Folks, what are you doing tomorrow night at 7pm? Join us for our last Assembly Reading Group meeting, as well as the beginning of something new. PM for details.
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.
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.
Much thanks to Alan Moore for his days and insights while here with us as the inaugural resident within the Beyond to the Future Neighborhood Residency Program.
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!”
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.
“A wire heated to blooming glow… and it works!”
Bruce Braun reads Vannevar Bush while testing out the new quadraphonic sound system set up by ‘publicator-in-residence” Derek Maxwell.