Visionary Organizing (Working document Spring 2015)

Visionary Organizing   (Working document Spring 2015)
James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership
BC_logoWe are committed to moving beyond protest to resistance and visionary organizing. As we work to create the movement for the Next American Revolution we oppose the systems of racism, capitalism and militarism as we create a new culture based on community production of goods and services for local needs, emphasizing on indigenous values. We believe that {r}evolution in the 21st century is an emerging concept, moving beyond socialist ideas. It is based upon projections, not rejections and the need to change ourselves in order to change our institutions.
Visionary Organizing emerged in the 1990s as we made the distinction between creating power and taking power. It was integral to the creation of Detroit Summer in 1992 and to the Zapatistas when they emerged in 1994 in Chiapas, Mexico.  Now is the time to re-imagine, re-spirit and rebuild our lives and ways of living from the ground up.
The principles guiding visionary organizing are based upon a commitment to change our culture of materialism through meaningful forms of cooperative economics and the creation of the beloved community.  By creating productive, caring, regenerative community life, we grow our souls, heal and transform ourselves and challenge the forces of injustice threatening to destroy all life.
Visionary Organizing is creating local sustainable economies through community production, food security, place based education and self-governing democratic processes. It is art that expands our vision and our hearts. It emerges as people “turn war zones into peace zones.” Community production, putting the neighbor back in the hood, growing a garden to grow a community, turning to one another for support and love, and redefining education all hold the seeds of a new future. They represent a shifting of the paradigm from the old ways of doing things, to opening new possibilities.
A Movement committed to visionary organizing is emerging from the relationships being forged as we build alternative community based structures and as we resist the violence and dehumanization of capital-corporate consolidation and control. We are establishing and strengthening networks, activities, and organizations and creating a new, more humane and socially responsible future.
As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Detroit Rebellion in 2017, it is our time to move from rebellion and opposition to resistance and visionary organizing. The Next American Revolution is emerging around us.

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Nicole McDonald Grace Lee Boggs


“They’re kind of on a road show right now, so to speak,” artist Nicole Macdonald says of her latest painting series. A group of portraits, Macdonald’s paintings depict Detroiters from all throughout history, from the well-known to the obscure. Figures like Rosa Parks are shown alongside the likes of Chief Pontiac, gang-member-turned-activist Yusef Shakur, and Charleszetta Waddles (aka “Mother Waddles”). Folks at Eastern Market caught wind of the project and decided to install them on-site to kick off their new Sunday market this month. Later, the paintings will utilize Cass Café’s ample wall space from mid-July to mid-September. But the ultimate resting place of the paintings was always intended to be an abandoned, gutted-out warehouse at Grand River Avenue and Maybury Grand Street, where they’ll be used to board up the structure’s 7-by-10-foot windows.

“Its facade is so beautiful; it’s kind of orange brick and there’s some ornate brickwork on the front. It kind of works as a billboard,” Macdonald says. “It leans over [Grand River], so we thought it would be a neat place to have a wall of portraits.” The paintings are slated to be installed in the warehouse’s 17 windows in late September.

Charity Waters By Shea Howell – Week 75 of the Occupation

Thinking for ourselves

By Shea Howell

Charity Waters

Week 75 of the Occupation

September 9, 2014


100_0702Water shut offs and the bankruptcy trial are wound together. Before the opening statements on bankruptcy were delivered, Judge Steven Rhodes, heard a request to order the Water Department to temporarily stop the shut offs. In response, the judge ordered the city and the people’s attorneys into mediation.

These shut offs were nothing more than an aggressive tactic used by Orr to leverage the water department as part of the bankruptcy deal. The results have been catastrophic for people and have attracted world wide criticism of the city.

These two crisis are also linked in how the mayor and the Emergency Manager are seeking to solve the problems. At the core of the Plan of Adjustment (#6) that the judge is considering in the bankruptcy hearing is a commitment from the foundation world to “soften the blows” people will receive as their pensions are cut. This support of financial help to elders depends on protecting the art works of the Detroit Institute of Art.

Bloomberg reported what has become know as the “Grand Bargain” this way:

“The linchpin of Detroit’s plan to address its liabilities is cash from a group of foundations, and the state of Michigan, to shore up public pensions. In return for $466 million from the foundations and $350 million from the state, the city agreed not to sell its art collection to pay off its debts.”

Emergency Manger Orr and the corporate elite call this bargain an example of inventiveness and creative thinking.

Picking up the same theme, Mayor Duggan, who was handed the water department in a crude effort to deflect international criticism, established the Detroit Water Fund to help those who were behind on their bills. Within the week, massive flooding forced the addition of Project H2O Flood Clean Up. These efforts depend on foundation funding. Duggan announced a $2 million contribution from Michigan Health Endowment Fund. Ford Motor Fund and General Motors Foundation each pledged $50,000. The United Way said it will give $100,000 and will administer the fund.

The bankruptcy plan and the water crisis depend on the good will of private foundations. These foundations are playing a central role in public processes, with no public accountability.

This dependence on the charity of foundations is new for municipal governments across the country. Joel Kotin, the director of the Center of Demographics and Policy at Chapman University said, “Governments used to lead and now they can’t. They are bogged down, in large part, by the pensions and debt they can’t handle.”

He goes on to question this shift saying, “We’re in a very dangerous situation, where you have very small groups of people not arguing about policy, but implementing policy.”

Almost every analyst agrees that both the financial woes of the city and the inability of nearly half the residents to pay water bills reflect deep structural issues. The solutions to these crises require more than charity. In fact, the dependence on charity as a temporary fix, will only deepen the problems we face.

The city does not need charity. We need solidarity. We, the people of Detroit, have for generations created imaginative, progressive solutions to our problems. We have turned vacant land into gardens and play grounds, built communities out of vision and hope, and inspired world celebrated music, poetry, art and theater.

We have also developed a Peoples Water Affordability Plan that respects the dignity of everyone, implementing ways for everyone to pay their fair share, while being secure in the knowledge that their rights are protected. Mayor Duggan needs to stop all shut offs and implement the Water Affordability Plan. Charity is not the answer.

Kevyn Orr, who admits to having no “Plan B” should get a copy of the Peoples Plan of Adjustment. These are the only real solutions.

To depend on charity denies the dignity of people. It denies our imaginative capacities to create a more just future.


Detroit 2013 Program – subject to change

sunflower3Detroit 2013 Program – subject to change

Posted on June 11, 2013 by tawanapetty Tawana Petty

Organizer, Detroit 2012 & 2013

Phone: 313-433-9882


Boggs Center


DETROIT 2013: A Time for Resistance

June 23rd – 30th

Sunday – June 23 – Church of the Messiah – 231 E. Grand Blvd., Det, MI 48207

Evening: – 5pm – 8pm

?Welcome to Detroit! – Shea Howell

?Networking and Community Dinner – provided (donations requested, but nobody turned away)

Monday, June 24 – Cass Corridor Commons – 4605 Cass Ave., Det, MI 48201

?830am – Continental breakfast – provided

Morning: – 9am to 12pm

?What time is it on the clock of the world? – Grace Lee Boggs

?Why are we in Detroit? – Boggs Center/National Planning Team

?Lunch – Provided with small donation requested, but nobody turned away

Afternoon: – 1pm – 4pm – Samaritan Center – 5555 Conner St, Detroit, MI 48213

?Site visit – new work – Blair Evans and Professor Frithjof Bergmann

Evening: – 6pm – 9pm – The Hush House Black Community Museum and International Leadership and Training Institute for Human Rights – 6179 Wabash Detroit, MI 48208

?Community Dinner/Cultural Event hosted by Dakari Carter of Detroit Summer, featuring Detroit’s Brave New Voices Youth Poetry Slam Team, Insite the Riot, Lottie Spady and Jim Perkinson with presentations by Rev. Sandra Simmons and Professor Charles Simmons

Tuesday, June 25th – Cass Corridor Commons – 4605 Cass Ave., Det, MI 48201

830am – Continental breakfast – provided

Morning: – 9am – 12pm

?National report outs

?Lunch – Provided with small donation requested, but nobody turned away

Afternoon: – 1pm – 4pm

?Bus Tour with Rich Feldman – 3 hours

?Peace Zones for Life – 1967 Rebellion Display – Shanna Merola and Mark Sutton

?Self-Organizing Workshops – includes presentation from Cassidy Rosen and Fernando Abbud (Colorado)


?Dinner – on your own

?6pm – 8pm – Place Based Education Panel – Bart Eddy (Detroit Community Schools), Elizabeth Whittaker (Nsoroma Institute), Virgil Taylor (Peace Project), Asenath Andrews (Catherine Ferguson Academy), Carlos Lopez (Experiencia Preparatory Academy) and Enriqueta Turanzas (SW Detroit)

Wednesday, June 26th – Cass Corridor Commons – 4605 Cass Ave., Det, MI 48201

830am – Continental Breakfast – Provided

Morning: – 9am – 12pm

?National report outs continued

?Lunch – Provided with small donation requested, but nobody turned away

Afternoon: – 1pm – 4pm

?Health and Healing – Michelle Puckett (Oakland) and more . . .

?New Work Report Out – Barbara Stachowski


?Dinner – on your own

?6pm – 8pm – Food Security and land discussions – Myrtle Thompson-Curtis and Wayne Curtis (Feedom Freedom Growers), Phil Jones (Colors), Nate Ela (Chicago) and Shane Bernardo (Earthworks and Day Project)

Thursday, June 27th – Cass Corridor Commons – 4605 Cass Ave., Det, MI 48201

830am – Continental Breakfast – Provided

Morning: – 9am – 12pm

?National report outs continued

?Lunch – Provided with small donation requested, but nobody turned away

Afternoon: – 1pm – 4pm

?From War Zones to Peace Zones Panel featuring Screening of Detroit’s Native Son – Panelists include: Charity Hicks (EMEAC), Harry Weaver III, Ron Scott (Coalition Against Police Brutality/Peace Zones for Life and Yusef Bunchy Shakur (Urban Network and Black Souljahs)

?Dinner – on your own

?6pm until – Album release party with Will See – David Blair Theater – 4605 Cass Ave., Det, MI 48201 at 7pm

Friday, June 28th – Cass Corridor Commons – 4605 Cass Ave., Det, MI 48201

830am – Continental Breakfast – Provided

Morning: – 9am – 12pm

?50 years forward/50 years back – Looking towards the Future: Creating a Student Movement, Creating a National Newsletter – Kristian Bailey (NY) and Molly Cunningham (Chicago) and Boggs Center

?Lunch – Provided with small donation requested, but nobody turned away

Afternoon: – 1pm – 4pm

?Self-governing councils/communities

?A Time for Resistance


Evening: – 5pm – 8pm

?Dinner – Included (small donation requested, but nobody turned away)

?Reflection Friday – How do we build a movement committed to Resistance and alternatives in 2013 & 2014 in our cities and in our country?

Saturday, June 29th – Church of the Messiah – 231 E. Grand Blvd., Det, MI 48207


?Peace Rally and Celebration


?3pm – 6pm – Grace Lee Boggs’ documentary and 98th birthday celebration at the Detroit Institute of Arts – 5200 Woodward Ave Detroit, MI 48202


?7pm – Complex Movements feat Invincible at the Charles H. Wright (limited spaces) – register at For more info. visit:

Sunday, June 30th – Boggs Center – 3061 Field St., Det, MI

?10am – 1pm – brunch/closing reflections

(close of Detroit 2013)

Other topics to be discussed, but not limited to: new forms of resistance, race and class, reimagining education and conversations with Grace.

Original origami and art by Pablo.