684 East Hastings Street
Spartacus Books is Vancouver’s oldest volunteer-run, non-profit bookstore. It was opened in 1973 by SFU students and is still running strong today due to a collective of volunteers and donor support from individuals and organizations. But Spartacus is also more than a bookstore, it’s also a resource center located in the Downtown Eastside community and a hub for radical education and action in the Vancouver area. Operating within an anti-oppression framework, Spartacus emphasizes the free exchange of diverse and revolutionary information through both printed material and community space. The community is comprised of readers, speakers, writes, artists, educators and others who come together and share in a dialogue to promote social change. Contained within Spartacus’ walls is a wealth of progressive books, magazines, comic books and ‘zines – many of which are unavailable through mainstream outlets. Highlighted topics include world issues, political struggle and the environment. In particular, local voices and those facing oppression are made available to anyone who should walk through the doors. Although the political agenda of Spartacus may be radical, it is more importantly inclusive, and it aims to bring together people from different political value systems through the hosting of various events such as readings, film showings, art shows, workshops and more. Groups and clubs in the community may also use the space to host their meetings. The atmosphere of Spartacus is welcoming, with couches for people to read on and free access to computers with the internet. The bookstore attempts to avoid government funding, opting instead for donations and support from individuals and organizations who are aligned with the vision behind Spartacus Books.