical political, social and ecological change. Within our aims is also to share our experience and our knowledge and be an active part of a wider network for solidarity economy.
Our vegan philosophy and political standing
As political vegans we see ourselves as part of the movement for social change, equality and liberation. In this struggle, we include the fight against speciesism, which we regard as one of the most deeply rooted systems of oppression, founded on human supremacy and anthropocentrism. It is clear to us that exploitative hierarchies affect not only humans, but non-human animals as well. In our society animals are imprisoned and tortured, exploited massively as resources or mere commodities and ultimately deprived of their life and inherent value as living feeling beings, all for human consumption and vanity. This systematic oppression, domination and devaluation of non-human animals as working slaves, trade products, food-producing machines, entertainment objects or other forms of commodification are a main pillar for the power structures that we understand as capitalism.
We believe that non-human animals have the same dignity and value, the same basic abilities to feel, communicate and socialize as human animals do. As such, non-human animals should also be shown the same respect as their human counterparts. We believe in the ability of human and other animals to live together in a non-violent, non-oppressive way that benefits everyone. We understand veganism as a political decision on how to organize one’s daily life according to these principles and beliefs. We see the need to understand veganism as more than a life-style or a guideline for modern consumerism, but recognize veganism as an integral tool in the fight for animal liberation.