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Brecht Forum Political Salon Set To Close After 39 Years

FILE -- Signs belonging to members of Occupy Wall Street (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

FILE — Signs belonging to members of Occupy Wall Street (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Brecht Forum, a well-known New York City education center focused on political thought, will close its doors this month.

The forum was known for its lectures, classes, workshops, and art and music performances – all focused on the involvement of the political left in contemporary society.

On its website the forum is described as “bring(ing) people together across social and cultural boundaries and artistic and academic disciplines to promote critical analysis, creative thinking, collaborative projects and networking in an independent community-level environment.” On Twitter, the forum calls itself “the people’s university of NYC.”

But the board of directors for the forum told the New York Times that real estate prices in New York City and the economic climate had made it impossible for the forum to continue, the New York Times reported.

In a message recent message on its website, the forum confirmed that it will close its doors but the “project of the Brecht Forum will move on.”

The forum began in 1975, and took its current name in honor of German playwright Bertold Brecht, the newspaper reported. This past fall, the moved to the Commons at 388 Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn, from the space at 451 West St. in the West Village that it had occupied since 2005.

On its website, the forum emphasized that the move was not of its own choosing.

“The West Village has long ago become unaffordable for small-budget organizations like the Brecht and our landlord let us know that–despite the popularity of the institution in the neighborhood–they would not be offering us a new lease,” the site said.

Over the years, the Brecht Forum has hosted an assortment of political activists and authors including Noam Chomsky and former Harper’s Magazine editor Lewis Lapham, the New York Times reported. The forum was also a gathering point for Occupy Wall Street activists, and for demonstrations against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the newspaper reported.

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