“We have just begun to fight”  Grace Lee Boggs (August 18, 2013)

I‘ve been a Detroiter for 60 years and this is the first time in my experience that so many different organizations with different ideologies and personalities have recognized that the time has come when we must join together to resist and defeat the growing counter-revolution.

This counter-revolution is very unprincipled, very dangerous and taking many forms, Therefore its defeat will take a lot of cooperation, courage, and principled struggle.

Rooted in race, and the search for the American Dream, it began at the end of World War II when white people moved to the suburbs to escape blacks in cities like Detroit where whites were becoming the minority. Taking with them their schools, their businesses and their taxes, they impoverished the cities and attracted the attention and money of extreme right-wingers like the Koch brothers.

As a result, over the years the suburbs have become increasingly reactionary. They have elected governors like Scott Walker and Rick Snyder. They have passed anti-union right to work, anti-women, and anti-black “Stand your ground” laws, which have given men like George Zimmerman permission to kill teens like Trayvon Martin as if they were roaches.

It is also mushrooming on college campuses. Professors are writing books celebrating Senator Joe McCarthy, claiming that his red-baiting witchhunts were actually early warnings against the big government that Obama is trying to force on us. Every year the ultra-conservative Phyliss Schlafly hosts a nationally-telecast Collegians Summit at the Heritage Foundation to provide these professors with a youthful audience.

As a result, on some campuses white students warn black professors not to flunk them – or else. At UCLA’s medical school Dr. Christian Head, a black surgeon, was assaulted by a flyer depicting him with the body of a gorilla being sodomized by another professor. He sued and was awarded $4.5 million.

With growing unemployment, the crisis in the Mideast, and the decline in this country’s global dominance, we have come to the end of the American Dream. The situation reminds me of the 1930s when good Germans, demoralized by their defeat in WWI, unemployment and inflation, followed Hitler into the Holocaust.

These days, in our country, a growing number of white people feel that, as they are becoming the minority and a black man has been elected president, the country is no longer theirs. They are becoming increasingily desperate and dangerous.

We need to address their fears, and at the same time invite and challenge them to join with us in creating a new American Dream.

It will not be easy. It will take the willingness to risk arrest that North Carolinians are demonstrating in the Moral Mondays movement.

It will take the kind of militancy that students are exhibiting in sit-ins against ‘’Stand your ground” legislation.

It will take the kind of courage and persistence that Texas State Senator Wendy Davis demonstrated when she carried out a 13 hour filibuster against a bill that would have denied women the right to choose.

We have just begun to fight….

(Note: Grace wrote this column under the heading “In Detroit, We Have Just Begun to Fight” after Detroit was taken over by an emergency manager and plunged into a corporate-styled bankruptcy.)

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James Boggs, What Does the African American Experience Teach us About Democracy and Equality? 1980

The question is not how to make other non-black Americans less racist while we become more like them every day. As long as we continue to think that this is the main question, our social, economic, and political relationships will get worse instead of getting better. In fact, they will be getting worse even when they seem to be getting better. As we go towards the 21st century, blacks more than any other group in our country—because of our historical role in this country and also because we will always remain at the bottom of this society as long as it remains capitalist—need to recognize that we must give leadership to the entire nation by projecting new concepts of social and political relationships that go as far beyond Democracy and Equality that were created 200 years ago as those concepts went beyond the aristocratic and feudal relationships and concepts of Europe.

Living for Change News January 9th, 2017

It wasn’t all unrelenting doom and gloom in 2017.

Thinking for Ourselves Shea Howell EM Shadows
It is easy to think democracy has been restored to Michigan. The faces of Emergency Managers no longer loom out at us in the daily news. Kevyn Orr has disappeared from Detroit. He is now partner in charge of Jones Day’s Washington D.C. office.
Darnell Earley is gone from Flint and Detroit.  Although in early February he is expected return to view as he is likely to be charged with involuntary manslaughter for his role in the poisoning of Flint water.
Detroit has an elected school board. They selected a new superintendent and reports are that some stability has returned. The governor’s office reported that for the first time in more than a decade, “there are no emergency managers in any cities statewide.”
Rarely reported, however, is that standing in the shadows are financial review boards, limiting the scope and nature of decisions elected officials can make. From water rates and school closing to merit pay, local democratic controls remain out of the hands of local officials, and voters.
Financial management continues as both a theory and practice of the right wing republican dominated state legislature. At the close of the state legislature in December, Democrats and a few bold republicans offered legislation to repeal emergency management legislation. In response, the governor’s office reiterated that the state has a “legitimate purpose in intervening” in local governments. Likewise the proposed legislation dealing with pension funds originally depended on establishing authoritarian emergency management boards.
It is hard to imagine a more clearly failed policy. The role of unchecked, unilateral authority given to emergency managers in the name of financial responsibility is clearly to blame for the devastation of Flint. Two decades of emergency managers left Detroit Public Schools with greater debt, more chaos, and less support for students and teachers than when elected boards were in charge. The New York Times assessed the experience of emergency management saying:
In Flint, emergency managers not only oversaw the city — effectively seizing legal authority from the mayor and City Council — but also pressed to switch the source of the financially troubled city’s water supply to save money.
In Detroit, the schools are on the brink of insolvency after a series of emergency managers dating to 2009 repeatedly failed to grapple with its financial troubles, while also falling short on maintaining school buildings and addressing academic deficiencies.
Supporters of Emergency Management often point to the Detroit bankruptcy process as a sign of the success of the policy. This success is embedded the corporate narrative that Detroit is “coming back.” For these supporters this means Detroit is becoming whiter, wealthier, and more supportive of corporate take-overs of public assets and responsibilities.
In the midst of the Detroit bankruptcy process, the fundamental problem of emergency management thinking emerged in the water shut off crisis. In order to make city assets valuable on the open market, Orr ordered a crack down on overdue residential water bills. This set off an assault on our communities that brought universal condemnation to the city and those who backed the shut off policy.  It revealed the essence of emergency management bottom line thinking that overshadows the essential interests of people.  In his ruling refusing a moratorium on water shut offs, Judge Steven Rhodes, later emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools explained, “Detroit cannot afford any revenue slippages.” Thus he denied a moratorium on shut offs, even as he acknowledged the irreparable harms being done to people. Economics, not people, matter.
The current legislation enabling emergency managers needs to be repealed. Statewide, voters have already said this law is undemocratic. Our task is to create local governments as essential places for people to practice meaningful democracy.  This possibility is what frightens those in authority.

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January 11th 

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Grace Lee Boggs, “The Black Revolution in America,” 1970

Any fundamental change in this system must begin with the concept of the individual as the maker of history, responsible for creating his social environment, convinced of his actions as historically significant, and therefore of how he thinks, feels, and judges and the positions he takes on social issues as not only personally but socially relevant. This sense of one’s personal-political value cannot be developed in private or in secret. It has to be developed (a) in relationship with others with whom one feels a sense of community; (b) in the course of actual and continuing struggle and conflict with those in power; (c) over issues in which positions taken or decisions made can be evaluated in terms of their consequences; and (d) with the perspective of finally taking power which will bring both the authority and responsibility to create new forms of social organization.

______________________________________________

Living for Change News January 3rd, 2017

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
SO LONG 2017

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Thinking for Ourselves

Shea Howell     A New Year

The turning of the year is a time for reflection and recommitment.
Many of us are glad to see 2017 end. As the new year arrives we find ourselves drawing on fragile signs that longings for peace and justice persist, emerging in the resistance to acts of inhumanity that mark those in authority. Throughout the country people are recreating ways of living together based on values that hold the promise of protecting life and restoring health to our communities and the earth.
These signs of hope are revealing a tension in our country as we confront the limitations of a federal system dedicated to protecting power and privilege while destroying much of what people cherish. Increasingly those in authority disregard the passions of people and the values necessary to sustain life.
As the national political leadership demonstrates petty, greedy, and destructive behaviors, state and local leaders are stepping forward to provide methods of establishing alternative values.  People are organizing new forms of democratic practices as communities practice making meaningful decisions about our futures. Local resolutions of resistance, inventive policies confronting real problems, participatory budgeting, and people’s movement assemblies are all emerging as vibrant practices of an enriched democracy.
A fundamental distinction is emerging between we, the people, and the national government.. For example, as the US officially withdrew from the Paris Accord on climate change, 20 States, 50 cities and host of universities and civic organizations reaffirmed a commitment to the Accord goals for reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable energy. As limited as these goals are, it is an important step and reveals the weakness in such federal decision-making.
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg explained the new America’s Pledge action saying, “It is important for the world to know, the American government may have pulled out of the Paris agreement, but the American people are committed to its goals, and there is nothing Washington can do to stop us.”
Marking a new level of cruelty and fear mongering, the Trump Administration announced it is considering a policy on immigration separating children from their parents if they are caught crossing the border without documentation. This move, coupled with the recent tweets from Trump announcing his decision to tie protection of young, undocumented immigrant Dreamers from deportation to building a wall along the US southern border highlights the importance of Sanctuary spaces.
California is currently leading the way on how states can create counter power bases to protect people.The California effort takes effect this week.  A recent report noted:
“This sanctuary state act contributes to building community and state-level resistance to the White House attacks against the growing “sanctuary” movement among communities, institutions and local and state governments in California.”
“As signed, the bill does away with several local deportation practices, such as local police arrests for “civil immigrant warrants”, and it helps to ensure that spaces like schools, health facilities, courthouses and other spaces are safe and accessible to all.”
“State Senate President Kevin de Leon, the lead author of the bill said, “With today’s signing of SB 54 into law, one of the most important parts of that legal wall of protections is now in place. Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions will not be able to use California’s own law enforcement officials in an effort to round up and deport our fellow Californians.”
As we approach this New Year we face a federal government that is increasingly abusive, capricious, and dangerous to life. Confronting it requires our rededication to creating new governmental forms and sources of power that reflect our best hopes for ourselves, one another, and our futures.
A Poem for Erica Garner Tawana Honeycomb Petty
What becomes of the broken hearted? Ventricles rotted with despair
Your father lost his air for us You shared your grief with us Y’all gave your lives for us

A lineage of reluctant Ancestry Two bodies Deceased prematurely Molded out of tragedy
Like Whitney and Bobby Kristina We grieve your tragic endings Though we watched you suffer publicly
May the air be clearer where you are May the universe heal your broken heart May your father gain his breath at sight of you
Dear Erica, we mourn for you We sympathize with you We agonize for you
May we be better human beings because of you

A Poem for Erica Garner
Tawana Honeycomb Petty

What becomes of the broken hearted?
Ventricles rotted with despair

Your father lost his air for us
You shared your grief with us
Y’all gave your lives for us

A lineage of reluctant Ancestry
Two bodies
Deceased prematurely
Molded out of tragedyLike Whitney and Bobby Kristina
We grieve your tragic endings
Though we watched you suffer publicly

May the air be clearer where you are
May the universe heal your broken heart
May your father gain his breath at sight of you

Dear Erica, we mourn for you
We sympathize with you
We agonize for you

May we be better human beings because of you

_____________________________________________

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Reflections on Midwest Conversations Lisa M. Perhamus

In the spirit of Conversations in Maine, during which time James and Grace Lee Boggs and Freddie and Lyman Paine, spent reflective time with comrades, deeply engaged in questions about revolution, evolution and the politics of seeing the human dignity in one another, a small group of political activists from Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Chicago convened in Kalamazoo, MI in mid-October for a similarly reflective retreat, Midwest Conversations.  A more multi-voiced reflection of Midwest Conversations, and the echoes of the work of James and Grace Lee Boggs’ Conversations in Maine, will be part of future Bogg’s Center Living for Change writing, but here are a few of my reflections…

The idea of the retreat was conceptually simple:  Engage with one another in humanizing ways about our work and let our dialogue with one another emerge organically.  One of the lessons that I learned from Midwest Conversations was that the implementation of the retreat was more complex, for how does a group of leaders work with a strong sense of intentionality and purpose without the clarity of conventional leadership?  In alignment with the wisdom of adrienne maree brown’s concept of emergent strategy and of “longing, a will to imagine and implement something else” (p. 21), we embraced our struggles with horizontal leadership and our questions about the idea of accompanionship rather than leadership.  We, a group of people who mostly did not know each other but who cared deeply about the political questions facing the human race at this historical moment, also collectively worked to figure out the authentic, courageous and loving connective tissue that had brought us together for this retreat.
We began our first evening together with adrienne maree brown’s idea that a few people gathered together, in a particular place, in a particular moment, could have a conversation that could only flow in those conditions—our job was to find that conversation with each other.  This was an idea from emergent strategy, and proved to be a powerful one, as people who were meeting for the first time dialogued in ways that only they could, and dialogued in ways that were rich and meaningful as we began the retreat.  Coming back together as a larger group felt, to me, more tentative, more cautious, laced with uncertainty about what our time together would be like.  In emergent strategy, adrienne maree brown, states two critically important principles.  First:  Trust the people.  Second:  What you pay attention to grows.  People in the group who felt the tentativeness and cautiousness articulated a desire to develop a set of Common Agreements for our group conversations to help build trust.  Trust the people.  Folks did develop such agreements and the trust that it helped to foster deepened our work together and our relationships with one another.  Folks paid attention to the need for strengthening our connection with one another, and our attention to nourishing the tissue bonding us in the retreat allowed our work together to grow and deepen.  These are important principled lessons—lessons that saturate the human need for connection amidst today’s fragmentation and fractures.  In the face of hostility, trauma, violence and division, people are uniting in social movements; in political discussions around kitchen tables; through the galvanizing power of social media; and through innovation hubs that are making different ways of living current realities.

flip 2

Midwest Conversations folks were able to see the power of growing neighborhoods; repurposing artefacts; and building local economies through the regenerative power of humanity when visiting the Sweet Water Foundation in Chicago on day number two of the retreat.  The work of the Sweet Water Foundation and its co-founders, Emmanuel Pratt and Jia Lok Pratt, demonstrate a third important principle of emergent strategy:  There is not a social problem that nature has not already solved; our job is to find how nature has navigated the problem so that we may learn.  It was a powerful day of learning.  As one participant articulated, what we witnessed happening at Sweet Water was, “Beyond my imaginary.”  As Grace Lee Boggs stated, “A different future is possible, if our imagination were rich enough.”
We spent the last day and a half of the retreat articulating what we were learning; stretching our collective growth; laboring through difficult moments; crying in moments of recognizing trauma; and feeling the graciousness that we all stayed at the proverbial table through it all.  I do believe that James and Grace would have demanded no less of us and would have respected our willingness to keep working, even through the hard times–and laughed with us through our moments of the pure joy of getting to know one another.  Mia Henry, Executive Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, really helped us weave our experiential growth together and her modeled “accompanionship more than leadership” style highlighted the possibilities of living the future we want for tomorrow, today. ACSJL provided us a space that acknowledges the ancestral land upon which we were meeting; the Center’s partnership with neighborhood communities; its respect for the natural environment; and its commitment to social justice with the Kalamazoo College community.  Through learning about the work of ACSJL, Midwest Conversation participants experienced first-hand the elements outlined in emergent strategy.
On our last afternoon together, I felt that we needed all of the energy of our collective to help us bear witness to the traveling Jim Crow Exhibit that we went to at the Kalamazoo Museum.  There is no escaping the racism that was on full display in that exhibit, or ways to alleviate the pain I felt about the apparently cavalier way many white people seemed to flow in and out of that exhibit.  History matters. As a retreat group, we spent some of our time that evening talking about what we had experienced, but, to be honest, we did not spend enough time—or perhaps there is never enough time.  Perhaps the idea of time is part of the root problem of having difficulty envisioning a different future.  I am reminded of adrienne maree brown’s, emergent strategy, words in her chapter about fractals.
“We hone our skills of naming and analyzing the crises.  I learned in school how to deconstruct—but how do we move beyond our beautiful deconstruction?  Who teaches us to reconstruct?  How do we cultivate the muscle of radical imagination needed to dream together beyond fear?  Showing Black and white people sitting at a lunch counter together was science fiction…When we speak of systemic change, we need to be fractal.  Fractals—a way to speak of the patterns we see—move from the micro to the macro level…We must create patterns that cycle upwards. We are microsystems” (p. 59).
The next morning, our last morning together, was, in my experience, truly a collective, microsystemic, upward movement toward change that nourished and strengthened our connective tissue.  We generated questions organically and dialogued passionately about pressing dilemmas many feel faced with in doing justice work. It was a dialogue time designated for articulating our thoughts, feelings, ideas—a time for sharing work we are doing that is going well and for seeking collaboration about the things that feel more disheartening in our justice work.  On this last morning together, we articulated “take-aways” AND a stronger connective tissue.
We ended in a circle, sharing our reflections of the retreat.  During this circle, as during many of our times together throughout the retreat, I wished that we were audio-recording our conversation the way that Grace Lee Boggs had done during Conversations in Maine. Within our small group there was tremendous wisdom, passion, vision, commitment—born of pain, living, studying, partnering, loving.  To have recorded our conversations together would have been tremendous.  But, we can each carry the conversations with us into our next conversations, and in that sense, Midwest Conversations really happened in the spirit of Conversations in Maine.  The Conversations in Maine are still happening, as the upcoming reprinting of the text evidences, and the Midwest Conversations will continue.  I believe this will happen because of the power of the experience—thanks to the Boggs Center, ACSJL and the Sweet Water Foundation.  I also believe that our ongoing experience is echoed in adrienne maree brown’s emergent strategy:
‘What are the root problems in my community, and what do deep foundational, rooted solutions look like?’ (citing the Ruckus Society’s operating principles).  This is thinking from a place of healing, more than dominating others with our beliefs.  It is not enough to adhere to these values, however—we want to see our beliefs in practice.  Now, how does it feel (to release assumptions)? (p. 66).

I believe that the Midwest Conversations will continue with formal and informal partnerships; move forward with continued shifts in thinking; enrich new friendships; nourish a sense of knowing that we are not alone in doing justice work; and strengthen the somatic knowledge we each now embody as we dialogue together.  We, along with our neighbors, are the change we want to be.IMG_7517 2

Living for Change News
graceandjimmylfcheading with border
December 26th, 2017


“Men don’t need to show our manhood, we need to show our humanity” — James Boggs, 1990


Together We Make a Family
A disabled, biracial, (and totally normal) American family

WATCH


With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June. Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.

You can contribute directly at our website
www.boggscenter.org
or mail a check to

Boggs Center
3061 Field Street
Detroit, MI 48214.


Thinking for Ourselves
Shea Howell
In Quest of Peace

For many of us this is the season to turn toward family and friends. It is a sacred time, calling for reflection and affirmation of our deepest longings for peace on earth. Rarely has such a hope been so far from our daily reality. We are living in a moment when relationships among people are marked with causal violence and intentional brutalities. Since 2001 we have been a people at war. It has been the backdrop of the lives of an entire generation who have never known a time without active US military interventions.

Recently, Nick Turse documented the increased use of Special Operation forces under the current administration. He notes, “On any given day, 8000 special operations from a command numbering roughly 70,000—are deployed in approximately 80 countries.” In 2017 troops were deployed “to 149 nations.”

The reach of these forces influences every part of our globe. As a report from TomDispatch explained, these troops are in “about 75% of the nations on the planet.” Under President Obama, and now Trump, this is an increase “of nearly 150% from the last days of George W. Bush’s White House.”

General Raymond Thomas, the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), offered some chilling views on what this global reach means. He said, “We operate and fight in every corner of the world.” He went on, “Rather than a mere ‘break-glass-in-case-of-war’ force, we are now proactively engaged across the ‘battle space’ of the Geographic Combatant Commands… providing key integrating and enabling capabilities to support their campaigns and operations.” 

Over the last two decades we have drifted from the doctrine introduced by George W. Bush of “preemptive war” to the acceptance of perpetual war. Anywhere we choose. We have become the most dangerous predator on the planet. We have allowed military solutions to become normal.

The idea that military force can create security is a false and deadly way to think. Rather, we need to acknowledge that we are a people without restraint, promoting violence and disruption across the globe.

Willful blindness to such violence corrodes our souls. Often carried out by bombs, drones, missiles and a few men and women, the use of massive force has become ordinary. We are barely stirred by even the dropping of the largest mega bomb on earth, the Mother of All Bombs. Talk of nuclear destruction is tossed out in tweets.

This is perhaps the gift that Trump has given us. He has made our hypocrisies transparent. While the United States has always depended on violence and destruction to secure its wealth, we have often hidden that ugliness behind aspirations of becoming something better.  But in the age of Trump, we can no longer pretend. We see daily the cruelty and violence that support our ways of living.

We can no longer evade the reality of who we have become as a nation. Nor can we evade how much force and violence shape not only our relationships around the globe but our public spaces at home and our most intimate relationships.

As we turn to each other this season, the questions before us require the courage to re-imagine what it means to create peace in our lives and on the earth that sustains us.  Finding our ways to peace and respectful relationships has never been more urgent.


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Round the corner on Grand River Avenue onto Vinewood Street on Detroit’s West Side and you’ll encounter a building covered in mirrors. The eye-catching Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum is a striking, immersive introduction to African material culture.”
rendering_2
(Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum renovation rendering by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects)

Look for the new edition of Riverwise is out in your favorite stores and community spaces!
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Detroit, Michigan 48214
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Living for Change News
Jimmy and Grace

Grace Lee Boggs, “I Must Love the Questions Themselves” 1985

Loving your people and loving questions are, I believe, the two most important qualities that an individual needs today to help create the new kind of politics we need to bring about fundamental social change in our country. Even if the people of our respective communities or of our country are acting in ways that we believe are unworthy of human beings, we must still care enough for them so that their lives and ours, their questions and ours, become inseparable. At the same time we must love the questions themselves, first, because every time we act on our convictions, we create new contradictions or new questions; and secondly, because we have no models for revolutionary social change in a country as technologically advanced and politically backwards as ours.

_______________________________________

December 19th, 2017


Jimmy No Way


With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June. Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.

You can contribute directly at our website
www.boggscenter.org

or mail a check to

Boggs Center
3061 Field Street
Detroit, MI 48214.


Thinking for Ourselves

Shea Howell
Business and DemocracyThe undermining of democracy is accelerating in Michigan. A new frame is emerging from our business owners and their publicists. They are claiming business, supported by public money, is better for people than political decision-making.The efforts by Dan Gilbert and Bedrock to use public money for their latest projects illustrate this dangerous shift. Major news media is celebrating Gilbert’s plans for the former Hudson’s Department Store. Gilbert is promising a million square foot development that will include 400 apartment units, the tallest building in Michigan, and a large complex of with retail markets and exhibition spaces.  laiming it will be a “city within a city” the space will offer a maker’s space for children, a market hall for encouraging new ideas, art, music, dance, and Ted Talks.

Behind all of this media hype are some troubling realities. First, an initial $250 million in tax money, collectable by Gilbert, thanks to the Michigan Legislature, supports the project. The right wing legislature has put into place a legal framework to allow corporations to collect income and property taxes in designated redevelopment areas. This initial public support for Gilbert’s projects is expected to balloon to $618 million over the next few years, including money that should go to public schools.

The developments, part of more than a dozen scheduled over the next year, are not governed by any substantial community benefit agreements. In fact the community is being told to be quiet, stop interrupting progress, and be glad you are getting some jobs, maybe.

The Detroit Free Press columnist John Gallagher, who considers himself liberal, uncritically embraces the development. He notes in passing that it will have a “big public assembly space.” What kind of “public space” exactly is he envisioning? Gilbert, who has both a large private security force and state of the art surveillance technologies positioned throughout his emerging fortressed area, has not exactly encouraged robust public discussion. Gallagher’s thinking about democracy appears to extend to offering suggestions of names for the new building. The point of his short article is to invite readers to send suggestions to him so he can pass them along to Gilbert.

Gallagher does say we “need to figure out what to do to ensure that Detroit’s recovery creates opportunity for all.” Opportunity, of course, is not the same thing as justice, and is a long way from sustainable, equitable development. His solution for opportunity is to give more tax breaks, this time for historic preservation.

A much more meaningful solution would be a real community benefits agreement. Last year Gilbert and his pals did every thing they could to sabotage a community led initiative. Many of those who fought for this substantial agreement gathered outside the fake ground breaking event to challenge this use of public money for private gain.

Predictably, instead of engaging seriously with the questions being raised by the group, Gilbert’s media mouthpieces resorted to name calling in an effort to delegitimize thoughtful discussion.

On the other side of the spectrum the Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes offered the view that business is better than democracy. Howes argued that Detroiters need to “embrace” business, because “commerce is often more likely to improve lives and build communities—not politics.”

This kind of framing is dangerous to all who care about democracy and justice. The idea that business interests, not public values, should be our only consideration has justified the genocide of indigenous people, the enslavement of millions of Africans for generations, and the continued assault on land and people everywhere.

Gilbert responded to the demonstrators saying, “I don’t think they understand” and “I think they should do their homework.”  It is Gilbert and his cronies who don’t understand history and who should do some homework. If the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice, they are on the wrong side, and playing a disastrous game.


DC2ChurchFlyer

Shifting the Language: From Ally to Co-liberator
Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty
eclectablog
If you are a black person or another person of color, I am asking you to participate in ushering in a new narrative. I am asking you to relinquish your pursuit of white people as privileged beings. If you are a white person, I am asking you to relinquish the narrative that you live a privileged existence.For those of you who made it through that first paragraph, we are well on our way towards visioning a more humane society. A society that allows everyone to show up in the conversation with their full humanity.

Discarding the narrative of privilege is not an invitation to ignore the brutality that black people and other people of color endure under the system of white supremacy. It’s an invitation to contribute to a dialogue that moves us beyond the false dichotomy of hierarchy we have been unintentionally fostering through our anti-racism organizing. It is an invitation to recognize the more connected to our humanity we become, the less we will tolerate the dehumanization of others.

I have participated in dozens of mixed-race discussions around racism that left me feeling even more dehumanized than I felt before the discussion began. I have witnessed testimony after testimony from white allies giving their white privilege testament under the auspice of acceptance by black people and other people of color into the anti-racism organizing circle. Not only did I leave feeling dehumanized, but I felt dehumanized for the white people who I believed came to the events either seeking their humanity, or in pursuit of some measure of transformation.

It’s complicated, I know. But, what has capitulating to the shrinking of blacks and other people of color as the underprivileged and white people as privileged actually done for the struggle against racism, or the dismantling of the system of white supremacy? I am personally exhausted by what has begun to feel like scripted performances by all parties.

At one of the recent gatherings I spoke at, a woman who identified herself as white stood up to counter my challenge towards the white privilege narrative. She described the ability to let her son walk “safely” two doors down from their home as a privilege. I was grateful that she provided her analysis of privilege, as it provided an opportunity for a deeper dialogue. A dialogue that moves beyond the misconception that there is some sort of magic bubble that protects you from the suffering in society if you just move far enough into the suburbs. One that removes the misconception that there is no suffering in the suburbs. A dialogue that challenges white people to take a deeper look at the impact racism and living up to the backwards standards of white supremacy, has on them. A dialogue that interrogates the sort of survival that encourages you to disconnect from the “others” of the world in order to have the perception you are moving up in it.

My assessment is that the ways in which we have been identifying privilege are very limited in scope. The privilege narrative does not take into consideration the rich history and culture that has been historically and actively practiced in black, brown and indigenous communities. A culture that is consistently borrowed by the mainstream while the people whose culture it belongs to are hated by that very same mainstream. The privilege narrative negates the perseverance and stick-to-itiveness that black people and other people of color have demonstrated to the world through some of the most inhumane conditions inflicted upon us. The privilege narrative invisibilizes the ingenuity, artistry, creativity and “make a way out of no way,” resilience that blacks and other people of color have employed in order to survive in a society that till this day has failed to recognize us as fully human. But, even with all the social ills inflicted upon us, we are not underprivileged. I’m not claiming that existence any longer.

That fact that black, brown and indigenous humanity has been subjected to the interpretation of a society that suffers from the detriment of white supremacy is an even greater reason not to succumb to that analysis. Enough is enough. We have known the brilliance of black people and other people of color for long enough. There is no reason to keep pleading with anyone to recognize us as human.

What is imperative now is that we stand together in our power to shift the language and the narrative, and encourage those co-liberators who are serious about struggling against racism and dismantling the system of white supremacy, to shift their language and analysis as well.
We will not rid the world of all the ‘isms that plague us by shrinking to them. None of us will.

I’ll end with a quote from a powerful Ancestor, Fred Hampton.

Black people need some peace. White people need some peace and we’re gonna have to struggle religiously to bring about some peace because the people we’re asking for peace, they are a bunch of meglamaniac war mongers! And we got to struggle with them to make ’em understand what peace means!

It’s time we moved onward and upward, together!


What We’re ReadingComedian Jenny Yang on Grace Lee Boggs


What We’re Watching

For more than 30 years, Judith Heumann has been involved on the international front working with disabled people’s organizations and governments around the world to advance the human rights of disabled people.

Jimmy and Grace Lee Boggs

How Do “We Reimagine?  Grace Lee Boggs
We reimagine by combining activism with philosophy. We have to do what I call visionary organizing. We have to see every crisis as both a danger and an opportunity. It’s a danger because it does so much damage to our lives, to our institutions, to all that we have expected. But it’s also an opportunity for us to become creative; to become the new kind of people that are needed at such a huge period of transition. That’s why it’s so wonderful to be here today—that we dare to talk about revolution in such fundamental terms.”

Living for Change News

December 10th, 2017

There’s something amazing growing in the city of Detroit: healthy, accessible, delicious, fresh food. In a spirited talk, fearless farmer Devita Davison explains how features of Detroit’s decay actually make it an ideal spot for urban agriculture. Join Davison for a walk through neighborhoods in transformation as she shares stories of opportunity and hope. “These aren’t plots of land where we’re just growing tomatoes and carrots,” Davison says. “We’re building social cohesion as well as providing healthy, fresh food.”

WATCH How Urban Agriculture is Transforming Detroit

Thinking for Ourselves

Shea Howell
Small Victory, New Questions

People in Michigan can celebrate a small victory this week as public outcry forced the state legislature to scale back its latest attack on local government. The Emergency Management Team provision was withdrawn in the series of bills aimed at pension finances. The proposed package of bills sponsored by right wing republicans to deal with pension commitments would have established a new level of emergency financial managers, setting aside basic local control in the name of financial responsibility. Both Democrats and moderate republicans baulked at the provision, acknowledging the new legislation was more emergency management by a not very different name. Since the disaster in Flint, Emergency Management by any name has not been a popular idea. So the provisions attempting to expand this were withdrawn.  Few elected officials are willing to support extending Emergency Managers.

But this is a small victory surrounded by larger questions.  Embedded in the issue of emergency management is the deeply held right wing belief that democracy is incompatible with responsible choices.  Local control of local decisions do not matter, they argue. In fact it is the official position of these right wing extremists that people have no right to local self-government. This is evident in the continual pursuit of Emergency Managers to replace locally elected governments. Those who lost this time have pledged by to keep the effort to establish emergency management teams alive.

They are supported by the right wing analysis that infuses all levels of government these days.  Last spring three republican appointed justices to the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Emergency Managers, finding them a constitutional exercise of authority. Judge John M. Rogers, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote that it “undoubtedly is a legitimate legislative purpose” for the governor to be given authority to appoint emergency managers with broad authority to run communities and school districts. The decision affirmed Bill Schuette’s bold assertion that people simply “do not have a Constitutional right to local self government.”

Undergirding this thinking is the belief that local financial distress is the result of mismanagement by local officials. Rogers wrote in his opinion, “The solvency of a local government is the result of the management of the finances of that government,” Or mismanagement. In this perspective, if local governments face financial difficulties it is because elected officials haven’t made the necessary decisions to “discipline” aggressive unions and public employees. They have bowed to political pressures. Or they were just plain corrupt.

Notions of mismanagement and corruption are widely held by the right wing to be endemic to communities governed by African Americans. As the Center for Constitutional Law pointed out, “Since 2013, at one point or another, 56% of the black population of the state of Michigan has lived under emergency management.” Meanwhile just three percent of the white population has endured these circumstances.

This racialized blaming of local officials evades fundamental, systemic problems in financing local governments. As a recent report from the Michigan Municipal League argued, “We have built an unsustainable method for funding local government, and unless the administration and Legislature take steps to correct it, we will be damning Michigan’s future.” The report concludes, “We must reevaluate how we fund the services that matter most and back it with the resources needed to create places that people want. “

The beginning of this reevaluation is a conversation about the intricate connection of democracy and the places where we live. How do we make meaningful decisions? Who is responsible? What are the values that govern our choices? In pursuing these questions we will find our way to a deeper understanding of why cities, communities, and people matter.

 

 

Violence is not privilege, it’s detriment
Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty
eclectablog

Violence is not privilege, it’s detriment.

I’m not writing this as someone who has always thought this way. I wrote an entire poem around privilege in my book Coming Out My Box in 2016. However, my thinking has since evolved. The urgency to be free of the system of white supremacy has become even more prevalent.

My mind can no longer connect a violent, oppressive and genocidal system with privilege. I can no longer encourage potential co-liberators to accept their history and collaboration with this system as a privilege. For me, accepting the ongoing legacy of trauma inflicted on blacks and other people of color as a privilege is dehumanizing for all involved. In fact, the terms privilege and ally within the anti-racist organizing movement have been so watered down that mentions make me a bit nauseous and triggered at times.

If someone snatched a child and raped and killed them, would we tell them to admit that they had the privilege of being with that child? Why then would we encourage well-meaning white people who hope to grasp the magnitude of slavery and the current system of white supremacy, to identify their connection to that violent history and current brutality as a privilege? Why are we framing white supremacy as a benefit from our Ancestors’ brutal history of torture (many of whom were children). Why are we framing it as a perk to benefit from our ongoing displacement and marginalization in this country?

Even with the resources gained and protections afforded by the system, based on whiteness, I would much rather hear white co-liberators say, “I recognize my detriment. I am actively struggling against white supremacy, here is how…” Because to identify with those gains with such affirmative language is detrimental to healing and progression in this country. It is detrimental to any real systemic change. If we reframe the connection to this brutality as a detriment, rather than a privilege it removes the optional ally-ship that is so prevalent within anti-racism organizing. If white co-liberators can see their connection to the legacy of slavery, lynching, redlining and other forms of racial violence as a detriment to their humanity, rather than a privilege to their existence, we can begin to balance the racial seesaw a bit.

The argument around privilege verses detriment has been used in the past to think about how whites and blacks relate to the system of white supremacy. However, in those instances, the argument has been that we should refrain from calling white people privileged and instead identify black people as having the detriment. My argument is that this still reinforces the historical hierarchal narrative that got us here in the first place. It is a narrative that makes it a global phenomenon to consistently fail to recognize blacks and other people of color as fully human. I am also arguing that it is the indoctrination into the system of white supremacy and the connectedness to a legacy of violence and brutality towards human beings based on race, that is the actual detriment. Rather than determine a person’s value (privileged or underprivileged) based on what one of my comrades would call, stuff and status, we can begin to reconnect morality with humanity.

It is a mistake to continue to teach black children and other children of color, even those who are without basic necessities, that they are underprivileged. We must begin to take care of their spirit. Society has already told them that they are less than, that they are hopeless and helpless. We must teach them that as we struggle against these systems that seek to dehumanize them, we recognize their full humanity and will do everything in our power to strengthen and restore our villages, so that they don’t have to go without.

Dr. King said, “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” I firmly believe that we all have greater control over the edifice than we have allowed ourselves to believe.
What We’re Watching 

 

This week’s Laura Flanders Show comes from Whitakers, North Carolina and the annual gathering of the Southern Movement Assemblies — a living experiment in popular democracy and local self governance. Plantation politics, monopoly capitalism, incarceration instead of peace: a lot of the worst of the American experience has it roots in the US South, but so does much of the best, from slave revolts, to abolition, to organized labor and civil rights. If the country goes as the South goes, what grassroots progressives do here matters. For this special episode we partnered with Project South, an anchor organization of the Southern Movement Assemblies, and Laura was joined by co-host LaDie Mansfield.Children’s Defense Fund’s National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

SPECIAL REPORT: Self Governance

 

Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.
Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.

Living for Change News

December 4th, 2017


Thinking for Ourselves

Shea Howell

First They Came for Detroit

The Michigan State Legislature is no friend to democracy. Nor is it a friend to cities. Dominated by right wing ideologues, the State Republican majority is once again mounting an assault on all those who believe in local democratic control.

Last week a series of bills were introduced aimed at taking control of local decisions about health care and pensions funded by local communities. These bills, in both the House and the Senate and are backed by Governor Snyder. They are being pushed by Republicans as a way to help municipalities meet pension and health care obligations. The 16 bill package gives sweeping powers to new emergency managers, takes aim at pensions and collective bargaining, and is clearly intended to provide a new mechanism to take over local governments, sell off assets to private interests, and destroy unions.

Under the guise of concern for underfunded retirement plans, the new Local Government Retirement Stability Board (LGRSB), consisting of 3 people appointed by the governor, would require all communities to submit to a five stage process beginning with the assessment of the viability of current pension funding. If funding is deemed inadequate, the community would be required to develop a plan of “corrective action.” If the LGRSB and the local government could not agree, the State Treasurer would declare a financial emergency and appoint a three pension team with powers similar to current Emergency Managers, including setting aside local elected officials, taking control of the budgets, selling public assets and renegotiating contracts.

Of all of the destructive actions taken by Governor Snyder and his right wing supporters, Emergency Management and the removal of local democratic control is the most horrific. It has been directly responsible for the poisoning of Flint, the killing of people, the destruction of public schools, unimaginable suffering through water shut offs, and the whole sale loss of municipal wealth as public assets slip into private hands.

This new wave of legislation, however, is not aimed primarily at large cities with significant numbers of African American citizens. Rather, the first two phases of the proposed legislation would affect more than 900 cities, townships, villages, counties, libraries and park authorities requiring them to turn over financial information to the State.  Senate Majority Leader Arian Meekhof, a republican from West Olive, said that about 85% of Michigan communities are at or nearly fully funded and would not require “corrective action.” About 30 communities across the state are now considered vulnerable, including Detroit, Lansing, Pontiac and Warren.

Aside from the flawed logic of requiring all municipalities to engage in a costly and cumbersome process that only affects 15% of them, the reality is that municipal financial distress has been directly caused by the actions and inactions of the State Republican Legislature. First they withhold funds, then they blame municipalities for not having enough money to balance budgets, then they declare a financial emergency and come in and raid the municipality, privatizing services and selling public assets.

Consider that these bills go far beyond the recommendations of the Governor’s own task force empowered to review pension plans in the state. A majority of Task Force members were opposed to the establishment of requirements for all local governments to submit to an emergency process, believing that the local unit, through the collective bargaining process, should have the flexibility to agree upon what works best within their communities.
Right wing Republicans do not believe in local control. They have argued that there is no “constitutional right to local self government” and view it as a threat. Since 2002, Michigan has cut state support for cities more than any other state in the country, reducing funding by 57%.

First, Emergency Managers came for Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, Benton Harbor and Highland Park. Now they are coming for the rest of Michigan. It is clear we who believe in local democracy as both our right and responsibility have much work to do together.


Anti-Racism Organizing has Stalled
Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty
eclectablog

During this period in my life, I have found myself committed to participating in anti-racism organizing efforts that move beyond black people and other people of color trying to convince white people that they have privilege and white people admitting to that privilege.

Those of us committed to anti-racism organizing need an entirely new conversation, one that has white people digging deeper into the impact racism has had on their own humanity. Drug abuse, domestic violence, suicide, mass murders, etc., are results of the same system that causes intraracial violence within black and brown communities.

I recognize that it is difficult for many to accept that the conditions faced by whites are tied to racism. Racism is a painful existence for blacks and other people of color, and anti-black racism is a deeper level of racism that blacks face, even within “allied” relationships.

As a black woman born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, a city that has suffered under a half-century of propaganda assault because of its predominately black racial demographic, I cannot ignore the impacts of anti-black racism. Anti-black racism has had a direct psychological impact on me and I have witnessed the impact it has had on my city, my entire life.

However, as I have begun to envision and work towards trying to realize the type of world I wish to live in, I have taken note of the impact that participating in such a dehumanizing system has had on well-meaning whites.

Although too many deny it, it has also become easy to take stock of the visible correlation between racism and capitalism.
When whites go into banks and other institutions that have built their wealth on the selling of black bodies through slavery, and are afforded loans and other resources that are quite often denied to the descendants of slaves, that is an obvious connection between racism and capitalism.

When black and brown residents are uprooted from their neighborhoods and their homes replaced with stadiums and upscale hotels or businesses that cater mostly to a white population, those are obvious connections between racism and capitalism.

But, what is less obvious is the psychological impact participating in this capitalistic racism has had on whites. The imaginary bubble that one must create around themselves in order to falsify a peaceful (often suburban) existence from the undesirable (black and brown) population, lends to a level of dehumanization in white people that many don’t speak about.

Instead of confronting these realities in a systemic way, blacks, other people of color, and whites have allowed themselves to participate in a seesaw that reinforces a false hierarchical narrative. Black people and other people of color are on one side of the seesaw and whites are on the other side. This false dichotomy is the privileged and underprivileged seesaw.

This type of rhetoric cannot exist within anti-racism organizing. It will not create the world many of us wish to live in someday. It is the dominant narrative, not the counter-narrative. We need to be committed to the counter-narrative.

If white people don’t begin to look at the impact the system of white supremacy has had on white people, those who have committed themselves to anti-racist organizing will continue to pursue undoing racism as a pet project they can pick up and put down. Undoing racism has to become a lifelong commitment white people make in order to humanize themselves. It cannot be something they do in the black community. Racism is not a black and brown community problem. Racism is something that is inflicted upon the black and brown community.

It is true that unarmed white people are not being gunned down by racist police the way that black people and other people of color are being gunned down. It is true that white people are not being redlined in order to allow for blacks to move into their neighborhoods. It is true that white school districts are not suffering massive school closings and disinvestment at a level that you see happening in black and brown neighborhoods. The system of white supremacy and the policies that are enacted in order to continue that system are vicious and unyielding, and we must do everything in our power to struggle against those policies and supporting forces. In order to do that, we need everyone in the struggle for racial justice to be doing so. This is why forcing well-meaning white people to shrink under white guilt and the false notion of privilege serves the movement for racial justice no real purpose.

Participating with the system of white supremacy is far from a privileged existence. It is a dehumanizing existence. The further connected one is to a system that forces you to look through people based on their racial identity in order to survive or thrive, the farther away from your humanity you have to be.

Climbing the perpetual ladder to the American Dream requires a level of disconnect from what it means to be human that can only be nurtured with larger metal gates, deeper car garages, smaller front porches, and minimal contact with people all around you — even people who look like you.

Is it truly a privilege to be connected to a legacy of lynching, displacement, redlining, etc.? We need new language. We need to pull away from the cycle of ally-ship and begin struggling towards co-liberation. We need whites to firmly believe that their liberation, their humanity is also dependent upon the destruction of racism and the dismantling of white supremacy.

This framing is new and challenging for our movement, but it is one that must be considered if we are truly to avoid revisiting the dynamics we are currently facing in this country another fifty years from now.

On November 29, 2017, I had an opportunity to participate on a panel titled, “Let’s Talk About Race: Standing Together to End Racism” at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Royal Oak, MI.  I joined the panel with Professor Peter Hammer of Wayne State University Law School and the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. He presented on the history of racial inequity in Detroit and SE, Michigan. I presented on much of what I referenced above. We will continue these conversations.

It’s time we recognize that true anti-racism organizing means that we must help each other down from the seesaw.


riverwiseMag_Summer2017_web_1_lwe (1)

 

 Riverwise Magazine is a collective effort to highlight and strengthen grassroots movement activity throughout the city of Detroit. Former staff members of the Michigan Citizen Newspaper alongside active members of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center for Nurturing Community Leadership launched the magazine in 2017 with an eye towards reporting on emerging movements, especially among communities of color.

Riverwise documents the people and places building a more equitable and just city. While government agencies lay down the red carpet for billionaire venture capitalists and corporate ‘tech’ headquarters, Detroit’s ‘underserved’ are projecting visions of a sustainable future.

With a distribution of 10,000 copies a quarter, we are encouraging new ways of thinking about our city in coffeehouses, barbershops, community centers and bookstores.  Our work has been supported by a generous grant from the New Visions Foundation and individual donations. We anticipate being able to maintain the current level of funding for basic production for the coming year but we have depended on the volunteer work of authors and artists.

  We are now calling on you, our growing readership, to help us support local writers and artists working with us to tell these remarkable stories. Their unique insights and abilities are essential to projecting new ideas and propelling us towards a more humane world.

Our commitment to expand the traditional role of a community publication is paramount to the mission of Riverwise magazine. We provide an independent, visionary voice about the challenges facing our city and our country. This campaign is one step towards aligning our funding structure with the communities we seek to engage.

GIVE TODAY


What We’re Reading
shrine

What We’re Watching 
Vincent Harding, chair of the Veterans of Hope Project and author of Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero, draws a word-picture of the future all advocates are fighting for at the CDF’s 2012 National Conference. Watch, learn, and organize – the entire session is available for purchase by itself or as a full DVD set from the Children’s Defense Fund’s National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.

Boggs Center – News November 28th, 2017

Living for Change News
Jimmy and Grace
James and Grace Lee Boggs, “Uprooting Racism and Racists in the United States” 1970

Less obvious but increasingly dangerous has been the human price paid by the entire country for advancing capitalism by all means necessary. In the course of making a unique land of opportunity in which whites climb up the social ladder on the backs of blacks, the American people have become the most materialistic, the most opportunistic, the most individualistic—in sum, the most politically and socially irresponsible people in the world. Step by step, choice by choice, year after year, decade after decade, they have become the political victim of the system they themselves created, unable to make political decisions on the basis of principle no matter how crucial the issue is.


November 28th, 2017


 

attachment 1

Thinking for Ourselves

Shea Howell
Asking QuestionsI recently received three emails that raised concerns about what is happening in our city. The first was about a young student at Wayne State. She is living in temporary housing, working full time, and going to school. She is looking for a place to live close enough to campus so she can either walk or take public transportation. The second email was about a family looking for a house because they are renting from an absentee landlord who is refusing to provide even minimal upkeep on the home, making it unsafe for a mother and her children. The third was from a grandmother who has recently taken custody of her grandchildren and now faces eviction from her building as children are not welcome there.

Each of these stories seems small in relation to the challenges we face as a city. But in more than 4 decades, I can count on one hand the number of people who have requested help in finding a home. Now I find three families in one week.

That was the same week as the City Council approved giving Dan Gilbert $250 million for the development of 4 new projects including a new skyscraper on the site of the former Hudson’s department store, a mixed use project on the Monroe Block, the renovation of Book Tower, and expansion of One Campus Martius. These four are considered one project in order to qualify for the special billion dollar pot of taxpayer money created at the state level though a package often called “Gilbert Bills,” because of his intense lobbying to establish the brownfields fund. Over a series of resident objections, the Council voted in favor of the project, accepting Gilbert’s argument that this will result in 24,000 jobs.

Only Councilperson, Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, had the courage to object. She used the opportunity to raise the question of tying the use of public funds to a real community benefits ordinance.

Such an ordinance and rethinking about development is urgent. Since the housing crisis of 2008 Detroit has shifted from a city of homeowners to one of predominantly renters. In the course of this shift there has been little thought to the implications of this or to the policy questions it raises. There has been little effort to tie development to affordable housing or to protect renters.

Even though many homes in Detroit are relatively inexpensive, the reality is that it is almost impossible to get a mortgage. If you do not have access to a lump sum of capital, home ownership is almost out of reach. Last year financial giants Bank of America made 18 mortgages and JP Morgan made 6. Dan Gilbert’s Quicken Loans made the most of anyone, coming in at 90.

As John Gallagher recently pointed out, the two most critical areas affecting home ownership are property taxes and water shutoffs. Both policies are driving people out of neighborhoods, creating downward spirals. And both policies could be reversed in ways that support people staying in their homes. Both Philadelphia and now Chicago have adopted water affordability plans that tie water rates to income, not usage. Such a plan has been long advocated in Detroit, but the Mayor stubbornly refuses to move toward this effort.

Others are raising the question of eliminating property taxes for homeowners all together. Currently they bring in less than 15% of our city’s revenue, yet do incalculable harm.

Over the next few weeks, Mayor Duggan is obligated to hold a number of public meetings.  Asking what he doing to protect renters, make housing affordable, support a real community benefits policy, stop water shutoffs and keep people in their homes are critical for all of us.


 

riverwiseMag_Summer2017_web_1_lwe (1)

 

 Riverwise Magazine is a collective effort to highlight and strengthen grassroots movement activity throughout the city of Detroit. Former staff members of the Michigan Citizen Newspaper alongside active members of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center for Nurturing Community Leadership launched the magazine in 2017 with an eye towards reporting on emerging movements, especially among communities of color.

Riverwise documents the people and places building a more equitable and just city. While government agencies lay down the red carpet for billionaire venture capitalists and corporate ‘tech’ headquarters, Detroit’s ‘underserved’ are projecting visions of a sustainable future.

With a distribution of 10,000 copies a quarter, we are encouraging new ways of thinking about our city in coffeehouses, barbershops, community centers and bookstores.  Our work has been supported by a generous grant from the New Visions Foundation and individual donations. We anticipate being able to maintain the current level of funding for basic production for the coming year but we have depended on the volunteer work of authors and artists.

  We are now calling on you, our growing readership, to help us support local writers and artists working with us to tell these remarkable stories. Their unique insights and abilities are essential to projecting new ideas and propelling us towards a more humane world.

Our commitment to expand the traditional role of a community publication is paramount to the mission of Riverwise magazine. We provide an independent, visionary voice about the challenges facing our city and our country. This campaign is one step towards aligning our funding structure with the communities we seek to engage.

GIVE TODAY


 pr
The mainstream news media has all but neglected the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. Data from Media Cloud, a database that collects news published on the Internet every day, shows that the devastation in Puerto Rico is getting relatively little attention from digital and cable news outlets compared to coverage of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.At the same time, relief for Puerto Ricans has been slow and insufficient. U.S. president Donald Trump dedicated a golf trophy to hurricane victims, and on his October 3rd visit to the island he suggested that hurricane Maria was not a “real catastrophe,” proceeding to throw toilet paper to a crowd of Puerto Ricans.

WATCH #PRonthemap



Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.

Jimmy and Grace  

Grace Lee Boggs, Living for Change, 1998

Attacking right wing groups for their politics will only increase their defenders and supporters. As we wrote back in the early 1970s, ‘we must not allow our thought to be paralyzed by fear of repression and fascism. One must always think realistically about the dangers, but in thinking about the counter-revolution a revolutionist must be convinced that it is a paper tiger.’ What we need to do instead is encourage groups of all kinds and ages to participate in creating a vision of the future that will enlarge the humanity of us and then, in devising concrete programs on which they can work together, if only in a small way, to move toward their vision. In this unique interim time between historical epochs, this is how we how we can elicit the hope that is essential to the building of a movement and unleash the energies that in the absence of hope are turned against other people or even against oneself.

 

 

Living for Change News
October th, 2017

Thinking for Ourselves
Heart Fierceness

Shea Howell

This week Detroit hosted two major conferences, the 13th Annual Great Lakes Bioneers and the 1st National Women’s Convention. I shuttled between the two, getting a sense of the new energy emerging in our country.

womens con

The Bioneers are dedicated to creating resilient, sustainable communities. Conference planners invited everyone to embrace the theme We the People Love this Place, saying, “When people come together as a learning community to discover new ways of being and when they share transformative ideas for the sake of the Commons everyone benefits. When students and teachers attending the conference bring back what they learn to their schools, education can flourish. When everyone is welcomed and affirmed we move toward wholeness.”

Friday was dedicated to young people. Naelyn Pike, a 17 year-old Apache change maker from Arizona, challenged people to find their own voices and stand for protecting the earth and one another. She was followed by a several city tours exploring the water crisis, new approaches to housing, work, art, agriculture, and sustainable communities. Young people asked critical questions about what kind of future we want and how we organize in new ways to secure it.

Saturday morning began with powerful poetry offered by Dr. Gloria House to open our hearts and minds to think creatively about our city.  The opening session brought together 4 women who experienced the 1967 uprising and are now offering leadership to critical struggles. Erma Leaphart and Rhonda Anderson of the Sierra Club are immersed in issues of environmental justice. Gloria Lowe of We Want Green 2 is working on rebuilding community while restoring veterans to a sense of wholeness and purpose. Maureen Taylor of Michigan Welfare Rights spoke passionately about the impact of nearly 60,000 water shut offs in our city and the importance of creating new narratives about our lives based on an understanding the forces attempting to profit from the sufferings of people.

Panelist talked not only about the fear and confusion created by tanks and curfews, but about the joy in seeing people stand up for each other and say “enough is enough.” They shared memories of neighbors organizing to go grocery shopping and protect children in the face of gunfire and tear gas. All the speakers emphasized finding ways to take action now. Gloria Lowe said, “There is a lot of work to be done as we understand what it takes to become more human human beings.”

Downtown nearly 5000 women and some men gathered to extend the energies unleashed in January 2017 in the historic Women’s March calling for resistance to the Trump agenda.

While the gathering emphasized strategies for midterm elections in hopes of countering the policies and direction of Donald Trump, there was a deeper tone. In large meetings and smaller workshops women affirmed the belief that change is coming. It is being born by the power of women exploring new forms of resistance, working toward a larger vision of liberation for all people. Maxine Waters captured the feeling in a fiery speech echoing the words spoken earlier that morning. “Enough is enough,” she shouted, challenging us to take responsibilities for our futures.

Sister Gloria Riveria captured the mood of both gatherings when she spoke to the young bioneers at the opening session. She talked about finding a politics from our heart and having the courage for fierce action. Heart. Fierceness. These will carry us to a better future.


Do Labels Define a Person’s Worth?
An Evening with Author Janice Fialka
Thursday, November 2, 7 pm
Crazy Wisdom Book Store
Ann Arbor, MI
whatmatters

Her book, What Matters: Reflections on Disability, Community and Love, is the powerful story of Micah Fialka-Feldman, who has an intellectual disability, his community, and the ground breaking journey of full inclusion in K-12 schools, college work and life.  Learn what it takes to ensure that labels such as “low IQ” do not define one’s ability to contribute to the world and live a meaningful life.  Discover why Krista Tippet of On Being praises the book as “mind-opening, life-altering, soul stretching.” A book of practical guidance, wisdom, and humor for all, because we all need to be included. Janice Fialka, LMSW, ACSW is a nationally-recognized speaker, author, award-winning social worker and advocate on issues related to disability, inclusion and family-professional partnerships.  She is also a compelling storyteller.

The mother of Micah and Emma, Janice brings grace and grit to her conversations. Hosted by Bill Zirinsky, owner of Crazy Wisdom.

For more information:  Contact Janice Fialka at http://www.danceofpartnership.com or ruaw@aol.com


Taking a (Michi)Gander Down a Path of Possibility
Sydney Fine

Dark soil caked underneath my fingernails and seedling in my hand, rays of sunshine beating down from the sky, the smell of fresh produce in the air, and laughter roaring from all directions, I looked up to see a row of houses that had been abandoned and boarded up to be demolished. The juxtaposition between the life I was holding in my hands, in the form of small sprouts that would soon become brightly colored vegetables, and the devastation 50 feet away from me was uncanny. This observation hit me several times over the course of my three-day service trip in Detroit.

I had the privilege of co-leading a service trip to Detroit over Fall Break with Kate Longo. Seven intelligent and observant students and Alex Serna-Wallender, our fantastic chaplain, joined Kate and me on the alternative break trip with the intention of making an impact outside of the Wooster community. We partnered with an organization called Repair the World (RTW). With locations in several major cities in the United States, RTW is a non-profit organization that seeks to bring about community-wide change, focusing on food and education injustices in these cities. The organization gets its name from the Jewish value of Tikun Olam, which translates to “repair the world.”

On our trip, we spent the majority of our time working in urban gardens. We gained new perspectives about the importance of urban gardens that supply fresh produce in the middle of communities where public transportation is incredibly sparse. While we were planting garlic or building a green house, we had the opportunity to talk to the founders of the urban gardens and members of the community who lived by the gardens who had come to join us in the work. We heard incredible stories of entrepreneurs starting with a plot of overgrown grass and turning the land into spots where neighbors come together to harvest vegetables, tend to animals, and share each others company. One man, Magnetic Sun, explained to us that everything that he has learned about agriculture, he taught himself from reading every book he could get his hands on and connecting with other urban gardeners.

Thoughts about how ubiquitous poverty and food scarcity is in the United States are often overwhelming. They often inhibit me from determining what clear-cut things I can do to make a small impact on those problems. However, there are things I am doing to begin to repair the world, and, if I can do it, you can do it. Wooster is anomaly in that we get a full week off for Fall Break and two weeks off for Spring Break. Participating in a service trip over one of these two breaks is a great start. I have been on three alternative break trips, and every time I return from the trip feeling fulfilled and rejuvenated. If participating in a service trip is not your cup-of-(volun)tea(ring), look for opportunities to volunteer in your local community. I find that residents residing in struggling communities have fascinating stories to share. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way to listen to and learn from these experts. It is important to recognize that the people who know what any community needs most are the members of that community, not volunteers or local political leaders. Step outside of your comfort zone, talk to members of your surrounding community, and take a (Michi)gander down a path of possibility.


The North Pole_Flyer 3


NOVEMBER 11 flyer

 

Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

.

3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

Jimmy and Grace

Thus the United States became the only nation in history whose best and brightest minds first led a revolution from colonialism in the name of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all men, and then built a contradiction into their society by explicitly denying human dignity to a quarter of the population they aspired to govern. The Constitutional Convention had exposed and polarized real contradictions in the country. But in the interests of unity, the Founding Fathers covered up the contradictions. They evaded their political responsibility to carry out ideological struggle and create a principled political leadership for the country. They thereby laid the groundwork for the Civil War.

 

James and Grace Lee Boggs, ‘Rediscovering the American Past,” Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century, 1974

Living for Change News
October 24th, 2017
REVIEW: The Fifty-Year Rebellion
Chris Juergens
International Examiner

“Detroit has been the in the forefront of the deindustrialization of the urban cores and the institution of neoliberal policies in U.S. cities that primarily hurt communities of color,” argued Scott Kurashige in a recent interview with the International Examiner.

Kurashige, a Japanese-American whose mother’s family is native to Seattle, is a University of Washington, Bothell, history professor and writer of the recent book, The Fifty-Year Rebellion: How the U.S. Political Crisis Began in DetroitThe election of President Donald Trump and the strong move toward pro-corporate environmental and labor policies, in addition to the support for aggressive police tactics that disproportionately hurt communities of color nationwide, is not surprising to Kurashige. Detroit has already seen these policies and in full force and so it comes as no surprise to Kurashige, a former Detroit resident, that they are being exported across the United States.

50year
Kurashige and his publisher, the University of California Press, released the book to coincide with the 1967 rebellion of African-Americans in Detroit against police brutality, sub-standard and segregated housing, and discrimination in the workplace. Kurashige’s first chapter addresses the causes of this rebellion while emphasizing that to many whites and those in government it was a “riot.” Kurashige quotes Chinese-American activist Grace Lee Boggs as saying, “We in Detroit called it the rebellion [because] there was a righteousness about the young people rising up.” This is juxtaposed with a white Detroit police officer quoted by Kurashige who described the rebellion as “more than a riot […] this is war.” Kurashige quotes a member of the Michigan National Guard, called to Detroit by Governor George Romney, as saying “I’m going to shoot anything that moves and is black.”

This first chapter sets the tone for Kurashige’s 143-page, quick moving and easy to read book that portrays Detroit’s demise and conflict in non-ambiguous racial terms. Kurashige states both in his book and interview with the Examiner that Detroit was ravaged by white flight that severely hurt Detroit’s public services and left the Detroit area segregated into a decaying, black urban core and an economically prosperous suburban area.

This decay of Detroit’s African-American, urban core was furthered by predatory lending practices that disproportionately hurt African-American communities. Detroit’s 2013 bankruptcy was the culmination in a process of marginalization of Detroit’s black community at the hands of a neo-liberal, white elite and a number of willing black collaborators. Kurashige details the emergency management of bankrupt Detroit by Kevyn Orr, a black corporate lawyer doing the bidding of Wall Street at the expense of Detroit’s struggling yet still existing black-majority communities.

Kurashige does an excellent job of finding smoking guns that vividly demonstrate the racism inherent in prominent individuals and policies aimed at dispossessing black Detroiters of power and dignity. Kurashige leaves no room for plausible deniability regarding the roots and motivations for the hollowing out of Detroit. For instance, at the beginning of his fourth chapter that details the racist neoliberal management of Detroit by Orr, Kurashige quotes Detroit’s chief financial officer under Orr, a 60-year-old white man named Jim Bonsall, as asking “Can I shoot anyone in a hoody?” as a way to belittle Trayvon Martin. The comment was made in front of many black co-workers as part of a discussion on how to prevent arson during Halloween.

Kurashige also points out the hypocrisy inherent in the bailouts of Wall Street from 2008-2009 but the unwillingness to bailout a bankrupt Detroit in debt to many of those same Wall Street banks.

When the Examiner asked Kurashige to make a comparison between the historical experience of Detroit’s communities of color and those of Seattle, Kurashige said the major difference is that Seattle did not experience anywhere near the level of white flight that Detroit did. Seattle always maintained a majority white population and as such its downtown never suffered the same neglect as that of Detroit.

Detroit, on the other hand, was and still is a majority black city that fully suffered the withdrawal of white capital.

This withdrawal of white capital, while one of the causes of Detroit’s economic decay and ultimate bankruptcy, is actually seen by Kurashige as presenting a chance for positive and creative change. In Seattle, the local economy is strong and even those who work in lower-end jobs are invested in working within the existing economic and political system because they too can gain to a certain extent by a strong economy. In our interview with Kurashige, he cited the successful campaign for a 15-dollar minimum wage and the general acceptance—however reluctant—of the business community as an example of how those on the low-end of the socio-economic scale are working within the mainstream economic and political system in Seattle.

In Detroit, however, the mainstream economic and political systems have failed so horribly that people have no choice but to look for alternative beyond the system. Kurashige’s book ends with a chapter dedicated discussing alternative local business models, ways in which Detroiters have combated aggressive, inhuman police techniques, and alternative types of schools that have been developed by and for the Detroit community. In a neoliberal economic and political system that is often imposed in a top-down manner by corporate boards and lawyers like in the case of Detroit’s bankruptcy, Detroit’s citizens are providing an alternative model to the existing system. Kurashige told us in our interview that this is crucial because “protesting and pointing out problems is not enough. An alternative social, economic, and political vision is necessary” to enact real change to an increasingly radical and inhuman neoliberal system.

Unfortunately, as Kurashige himself laments, his chapter on Detroit’s alternative communities is far too short and limited. When asked about other resources to further explore these communities, he points to the book he co-wrote with Grace Lee Boggs titled, The Next American Revolution, and the documentaries, Urban Roots, Grown in Detroit, and The American Revolutionary as good starting points. He also recommended attending the Detroit Allied Media Conference in June as a way to see up close the alternative communities and visions in Detroit.


Do Labels Define a Person’s Worth?
An Evening with Author Janice Fialka
Thursday, November 2, 7 pm
Crazy Wisdom Book Store
Ann Arbor, MI

whatmatters

Her book, What Matters: Reflections on Disability, Community and Love, is the powerful story of Micah Fialka-Feldman, who has an intellectual disability, his community, and the ground breaking journey of full inclusion in K-12 schools, college work and life.  Learn what it takes to ensure that labels such as “low IQ” do not define one’s ability to contribute to the world and live a meaningful life.  Discover why Krista Tippet of On Being praises the book as “mind-opening, life-altering, soul stretching.” A book of practical guidance, wisdom, and humor for all, because we all need to be included. Janice Fialka, LMSW, ACSW is a nationally-recognized speaker, author, award-winning social worker and advocate on issues related to disability, inclusion and family-professional partnerships.  She is also a compelling storyteller.

The mother of Micah and Emma, Janice brings grace and grit to her conversations. Hosted by Bill Zirinsky, owner of Crazy Wisdom.

For more information:  Contact Janice Fialka at http://www.danceofpartnership.com or ruaw@aol.com


The North Pole_Flyer 3


Automation and the End of Wage Labor: Job’s News or Boggs’s News?
Richard Bachman

In June, a group of junior researchers from the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at the Free University Berlin invited me to chair a session of their discussion group on “The Future of Work”.

Just like in the US there is a lot of talk in Germany about this topic these days, particularly about the possible effects of automation on the labor market and society in general. The tone of this conversation is often alarmist. And how could it be any different? In a society which rests on the premise of wage labor, in which the individual is defined and cherished as a wage laborer first and as a human being second, a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers which predicts automation to have terminated up to 35% of all current jobs in Germany by the early 2030s (in the US, even 38%) can only be perceived as Job’s news.

This development would gravely increase the number of those at risk of securing the basic means of subsistence in a wage economy. Without a wage one has no sufficient access to food, clothes and shelter. But this is not what politicians and commentators seem to be concerned about. Rather, they are spooked by the damage mass idleness supposedly does to the character of those who are no longer needed. Many see the social peace, the prerequisite for our economy to continue working undisturbed, at risk. An opaque fear is taking hold in Germany and beyond. Looming on the horizon is a growing jobless surplus population which can no longer be controlled by the disciplinary corset of wage labor.

To provide a different perspective on this scenario, I decided to have the group discuss excerpts from James Boggs’s The American Revolution. In this pamphlet Boggs makes the bold statement that “automation is the greatest revolution that has taken place in human society since men stopped hunting and fishing and started to grow their own food”. How can he say that, though? Through supplanting humans with robots, automation pushes more and more people out of their jobs, and thus plunges them into existential danger and misery.

This seems to be anything but revolutionary if one understands revolution to be the process of continuous evolution towards social and personal emancipation. Here, Boggs simply asks us to alter our perception; to see automation not as a job-destroying threat, but rather as a possible means to liberate us from the burden of wage labor and the social system it rests upon. Undermining the wage relation, automation and the transformations it brings about, urge us to rethink the very foundations of our economy and society, to “find a new concept of how to live and let live” in Boggs’s words.

One researcher in the group connected this idea to recent discussions in Europe and the US about the implementation of an Unconditional Basic Income (UBI). The UBI would secure people access to their basic means of subsistence while freeing them from the necessity of engaging in wage labor. As a result, they would be free to use their capacities to care more for each other and the environment, to engage in politics and social action, to be creative or contemplative, or simply to rest.

Doing away with the necessity to engage in wage labor also calls on us to rethink our definition of who has the right to live in our society, Boggs points out. In a wage economy only those able to engage in wage labor have the unquestionable right to live. Those who cannot work or are no longer needed are pushed into precarious conditions which threatens their very survival. Unable to produce, their right to continue living in our midst is also questioned. They become subjects to be controlled, policed and incarcerated—deviants, outcasts, prisoners.

Thus, defining human beings only according to their ability to engage in wage labor, ultimately deprives them of their humanity. Automation, Boggs highlights, finally presents us with the means to transcend this inhumane way of thinking, to help us become “more human human beings”.

Inspired to have these kinds of conversations based on what we had read, the participants of the discussion group were shocked to find out that Boggs had published The American Revolution already in 1963. His ideas seem so timely; perfectly fit to provide a fresh perspective on our current moment. This shows us that those voices from the past we have not been aware of—partially because we simply did not know they existed or have deliberately been taught to not know them—can help us make sense of our present predicament. It is the task of the historian to help those voices find listeners today. Because they can help make the difference.

 

Please Support the Boggs Center

With each day we are reminded of the legacy of James and Grace Lee
Boggs as we see the seeds of their work across Detroit, our nation
and the globe, and in the work that you are doing to bring to life
beloved communities.

This year we are thinking about centuries as we commemorated the 98th
birthday of James Boggs in May and Grace’s 102nd birthday in June.
Where will we be in 2117? What do we long for our world to become?

These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
dehumanization of this present moment and our efforts to accelerate
visionary organizing throughout the country.

Over the next few months we plan to raise  $100,000 for the
initiatives below.

Place-based organizing of Feedom Freedom Growers, Birwood
–Fullerton and Field street initiatives: ($50,000)

Riverwise Magazine publication: ($40,000)

Boggs Center repairs. Archiving and meeting space improvements:
($10,000)

You can contribute directly at our website:  –
www.boggscenter.org  or mail a check  to Boggs Center, 3061 Field
Street, Detroit, MI 48214.

Please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Center.
Your ongoing support is critical to us.


The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership

.

3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

 

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