All municipalist meetings should be followed by a barbecue. Or, preceeded by, or take place during.
All municipalist meetings should be followed by a barbecue. Or, preceeded by, or take place during.
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?
The first billboard for this new project, Public Comment, coming out of the shop that Sam and Jonathan Herrera are working on went up outside of the offices of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) and CANDO, the Central neighborhood organization. The goal is to gather common, if not always complimentary in association, questions from around the neighborhood and to distill these gathered questions into a series of uniformly designed billboards, translated into the predominant languages spoken in the neighborhood. If you live in the Powderhorn, Central, or E. Philips neighborhoods of the 9th Ward and have a broad question concerning how we live with one another or might possibly in the future, call the Public Comment hotline and leave us a message: 1.800.536.0702 (special thanks to Aaron Johnson Ortiz at CTUL for the invitation to house the first billboard and to Rachel Hiltsley for her labor and insight into the project and its future). Also, if you are a commercial or residential property owner in the neighborhood and would like to host a billboard please get in touch. We’d love to collaborate with you as the project moves forward.
The May Day Parade, started by Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, has been going strong and bringing the neighborhood out for more than 40yrs. For this May Day we felt it necessary to take stock of who we are, where we’ve been, and where we could go from here.
Obviously, shits been tough. MPLS winters are never easy. While mild, this one was bad. Many of us cloistering ourselves and wondering, not only “what can I do,” but also, “what’s next?!” This horror show of a country, and the various ways it has seeped into the everyday social landscape of the 9th Ward is no joke.
A means to engage the past in the present as a vehicle to consider our shared futures we created a series of socially and conceptually inter-connected masks (over 2000+) to be distributed around the neighborhood during the May Day celebration.
Joyous, while simultaneously informative, the masks featured the likenesses of, among others, James and Grace Lee Boggs, Voltairine de Cleyre, Emma Goldman, Ornette Coleman, Caetano Veloso, and Ursula K. le Guin.
Our hope was that, on this day in South MPLS, where everyone feels freed from the bonds and solitude of winter, where we come out and celebrate the good weather and our renewed closeness to one another, that we could, in a fun and celebratory way, also add a moment of reflection and sense of renewal and possibility to the proceedings.
“As to whether Marcos is gay: Marcos is gay in San Francisco, black in South Africa, an Asian in Europe, a Chicano in San Ysidro, an anarchist in Spain, a Palestinian in Israel, a Mayan Indian in the streets of San Cristobal,… a Jew in Germany, a Gypsy in Poland, a Mohawk in Quebec, a pacifist in Bosnia, a single woman on the Metro at 10pm, a peasant without land, a gang member in the slums, an unemployed worker, an unhappy student and, of course, a Zapatista in the mountains.” – Subcomandante Marcos
“People can change anything they want to. And that means everything in the world. Show me any country and there’ll be people in it just trying to take their humanity back into the center of the ring. Follow that for a time. Y’know, think on that. Without people you’re nothing.” – Joe Strummer
“The task of teachers, those obscure soldiers of civilization, is to give to the people the intellectual means to revolt.” – Louise Michel
“Justice is not a flexible tool. Unless we all do our part to ensure that justice is applied equally to all human beings, we are a party to its abuse. We must stand together to protect the rights of others.” – Leonard Peltier
Sunday’s Anarchy is Female workshop felt like exactly where we needed to be. A large group of people arrive at the shop ready to get to work; to plan and organize together, to imagine ways of being, acting, resisting, and re-imagining the world outside of, and in resplendent antagonism towards, the specter of patriarchy.
Many flags were hand-drawn and matchbooks stamped. Variations on the Anarchy is Female logo were printed. 200 were produced and handed out, many of these being delivered to Washington D.C. for the inauguration, and others staying here for various actions.
As the day ran on Crystal and Sam both thought the gathering shouldn’t simply occur just once. After the Inauguration we’ll re-group and plan on future, possibly monthly, Anarchy is Female gatherings. Stay tuned.
About a half-hour ago I was sitting here in Beyond Repair with Steven and had a bit of a shock. Who stepped into the Midtown Global Market, looking around, confused, not sure where to go? None other than MPD Police Federation President, Bob Kroll. He soon walked off, looking for something. Intrigued, I left Steven in the shop and walked around the market looking for Bob. Was he searching for us? If not, was he hungry? Where would he eat?
It seems though, while I was gone, Bobby found his way to the shop. He came in, saw a stack of Sgt. Kroll Goes to the Office, took about four or five, and avoiding any eye contact or interaction with Steven of any kind, quickly walked out.
I’ve been extremely happy, and frankly somewhat surprised, at the overwhelmingly positive reception this action has elicited. Both from the public at large, as well as elected officials in MPLS city government. Furthermore, it seems the action has been effective enough to get back to Lt. Kroll, and drive him across town to what he refers to in the comic as our “shit-hole neighborhood!” But hey, art will compel you into worlds that, prior to exposure, one would never dare to venture. I congratulate Lt. Kroll for, once again, braving the wilds of South MPLS.
All this said, I feel it is important for me to make this public; after the release of Sgt. Kroll Goes to the Office many people have urged me to publicly state the fact that Kroll, MPD, and their allies could retaliate in some way. Maybe, maybe not. But I agree that it is important to state that this possibility is, in fact, logical to consider and on my mind.
As an example, after the production of the comic was made public, but not yet released, the car in the above photo parked directly outside our home one afternoon. Having constructed low-wattage radio stations in the past I was interested, but also confused, by the DIY antenna apparatus on the roof of the vehicle. Something was off with its construction and orientation. I took a photo and sent it to a friend who is far more knowledgeable in that area than I am. He stated that, while not definitive, his guess was that it was a “cell phone sniffer.” What’s that? Well, myself and the small group who organized the visit to Mayor Hodges house last November, on the night the police were cracking down at the 4th Precinct Shutdown, are well aware of what it is. Area journalists, through a FOIA request, were able to find out as well. It’s a device that can read your text messages and listen in to your phone calls. It’s a tactic that MPD used that night and what allowed them to meet us at the Mayor’s house in advance of our arrival. And who knows, maybe it’s what is on top of the van outside our home in this photo. Or maybe not.
All of this sounds terribly psychotic and paranoid. But paranoia often arises out of social landscapes that speak towards something larger than each singular, seemingly fantastical, worry or suspicion. A kernel of truth exists in each.
So, if I start getting pulled over a lot; if we suddenly have numerous coding violations on our home; if, god forbid, DHS and MPD knock down our door over alleged child abuse accusations (which happened not long ago to a friend here in town who is critical of the police and their tactics; if I happen to be walking home and have the shit beat out of me, well, we all know who’s hand is at play. (Hi, Bobby!)
And this goes for ALL the artists involved in its production, and everyone else helping with its distribution as well.
I was sad to miss Bob when he visited the shop. I genuinely would have liked to have talked to him about his actions and ours. I called the Police Union a short while after we missed one another, but he wasn’t there. So I left a message on his voicemail inviting him to call me back to talk about the work. Maybe even have a book signing at the shop?
So Bob, it’s apparent that you are, in fact, paying attention to all this. I invite you to talk about it, but please don’t hit me – or accuse me of anything, or fuck with my kids, or listen into my phone calls or read my emails – let’s just talk.
I’ll be at Beyond Repair noon tomorrow. See you here. I’ll buy you a coffee.
A few weeks back we hosted Lisa Schonberg and Anthony Brisson – who perform together as Coordination – for a performance on the Midtown Greenway under the Bloomington Ave. bridge. We didn’t have permission to do so, but we did it because it felt right. It felt like sharing, not taking. Sharing should be encouraged.
Lisa is someone I’ve known for a long time. We lived around the corner from one another back in Portland, and she helped take care of Esme and Honora in the six months between the time they were born and we moved from Portland to Minneapolis. Lisa and Anthony were in town visiting Anthony’s family and since they’d be around we decided to do some work together. This turned out to be them creating a graphic score – a semi-sequential drawing to be played along to – which we printed at the shop, to be handed out on the Greenway as Coordination performed.
I was really interested in not simply setting up a show with Lisa but finding a space within the neighborhood which, however briefly, we could slightly, creatively disrupt and then, through our packing up and going home, leave the way we found it. Nonetheless, leaving the traces and residue of our convergence and trespassing, our reconfiguring of the space around us by altering its possibilities; bike lane, sunset stroll, weirdo setting up a generator and playing abstract compositions under a bridge. Yeah, why not? This sort of action was something, as kids in our early twenties, Lisa and I learned to adapt to, and find agency from in the pre-hipster Pacific Northwest.
Anthony and Lisa brought some equipment with them and borrowed a few items from Anthony’s father, an electrician out in White Bear Lake who also makes time to play music. Derek Maxwell, Beyond Repair’s current “public-maker in residence” helped source a drum set and a generator.
As we lugged the generator down the steps off Bloomington a small crowd began to gather. People asked us what we were up to as Lisa set up the kit. The sun, slowly began to set, lowering under each bridge, getting closer, and darker, one by one until all that was left was the light of the nearby buildings and the halogen lamps dotting the Greenway landscape.
To lessen the noise of the generator from interfering with the music, Derek and I moved it down the Greenway a bit, which shut it off with our jostling it back and forth. When I tried to start it again, the rope broke off in my hand. This led to our delaying the performance about an hour as, one by one, we went to one another’s houses looking for the right socket to unbolt the housing that would allow us into the start to re-spool the rope. The trouble didn’t end once we found the right socket. The generator didn’t fire up right away, and subsequent attempts broke the rope on multiple occasions. In the middle of this I had an idea. Our neighbor Jess had skateboarded down with her husband Tom and their kids. Jess was wearing running shoes with nylon laces, which to my estimation, were unlikely to break. In due time, tying Jess’s shoelace to the remaining rope and handle we got the generator back up and running and soon the performance began.
The crowd had dwindled a bit, but it didn’t really matter. It was the experience between us – all the folks who decided to take part in creating this convergence – that interested me most; a convening of intent and a question shared between us – “Well, what do we do after this?”
About three quarters into the performance a police cruiser rolled up. Both Lisa and I, from those days back when – in parks, basements, warehouses – figured we were packing it up. But Lisa and Anthony kept playing. The cop got out of his car, and walked over to the other side of the Greenway to watch and listen. I walked over to say hello. He asked what was going on, and I told him. We began to talk and he seemed interested in what we were up to. This looped into a long conversation about public space, performance, and simply folks getting together in the neighborhood to convene and make use of the vast, yet all too ofter underused, social and environmental landscape around us. Just as the cop was about to walk away I notice his badge – “Thunder.”
“Oh, wait a moment,” I said, “Officer Thunder, you’re our new beat cop, aren’t you?”
He grimaced for a moment, “Oh, yikes. What have you heard about me?”
I mentioned how I’d seen news about his new post, and that I was happy to see him out and about in the neighborhood, saying hello, checking up on things, and frankly, doing what a beat cop should be doing, in my mind: making their presence known and looking out for how to help and how they can be a part of the neighborhood.
I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Officer Thunder. With all the tumult of late, it was kind of amazing to have an unguarded and thoughtful conversation in public with a cop.
I wondered that night, and in the days following, what could be learned from that interaction, so different than any I have had in a long time. When was the last time I saw a cop smile at me, or anyone else for that matter? Not immediate become defensive, or keep their hands close to their weapons? Maybe I’m in the wrong company, but this often seems to be the case.
Officer Thunder opened up another idea of what police in our neighborhood could look like.
Almost here… the first edition of Publics and Publication Nº1; Emory Douglas. Rumor has it that our neighbor, Marlon James, is going to write the forward to it as well!
Here’s a bit of a primer to Emory’s genius.
Since the beginning of the year a group of 9th Ward neighbors, environmental explorers, and urban farmers have been meeting together with the Twin Cities Agricultural Land Trust at the experimental publication site, Beyond Repair, in the Midtown Global Market. We’ve called our get-togethers Food Enough? We’ve gathered to discuss ideas and possibilities around truly equitable food land use in the Twin Cities and how the meeting of like minded yet disparate skills and knowledge can help put into place a landscape that is more abundant and fruitful than we’ve yet to imagine.
On May 15, at 4:30pm, we invite you to bring a handful of soil to explore, and talk with the conveners of the Soil Lab project and neighbors interested in our relationships with soil. What lives in the soil here? What can we learn from soil about ourselves and our surrounding systems, and therefore what can it teach us about equity and inequity, about our neighborhoods and societies?
We invite you to join us, add your thoughts, and broaden the ideas and experiences within Food Enough? towards future conversations and actions.
I was lucky enough to grow up with Geoffrey Holder playing a significant role in my childhood. How could he not? Physically and personally he was so gigantic in life, especially to a child. Even after I’d moved away from NYC, I’d run into him walking the streets of his neighborhood and he’d remember me, calling out my name over the traffic and noise in SoHo near his loft. This advice to kids is advice for us all. We should never stop asking “what?” and “why?”
I recently read someone describe a neighborhood as “a place where someone feels some human sense of belonging, a human sense of being part of a society.” So, as my mind is on my neighborhood now, I can’t help but wonder how Geoffrey’s advice for children can be advice for us all. By asking “what?” and “why?” as often as possible of our own place and sense of place, how can we move towards that “sense of human belonging” that defines a neighborhood?
It cannot simply be achieved through policy – safer streets, access to good food, etc… Though certainly those considerations play a big part, we can’t arrive at them till we endeavor to ask one another “what?” and “why?” But how? How do we arrive at that space of questioning in a productive, inclusive way that begins outside of a space crisis? Prior to the notion of a “problem that needs to be fixed”? – Sam
The new Riso we got at the shop uses this moving graphic when it needs you to wait before taking the drum out of the machine. We have determined it is a chipmunk.
We have decided to name the machine based on this graphic, and seeing that Riso is a Japanese company it seemed only right that we should use the Japanese name for Chipmunk.
So, if you come into the shop and ask “what’s that machine over there,” we’ll answer, “Oh, that’s Shimarisu.”
Let’s celebrate South MPLS Society Librarian and resident Beyond Repair Spiritualist and weirdo, Lacey Prpic Hedtke’s new – and quite hefty booklet – We Believe in Infinite Intelligence. It’s Lacey’s own personal guide to Spiritualism here, in the 21st century, all coming from her own long engaged experiences with the practice.
Along with useful histories and tools, the booklet comes with amazing Risograph printed 19th c Spiritualist photographs.
Booklets and posters will be available. Chanting, snacks, spirit songs! After 8pm we’ll move to Eastlake Brewery for more revelry and kombucha or beer on tap.
As a way to move more complex reflections around the neighborhood, both on and offline, we’ll be producing a series of broadsheets, intermittently produced, that reflect both our own experiences facilitating the space and assisting the ideas and interests of those who step into it, as well as making light of urgent ideas and actions within the neighborhood on a whole.
Free, as it should be – these are communiques after all – Occasional Notes Nº1 is currently available within the shop to take, read, and distribute as you wish, dropped off throughout the neighborhood, and posted here on the site, to read on whatever device you are currently tuned into. Enjoy.
Calling all 9th Ward neighbors (that’s Powderhorn, Central, Phillips…) and Twin Cities residents interested in our neighborhood: Beyond Repair has started a Publication Residency called 9W / PRP. If you are interested in forming a public around ideas and issues within the 9th Ward, reach out to us so we can help you realize your ideas through the tools and processes available within the shop.
Over the last few weeks Fiona, our first resident within the 9th Ward Publication Residency Program (9W / PRP) has been stopping by the shop, thinking through ideas and projects that she’d like to work on this month. Yesterday we finished production on This is How You Quit, a two color mini-comic of Fiona’s inspired by quitting her job and giving in to life. We fully support her desire to “give up.”
Fiona, as with all future 9WPRP residents lives in the neighborhood. Actually, just a block away from Beyond Repair to be exact. A self-described “artist, writer, media maker, educator, and agitator,” Fiona has produced many comics and illustrations, often taking aspects of her daily life as a subtle entrance point to engage larger social issues.
“In this series of essays Fred Moten and Stefano Harney draw on the theory and practice of the black radical tradition as it supports, inspires, and extends contemporary social and political thought and aesthetic critique. Today the general wealth of social life finds itself confronted by mutations in the mechanisms of control: the proliferation of capitalist logistics, governance by credit, and the management of pedagogy. Working from and within the social poesis of life in the undercommons Moten and Harney develop and expand an array of concepts: study, debt, surround, planning, and the shipped. On the fugitive path of an historical and global blackness, the essays in this volume unsettle and invite the reader to the self-organised ensembles of social life that are launched every day and every night amid the general antagonism of the undercommons.”
Can we ethically release ourselves from a social moment that we find reprehensible? What about those we leave behind? Politically, socially, ethically can an individual be in two places at once? How do we live within contradiction and feel empowered, not hypocritical?
The Undercommons Reading Groups meets each Saturday evening from 6 – 8, usually followed with some beers and tacos at Eastlake Craft Brewing.
Free “bootlegged” paperback copies are available at Beyond Repair. For those yet to attend, a PDF is available here.
All levels and interests of inquiry welcome, from the theoretical to the deeply practical and local.