Thousand cuts death of Wholefoods
There’s a bit of disco going on at Monash Uni’s Wholefoods restaurant at the moment.
Wholefoods has been run through a collective of students since 1977. In recent years the Go!/Labor faction of Monash Student Association has been slowly muscling the Collective out of control of the space, ceased collective organising, kicked out volunteers, introduced managers into the place, and have effectively run the place into the ground with financial losses over the last five or so years – virtually unheard of under Collective control.
The space is really pretty huge and must certainly be one of the largest Uni food-coops in the country. What Wholefoods always cultivated, though, was a social and intellectual space on campus that that has been fundamental to left wing student activity. The term ‘student life’ is so flaccid, but Wholefoods always seemed to capture something of what this idea is meant to evoke.
For me Wholefoods was never so much about the nuts and bolts of running a restaurant -though this was always successful- but about what the place facilitated. For me, it was meeting all kinds of people with all kinds of interests who were really into learning and really into making time to sit and drink coffee and dabate and challenge each other. It was about understanding something of how power operates and radical responses to it. It was finding something of community, feeling like I belonged.
It was also where a lot of Jews hungout, which for me was finding something of myself. Finding and meeting lefty yids was the first time I’d had the chance to really consider my Jewish heritage as something that was important – and after highschool it was also meant it was something I didn’t have to hide from. Wholefoods was always able to throw something up like this.
It is devastating to hear about the current administration’s steam-rolling of Collective. Turning Wholefoods into a business where the only value of customers is how much can be squeezed out of them and the only value of staff is their place in a well-oiled-machine is thoroughly unsustainable. Fight on Friends of Wholefoods.