For the recent G20 meeting of “world leaders” in Hamburg, Germany hundreds of activists staged an action, dressing like the walking dead in gray clothes and faces, passively walking the streets, they illustrated the myriad effects which can, do, and may in the future result from the callous, petty, and greedy actions of the summit attendees. They did this not simply with catchy (or tired) slogans, posters, or even throwing trash bins threw the windows of Starbucks. They did this by visually distilling into abstract all that is possible when we choose money, power, and nationalism, over consideration, solidarity, peace, and cooperation. It was an astounding, and brilliant demonstration and serves, not simply as a wake up call, but a pivot point for all of us. What matters? What more can we do? What haven’t we done? What may come in the future? We need more of this.
Radio days are coming to Beyond Repair very soon. Got a program you want to organize? Get ready for W R/L F/R (With Radical Love & Fierce Resistance Radio).
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.
Many of us here in MPLS are a little shaken, but not at all surprised, after the verdict – not guilty on all counts – for Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony, MN cop who murdered Philando Castile. How to move forward, how to act, how to relate and continue to coexist with one another here in a state that speaks so highly of itself, yet knows full well that it must come to terms with both its past and present and future wrong-doings. The first step, as always, is to begin to unpack the nature of it all: how we see it, how we feel it, how our attitudes become formed into our institutions.
Earlier today, frequent squatter at the shop (and dear friend and conversation partner), Marlon James wrote a piece about his experiences being the “big, black guy” here in Minneapolis. Please take a moment to read it in full, and consider how, while this post-verdict moment may feel singular, that moment accumulated becomes the totality of public life for black American men and women.
You can change a system, an institution, a standard of measure, but until you work to change yourself, this shit’s gonna keep going down, and the experiences and daily dread Marlon describes will never go away. Our institutions our us, they do not change on their own.
The Zone to Defend is written by a collective residing on the zad, 4000 acres of liberated territory in North Western France, occupied against an airport and its world. The small book pulls you in through its dream-like narrative describing the almost unbelievable transformation of proposed infrastructure site into laboratory of commoning. The zad is a tangible act of hope against the wrecking of our worlds by the megamachines of profit and growth. With its 60 living collectives experimenting with a diversity of forms of life, and with popular support across the country, this occupied zone is a key front line struggle in Europe. The zone brings together farmers and activists in the fight for climate justice, against urban sprawl and for autonomy beyond the state, “its like living in the playground you always dreamt of as a child” is how one of its inhabitants describes life there.
It’s authors experiences on the edge of art and activism inform the books’ politics, and its voice documenting the ongoing struggle in relation both to French politics and, surprisingly, an art world that seeks to find a way out of endless cycles of symbolic struggle.
LA ZAD / THE ZONE TO DEFEND: A Liberated Territory Against an Airport and its World by Mauvaise Troupe (Amber Hickey- contributing editor, Alice Le Roy & Silvie Decaux- Translation) will be published summer of 2017 through the Tools in Common imprint Canary Press, a publishing collaboration between Marc Herbst (ed; Journal of Aesthetics and Protest) and Sam Gould (artist, editor; Red76 / Tools in Common / Beyond Repair).
We need a new way of doing politics, not just new politicians:
A politics that is really by and for the people.
A politics that works to combat economic inequality.
A politics that works for the common good.
A feminized politics, driven by collective intelligence and concrete action.
A politics with racial justice at its heart.
A participatory politics, where people have power more than once every four years.
An open source, flexible politics, that can be adapted to the contexts of our big cities and our rural communities.
An ethical politics, with zero tolerance for corruption and cronyism.
Join us on Sunday, June 18 @ 2pm for our second meeting on Municipalism. We will be meeting at, of course, The Future (2223 E 35th St).
During this meeting, we’ll get to know each other and discuss a draft statement of principles (quoted above) being written by US activists working with Barcelona en Comú international to define municipalism in a way that’s relevant and responsive to the US context.
We’ll use this meeting to talk with each other and to read, discuss, reflect and critique the document. We’ll send this feedback back to the working group as an illustration of the participatory politics we are striving to create.
A full first draft is still being prepared. We will distribute it before the meeting.
Time / Location
Sunday, June 18
2223 E 35th St
Minneapolis, MN 55407
See you at the Future!
Didn’t get the memo? What is Municipalism?
As we slip deeper into a presidential crisis, we direly need new social and political ideas. Municipalism is a social movement inspired by the idea of creating a new relationship between people and power: Municipalism isn’t about electing better politicians. Municipalism is about changing the relationship between institutions, social movements and citizens. Elected representatives are just the institutional branch of a movement that is based in the streets and neighborhoods, where the real power resides. Municipal movements work both inside and outside of institutions, building dual power and creating concrete solutions. Municipalism depends on active, organized and independent social movements that support representatives to enact their demands – and push them when they don’t… Find out more by coming to the meeting.
Rachel at work.