QLine Misses the Mark
By Renard Monczunski
June 20, 2017
Excerpt: “More than $70 million of public money — state, federal and local — was spent on a project that serves an area populated by nearly 80 properties where Dan Gilbert is reported to have a business interest. Had the tens of millions in funds been invested in Detroit’s bus system, we’d be much closer to real regional transportation….
There is also no acknowledgment of the feelings of racial injustice the QLine invokes. That injustice comes from spending enormous amounts of money on transportation that serves a fraction of the city that happens to be one of the whitest and most affluent, while the system that serves more than a half million mostly black and brown residents is virtually ignored. Real regional transportation begins with serious support for world-class transportation for the state’s largest city and building out to the suburbs from there.
While more than three miles of a slow, expensive trolley could never attract and keep auto-averse millennials, a bus rapid transit system and support for regional transit could. The people who have stuck with Detroit through thick and thin and who rely on public transportation for commuting to school, work and medical appointments should be supported as they continue to live, work and spend money in Detroit.”
Here is a sample of what is happening at Detroit Independent Freedom Schools at the Cass Commons site. Piper Carter offered this summary of the discussion there last week.
• What is Justice?
• What is Freedom?
• What is a Safe Space?
• What is Freedom School?
• What is our Purpose for meeting?
• What do we need for this to be a valuable experience?
• What are some attainable Goals we would like to achieve as a group?
Buying a $500 House in Detroit: bidding on the soul of my city
By Drew Philip
April 11, 2017
Excerpt: “What I’d learned from those eight years was that there were still 700,000 people living in Detroit, with their own ideas about what it should become. There was a community already here, not a grotesque one that needed changing as I had been told, but a powerful and innovative one I wanted to assimilate into.
I had inadvertently stepped into a real community, one tied together with memory and friendships, history, shared experience and relationships, and it was facing a new threat, one arguably greater than all the fires and crime of the past decades: the auction I had purchased my house in still ran each year, now live via the internet, and it wasn’t just abandoned houses they were selling.”
Bad Narratives Going Forward in the Age of Trump
By Paul Street
December 23, 2016
Excerpt: “Trump’s populism was fake, of course. But Trump’s quasi-fascism probably isn’t and it would be foolish indeed to normalize what’s happened. Expect the administration’s racist and nativist scapegoating to accelerate in rough proportion to Trump’s service to the wealthy Few. The more he makes policy in the interest of his super-opulent upper-class comrades, after all, the more Trump is going to have to try to distract and divide the working-class majority with ugly racist and nationalist finger-pointing.”
Is America Ready for a Municipalist Movement?
By Alexander Kolokotronis
November 27, 2016
Excerpt: “Even in the US, a victorious mayoral campaign advanced a platform similar to that of libertarian municipalism. The Jackson Plan, promoted by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and the former Mayor of Jackson, the late Chokwe Lumumba, has three pillars: “Building People’s Assemblies”, “Building a Broad-Based Solidarity Economy — sometimes put as building “the Mondragon of the South” — and “Building a Network of Progressive Political Candidates.”
Assemblies are not a vague term here, but are rather “organized as expressions of participatory or direct democracy.” When asked about direct democracy in an interview with Jacobin, Chowkwe Lumumba states “I think the people should become more and more involved in reforming and changing the structures that surround them and the people that surround them — determining who handles structures, and how they should be elected, and who should be elected — until the people’s power becomes the same as, becomes simultaneous with, the development of government.” Here one finds a successful campaign — in the Deep South, too! — explicitly based on Black self-determination and libertarian socialism.
Right now, a nascent anti-fascist movement is coalescing in cities and towns across the US. Yet this anti-fascist movement need not remain in a state of pure opposition and resistance. Instead, coalitions can and must be formed, leveraging their power to advance a program that is in fact putting forward an alternative. In a sense, for the time-being, this propositional power might be the best means for waging resistance and opposition as well.”
I Am A Dangerous Professor
By George Yancy
November 30, 2016
“I was reminded of the novel “The Bluest Eye” in which Toni Morrison wrote that anger was better than shame: “There is a sense of being in anger. A reality and presence. An awareness of worth.” The anger I experienced was also — in the words the poet and theorist Audre Lorde used to describe the erotic — “a reminder of my capacity for feeling.” It is that feeling that is disruptive of the Orwellian gestures embedded in the Professor Watchlist. …
I am now “un-American” because of my ideas, my desires and passion to undo injustice where I see it, my engagement in a form of pedagogy that can cause my students to become angry or resistant in their newfound awareness of the magnitude of suffering that exists in the world. Yet I reject this marking. I refuse to be philosophically and pedagogically adjusted.
To be “philosophically adjusted” is to belie what I see as one major aim of philosophy — to speak to the multiple ways in which we suffer, to be a voice through which suffering might speak and be heard, and to offer a gift to my students that will leave them maladjusted and profoundly unhappy with the world as it is. Bringing them to that state is what I call doing “high stakes philosophy.” It is a form of practicing philosophy that refuses to ignore the horrible realities of people who suffer and that rejects ideal theory, which functions to obfuscate such realities.”
Practicing Disobedience: Social and Environmental Justice Depends on Our Capacity to Disobey
By Max Wilbert
November 23, 2016
“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.” ― Howard Zinn