From October 18-20 in Detroit, Michigan several hundred activists, organizers, theorists, farmers, culture creators, builders, inventors and entrepreneurs will meet to exchange ideas and experiences. A vendors and exhibitors area will feature new machines and new ways to use them. It will also include displays on global communication and community based production of food, energy, housing, transportation, education, recreation, art and durable goods. Featured presenters, facilitators and dialogue leaders include, but are not limited to, Frithjof Bergmann, Blair Evans, Emmanuel Pratt, Rebecca Solnit, Gar Alperovitz, Grace Lee Boggs, Kathi Weeks, Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty, Mischa Schaub, Frank Joyce, Kim Sherrobi, Michael Hardt, Judith Snow, Adrienne Marie Brown and Halima Cassells.
In November of 2009, the newly-formed Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations marched from Malcolm X Park through the gentrifying streets of Washington to the White House, loudly denouncing the First Black President of the United States. Barack Obama had been in office only ten months, but the militarist and corporatist trajectory of his regime was already quite clear. Obama had retained George Bush’s Secretary of Defense, escalated the drone wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, placed Bill Clinton’s Wall Street operatives in charge of the economy, announced his intention to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, even as he pushed through Congress a health care bill that was largely written by private drug and insurance companies. Like George Bush before him, Obama sabotaged the Durban II World Conference Against Racism, in order to derail demands for reparations for slavery and colonialism. And, only 100 days into his administration, Obama had served notice to African Americans that he would propose no programs to alleviate the suffering of Black America, which had been hit hardest by the economic meltdown. The Black is Back Coalition was determined that the first politician in history to spend a billion dollars to win the presidency would not get a free pass from all of Black America – even if his father was an African. One of the biggest contingents in that first anti-Obama march and rally was the Newark, New Jersey-based People’s Organization for Progress, “POP” – perhaps Black America’s most dynamic regional grassroots organization. POP’s membership, after much debate, had endorsed Obama in the 2008 election, but that did not stop them from chanting their outrage at his policies at the gates of the White House.
In 2008, a year after the 2007 ECWD conference, Hurricane Katrina battered the city of jazz and Mardi Gras. Quite a few cooperatives, along with musical bands and community members, lost homes and businesses. At the ECWD conference in Asheville, grassroots organizer Shakoor Aljuwani and former Collective Copies member Erin Rice made a strong plea for the next USFWC national conference to take place in New Orleans to help in rebuilding efforts. The Federation board not only took up the challenge, but also organized cooperators to stay an extra week, called a work week, to offer New Orleans residents skills on cooperative building, and to help in locally determined ways. Cooperators helped the Latino Farmers Cooperative, building community organization strength particularly through Common Ground, the coalition of groups working to help poor people get back on their feet. In addition, Jessica Gordon Nembhard led the organizing of a "Showcase of Cooperatives" to explain to local folks what kinds of cooperatives were now functioning, and to model what could be done. That program was a huge success--enjoyed by the locals and the veteran cooperators alike--as everyone got a chance to learn details of what others were doing around the country. That practice has now become a standard part of conferences.
Save the Date! Rising Tide North America Announces Our Continental Gathering! August 22-24 near Whitesburg, Kentucky Join us for the 2nd annual Rising Tide North America Continental Gathering, August 22-24 in eastern Kentucky. You can RSVP at http://bit.ly/1ihEyxn This year, Rising Tide North America’s network of activists and allies from around the continent will be converging in Appalachia at the tenth anniversary of Mountain Justice to learn from and support the struggle to stop mountaintop removal, connect with climate justice activists from around North America and strategize about how we want our movement to expand and grow. Additional details will be available soon..
Freedom Summer 50th is a five-day convening to learn from the past, evaluate our present, and strategize for the future. The international conference and youth congress will be held June 25th - 29th, 2014 in Jackson, Mississippi on the campus of Tougaloo College. Work sessions will examine each issue area and explore its context in the present-day struggle for justice not only in Mississippi, but globally. In the summer of 1964, hundreds of summer volunteers from across America convened in Mississippi to put an end to the system of rigid segregation. The civil rights workers and the summer volunteers successfully challenged the denial by the state of Mississippi to keep Blacks from voting, getting a decent education, and holding elected offices. As a result of the Freedom Summer of 1964, some of the barriers to voting have been eliminated and Mississippi has close to 1000 Black state and local elected officials. In fact, Mississippi has more Black elected officials than any other state in the union. While the Freedom Summer of '64 made profound changes in the state of Mississippi and the country, much remains to be accomplished.