Archive for March, 2010

MONDAY MARCH 29 4:00-6:00pm
WEDNESDAY MARCH 31 5:00-7:00pm
MONDAY APRIL 5 4:00-6:00pm
TUESDAY APRIL 6 4:00-6:00pm
WEDNESDAY APRIL 7 4:00-6:00pm

(more on participatory budgeting in previous post, just below March 28 event)


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Invitation to a People’s Movement Assembly
hosted by the Compass Working Group
of the Midwest Radical Cultural Corridor

Sunday, March 28, 2010
1-4 PM
Mess Hall
6932 North Glenwood

The US Social Forum will take place in Detroit from June 22-26, 2010. It is a multiethnic gathering, an organizers’ conference, an activists’ exchange, and above all, a movement building process. The economic, ecological, and justice urgencies driving the forum process are encapsulated in the belief that Another World Is Possible and the sense that Another US Is Necessary. To that we can only add Another America Is Inevitable, one way or another. We want to do our part in shaping that future, and to connect and cooperate with others who are doing, thinking, and feeling similarly. http://www.ussf2010.org/

The groundwork for a productive USSF is being laid in advance by the many People’s Movement Assemblies taking place around the country. The Assemblies are a malleable form, designed to bring people together for acquaintance, sharing of ideas, and constructive planning. The Assemblies take slightly different shape depending on where they happen, who organizes them, if there is a theme, etc. In Chicago there may be several different PMAs hosted by different groups, all of different nature and emphasis. We see the PMA as an organizing tool and also as a call to put our own efforts in relation to something larger than ourselves. http://abc.ussf2010.org/es/node/15

To that end, the Compass Working Group invite you to participate in a People’s Movement Assembly. We will offer a report-back from several trips to Detroit, outlining what we have learned about existing, long-term social struggles in the city as well as USSF organizing. We will then briefly explain our own ongoing work and invite others to exchange information on their own projects, to engage in some mutual advisement and analysis. We hope to arrive at resolutions for action, which can refer to ongoing projects inside or outside of Detroit. Then we will be on our way, thinking about next steps in moving ideas to realization. The process will be in motion!

Who We Are
Compass is a loose group of about 14 artists and activists, who have been exploring our ties to different neighborhoods, cities, and rural parts around the midwest. It is a collective project of knowing where we are – of inhabiting, traversing and narrating what we call the Midwest Radical Culture Corridor. We have submitted a session proposal for the Social Forum, which speaks to our interest in the regional scales of living, economy, cultural and political agency. Leading up to the Forum, we will be traveling and hosting meetings as a way to experience another world happening in our own region, to participate in enduring structures of radical regional self-recognition and empowerment. Once we arrive in Detroit, we hope to create a zone for intermingling the temporary large event and the enduring patterns of local doing and making, including contributing to some of the many actions being planned.  We hope to be with you at the USSF, and along the way.

Our session proposal for the USSF:
Midwest Radical Culture Corridor

How can the scattered communities of the Rust Belt and the Corn Belt recognize each other, connect, share resources and build a common culture of transformation? The Midwest Radical Cultural Corridor is a sign, a vision, an invitation to meet with other groups and individuals in cities, towns and rural areas on the roads to Detroit, in order to learn about local situations and spread the news of the Forum among inhabitants. The workshop offers a convergence for all interested caravanistas, bicyclists and walkers to tell stories of their travels and speak about the ways they link their home environments, projects and struggles to other localities and initiatives. Participants will offer a short narrative, show digital images if they desire, and trace their routes on a large map of North America, indicating the communities and struggles they found significant. Key themes are: environmental and social justice campaigns, alternative food production and the fight against corporate agriculture, nourishing cultures of resistance and building radical institutions. In conclusion, participants will discuss the best tools to encourage exchanges and collaborations between cultural groups and activist efforts in neighboring localities. Follow-ups during the Forum will include a walking tour in Detroit in collaboration with local inhabitants. We will also carry out video interviews with participants about the life path that has led them to Detroit, in order to create a lasting document distributed for free. All caravans will be invited and this workshop can be merged with any similar proposal

For more examples of how we have worked in the past: download this small book, A Call to Farms.

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Sat, March 20, 7pm – 11pm
Reading Karoke & Book Drive for CBWP & Project Impact

The not-to-be-missed *literary event* of the season! A literary geek-out hosted
by Chicago Books to Women in Prison to celebrate the joys of reading and the
fight to make books accessible to women in prison. Volunteers from Chicago
Books to Women in Prison (CBWP:http://chicagobwp.org/) will read from their
favorite book(s) & invite you to do the same (that’s the *reading karoke*
part). CBWP will also lead a round-table discussion on why & how prisons
restrict inmate’s reading materials and what we can do about it as allies on
the outside. You can also sign up to be matched with pen pals in prison or to
fill one of the CBWP’s most difficult requests.

Here is the chance to put the overflow from your book collection to good use!
Mess Hall is hosting a book drive between now & March 20th. We are collecting
paperback dictionaries, poetry, Spanish-language novels, blank journals, and
other softcover books for Chicago Books to Women in Prison.

We are also collecting multiple copies of the following titles for Prison
Impact  (http://prisonimpact.blogspot.com/):

–Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals
–Paolo Friere, Pedogogy of the Oppressed
–Francis Fox Piven, Poor People’s Movements
–Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punishment

Sun, March 21, 12pm – 4pm
Sewing Rebellion!

Sun, March 21, 6pm – 10pm
EXHIBITION OPENING: Roger’s Park Participatory Budgeting Proposals!

Roger’s Park is FIRST community in North America to engage in a PARTICIPATORY
BUDGETING PROCESS! Each year the city of Chicago allocates monies to each ward
for infrastructural improvements & projects within the ward. This year, IT IS
Your neighbors have come together, formed committees, researched all the ideas
suggested at the community forums, and put together proposals for projects
ranging from community gardens to street repairs to a mass murals project!

Mess Hall will be hosting an exhibition of all the recommended proposals from
MARCH 21st to APRL 10th, the day of the neighborhood-wide vote! Come out for
the opening of the exhibition to find out more about the process, review all
the recommended proposals & make suggestions of your own!

We also invite you to: PROPOSE PROGRAMMING on participatory budgeting,
alternative or grassroots economies &/or experiments in direct participatory
democracy between NOW & APRIL 10! Have you set up a barter & exchange network?
Have you lived in an area that uses its own local or neighborhood currency?
Were you a member of JOIN (Jobs or Income Now)? Are you a member of a
cooperative? Do want to lead a discussion or recommend a reading on the
housewives councils, consumer leagues, and/or eviction blockades of the 1930s?
If so, WE WANT YOU to come to Mess Hall & tell us about it! CONTACT US @:
info@messhall.org OR a-partridge@northwestern.edu

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