~ SEPTEMBER 28TH, 2018 ~


There Are Two Harrowing Statistics That Chart the Rotting Garden of America’s Broken Promises (Which Were, in Truth, Only Meant for Some People to Begin With):
The Average Worker Salary in Washington D.C.: $84,523.
The Average Worker Salary in Jackson, Mississippi: $19,042.
It’s a tale of two cities: Washington D.C. is a city that becomes whiter and richer as you near the center of Trumpster Fire, and blacker and poorer as you walk farther outside of it; in shocking contrast, Jackson is a city that becomes blacker and poorer as you near the center of Mississippi’s capital, but conversely whiter and richer as you walk farther outside of it. Why do these cities look this way, and why can’t they be the opposite, especially when the city of Jackson’s demographics were in reverse of this just decades ago? What does geography have to do with race? What does race have to do with capitalism? How does our understanding of gender affect our relationship to ecology? Can “intersectionality” move from a static noun of virtue-signaling to an active verb which moves us toward a golden change from our bleak social relations?
While Occupy Wall Street has come and gone, and the wash, repeat rinse-cycle of other movements come and go, press forth and fall back, while being unjustly ignored or scattered under America’s dirty rug of capital accumulation, there is always the quiet return of a question: “What must be done?” Somehow and someway, we wonder if there must be a way out of this mess we’ve made with the Earth and with each other.
So what would UTOPIA look like? What would our lives look like in this vast, teeming web of interdependence if we love each other enough to build a world we only see in dreams?
Please join us for this book discussion about a community wresting control from people above to build a society from the people below. As Ayanna Pressely states, “The people closest to the pain should be closest to the power.”
Ajamu Nangwaya and Kali Akuno’s masterful and inspiring collection of edited essays, “JACKSON RISING,” charts the origins and history of America’s most radical utopian project: Cooperation Jackson. Starting with the black liberation movements in Mississippi and the solidarity movements and sites of resistance that sprung up before and after the Civil Rights Movement, the anthology of essays explores the radical experiments, failures and triumphs that has lead to the most radical mayor getting elected in the capital of Jackson, and the active agitation and quite recent emergence of Cooperation Jackson, which envisions an abandoned city and people taking back power through acts of mutual aid, and in doing so, build a “solidarity economy” based on: 1) worker cooperatives; 2) community land trusts and 3) public banking. Cooperation Jackson imagines a future city of independent freedom as well as a respect for nature that deserves to live alongside of humanity instead of underneath it.
Activism, like preventing tooth decay, often comes with the expectation of struggle, time and money; so we are asking that you get Ajamu Nangwaya and Kali Akuno’s book, which can be bought from their publisher Darajara Press (epub version available upon request):
Or fuck it, you can go to SATAN, and buy it in print or on Kindle from Amazon (which, let’s admit, we’ve all boughten from or continue to buy at some point):
(Shhhh . . . You might be required to “pee in a bottle” to meet performance targets):
While D.C. and Jackson are rife with absurd contradictions of capital, there is a place called Southern California–with its own couplet of harrowing statistics:
The Average Worker Salary in Malibu: $104,155.
The Average Worker Salary in San Bernardino: $14,759.
While California is now the 5th largest economy in the world, it also is the most unequal of any state in the country. There is Malibu, Newport Beach, San Diego and Laguna, and then there are the places that people “drive through” to Las Vegas. Often joked about and sneezed at, the Inland Empire–a name that suggest power and wealth–more often feels like an Empire Where Capitalism Is in Decay. The Inland Empire is the misbegotten step-child of the Los Angeles’ metro, and a region with more parking and less glamour, but one that owns some of the lowest levels of education, income and air quality.
As organizers with different experiences, we hope that by having activists, community organizers and residents of the I.E. read “Jackson Rising,” we can ponder the possibility of building utopia here in a region that’s one more warehouse away from ecological collapse. If Jackson can rise, can the I.E. too? Could we also build a massive, towering social movement that builds a sustainable and just ecology? Could we also, like Cooperation Jackson, build worker cooperatives, community land trusts and a radical credit union to transition out of an economy of negative-solidarity. Can we create a region where freedom is as common and lovely as breathing?
+ Matthew Snyder, Rocío Aguayo Trujillo, William Cobb, La’Nae Norwood and James Albert

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