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alternative economies

Letter from OWS Arts & Labor’s Alternative Economies Group posted on Embros website along with others like Raoul Vaneigem and Jenny Marketou. It goes without saying that any government that seeks to criminalize and arrest artist along with members from the supporting community is a government that should be declared illegal and it’s acts of repression should be condemned. For culture is the one thing in life that requires nothing and gives everything. And perhaps this is one of the most threatening aspect of art which governments seek to crush within its citizen.  Furthermore it is through cultural platforms like Embros that the people and culture will persist in this transitional anti-capitalist period of Athenian history as well as in other parts of the world…

 

Letter in Support of Embros  from Arts & Labor Alternative Economies
November 12, 2013, New York

We stand in solidarity with the Embros Theater community and condemn the persecution of the two performers arrested for rehearsing in the theater on October 31, 2013.  All charges brought against these individuals should be dropped and their court cases should be dismissed. [1]

Artists Against The Police State

The work that is currently being done at Embros embodies some of the most fundamental aspects of fostering a creative and responsive cultural space in which alternatives to the current system can be explored [2]. In this time of urgency and economic crisis around the world, Embros is forging new directions that should be enthusiastically supported and celebrated by the local and national government rather than aggressively repressed and threatened.

Culture is a basic sign of being alive, a space of reflection and growth, and most importantly it is the place where the processes that define democracy such as freedom of speech,  expression, and criticality, is apparent in more ways than a set of law books can ever describe. Governments from Russia to China, United States and Europe [3] seek to crush within its citizens the freedom of cultural expression. It has become apparent that the democratic, life-expressing aspects of art are being systematically repressed and commodified into pure spectacle and entertainment by these governments, institutional bureaucrats, and their capitalist cohorts. We will not stand-by as they reduce culture to an admission fee, VIP bonus, or something you can buy at the gift shop. We wish to dance, to perform, to visualize, to speak, all without being restricted by the amount of money we have or the so-called credentials and permits that these institutions have invented. Because for us, this is true freedom, this is true a democracy that no currency can equate.

Embros helps to provide much needed free and open community space that brings people from all walks of life together to learn, engage, and create. Therefore, we ask artists and communities around the world to look closely and continue to follow these events as you would a canary in a coal mine, so that we may provide support for artists and cultural spaces when similar events that arise. Furthermore, these instances should provide a lens to reflect on the situation in our cities and to better understand the mechanisms of cultural control, repression, cooptation, and exploitation so that we can continue, through this solidarity network, to expose and ultimately overcome this political, economic, and cultural crises that has become the marker of our times.

Arts and Labor Alternative Economies
Maria Juliana Byck, Emily Baierl, Antonio Serna and Laurel Ptak
www.whatdowedonow.info
www.artsandlabor.org/alternative-economies

[ photo above: Arts & Labor March in Solidarity with Quebec Students (March Against Anti-Protest Laws) and Protesting the Arrest of Takeshi Miyakawa (‘I (heart) NY’ light artist) May 22, 2012. Photo by: Stacy Lanyon]

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[1] Communique from Embros on the Arrest of 2 performers. October 30, 2013
www.embrostheater.blogspot.gr/2013/10/blog-post_31.html

[2] On October 19, 2013, as part of ‘What Do We Do Now?’ the first annual Alternatives Fair in New York City, we invited members of Embros Theater to participate in an international panel on autonomous spaces along with members from other autonomous spaces in Mexico. Through this panel we hoped to learn how autonomously run cultural spaces function to provide a more horizontal way to operate while remaining inclusive to all members in the community. From this exchange we learned how Embros’ organizing by way of a weekly general assembly has become a dynamic and invaluable community-run space in which creativity and innovation is encouraged to thrive.

‘What Do We Do Now? Alternative Fair’ was organized by Alternative Economies, a subgroup of OWS Arts and Labor. Alternative Economies working group explores alternative methods of sustaining the livelihood of artists, art-workers, and other communities interested in alternatives to the current system. We view the concept of labor through the lenses of time, choice, and value, and we research the ways that ideas like the commons, solidarity economies, precarious worker centers, and participatory budgeting can nurture more sustainable art worlds. Believing that vibrant creative communities come from the bottom up, we encourage relationships based on mutual aid rather than competition, and we advocate for cultural institutions rooted in a framework of social, economic, and environmental justice.

[3] Links to similar crack down on autonomous cultural spaces and artists:
- ZAM is Culture, Eviction of ZAM by Milan Police, May 2013
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/05/zam-e-cultura/
-Footage of Police Eviction of ZAM w/ minute by minute account, May 2013
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/05/zona-autonoma-milano-eviction-today
- Missing Pussy Riot Inmate Turns Up at a Tuberculosis Hospital, Nov 14, 2013
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/missing-pussy-riot-inmate-turns-up-at-a-tuberculosis-hospital-20131114
- Extreme show of force by of Swiss police at Basel, May 2013
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/06/artists-activists-make-art-come-alive
- “Art Makes Money” Communique from ‘Basel Will Be Occupied’ after the Art Basel raid:
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2013/06/communique-art-makes-money
-NY Police Arrest of artist in Brooklyn for Decorating the Street  “I (heart)nyc” bags, May 2012
http://bureaux.petitemort.org/2012/05/ny-goes-hard-on-street-art/

vizKult.org announces:
Ambassador Jerry Maguire’s AlterNative EcoNomiEs

A new Alternative Economies Affinity Group inspired by Ambassador Jerry Maguire plans to go beyond the typical activist handbook and dialectical double-speak of both the ‘left’ and ‘right’. In the coming months and perhaps next decade, the affinity group is set to unleash alternatives to lift us into a new lucid dimension of economic play with ‘Workers’ Saunas’, ‘Autonomous Yoga Zones’, ‘Community Supported Tropical Agriculture’, ‘Local Kwon Currency’, ‘Time-Warp Banks’, and other ‘Open Sourcery Projects’…

In the meantime, vizKult invites you to attend Arts & Labor’s Alternative Economies monthly meetings held on the last Sunday’s of every month. Next meeting is today!:

Sunday July 28th
6pm-8pm
Washington Square Park*
South-east grassy area,

*nearby rain location:
Think! Coffee
248 Mercer St
between 3rd and 4th St
NYC

Stay Zam: the direct and the eviction from the parade at Palazzo Marino.
May 22, 2013
Updates from Palazzo Marino-parade #stayzam
zam-milano.org

19:10: the situation is now calm, the event is melting. No response from Palazzo Marino to the demands of the demonstrators. Zam Stay, Stay tuned …

18:34: The square is surrounded by tanks of the police. The protesters called for an open meeting with the mayor, which for now is not responding.

18:32: 4 injured among the demonstrators in 4 offices: wounds in the head and limbs. Have flown torches, now you face the two cordons of police and protesters.

18:29. the protesters continue to apply to enter, some guys injured in the face. tense situation and threats of new offices, and jostling melee with the police.

18:23: third charge, voltage square

18:22: two charges of violent police to prevent the access of protesters at Palazzo Marino.

18:20 people try to enter but are prevented, jerks and clubbing

18:07 A procession of about 100 people arrived at Palazzo Marino, “welcomed” by a vast array of police. The intention is to make an assembly there, seen that the area of ??ZAM was taken away from students, temporary workers and activists this morning, and saw that the city of Milan has not objected to this operation. # Stayzam
Appointments today:

16:00: all at Porta Genova.

18:00: at Palazzo Marino!

12.20 – The compagi fell on the roof! We will bring our demands unheard directly in the heart of the city, Palazzo Marino today at 18!

11.45 – The van, music, and all present were moved to the front gate of Zam, manned by the Police, in solidarity with two companions on the roof!

11.00 – Telephone connections from the roof.

10.25 am – The police entered within Zam. From the roof we are told that the Digos tried to rise, but could not. It ‘started a negotiation. The conditions of the two boys on the roof to fall are: talk to the lawyer Zam, be made aware of the project that will involve the area occupied until now, have the boys and girls in sight in order to communicate with their , be able to return in the coming days to return the material that is still in Zam.

10.00 – The bulldozer is trying to break down the last parts of the fence. The cordons of police and carabinieri prevent the passage of the corner of Via Olgiati and via Cottolengo.

9.53 – Two people were on the roof of Zam. From the roof drops the banner “Stay Zam, the dreams continue.”

9.40 am – I am the fire department arrived to extinguish the fire in front of Zam.

9.37 – A barricade on fire. The flames rise up a column of smoke over the surrounding buildings.

9.33 am – The bulldozer moves towards the barricades in defense of Zam followed by dozens dozens of men. From behind the barricades raining objects, books, videotapes. The bulldozer stops.
9:32 – From Via Cottolengo police officers and police continue to arrive. There are at least another 30.

9.31 – The bulldozer is ready to overwhelm the objects that symbolize the two years of culture, social, sports Autonomous Zone of Milan.

9.30 – The police and the police are deployed between the students and the objects placed in the street. There comes a bulldozer police.

9:25 am – Police and the police continue to drag force with people. Are dragging students and prevent those who are already out of the way to get closer.

9:20 am – Thirty men between police and riot police are close to the people on the street. The first guys who oppose passive resistance is moved with force by the police. The chairs and tables placed in the street are dragged away. Many children are taken away weight. Behind them, the students remain seated.

9.10 am – A score of men are in the process of Digos Olgiati

9.00 – The first trucks are approaching in via Olgiati to clear Zam. We invite everyone to come and bring their solidarity!
The entire street Olgiati is invaded by a representation of the activities in these two years of self-management have animated the Autonomous Zone Milan.

Zam is sports, love is Zam Zam is socializing, culture is Zam Zam is students.

To welcome the police an unusual scene, which opens with a curtain. Behind this the audience and the stage that since January 2011, they hosted hundreds of concerts, theater performances, film screenings, cultural events and debates.

Between the auditorium and the police dozens of people line the street recreating spaces for social interaction: from popular gym for an assembly of students, from the presentation of books for the preparation of MilanoInMovimento!

 

 

PREVIOUS COMMUNIQUES (Comming soon)

Occupy Wall Street Journal - January, 2013  Hurricane Sandy (Front)

A limited edition of The Occupy Wall Street Journal by vizKult is one of many zines being donated to The Way the Lights Went Out: A Hurricane Sandy Zine Benefit for The Ali Forney Center, a New York based organization which provides housing to homeless LGBT youth. Some of  Ali Forney Center’s facilities were damaged when Hurricane Sandy touched down in the New York City area on October 29th, 2012. More info about the benefit below.

The Occupy Wall Street Journal - (back) Arts & Kulture section with Alternative Economies

The back-page of new edition of The Occupy Wall Street Journal is a call to invigorate Alternative Economies in the face of rebuilding of communities affected by Sandy. The issue also puts a shout out to all the art related groups doing alternative economies work, including Arts & Labor’s Alternative Economies  subgroup and their new guide What Do We Do Now? to be distributed in 2013.

The Way the Lights Went Out: A Hurricane Sandy Zine Benefit (Facebook Invite)
Zine Reading and Sale Benefit
Wednesday January 9, 7pm
Blue Stockings Bookstore
172 Allen Street, NYC

READERS:
Kate Angell (My Feminist Friends, A Thousand Times Yes)
Jamie Varriale Vélez (Sinvergüenza)
Jenna Freedman (Lower East Side Librarian, Barnard Zine Library)
James Aviaz (Everything is Fucked, Everything is OK)

ZINE DONORS:
Stranger Danger Zine Distro, Kathleen McIntyre (The Worst), Lauren Denitzio (Get it Together), Kate Wadkins (International Girl Gang Underground), For the Birds Collective, Kate Angell, Amber Dearest (Fight Boredom Distro, The Triumph of our Tired Eyes), Maranda Elizabeth (Telegram), PonyBoy Press, Aimee Lusty (Booklyn, Pen15 Press), Amanda Stefanski, Jami Sailor (Your Secretary), Jordan Alam (The Cowation), Alycia Sellie (Brooklyn College Zine Library), Cindy Crabb (Doris), Natty Koper & Sivan Sabach (Bangarang This), Chella Quint (Adventures in Menstruating), Shawn Smith (Black Lesbians in the 70s Zine), Elvis Bakaitis (Homos in Herstory), Sarah Rose (Tazewell’s Favorite Eccentric, Once Upon a Distro), Maud Pryor (Marmalade Umlaut), vizKult.

Facebook Invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/138515892968167

PS. Another group devastated by Hurricane Sandy was the immigrant community of New York, who in some cases did not qualify for aid despite being valuable members of our communities. Sandy Relief for Immigrants, a online donation page has be made by La Union, OWS Making Worlds and others, please spread the word and donate here.

[from Art & the Commons]

Time for Alternative Economies? artandthecommons.org

“A solidarity economy does not arise from thinkers or ideas; it is the outcome of the concrete historical struggle of the human being to live and to develop as an individual and a collective.”

Marco Arruda
Brazilian Solidarity Economy Network
World Social Forum in 2004 (via solidaritynyc.org)

Is OWS ready for alternative economies? Coupled with solidarity networks, alternative economies is a way of seeing capitalism not as a totalizing external force but something that we are all enmeshed, something that we continue to give strength via our daily existence within this city. These alternatives, plural, are what provides us with the tools to dismantling the web that holds us hostage.

Networks of resistance is key to these alternative systems, but for the most part 2012 has felt as if we were floating in the city, un-rooted in the reality of daily life. Sandy changed that, for many the pain was tangible, visceral, touching all senses -and so maybe this disaster marks a turning point for the movement of marches, signs, and spectacles, a movement that passed in our streets in 2011-2012 but never entered our homes until now.

Any dialogue regarding alternative economies should be open to everyone, inside and outside of the OWS, so that we can collectively create these alternatives, re-affirm our commitments to them, and to begin to build the networks that will sustain them. Until that happens, it will be activism as usual, atomized and fleeting -a benefit to you know who… Then and now the question is, can we work openly to make this dialog happen?

 

-artandthecommons.org

 

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of interest…   in relation to this alternative economies dialogue , a meeting has been called tonight at 16 Beaver that might be of interest to some of you:

Friday — 12.14.12 — Occupying Life in New York — On Radical Meshworks
of Mutual Aid in Apo-capitalist Times

Continue reading…