We’ve printed thousands of masks for a new project – Pattern Recognition – which will be distributed around the neighborhood during this years May Day parade. The masks, 16 different individuals ranging over 100+ years of transformative, inclusive radical human action, can be worn and shared with others. Quotes from each adorn the reverse side of the mask.
The shop was closed, for the most part, the last few days. It was the kids spring break and we went to visit my family, the day following our great Municipalism assembly on the MidTown Greenway with Alan Moore. I closed up the shop in high spirits, but I can’t deny that I’ve returned feeling a little low.
All throughout my childhood, like so many others my age on the tail-end of the Cold War, I felt like the bombs could drop at any moment. Annihilation was not a possibility, but a promise yet to be fulfilled. In an essay I wrote a few years back, I wrote:
“Somehow within our conversation Erika and I started to discuss ideas around uncertainty, fear, everyday terror, and simply the plain unease of the unfamiliar in mass, and this evoked for the both of us our states of feeling in relation to being a kid… It may seem odd to anyone growing up post-1989 but the underlying feeling of ‘maybe today’s the day’ seemed ever present.”
This “everyday terror” is, of course, a familiar trope, and atomic bombs are simply its most intersectional weapon. This terror isn’t unique to nuclear war. Nuclear war is simply its endgame. A well oiled system dispenses terror bespoke, tailoring our fears as a form of control for various publics based on race, gender, class, ethnicity… Nonetheless, the bomb is one-size-fits-all.
I want to find middle ground though. Facing not the reality, but the existential threat of nuclear war, how does one confront the problems and desires of home and neighborhood through a lens of hope and togetherness? How to avoid the nihilism of the “what if…?” I know there’s an answer, a compelling proposition to suggest that, if we all focus intently on where we’re at we’ll get through this to a better place. It’s not an easy road to travel. If anything, that’s a certainty.
As one method of working through these feelings I made this poster this afternoon. Feel free to stop in and take one.
The future is here… Beyond Repair is venturing into the 9th Ward’s Witch District to team up with the “Aquarian Lab,” The Future for the new Beyond to the Future Neighborhood Residency. This week we hosted our first visitor, artist and scholar Alan Moore. The Future’s resident anarchist witch, Lacey Prpić Hedtke and those of us at the shop are extremely excited to host others within this site out of time in the near… well, you get the idea.
A wonderful turnout on a beautiful spring afternoon for a talk about Spain’s Municipalism movement and the ways, and possible roadblocks, of energizing something similar here in Minneapolis. I am extremely excited to move forward; generating more questions, moving those questions around through publications and assemblies, and activating the thoughts and ideas which come to the surface through these processes. This will all take a tremendous amount of work, but the commitment and desire expressed by those who assembled along the Midtown Greenway this afternoon gave me confidence that it’s an achievable proposition.
And another huge thank you to Marc Herbst, and to Fernando Canteli de Castro for sharing his experiences and considerations of working through municipal strategies in Spain with Barcelona en Comu. As we ended our gathering with today, “onward, to something!”
“The reordering of power is not, in itself, justice.”
Dear Friends and Conspirators:
Our political system is hopelessly broken: corporate elites control the state, white supremacy has been mainstreamed, and democratic institutions do not represent the people. This is not just a description of our situation; it is also a global problem. Many around the world, including anti-fascists, workers, anarchists, and others seeking radical change, are working on alternative models for democracy and finding incredible success. One that excites us is the Municipalism movement in Spain under the banner of Barcelona en Comú (Barcelona in Common). The movement is working to ensure that public institutions respond directly to the will of the people and not to the interests of a handful of corporate or political leaders working behind closed doors. Going beyond the simple act of voting, it is a “politics from below” that invites citizens into the direct democratic management of the city in order to ensure that public institutions are always accountable to the people.
Over the next year (or more) a number of us who find interest and value in organizing, reflecting, and, most importantly, acting on these ideas have decided to convene a series of talks and workshops on Municipalism and direct democracy. Our conversations begin next week at Beyond Repair. We welcome you to attend, add your thoughts, and become collaborators in this process.
We have invited artist / theorist Alan Moore to Minneapolis to discuss his research and work with the Municipalist and self-governance communities in Spain and Europe and the anarcho-art punk scene of late 1970s lower Manhattan. From his work as a founding member of Colab, whose project The Real Estate Show is one of the best-known artist squat actions in New York history, to his research on anarchist squats and collectivity in Europe, Alan’s broad and rich history with critically and creatively engaging space and its politics serves as a productive bridge for the many of us; artists, activists and thinkers whose work engages the social and political landscape of our day-to-day lives with each other.
Below you will find the various events we have scheduled for next week, as well as opportunities for “critical downtime” while Alan is in town. Please feel free to join us for any and all of them. We are excited to invite you, and anyone else you feel would value inclusion, into this urgent conversation.
Sam Gould, John Kim, Bruce Braun and a growing list of others…
On Saturday we begin our first in a continuing conversation on the Spanish Municipalism movement and the possibilities of translating the movements experiences and social tools into an overtly American context.
Please join us for an overview on municipalism through the work of Barcelona en Comu with Alan Moore, along with Skype contributions from Marc Herbst, artist / publisher of Mortgaged Lives: From the Housing Bubble to the Right to Housing by Ada Colau and Adriá Alemany, and writer Bue Rübner Hansen, author of the essay Building Power in a Crisis of Social Reproduction.
Okay, it’s 5:30pm… if you need me I will be across the way drinking a beer at Eastlake.
My Hall & Oates playing seems to have inspired more H & O jams, as well as Michael McDonald era Doobie Bros. spinning throughout the Midtown Global Market. I am okay with this turn of events.
We love this idea, though sadly, in Minnesota, you’d need some seriously rich anarchists to fix all our potholes.