Farewell Coop Sur Genereux
Coop Sur Genereux — a collective home of 13 years — has been shut down through expulsion by private security and the new landlord. The Coop (as it was often referred although not legally a ‘coop’ at all) was a space of love, acceptance, fear and rejection. The Coop wasn’t a single entity or a single group of people. It was a consortium of individuals from across the globe, coming together for moments to years working to coexist.
On the good days I referred to it as an adult daycare. With food constantly coming in and being cooked, people off in different corners doing activities, it allowed young and old to express themselves creatively in a shared non-commercialized space.
That was the most radical aspect of the Coop by far. It was a single home that doubled for thirteen years as a third space. A first space is your home, a second is where you work, and a third space is where groups of people can congregate inexpensively. These areas are few and far between in most metropolises and are often why when there’s nothing better to do, people hang out at their local Starbucks, Tim Horton’s or more generally in the 90s, the mall.
The Coop was home to Food Not Bombs, the Cuisine du Peuple and other food-accessibility groups. We have hosted Hörður Torfason, an Icelandic activist for a lively discussion. We premiered Occupy Love. We have hosted many, many bands from across Canada. We built a local community garden project. We hosted thousands of people without a place to sleep, fed tens of thousands, and fostered many social activists and social activist groups and activities. The charity and communal contributions of the Coop Sur Genereux over the years has been exemplary.
It was thirteen years ago when the Coop Sur Genereux was founded by a group of McGill graduates who were inspired by MUCS, the Montreal Urban Community Sustainment project. A way to live collectively in the city and to showcase alternatives including dumpster diving and sharing extensively. The original vision was constantly evolving and was developed to include the capability for evolution. One of the latest visions read as follows:
“We are a community of youth, based on cooperative principles including: open-communication, resource sharing, and challenging the present standards. All our decisions are reached collectively by consensus. We are a work in progress. We come together around our shared convictions of building a just and healthy environment.”
While the Coop itself may have shut its doors, the ideals of communal living are stronger than ever in Montreal.
— — —
See also: My photo essay on the Coop, Community Glue.
— — —