A Two-Part Discussion on Hinterland

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

Wednesdays

Powderhorn Park

Northeast Corner

7:00 PM

Over the last forty years, the human landscape of the United States has been fundamentally transformed. The metamorphosis is partially visible in the ascendance of glittering, coastal hubs for finance, infotech, and the so-called creative class. But this is only the tip of an economic iceberg, the bulk of which lies in the darkness of the declining heartland or on the dimly lit fringe of sprawling cities. This is America’s hinterland, populated by towering grain threshers and hunched farmworkers, where laborers drawn from every corner of the world crowd into factories and “fulfillment centers” and where cold storage trailers are filled with fentanyl-bloated corpses when the morgues cannot contain the dead.

September 11th: Part One

Intro plus Chapters one and two.

September 25th: Part Two

Chapters three and four.

Read for free here.

Border Resistance Speaking Tour

From Border Resistance Convergence

Tuesday, August 6th

Seward Cafe

2129 E Franklin Ave

6:00 PM

Join us for a week long tour of discussions, panels, fundraisers and dance parties with revolutionary autonomous organizers working on the borderlands.

We will be giving first hand accounts from local grassroots organizers about the last 8 months of Direct Action and Mutual Aide in the Border towns of Juarez/El Paso and Tijuana/San Diego.

We hope to collaborate with local migrant justice organizers from each city to create a broad and strategic discussion on how folks can plug into work that is actually working towards dismantling concentration camps and US-funded genocide.

Rad t-shirts, stickers, buttons and artwork will be sold for donation.

Notes On Friendship And Destitution

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota


On some recent sunny evenings in south Minneapolis, an advertised reading group met to discuss the book Joyful Militancy. One of the discussions was framed with a question posed by the book: “How do we create situations where we feel more alive and capable than before?”

The book primarily draws from the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza, which would be difficult to summarize here but I will attempt to quickly explain the relevant concepts as I go along for those who are unfamiliar. To make it easier I’m actually going to start with ideas proposed in the essay “Robot Seals as Counter Insurgency” which is cited by Joyful Militancy. The essay suggests:

“There is no category of ‘friend’, just as there is no ‘community’, there is only the experience of becoming friends, and of finding power in one another.”

This finding power in one another is what the authors of Joyful Militancy, following Spinoza, call joy. It’s an affect, not an emotion, which has certainly led to some confusion. The opposite of joy is what Spinoza called sadness, by which we become separated from our power of acting. He saw sadness as an affect needed by the ‘powers that be’ to keep their subjects powerless—something that those he’s influenced have continued to expand on.

Notably, many see the atomization and individualizing forms of life that are pervasive today as means by which powerlessness is proliferated. The essay “Robot Seals” proposes a possible response of finding power in one another “by redefining the self: not as some singular entity, but as that which is co-created through the process of friendship.”

I see this as pointing to a density of affective relationships that draw us into struggle against domination. We are drawn not out of duty, which would be a moral position, nor individualized self-interest, but as a collective instinct. This collective instinct is what could be called an ethical disposition.

To put it simply, it may be that we have to find ways to spread joyful affects to short circuit the sad affects this world proliferates. There’s a quite philosophical language being employed here but the meaning is very practical. If we are kept powerless through atomization, then perhaps we can find power in building a life in common with others—and not simply in terms of collective living situations. If the economy saps so much of our time and energy—needing to work to pay for rent, for food, etc.—perhaps can we find ways to loosen its grip on our lives together.

These questions have been asked before, and most often the answer tends to be counter-cultural, or lifestylist. But in connecting the spread of joyful affects with the reduction of sad affects, we can see a different answer emerge, that of destitution. Destitution is the a name a few have given to a certain fusion of living and struggling, a living that inevitably entails conflict with order.

In their book Now, the Invisible Committee summarize it swiftly:

“The destituent gesture is thus desertion and attack, creation and wrecking, and all at once, in the same gesture.”

I opened with the question “how do we create situations where we feel more alive and capable than before?” I see this practice of destitution as a compelling response.

Postscript on Spinoza

My reading of Spinoza comes from Gilles Deleuze’s first lecture on the philosopher, which is cited in Joyful Militancy as well. I haven’t given many of his concepts the space they require for a full elaboration, and hope that more critical readers bear that in mind.

The phrase ‘powers that be’ is taken from Deleuze’s lecture, while Joyful Militancy, “Robot Seals” and others have taken up the term Empire in its place. I’ve chosen to omit the word Empire only in order to avoid also taking up its theoretical history, even if I do find it more useful in the end.

Regarding philosophy or theory in general, I should note that I have never attended University, nor have I ever read a word of it in school.

RIP Willem Van Spronsen

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

Rest in Power, Willem Van Spronsen.

May we learn from your direct action and build on it until every cage is empty.

A Minneapolis anarchist.

Beware the Influencing Machines! Towards a Mad Peoples’ History of Psychiatry and Law

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

Thursday, July 25th

Boneshaker Books

2002 23rd Ave S

7:00 PM

Efforts have been made in recent years to reconsider and question standard histories of madness, mental illness, psychiatry, and medicine. Some of these have involved more empathetic interpretations of mental illness, others have included accounts and perspectives from mad people themselves about their treatment or experience, but very few have seriously considered what the writings, artworks, and words of the mad could offer outside of what they have to say about their treatment experience or their personal suffering. On July 25th—the birthday of the legendary conservative German judge turned madwoman on a rampage against God, Daniel Paul Schreber—Sasha Durakov will argue that mad histories are not only possible, but that the works of those called insane and locked in asylums or hospital wards offer coherent and contemporary political critiques of the state of law and medicine from the perspective of those who cannot but see these as essentially related. Specifically, when one contextualizes and takes seriously the supposedly ‘delusional’ writings and art works about ‘influencing machines’ (up to now dominated by the literature on ‘schizophrenic delusions’), one finds tangible, and often radical, new ways of thinking about the relationship between law, medicine, and power. As more politicians and activists begin remonstrating the state of America’s prison system and offer psychiatric services as an alternative, it is more vital than ever that we consider the works of psychiatric patients who rejected this alternative through creative uses of language.

Free Cedar Graffiti In So-Called Minneapolis

From North Shore Counter-Info

Tonight, in response to the day of action called in response to the repression of rebel queers in Hamilton, a few of us went out of our way to decorate the walls of our city. For us, it was not a question of whether or not to act, but quite simply a question of how to act.

For those of us whose for whom living is inseparable from fighting against the cops, klan, and the world that reproduces them, we must learn recognize one another across everything that divides us—across borders, and across predicates. In this recognition, we learn in the very core of our being what it means to say “an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

And so for the question of how, we set out to tag a wall, and then another, and then another as our confidence grew.

Free Cedar and all rebel queers.

Forever fuck the pigs.

Building Accountable Communities

From TC Radical Calendar


Monday, July 1st

Boneshaker Books

2002 23rd Ave S

6:30 PM

“Accountability is a familiar buzz-word in contemporary social movements, but what does it mean? How do we work toward it? What does it look like to be accountable to survivors without exiling or disposing those who do harm?”

In fall of 2018, Kiyomi Fujikawa and Shannon Perez-Darby joined Mariame Kaba for an online discussion on these questions, exploring models for building accountable communities for the purpose of healing and repair. The presenters filmed the online discussion, with the encouragement for folks to host viewings and discussions. We are hosting this event as an informal group of folks who have been meeting over potlucks to talk about conflict engagement work in our communities. Please come out and talk about conflict and accountability with us on July 1st, and lets find ways together to continue the work and conversations.

There will be snacks and resource-sharing and a discussion after the screening. All ages welcome. Some content may be heavy, dealing with abuse and assault. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about accessibility, safety within this space, or other things. The meeting room at Boneshaker has no steps to enter and the path to the restrooms is also level.

About the Speakers

Kiyomi Fujikawa works within movements to end gender-based violence, organizing with Queer and Trans communities of color around preventing and responding to intimate partner violence and towards racial, gender and economic justice.

Shannon Perez-Darby has spent 12 years as a community advocate working within LGBTQ communities and communities of color to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She is a queer, mixed Latina writer, survivor, community activist and author of the piece “The Secret Joy of Accountability: Self-accountability as a Building Block for Change” in the seminal book The Revolution Starts at Home. Shannon’s passion lies in supporting communities to actualize our dreams in our day-to-day lives.

Mariame Kaba is an organizer and an abolitionist, the founder of Project NIA, co-founder several organizations including of Survived and Punished, and a current BCRW activist in residence.

A Reading Group On Joyful Militancy

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

Wednesdays

Matthews Park

7:00 PM

Joyful Militancy foregrounds forms of life in the cracks of Empire, revealing the ways that fierceness, tenderness, curiosity, and commitment can be intertwined.

July 10th: Introduction

Building Thriving Resistance in Toxic Times

July 17th: Chapters One & Two

Empire, Militancy, and Joy & Friendship, Freedom, Ethics, Affinity

July 24th: Chapter Three

Trust and Responsibility as Common Notions

July 31st: Chapters Four & Five

Beyond the Sad Comforts and Stale Air of Radicalism

The entire book is available to read here.

Harm Reductionists Demand Safe Use Space

From It’s Going Down

After 175 overdoses in two weeks, harm reductionists dropped a banner on the Little Earth trail overlooking Highway 55 demanding safe use space in Minneapolis. Opioid overdose deaths are preventable and the memories of those we have lost are our inspiration.

Safe use spaces, sometimes called supervised injection facilities or safe consumption sites, prevent overdose deaths and other health problems related to the criminalization of drug users and a drug supply poisoned by fentanyl. They provide the same injection supplies as needle exchanges, intervene rapidly when overdoses occur, offer help with safer injection practices, and generate supportive community so people can meet their health goals on their own terms. They are particularly important to drug users who do not have a place to live, yet these spaces are criminalized under federal law with penalties of up to 20 years in prison.

The recent surge in overdoses occurred after the June 3rd closure of the Navigation Center, a temporary shelter erected last winter in response to a months long encampment of predominantly Native drug users experiencing homelessness. 1000 opioid overdoses were reversed at the encampment with naloxone (Narcan) according to estimates from statewide distributors of the life saving medication. Workers at the Navigation Center diligently checked on active drug users in that space to rapidly respond to overdoses.

Native people across Minnesota are experiencing an ongoing genocide now fueled by drug poisonings and lack of housing. Native people are 6 times more likely to die from overdose than white settlers and 17 times more likely to experience homelessness.

The need for a safe use space is clear and need not wait for the state’s permission. As the death toll mounts, we challenge ourselves to build what the state will punish but not offer: sovereignty of body, health, and community by defending ourselves and our neighbors in a drug poisoning epidemic.

#endoverdose #yes2scs

Beyond Line 3: Confronting State Repression

From Pipeline Legal Action Network

Monday, June 17th

Seward Cafe

2129 E Franklin Ave

7:00 PM

As we prepare for action against Line 3, we confront a state highly skilled in using criminal charges to disrupt radical social movements. Using the framework presented in A Titled Guide To Being A Defendant, this event tackles the question of how we combat state repression through the legal system and emerge stronger as a result.

This workshop will be led by Betsy Raach-Gilman, a longtime environmentalist and revolutionary, whose activism informed A Titled Guide.

All proceeds will be used to provide Titled Guides for Line 3 defendants.

A Reading Group on The End Of The Line

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

Monday, June 17th

Powderhorn Park

Northeast Corner

7:00 PM

The rusting fossil-fuel infrastructure of the upper Midwest connects the poisoned residents of Flint to the wreckage of Alberta’s oil sands. Can it also become the backbone for a new movement against planet-killing capitalism?

The text can be read for free here.

Water Protectors Lock Down to Stop Line 3 Construction, as Enbridge Seeks Water Crossing Permits

From Earth First! Newswire

This morning, water protectors supported by Ginew Collective, Northfield Against Line 3, and others, halted work at an active construction site on the proposed Line 3 route. Three water protectors locked themselves to logging equipment while over a dozen concerned citizens rallied in support.

Great River Energy, Enbridge’s named utility provider for numerous pump stations it needs to power its tar sands pipeline, is logging through water crossings and wetlands next to the Line 3 route.

Enbridge has significant unmet energy needs to power the Line 3 route, and notes its partnership with Great River Energy in its application to the Army Corps of Engineers to bulldoze through wetlands and water crossings. Great River Energy specifies in its Army Corps application that it is building the electric transmission line to power Enbridge’s pipeline unbuilt pump station.

Minnesota has not issued the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) or DNR permits required for Line 3 construction across wetlands or water crossings. Minnesota announced the 401 water quality certification process will not be complete until fall 2019.

“Enbridge pretends to follow the process while it is busy bulldozing through our forests and wetlands,” said Frances Weatherall while locked to logging equipment.

“This is a years-long plan to send more dirty tar sands through Minnesota, don’t be fooled into thinking they won’t destroy as much as they can while they wait for their final state permits,” said Mollie Weatherall, locked with her sister on the same machine.

Jonas, who was also locked to a machine said, “This is a step towards decolonization, Enbridge is carving up the planet and our government doesn’t care. Today it’s my turn to put my body between the planet I want to protect and the attacks against our water, our climate, and Native sovereignty.”

Extending the Conversation on Housing, Financialization, and Race in Minneapolis

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

Wednesday, May 29th

Boneshaker Books

2002 23rd Ave S

7:00 PM

A discussion on “It’s Own Peculiar Decor” by Chris Wright and the film Jim Crow of the North that reckons with settler colonialism and ways institutional racism is entrenched through credit and financialization. Film available to stream from Twin Cities Public Television’s website. This essay helps us understand a history of financialization in the US as it pertains to race, the home, and the suburbs. Part of the time will be spent discussing this history of property alongside a history of settler colonialism. Essay available online here and free printed copies also available at Boneshaker Books.