Basic Information
The Gagarin is a collectively run cafe/restaurant in the 9th District of Vienna, close to the University Campus. It provides food and drinks and space for interaction. Currently it holds also room for offices and meetings in the same buildung.
Events like concerts, readings, dj nights, films and discussions are happening at irregular intervals. The Gagarin is involved in projects building up a network to enforce and enlarge collective structures.

History of the Place with Dates of important Events
The Gagarin hast been opend in 2009 by two brothers. The Name Gagarin has been chosen in the context of a name giving party. From the beginning food was available for free prices and made of mainly biological, regional products. Friends where supporting the two brothers in the early stages. With the time they started employing people for the kitchen and the bar. The work climate has always been on an equal basis and cordial terms, even if the two carried the responsability and the power of decision-making.
Already for the summer of 2011 they planned to have construction works on the place, to be in accordance with the claims of the authorities, notably in terms of the kitchen and the ventilation system. The estimated costs of these modifications raised higher than expected, so they officially delayed to the following summer and decided to shut down the place with the end of the summer semester of 2012.

There have been several ideas and conversations among the employees and friends, to think about how to continue in one or the other way. Finally a group of about ten people met in april 2012 to talk about it in concrete terms. Already within that first meeting parts of the participants (except of one person they have all been part of the Gagarin stuff, including one of the „founding brothers“), decided wanting to keep their work place and the space the Gagarin was offering them and others alive. For some time they were watching out for other spaces, to see if there was a cheaper and more ideal place to find, but quite soon the decision was taken to stay in the actual rooms of the Gagarin, to handle the reconstruction themselves as far as possible to reduce the costs and to finance it with private loans.
During the last two months of the „old“ Gagarin, the collective was organizing solidarity-saturdays, where they worked for free, organized events and collected the incomes for the reconstruction.

After the periode of reconstruction that lasted for almost four months the Gagarin re-opened in November 2012 in its new form as a collectively run cafe. There was a new ventilation system, an additional room, a new kitchen, and a lot more, which is still under construction and in a constant learning process.
In the beginning the collective consisted of eight people, meanwhile it has grown up to currently fourteen people.

Structure (Workplace and Collective)
The Gagarin is open from monday to sunday. During the day there is warm food, served for free prices. The idea of the free prices consists on the one hand to facilitate that those who are able to pay more even that others can only pay less. On the other hand we understand it as a solidarity economy alternative in facing the given enforcement of consume and commerce. We are conscious about the fact, that this is only a little step, which does not break us free of the bondages of money.
There are also events taking place in our space (Dj-ing, accustic concerts, lectures, parties, presentations of films, exhibitions…). This is something we want to increase more and more. Following this idea, we are also offering our space to other persons and initiatives to use it and make it live.

Officially we are organized as an association, which is running the cafe/restaurant. That means we underlie all the trade and tax laws that apply for common companies. We are all members and employees of the association Gagarin:Nova. Three people are forming the so-called coordination team, which is the legal head of the assiciation, able to sign and legally responsable for most of the financial issues. In addition there is a managerial head, legally responsable for issues concerning the establishment. These functions are rotating within the collective.

This is the official side – whereas practically we aim to share responsabilities equally within the collective. We organize the business self-governed and collectively. We manage the guidance of organizational questions, office work, reperations, the occupation with challenging group dynamics, the designing of the place in form, content and appearance as bar and kitchen shifts together. Once a week we meet for the weekly plenary. This is the place, where we take decision, on the basis of discussions and consensus. These plenaries are to be prepared by two persons, who also moderate the meetings.
Furthermore there are different tasks, done by the responsible working group. A team of two persons is carrying the main responsablitiy for organiziation and coordination. This rotates every three months. To a certain degree all the working groups/ people responsible for tasks have an autonomous space of action – through sharing of tasks, transparence and mutual trust.

Political Ideas and Aims
We consider the collaboration as a collective as a possibility to pursue common aims in a non-hierarchic (as much as possible)/ „hierarchy-poor“ way.
We understand this as a constant learning process, which is challenging us to question us as social persons, the functioning within/ of the group and our objectives recurrently and to work on all these points.
To undertake this process is a political aim as well as one concerning our dynamic as a group.
Run a business collectively is offering the possibility to combine political objectives with the necessary wage labour, instead of disconnecting these spheres.
In this regard we are working on enlarging our scope of action, by learning on the possibilities on self-governened businesses, thinking about alternative models of social security and the development up a stable network through the collective.

Our main aim has always been to offer „space“. We want to offer space to the people being part of the collective, as to guests, friends, interested people for living their occupations, their desire of pleasure and action. Therefore there is no constraint of consuming, as well as free prices for food and prefearable low prices for drinks.
As regards contents we try to develop awareness for sexist and racist structures and to work against with what we do. We have already learned a lot and still much more to learn.

Concerning our products we take care of sources, that are socially, ecologically and politically justifiable. We try to cooperate with producers that work an a low scale level. Parts of our products come from existing agricultural collectives. For the kitchen we use mainly groceries from the region and the season. We avoid preprocessed products and attach importance to good food.

Furthermore there are different wishes and plans, which have only to some extent become real yet:
Concrete actions to have more political and cultural events (discussions, readings, film nights and more), offering products other than food and drinks (at the moment we have books of a feminist and of an anarchist collective, coffee, olive oil, jewellery, hammocks), active work on contents (workshops around the topic of self-organization for example), to contribute to the foundation of new self-governed structures, stronger collaboration with other collectives …