BC Living For Change News Letter – September 18th, 2017

Jimmy and Grace  

“…essence of dialectical thinking is the ability to be self-critical. Being able to see that an idea you had or an activity you had engaged in which was correct at one stage can turn into its opposite at another stage; that whenever a person or an organization or a country is in crisis, it is necessary that to look at your own concepts and be critical of them because they may have turned into traps.”   Grace Lee Boggs

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Living for Change News
September 18th, 2017
Radical Hope Is Our Best Weapon
“From the bottom will the genius come that makes our ability to live with each other possible. I believe that with all my heart.” These are the words of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz. His hope is fiercely reality-based, a product of centuries lodged in his body of African-Caribbean suffering, survival, and genius.
LISTEN to Junot Díaz on On Being


Thinking for Ourselves

Duggan’s Denials
Shea Howell

Denying scientific data. Attacking the press. Claiming stories questioning you are a hoax. Exaggerating election results. Denying a history of racism. Embracing business interests against all else. These appear to be the hallmarks of those in political authority today. And these are not limited to Donald Trump, corporations, or right wing conspiracy nuts. Consider Democratic Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. He is more of a denier and defender of corporate power every day.

Consider the latest flap over Kid Rock. Duggan, straight from a primary election win, stepped into the controversy over the high profile venue given to Kid Rock as part of the opening festivities of the publicly funded Little Caesars Arena. Kid Rock has made a point of displaying the confederate flag, defending it as “heritage not hate.” Lately he has taken to attacking Colin Kaepernick and his effort to call attention to police brutality and the slaughter of African Americans.

Duggan’s response to community activists challenging the high profile given to Kid Rock in a city that is more than 80% African American and who put down the largest share of the dollars to fund the stadium was illuminating. Duggan said to Kimberly Craig from WXYZ, “He’s an entertainer.” He went on, “My feeling is, if you don’t like Kid Rock’s politics or music -– don’t go to the concert.”

The thinking behind this kind of comment is no different than the thinking behind a statement equating Nazis and White Supremists with those who oppose them. It is not only a refusal to look at history and our responsibilities for determining what is appropriate in public spaces, but a lack of moral vision.

Duggan also has taken aim at what he considers a media hoax, the idea that our city is now “Two Detroits,” one whiter and wealthier, the other poorer and darker. Calling this description a “fiction” Duggan said “Just come down here Saturday at 3 p.m. and take a picture of a random place, and I think you’ll see we have an area that is welcoming to everybody.”  He charged the notion of two Detroits is “a fiction coming from you. It really is.”

Realizing that such a comment would not fit with the reality of most people in the city, even those who just stroll through on a Saturday afternoon, Duggan’s spokesperson Alexis Wiley tried to restate the lie. She offered an explanation saying, “The Mayor was responding to what he understood was the reporter’s suggestion that the City of Detroit was divided politically. The Mayor is the first to say that while the city has made progress, there are far too many Detroiters who struggle with poverty and joblessness.

Yet this Mayor has done little to acknowledge the real life conditions of most of those who live in the city and are struggling. More than 40% of us live in poverty.

Our daily experience says that under Duggan water shut offs continue in defiance of sense and international condemnation. Foreclosures and tax sales of homes continue unabated. Assistance programs are woefully inadequate. Health data warning of a public crisis due to lack of basic sanitation is ignored. People feel the political process is rigged.  

Duggan’s great victory in the primary was nearly 70% of the primary votes cast. But less than 14% of the people eligible bothered to vote. The “undeniable results” mean about 10% of voters bothered to endorse Duggan and his direction.

Most people are realizing that the electoral arena has drifted far from the practice of democracy. While we need to press for what are sometimes called “non reformist reforms” of programs and policies coming for downtown administration, it is obvious that creating communities of care and productivity is the only way to create a city that embraces all of us.

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What We’re Reading

Myth-busting the Detroit tax foreclosure crisis:Detroit is not for sale
Michele Oberholtzer
Metro Times

At the time of this writing, Detroit is in the midst of yet another round of the staged cage-fight that is the tax foreclosure auction. In many ways this feels like an individual fight — one home at a time fighting to mitigate the harshest consequences such as eviction, homelessness, and permanent property damage. Yet this issue affects the city as a whole, and it’s important that we do not become desensitized to the routine social violence that it represents. The truth is that Detroit is for sale by our own local government, and it is time to challenge the convenient notions that help us fall asleep at night.

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KEEP READING

 


 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
by Timothy Alexander, a young man from Brightmoor

 

Am I strange or insane because I want a systematic change?

I don’t want to give in to the system that want to wash our brains

It’s bad enough they took our culture and locked us in chains but we still sit here like there is nothing wrong so who’s really to blame?

For me creating change is a must

Most of us go through the same struggle so why not trust

We’re continuously doubted but in my eyes that’s a plus

If we stand side by side and fight for what’s ours the system can be crushed!!!!

 


 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riverwise Issue 3 – Now Available

Note from Eric Campbell Riverwise Editor:

Look for issue 3 of Riverwise at area bookstores, grocers, cafes and community spaces today!

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Look for issue 3 of Riverwise at area bookstores, grocers, cafes and community spaces today!
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(A bonus column from Riverwise editorial member, Shea Howell)

Changing Schools

Shea Howell

Labor Day has passed, and people are returning to schools systems in crisis. Nationally, the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has vowed to destroy public schools.  Her commitment is to private, religiously based schools. Recently, Julian Schmoke, Jr. joined her as the Director of the Student Aid Enforcement.  He comes to us from DeVry University which was just forced to pay a massive $100 million to settle a lawsuit for lying to students. Michigan, home state of Betsy DeVos, and long suffering from her meddling, ranks at the bottom on national tests. State spending for education at all levels is among the lowest in the country and has dropped 14% since 2007-2008 for colleges and universities. Detroit with a new Superintendent and some measure of local control for the first time in two decades faces teacher shortages, turmoil and lack of basic supplies. The annual ritual of beginning school is fraught with anxiety, uncertainty and lack of care for the emotional and intellectual well being of far too many of our young people.

When a system is facing this much dysfunction, it is time for us to ask deeper questions. Certainly DeVos and her cronies, emergency managers, state interference and irresponsible legislatures have their share of the blame in creating this chaos. But this crisis comes from a more fundamental problem.  Our system of education no longer has a clear vision or purpose.

School years begin after Labor Day as a reflection of our agricultural heritage. Hands were needed to harvest and preserve foods. Schooling happened after the work was done. As industry replaced agriculture, schooling became necessary to do the work of an expanding economy. Schooling happened so people could do jobs.

Tying schools and education to the demands of work has always had its critics, spurring some of the most progressive and thoughtful efforts to enable young people to develop as full, responsible, creative human beings.  More than 100 years ago, John Dewey published Democracy and Education. In the shadow of WWI and facing a rapidly changing society, Dewey offered ways to think about education as a creative process to help people develop themselves and their society humanly in the face of ongoing change. But these efforts have never been at the core of US schools. For most people, schooling has been about jobs, skills and survival.

Today, it is obvious to everyone most schools are little more than containment camps for children. Daily practices are tied to mastering information for meaningless tests designed to advance a few at the expense of the many. Clearly we need to shift to a new paradigm for education.

In arguing for this paradigm shift in our thinking, Grace Lee Boggs, a student of Dewey’s and educational philosopher, wrote in The Next American Revolution, “Our schools must be transformed to provide children with ongoing opportunities to exercise their resourcefulness to solve the real problems of their communities. With younger children emulating older ones and older children teaching younger ones, they can learn to work together rather than competitively and experience the intrinsic consequences of their own actions. Children will be motivated to learn because their hearts, hands, and heads are engaged in improving their daily lives.”

Across the country, people are evolving ways to educate one another to transform schools and communities. They understand that young people are not problems to be contained, but have the energy, imagination and desire to create communities that reflect the best in us. All of us concerned about the future need to find ways to support and enhance these efforts.

for a copy send Name Address and $5.00 to Riverwise 3061 field st Detroit, Mi  48214

 

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Boggs Center News Letter September 12th, 2017

 

Boggs Center – Living For Change News Letter – August 28th, 2017

  

We Have the Power to Make the World Anew. Grace Lee Boggs

America Love It Enough to Change it.

Our mission is to nurture the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating productive, sustainable, ecologically responsible, and just communities. Through local, national and international networks of activists, artists and intellectuals we foster new ways of living, being and thinking to face the challenges of the 21st century.
Living for Change News
August 28th, 2017
Thinking for Ourselves
Beyond Trump
Shea HowellDonald Trump will not last. In two, four or eight years, he will be gone. In the meantime he will destroy people and places we hold dear. He has already done so. But his extraordinary vileness can trap us into thinking he is the problem. Rather, he is a crude, visible expression of ways of thinking and being that are normal in the United States. Yes, he is a racist, self-aggrandizing, arrogant man willing to do anything to advance his own self-interest. But so is the system that produced him.

Consider for example the recent peer review study offered by the New York Times on Exxon Mobil. After a careful review of 40 years of climate change communications, scholars found, “Exxon Mobil misled the public about the state of climate science and its implications. Available documents show a systematic, quantifiable discrepancy between what Exxon Mobil’s scientists and executives discussed about climate change in private and in academic circles, and what it presented to the general public.”

Researchers found evidence that Exxon knew very well it was lying. They document that, “Scientific reports and articles written or cowritten by Exxon Mobil employees acknowledged that global warming was a real and serious threat. They also noted it could be addressed by reducing fossil fuel use.”

In spite of this clear understanding of the dangers of climate change and the role of the fossil fuel industry in accelerating global warming, Exxon engaged in a public relations campaign to create doubt. In advertorials, “They overwhelmingly emphasized scientific uncertainties about climate change and promoted a narrative that was largely inconsistent with the views of most climate scientists, including Exxon Mobil’s own.”

The study concludes, “While we can debate the details, the overall picture is clear: Even while Exxon Mobil scientists were contributing to climate science and writing reports that explained it to their bosses, the company was paying for advertisements that told a very different tale.”

Lying, denial, violence and force are all part of doing normal business. The actions of Exxon are no different than those of any corporation pursuing profits over people, money over values.

Embedded in this logic is the fabric of racism and white supremacy. Writing in 1970 in Uprooting Racism and Racists, James Boggs explained what he called the “organic link between capitalism and racism. “Racism,” he wrote, “served the functions of primitive accumulation” and “provided both the individual capital and the labor force freed from the means of production” that allowed for the rapid accumulation of capital. He concluded, “The results of capitalist accumulation are all around us. Constant revolutionizing of production, ceaselessly advancing technology, mammoth factories and, controlling this gigantic accumulation of industrial plants and fluid (finance) capital, an ever diminishing number of interlocking corporations and individuals.”

Racism enables capital to negate contradictions “only by using the colonized people in Latin America, Africa, Asia and inside the United States Itself.”

Donald Trump is not some aberration. He is the logical product of a system that depends on dehumanization, violence, and destruction.

We must say No to Trump at every turn. No is essential to affirm our own humanity, but it is not enough. The task for us is to find the imagination and courage to create different ways of living that sustain and restores our communities as racial capitalism becomes increasingly unsustainable.

Ridding ourselves of Donald Trump will not end white supremacy nor will it end the violent destruction of people and places. This requires a much deeper transformation of who we are and how we live. But it is the belief that we can create communities of love, joy and sustainable, regenerative ways of living that should shape our resistance as we create the world anew.

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Orange is the new Black
Russ Bellant

(originally published fall of 2016)

Fred Trump Sr. was arrested in 1927 in a fight between 100 New York City police officers and 1,000 Ku Klux Klan members during a Memorial Day parade (New York Times June 1, 1927, p. 16). It was an era of Klan growth when they fought to keep Irish, Poles, Italians, Slavs and Catholics from immigrating to the U.S. As was a common practice years ago, the newspaper published his home address as 175-24 Devonshire, Jamaica, Queens, New York City. Fred Trump had built that two story home there two years earlier and ran his real estate business from there. He married in 1936 and began a family.

In 1946 Fred’s 4th child, Donald, was born in Jamaica, Queens. He was raised in Queens in his father’s real estate/landlord business. Their practice was to rent to whites only. So determined were the Trump’s in upholding their racist practices that one of their tenants, folksinger Woodie Guthrie, wrote a poem in 1950 with lines denouncing “Old Man Trump”  and the “racial hate that he stirred up.”

A former Trump property manager told a 1963 story years after the fact of an ideal tenant applicant who was Black being refused a residence by the Trumps while the elder Trump used vulgar racist language in the discussion. Donald did not react in any way because that was the way he was raised. Years later Donald would talk about his “superior” genes, a notion handed down to him by his father. “I’m proud to have that German blood. No doubt about it. Great stuff.” His first ex-wife, Ivana, told Vanity Fair in 1990 that Donald kept a book of Hitler’s speeches at his bedside. The book was called by Hitler his second Mein Kampf.

In the same interview Ivana said that when one of Donald’s cousins would enter a room to visit Donald, he would click his heels and say “heil Hitler.” The writer wondered in print whether Ivana was trying to hint  that Donald was a “crypto-Nazi.”

Years later Donald would duck questions about support from the Klan and neo-Nazis, claiming that he did not know who they were and therefore couldn’t comment. Vice Presidential running mate Mike Pence also used that ‘problem-doesn’t-exist’ approach in his recent debate. But the Klan rallies and websites are too out in the open to not know. Every Klan and neo Nazi leader interviewed across the U.S. has said that their groups are energetically supporting Trump.

Another important but unreported circle of extremist power that undergirds Trump’s campaign is the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP). Their meetings and membership lists are kept secret and members are pledged to keep it that way.

It was set up in 1981 by leaders of the John Birch Society (JBS), itself a secretive, fascistic organization, and extreme hard-line members of the Reagan Administration. It was to be an underground network of the leaders and funders of the New Right, intent on building their movement and institutionalizing its power in a major realignment of national power across the United States.  It is not a conservative voice. It seeks to end or marginalize major social institutions that support democratic society (such as public education) or that fight for and serve the underserved. It wants to create a new elite. Some of the 400 members over the years included Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Oliver North, Clark Durant (JBS family) and an assortment of Dominionist theocrats, racists and allies of the old apartheid regime. The members that were funders included the Coors brewery family, as well as the DeVos and Van Andel (Amway twins) families.  

From the current CNP roster are the top three leaders of the Trump campaign:

— Kellyanne Conway, an executive committee member of the CNP, is also the campaign                                                                                                                      
   manager for Donald Trump.

— David Bossie, president of Citizens United, is the deputy campaign manager.

–Steve Bannon, head of Breitbart News, is the campaign CEO.

Other CNP members serve as campaign advisers, such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family, and US Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Sessions once said that he thought there was nothing wrong with the Klan until he found out they were “smoking pot.”

Bossie’s Citizen United was the plaintiff in a Supreme Court decision that helped finish off restraints on campaign finance reform. For more on him see the Bossie attachment on this email.

Campaign CEO Steve Bannon is the guy that excites the nazis like David Duke. When Bannon became CEO, Duke proclaimed with overstatement that “we have taken over the Republican Party.”

According to a former staffer at Breitbart News, when Bannon took over after the passing of Andrew Breitbart, the news organization began “pushing white ethno-nationalism.” They promote so-called “alt-right” voices of racialist writers such as Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow. Taylor for several years headed the Council of Conservative Citizens, which sought to reintroduce segregation in the South and uphold the old Confederacy and later Jim Crow policies. Taylor serves as a unifier of white supremacy in the South.

Bringing money into the mix is Kellyanne Conway, whose ties to Wall Street financier Robert Mercer gives her standing. Mercer also funds Bannon’s Breitbart News and the Donald Trump campaign.

Any analysis of the consequences of the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency would not only look at the policies and personalities of his eight year incumbency. It’s long term significance was the network of power built up through overt action and covert networks. The enduring power of the extreme evangelical rightwing aided by covert dollars mattered. So did the covert funding of racialist organizations (see my book, Old Nazis, the New Right and the Republican Party, that I emailed to all last year).

If Trump is elected, his politics will overtly build up the hate movement region by region. But his election would also lay foundations for building up the groups that support him, so that they endure and exercise more power. The CNP knows how to do it.

In addition to the above critique, Trump’s deeply flawed character, imbecilic statements, and very flawed vice presidential running mate are compelling reasons to not vote for Trump, and to persuade others to not vote for the “Orange is the new Black” candidate.


IMG_0418Hello all. I am pleased to share some justice narrative work that I am currently doing around police brutality, the school to prison pipeline, and justice system accountability with a new organization that is under the leadership of Alia Harvey-Quinn.

FORCE is dedicated to connecting impacted people to opportunities to create justice oriented policies and solutions.
So…friend FORCE Detroit on Face Book, follow @ForceDetroit on Twitter and Force_Detroit on Instagram too!

Peace,
Lottie

sweet
With the last month of summer upon us, the Perry Ave Community Farm is flourishing and the Commons is bustling with visitors. This summer, we have welcomed nearly 1,000 visitors from down the block, across the city and around the world. Our dedicated staff and interns have worked tirelessly to continue transforming the Commons and the fruits of their labor include new built projectsa revamped website, and a more bountiful harvest than ever before. Check out more news from our friends at Sweet Water.
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What We’re Reading

How About Erecting Monuments to the Heroes of Reconstruction?Richard Valelly

Given the sheer number of Confederate memorials, there is bound to be another shocking flashpoint of the kind that rocked Charlottesville and the nation. Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee have vanished from Baltimore and New Orleans. Chief Justice Roger Taney, who authored the truly infamous part of the Dred Scott decision, is gone from Annapolis. So many have come down—or are up for possible removal—that The New York Times posted an interactive map to chart them all.

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But there is an alternative politics of memory that Americans can also practice, and it might help to keep fascists out of public squares and do something concrete, literally at the same time: honor Reconstruction. Remembering Reconstruction ought not to shunt aside the politics of Confederate memorials. Yet remembering this pivotal era certainly deserves to be built into the new national politics of memory.

KEEP READING


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

Boggs Center Living For Change – News Letter August 23rd, 2017

Technological man/woman developed because human beings had to discover how to keep warm, how to make fire, how to grow food, how to build dams, how to dig wells. Therefore human beings were compelled to manifest their humanity in their technological capacity, to discover the power within them to invent tools and techniques which would extend their material powers. We have concentrated our powers on making things to the point that we have intensified our greed for more things, and lost the understanding of why this productivity was originally pursued. The result is that the mind of man/woman is now totally out of balance, totally out of proportion. That is what production for the sake of production has done to modern man/woman. That is the basic contradiction confronting everyone who has lived and developed inside the United States. That is the contradiction which neither the U.S. government nor any social force in the United States up to now has been willing to face, because the underlying philosophy of this country, from top to bottom, remains the philosophy that economic development can and will resolve all political and social problems.
Revolution and Evolution – CH 6 Dialectics and Revolution

 Our mission is to nurture the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating productive, sustainable, ecologically responsible, and just communities. Through local, national and international networks of activists, artists and intellectuals we foster new ways of living, being and thinking to face the challenges of the 21st century.

Living for Change News
August 23rd, 2017

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Thinking for Ourselves

Greensboro Lessons
Shea Howell

While outrage, anger, and the acknowledgement of the moral vacuum of the White House dominated the media this week, another story of Nazis, the Klan and killing emerged in Greensboro, North Carolina. There, after nearly 40 years, the Greensboro City Council voted to apologize for the murder of 5 people gathered to peacefully protest the Klan and Nazi in 1979. Joyce Johnson of the Beloved Community Center who has worked for truth and reconciliation over these long years said, “In the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville and after years of organizing by survivors and supporters, the Greensboro City Council finally voted to issue an apology for the November 3, 1979 Greensboro Massacre. Council members also agreed to study the full Final Report of the Greensboro TRC.”She said, “I’m shedding tears of joy tonight for this small victory, even as we strengthen our resolve to continue our quest for truth, justice, reconciliation, and healing in Greensboro and throughout our country. Let’s turn these tragedies into triumphs!”  

There are many lessons from Greensboro. On November 3 of 1979 labor and community activists and members of the Communist Workers Party (CWP) organized a Death to the Klan march, set to begin in the Morningside Homes community. This was in response to increased Klan activity in Greensboro as activists sought to unionize mill workers. As marchers gathered in the early morning, police withdrew. Shortly, a caravan of Klan and Nazi members pulled up and calmly took rifles out of their trunks. They shot into the crowd, killing five of the organizers and wounding 10 others. The shootings were captured on a reporter’s video tape.

In the state and federal criminal trials that followed,  all-white juries found the KKK and Nazis not guilty. In 1985 a civil jury found two police officers and six Klansmen and Nazis liable for the wrongful death of one of those killed and for the assault and battery of two survivors.

For nearly 4 decades the Reverend Nelson Johnson and Joyce Johnson have organized through the Beloved Community Center to help Greensboro and the country face the violence that holds white supremacy in place.  They have organized marches, vigils, meetings, protests, sit ins, occupations, public art, speak outs, conversations, and confrontations.

Inspired by the truth and reconciliation process in South Africa, they initiated a two year process in Greensboro, establishing a public Truth and Reconciliation Commission to study what happened, why it happened, and what should be done.  The report was released in 2006. It made clear the Klan and Nazi parties were responsible for the shootings. It also acknowledged the role of the local police in promoting violence and the fact that the Greensboro Police Department, FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had information from informants about the Klan and neo-Nazi plan to attack the demonstration, they followed and photographed the caravan of armed attackers, and took no action until after the shootings.

The report also acknowledged that the CWP had some responsibility in intensifying the atmosphere through their rhetoric.  However, the report was clear, this was a “lesser” responsibility.

Since the conclusion of the Commission, the Beloved Community Center has struggled to make its findings meaningful to the community. In 2009 the City Council voted to issue a statement of regret for the shootings, but stopped short of an apology.

In 2015 the Beloved Community Center initiated placing an historical marker, backed by the state historical commission, to commemorate the “Greensboro Massacre.” Some civic leaders objected, wanting the term “shooting” or shoot out, rather than massacre. But after public testimony and discussion, the City Council voted 7-2 approving massacre.

Last week, with the echoes of Charlottesville reawakening the Greensboro Massacre, the City Council took one more step toward reconciliation with its painful past. They issued a public apology and took responsibility for the city’s role in these preventable, needless deaths.

Greensboro reminds us that there are no quick fixes or easy ways to move beyond the hatred of the KKK and the American Nazi Party, or any of the multitude of white supremacist, fanatical Christian sects whose hatred is woven into the fabric of our country. But they also remind us that through constant effort, to confront, to talk, to resist and persist, it is possible to fashion loving communities out of hateful moments.
Idlewild_PettyPropolis

Our Movement Moment
Tawana Honeycomb Petty
The year 2017 has proven to be a year of movement nostalgia. From the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s Time to Break Silence speech, to the commemorations around the long hot summer of 1967 where rebellions sprung up all across the globe (most prominently in Detroit); to the ramping up of white counter-revolutionary forces and the reemergence of the Poor People’s Campaign.
I spent the last few years trying to convince myself that this country isn’t moving rapidly backwards, yet the strategies of the revolution and counter-revolution appear eerily familiar.
I find myself revisiting writings and speeches as far back as 1970 by James “Jimmy” and Grace Boggs, such as The Awesome Responsibilities of Revolutionary Leadership.

In this speech Jimmy and Grace proclaimed partly:”Meanwhile, in fact, overall conditions in the black community have been deteriorating, while at the same time the spontaneous activities of the black street masses and the much publicized but futile reform efforts of the white power structure have aroused the “white backlash,” which is only another name for the fascist counter-revolution.

There is little point in complaining about the skillful use of the Almighty American Dollar to co-opt Black Power or the rise of the fascist counter-revolution. In confusing, undermining, and mobilizing to repress the black movement, white power is only doing what its self-interest dictates. If the fault lies anywhere, it is with the black movement for failing to arm the black community theoretically and politically against the predictable strategy and tactics of the enemy and to make clear that fascism cannot be stopped short of a total revolution dedicated to ending man’s domination of man and his fear of those whom he dominates.
To do this, the black movement must recognize and keep pointing out the limits of what can be achieved by the black masses, for the same reason that Lenin insisted on the limits of what could be achieved by the spontaneous eruptions of Russian workers. The spontaneity of the workers does not take them beyond the level of the immediate, palpable, concrete interests of the everyday economic struggle, as Lenin kept pointing out. In a similar vein, black revolutionists must realize that the spontaneous eruptions of the black masses do not take them beyond the demand that white power alleviate their accumulated grievances, no matter how angry or explosive the masses are or how much Black Power talk and symbolism accompany their actions. Reliance upon spontaneity is, therefore, a form of liberalism because, in effect, it increases the illusion that the issues and grievances of the masses can be resolved without taking power away from those in power.”

I find myself questioning how much we have really learned from the past. I have always been taught that if you don’t know your history, you are doomed to repeat it. I question that sentiment, because a lot of us now know our history, but it seems we are still on a trajectory to repeat it. The question for me now becomes, what then should be pulled from our history and what should be left behind?

As the reemergence of the Poor People’s Campaign ramps up, I grow more concerned about this movement moment. I worry about the counter-revolution utilizing the energy of our elder and yelder (young elder) revolutionaries to whip on the momentum of our young revolutionaries. I worry about the narrative of the acceptable negro vs. the rabble rousers. A narrative that has often been used to compare Dr. King to the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM). A narrative that has been flung around as punishment for youthful radicalism with a Dr. King and Stokley-esq tension that has been revived and nurtured consistently over the past several years. “What would Dr. King do?” has been leveraged as a weapon against millennial activism.

We live in a moment that allows for Black Lives Matter activists to be deemed “terrorists” and “purveyors of hate” by members of the United States Government, and right-wing racists over the internet – with little uproar from the left. A moment that has placed, and continues to place youthful activists at extreme risk of being assassinated, permanently incarcerated and disappeared like many of their predecessors from the Black Panther Party. Yet, with all that these young activists and organizers have sacrificed, I rarely hear of any of them being deemed by the movement as political prisoners or revolutionaries.

Many young activists (particularly since Ferguson) who have sided with BLM have obtained felonies through their activism. Many have been harassed and threatened with violence, or worse, some have mysteriously been killed with little to no recourse for their assassinations.

I am grateful to see the fervor of activists and organizers of all generations moving in pursuit of their passions. In the words of Grace, “It’s a great time to be alive,” however, it is my hope that we do not lose sight of the fact that we are all in this together. That the struggle for liberation is multifaceted, and there has been no strategy to date that has liberated us all from the grasp of this violent system of white supremacy, nurtured by ruthless capitalism and militarism.

I am also hopeful that white allies in the struggle against white supremacy will start to move from actors on behalf of black people and people of color, toward co-liberators who recognize that their own humanity is wrapped up into the very same system that is seeking to destroy us.

I recognize, and have been taught that “all contradictions are not antagonistic,” but I also know that they can be, if left unaddressed.

All Power to Us All!


part0 2

grace lee boggs PAYS 1

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

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3061 Field Street
Detroit, Michigan 48214
US

Technological man/woman developed because human beings had to discover how to keep warm, how to make fire, how to grow food, how to build dams, how to dig wells. Therefore human beings were compelled to manifest their humanity in their technological capacity, to discover the power within them to invent tools and techniques which would extend their material powers. We have concentrated our powers on making things to the point that we have intensified our greed for more things, and lost the understanding of why this productivity was originally pursued. The result is that the mind of man/woman is now totally out of balance, totally out of proportion. That is what production for the sake of production has done to modern man/woman. That is the basic contradiction confronting everyone who has lived and developed inside the United States. That is the contradiction which neither the U.S. government nor any social force in the United States up to now has been willing to face, because the underlying philosophy of this country, from top to bottom, remains the philosophy that economic development can and will resolve all political and social problems.

Revolution and Evolution – CH 6 Dialectics and Revolution