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.
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…
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.
Grateful to Mary Walling Blackburn for sending along an email with a reminder for us all, from the great Voltaire de Cleyre:
“Anarchism, to me, means not only the denial of authority, not only a new economy, but a revision of the principles of morality. It means the development of the individual as well as the assertion of the individual. It means self-responsibility, and not leader worship.”
In 1958 the French social theorist, Guy Debord, wrote this;
In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their relations, their work and leisure activities, and all their other usual motives for movement and action, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there. Chance is a less important factor in this activity than one might think: from a dérive point of view cities have psychogeographical contours, with constant currents, fixed points and vortexes that strongly discourage entry into or exit from certain zones.
Dérive translate roughly, from the French, to “drift.” The ideas behind many of Debord, and his cohort, The Situationists, have been firmly, if not menacingly, adopted within the market place. We “drift” around the mall, finding pathways from one shop to the next as if by accident, pinballs within the machine of commerce. To many, familiar with Situationist thought or otherwise, these concepts will ring true.
With this in mind, what might occur when one decides to “close up shop,” leave the marketplace to go on a walk, not destination in mind, around ones neighborhood? To continue with the “theory of the dérive,” where will the neighborhood take you?
As the weather has turned in Minnesota, and Beyond Repair is, at heart, compelled to listen to what the its neighborhood is saying (as well as respond in return), it seems only fitting to complicate, yet again, our role as “business” within the market place, here at the Midtown Global Market. What are we selling at Beyond Repair if not reading as an act of critical and social engagement. And so, we are compelled out into the streets, reading the sidewalks and alleyways to consider the thoughts of the 9th Ward.
In time, as ever, something will come of it; a broadside, a series of chats around the table in the shop, a new way of looking / talking about where we live together, a breathe of fresh air…
Back by popular demand, in early 2016 Beyond Repair will be releasing a new publication series of commissioned essays on food, anarchism, gray markets, communal dining, and more. The series, Shatarsky’s – named after Sam’s paternal grandmother, will be printed on paper bags, available each Sunday by pre-order. Like most of our other publications, the bags will be for sale. They will come with “free” bagels inside of them. I mean, who wants an empty bag? Nobody, that’s who.