Boggs Center – Living for Change NewsLetter – October 16th, 2017

  Jimmy and Grace  

James Boggs, “The American Revolution: Putting Politics in Command” 1970 

The first question that has to be answered, therefore, is whether there is any arena in which the United States urgently needs revolutionary—that is to say, rapid and fundamental—development and reorganization. The answer is unequivocally yes. But, unlike the nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the arena in which this country needs revolutionary change is not in the economic but in the political, not the material but the social. The essential, the key, contradiction in the United States that must be resolved if this country is to survive is the contradiction between economic overdevelopment and political underdevelopment.

James Boggs, “The American Revolution: Putting Politics in Command” 1970

Living for Change News
October 16th, 2017

(A message from our friends at  Mujer Montuna, a Social-Agricultural-Healing Justice project)

After Hurricane María, in Mujer Montuna we are trying really hard not to “lose it” in these hard times and to be more than patient until we get more news and reports back from our families and neighbors, as well as the loss and major needs in our rural communities, in Sector Lorenzo del Valle, Cerro Gordo and Quebrada Arenas, both in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico.

Our agricultural communities in the mountains have been hardly impacted by the center of the hurricane and communication these days has been hard. These communities are also very well known for their community/neighbors solidarity and hard work on a daily basis, and we have no doubt that they are making an excellent work caring for each other (you could see its beauty in some of our pictures and at our page).

In the meantime, while we are still working on the logistics of a possible construction brigade, a fundraiser and a collection of other major items, we decided to start collecting seeds to send to our communities back home to support restore our agricultural system which is so important.

Our communities in the mountains still rely a lot in the agricultural system, more in these hard times where rural communities are historically mostly the last ones to be served with post hurricane help and resources.

Help us sending seeds that can make justice for our people and help us rise. Write us for more info and address. We appreciate your solidarity!#FoodJusticeIsSocialJustice

NOTE: No GMO vegetable, fruits and flowers (for bees) zone 8,9 and 10 (tropical) seeds.

Mujer Montuna is Social-Agricultural-Healing Justice project from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico and will distribute the seeds around community members in these two communities and will report back with pictures of the process in our page


We are also slowly collecting info from our communities, little by little, and new items are highly needed like:

  1. Water filters (not for sink water but for water that is collected) and water quality testers
  2. Solar power operated chargers or lights
  3. Solar or manual energy operated radios
Donations can be send in two ways:
-Either straight to San Lorenzo leaders as soon as Post Office opens up. You can track  Post Office service to these areas here.
Send to:
Manuel Cruz/ Jellyka Cruz (Centro Comunitario Lorenzo del Valle) HC 20 Box 26431 San Lorenzo PR 00754
(My family are community organizers and will distribute seeds and donations to the community center that has been organizing community meals, brigades and collections)

-To us in Chicago to collect and resend:
Jacoba/ Mujer Montuna 1025 W Sunnyside Ave Suite 201 Chicago IL 60640
Don’t hesitate to ask/ call. Please! I will update on fundraisers, some building brigades I have been organizing, collections and more to come

In Eternal Appreciation and Love,
Mujer Montuna.

“The first question that has to be answered, therefore, is whether there is any arena in which the United States urgently needs revolutionary—that is to say, rapid and fundamental—development and reorganization. The answer is unequivocally yes. But, unlike the nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the arena in which this country needs revolutionary change is not in the economic but in the political, not the material but the social. The essential, the key, contradiction in the United States that must be resolved if this country is to survive is the contradiction between economic overdevelopment and political underdevelopment.”

James Boggs, “The American Revolution: Putting Politics in Command” 1970

Thinking for Ourselves

Expanding the Circle
Shea Howell

 Charity Hicks has been on my mind this week. She was killed in the early summer of 2014 while waiting for a bus in New York City. She was on her way to the Left Forum to make a presentation about the water crisis in Detroit. Charity left us many gifts as she worked to create deep local resilience and global connections. She moved easily between landless activists in Brazil and emerging youth leadership in Detroit, inspiring us all to see connections and expand our consciousness. In her last speech to us that sparked the UN investigation of human rights abuses in Detroit, she challenged us to “Wage Love.” It is that challenge that has been echoing with me this week.

Everywhere we look, people are suffering the most unimaginable pain. Drought and flood. Earthquakes and firestorms. Wind and water. Fragile human constructions are toppling in the face of the power of Nature. Life as we once knew it is coming to an end.

And everywhere we look, people are turning to one another to survive and to protect life. Men and women risk their own lives to go into piles of rubble in search of children. People in one city give water to their neighbors who have less. People share what they have so everyone can get through another day. Others are finding ways to offer aid and support. Prayers and pallets of water and food are sent, often by private efforts as government proves incapable or unwilling to help.

Love after all is not an abstract emotion. It manifests in our actions. It seems obvious, that if we are to make it to the next century, humans will have to change. Our cultures built on extracting life from the earth and each other can no longer survive. They are dying from their own excess. Not easily. Not willingly. Not without a lot of pain and protest. But it is clear the earth can no longer bear the abuses we have caused in the pursuit of personal wealth and power.

As Grace Lee Boggs and Immanuel Wallerstein reminded us, the current world system is collapsing. Something new is being born. The only question is, “Will it be better or worse than the one we have now?

If it is to be a better world, it is emerging in the places where people are facing basic questions of how to create ways of living that value each other and protect the earth that sustains us. Charity’s call to Wage Love is more than a slogan. It begins with our capacity to remain open hearted in the face of such continued pain, to find our way to embrace the moments that make life meaningful.

In just a few short weeks many people are drifting away from acknowledging the catastrophes our way of life is creating. Houston is a memory, rarely mentioned as other disasters catch our attention. Puerto Rico is in danger of being completely abandoned by those responsible for providing the most basic emergency support, reduced to a political tweet in an effort to bolster the worst in us.

In such moments our task it to find our way toward “expanding the circle of human concerns.” As John Powell has often reminded us, this responsibility, to develop ways of being that embrace all life, is the challenge of the 21st Century. It is the only way we will make it to the next one.

What We’re Reading


In her new essay for, Laura Flanders, creator and host of the Laura Flanders Show, explores how new media models grounded in cooperation, community, and robust public support are needed to fight back against the corporate concentration that is strangling the public sphere. As she writes:

“To shift the culture and impact policy in a systematic way, however, this next system media needs a new system of media ownership. A people-owned, public media system is possible. Other countries have one. You can see glimpses of it in the US in the media cooperatives and municipally-owned internet systems that are popping up across the country, and in the reporting collaborations that emerge whenever critical stories break that the corporate media ignore, like the uprising at Standing Rock, the movement for Black Lives, and before that, Occupy Wall Street.”


Detroiters Speak flyer

Our Communities are up to us
Rich Feldman

On Saturday, 60-70 folks gathering in Ferndale, Michigan, outside Detroit, for a discussion based upon the theme: Our Communities and Our Humanity are up to US, New Thinking on Race: What it is? Where it came from and What we Can do About it.

William Copeland, Detroit artist, thinker and activist shared the important work of “Breathe Free Detroit” and challenged the gathering of suburban folks to engage in the emerging campaign to stop dumping garbage in Detroit. He did not mean illegal dumping. He made it very clear that more than 60% of the garbage burned in Detroit’s polluting incinerator comes from Oakland County. This poisoning of our air and our children in Detroit is a major health crisis and a clear example of white supremacy, racism and silence by those in the suburbs.

Detroit water activist, Monica Lewis Patrick and Will Copeland were clear, that no-one is waiting for the politicians or the corporations to end these policies. Policies which keep the polluting incinerator operating and policies that shut-off people’s water.  Mayor Duggan, Dan Gilbert, Mike Illich and Governor Snyder have declared war on the majority of long term residents of Detroit. Monica and Will shared ways for folks to get involved NOW.

After a few moments of small group conversation, Frank Joyce, lifelong Detroiter, contributor to Riverwise magazine and co-editor of the book: The People Make the Peace- Lessons from Vietnam Anti-war Movement took the audience on a long historical journey of “white thinking”.   Frank clearly demonstrated that we live in a moment of great change with tremendous opportunities to change 500 years of thinking and actions we have created.  He reminded us that race-capitalism (the historical emergence of racism and capitalism together 500 years ago) is not inevitable because just as people created it, people can change and tear it down, resist it and change into something that is more human and respects all life.  Frank brought to the conversation the courage of the Abolitionists from the 19th century, the courage of people to challenge science or myth like Copernicus and Galileo (15-16 Century).  Eugenics created in the US was established by scientists and now we have science totally challenging the barbarism of Eugenics as well as scientists across the globe informing us of global climate crises and the need to end the world of resource extraction.  DNA testing and have made a national and global conversation to destroy biological thinking & white supremacy identity thinking as the basis political, economic, social policies and norms. The values and outlooks and thinking of “white supremacy” are in chaos and collapsing and this is a moment of great transition. The future is up to us.

One of our goals is to create Democracy Circles across the suburbs of Wayne, Macomb and Wayne Counties to Break our Silence and to create the Beloved Community. The hosting church, The First United Methodist Church of Ferndale, announced that they will create on-going discussions and a Democracy Circle and the Mayor of Ferndale announced that they will investigate the destination of their suburban garbage. Many individuals sign up and a few plan to create discussions in their neighborhood, church or union hall.


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:

You can contribute directly at our website:  –  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