So much of the violence we experience in America is mediated, composed through the prism of culture, critique, justification to the point of turning people into talking points, objects to be moved around a chessboard. But like so many names that have become familiar over the last few years, Philando Castile was not a chess piece. He was, of course, a human being with family and friends who loved him dearly. There are more people than I expected, who I know in real life, who have been directly effected by this tragedy. People who have to find the words and the courage to tell their children that someone they cared for, counted on, trusted is no longer among the living. People I know who had to brace themselves for the reaction after they told their child, “Mr. Phil was murdered.” If we can allow the repetition of the process of degradation and murder in America for the sake of controlling blackness, then we must force ourselves towards the same style of repetition in the reverse, telling ourselves and others, one time and one time more, that Philando Castile was a human being. Philando Castile was not an object. Philando Castile was not put on this earth to be made an example of.
All municipalist meetings should be followed by a barbecue. Or, preceeded by, or take place during.
Another thoughtful and inspiring gathering around municipalist strategies yesterday as we read over the draft of the Barcelona en Comu International Committees statement for starting municipalist platforms in America. Much to unpack; from ideas around pluralism, difference, power, and notions of commonness, there’s obviously a lot of cultural and political translation to be done between a European and American municipalist model. And yet, so much to grab on to, desire, feel energized and inspired by. An aspect that stuck out for me which bridged this cultural divide was the necessity to begin and aggressively maintain a desire to build critical connections around ideas between people and existing publics, maintaining a close but healthy distance from the electorate. This isn’t to say that an “authentic” municipalist platform will avoid electoral politics, more so that it will access the electorate as a means and not an end. Much more to unpack, many more connections to form and sustain, and more barbecues to have after our get-togethers as well, because you know, those are where those critical connections take root.