— bureaux de vizKult

Archive
Nature

Open Letter from ‘Wretched of the Earth’ bloc, London, December 2015…

'Wretched of the Earth' bloc at Global Climate March London.

‘Wretched of the Earth’ bloc at Peoples March for Climate Justice and Jobs, November 29, 2015. London, UK.

The Wretched of the Earth are a collective of over a dozen grassroots Indigenous, black and brown organizations representing diaspora from the Global South. Over the past few months, we have fought tooth and nail to lead last weekend’s London climate march alongside Indigenous delegates from frontline communities on their way to the Paris climate summit. We know that our presence was only allowed so the NGOs could comfortably check the ‘diversity’ tick-box. While we knew it would not be an easy space to be in, the violence and hostility we faced on Sunday was worse than we expected.

As Wretched of The Earth speakers fired up the 50,000-strong crowd with a message of decolonization, delivered from a crane above them – another hard-fought-for concession – the march organizers carefully plotted for their animal props to move ahead of us via a side channel. With minutes to go, the mainstream banner suddenly appeared in front of us for the press photos. We stormed forward and unravelled our own banner, only to realize it was a stand-off. They wouldn’t begin the march unless we put our message behind theirs; theft of narrative – in some cases literally, as banners were physically pulled from people’s hands. From that point until the end it was a violent tussle to lead the march.

NGOs summoned the police on our black and brown bodies. Re-read that last sentence. Suggesting that our symbolic coffins – calling out BP and BHP Billington for the blood on their hands – were health and safety hazards, they attempted to remove them. Our placards placing British Imperialism in the framework of Climate Injustice were radioed in to be taken down, as they ‘didn’t fit the message of the day’. They tried to recapture the front of the march by stopping it in the middle of central London and moving their banner back. They then slowed down the rest of the marchers that followed us, effectively separating us off. But we stood our ground, together. We write our own rules.

The NGO narrative appealed to the perpetrators again, asking them to ‘do something’. Their narrative read ‘We do this #ForTheLoveOf Skiing’. Our narrative is one which has a context wide enough to contain the solidarity needed for systemic change. It is one which doesn’t compartmentalize the struggle into climate, racism, migration. It acknowledges that to be truly insurrectional, one must be intersectional.

We held placards and gave speeches that explained clearly that another war in Syria is a war on Mother Earth. That war and corporate climate genocidal mega-development is the main driver behind forced displacement and the migrant ‘crisis’. That the white-hetero-patriarchal-imperial ideology which premises this continued climate colonialism is that which perpetuates racist and patriarchal policing, prisons and austerity in the Global North.

Many of the major NGOs and March organizers went on a self-congratulatory tirade, talking about ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusivity’, conveniently forgetting that – whether on the march or in the lead up – it was Avaaz, Greenpeace and cohorts who created obstacles for our communities to lead. Something needs to be made clear: the global climate movement starts at the frontlines of corporate colonialism, in Indigenous territories, where black and brown communities fight back against European-sanctioned climate genocide. And that’s why our placards read ‘We die first, We fight first, We march first’.

‘People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.’ The revolutionary Assata Shakur said it.

We ourselves in the Wretched of the Earth bloc have had to decolonize our minds in order to recognize the shackles on our bodies, in order to recognize the insidious and acute nature of our oppressor. We therefore have a duty to up the ante where the stagnant water of colonialism has trapped the fight for justice from flowing toward freedom. The Climate Movement needed the medicine, and we have the remedy.

‘The white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro, but pretend that they are smiling’. Malcolm X said it. Colonized peoples rising up recognize a forked tongue by necessity. We see the liberal foxes prowling between the ranks of the NGOs, dangling carrots before the people, knowing that the millions in their coffers are not for systemic change, but for their liberal methods of teasing people toward an empty empathy. The behavior of the NGOs – Avaaz at their head – on Sunday showed why climate campaigners need a decolonization treatment.

Now more than ever, we know that not only do we have to fight against climate change and the capitalist-colonialist system which it hails from, we also have to fight against the UK’s whitewashed colonialist climate movement which perpetuates the oppression, erasure and brutality we face daily.

The march organizers, ITV, BBC, all of the echo chambers of the status quo will have you think we weren’t even there. Yet ’Still fighting Co2onialism’, was the banner leading the Britain’s biggest climate march, because we can no longer afford to place the onus on people recycling and expect the polluters to lead us to liberty. Neither the government nor the NGO liberal line will lead us to justice. This is a war of narratives, and ours is decolonial.

This article was amended on December 3, 2015 to better reflect the role of different NGOs in these events.

 

 

Four Points and a Circle, Complimenta (I), The Manse/Ithaca, NY Sept 2, 3, 2012.

“At length, desisting, all ceased together, gathered together, all sighed together…”
- To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

COMPLIMENTA invites artists and viewers to step outside of the usual space of art production, exhibition, and deposition. The site is The Manse, a property situated in the Town of Enfield, City of Ithaca, NY, where time stretches, allowing for a fuller platform; a wider dance; a different form of expansion wherein alternate structures can arise. Forty-five local and international artists have been invited to present site-specific or semi-site-specific works that will be presented in the forest, garden, barn, pond and studio of the Manse.

The Manse and COMPLIMENTA share and ethos of building open space for conversation, making this an ideal inaugural pairing of conceptual practice and natural landscape. Over the course of 2 days we will present performances, painting, poetry, film, sculpture, music, lectures, and workshops. - Complimenta (I)

The Manse, Ithaca, New York. September 2nd, 3rd, 2012

[The following is a Arts & Labor Alternative Economies report back on the NYC Community Garden Coalition Occupy The Land! Unconference 2012. Expanded here with more photos and reviewed in "Gardening Art Grows into Activism In The Age of Occupy" by Martha Schwendener, Village Voice, Jun 13 2012]

596 Acres workshop at Southside Community Garden

596 Acres workshop at Southside Community Garden

596 Acres workshop at Southside Community Garden

This year the NYC Community Garden Coalition invited the working groups of Occupy Wall Street to help organize their first city-wde Community Garden Unconference. A member of Arts & Labor Alternative EconomiesMaking Worlds Commons Coalition  stepped up to organize a schedule of events for the Occupy the Land! Unconference, June 1-3.

Continue reading…

20120530-173638.jpg

Converse shoe company set up a popshop full of flowers they will be giving away at 5:30pm today. Not sure what the campaign is for but a large sign outside says that by entering you will be filmed and photographed. Must be for an ad for a new line of naturally made sneakers? (@ Lafayette and Houston St, NYC)

Conviviality in the Garden - with Brian Zegeer, Hsiao Chen, Forest Purnell, and Antonio Serna

As part of the Occupy The Land unConference June 1, 2, 3. In the tradition of an unconference vizkult along with other Occupy Wall Street Groups have volunteered to organize a days worth of community garden events specifically for Saturday June 2nd.  Starting at 1pm in South Williamsburg, 4pm in the East Village. Culminating Conviviality in the Garden: potluck, projections, and informal presentations at La Petit Versaille Garden 8-10pm (see below for more info.

 

NYC Community Gardens Coalition
TAKE THE LAND
unConference
June 1,2,3, 2012
(complete listing of workshops & maps for
3 days of the unconference can be found at NYCCGC.org)


Special guide by vizkult, et al:
Williamsburg and East Village Guide

Saturday June 2nd

FREE + CHILDREN WELCOME

**The workshops are planned as a route to begin in Williamsburg 1PM, over on the L to East Village at 4pm and then down towards the Lower East Side, ending around 10PM.**

HIGHLIGHTS:
+ Commons Introduction in Williamsburg – 1pm
+ 2 workshops on Commoning & Squatting Land in NY – 2pm & 6pm
+ Children’s workshop w/members of Making Worlds – 4pm
+ Conviviality in the Garden, Potluck, Art, Projections Party! – 8pm!

 

click to download PDF of map

1-1:45pm – (WILLIAMSBURG)

A) Gardens as a Commons, A brief introduction.
Berry Street Garden.
Berry St, Between S.2nd and S.3rd St.,

Community gardens are a site of conviviality, reclamation, activism, education, urban occupation, and autonomy. It is a contemporary ‘commons’ shaped by a community through voluntary support from neighborhood gardeners, educators, activists, artists, and all those who enter the space.

Join Making Worlds Commons Coalition/Arts & Labor Alternative Economies in this brief introduction on the topic of Garden as a ‘commons’. We will also discuss the importance of gardens as a stepping stone to greater autonomy and sovereignty within a community.

- – - – - – - – - -

2-3:30pm – (WILLIAMSBURG)

B) Take on the (Vacant) Lot in Your Life (WILLIAMSBURG)
South Williamsburg Garden
Heweys & S.4th

The crew from 596 Acres will lead a workshop that draws on participants experiences and focuses on getting access to vacant public land for community uses. We can start at the South Williamsburg Garden and perhaps work through the 596 acres map to find lots in the area.

- – - – - – - – - -

4:00-5:00pm (EAST VILLAGE)

C) Children’s Garden-Art Workshop
Children’s Garden
E.12th St @ Ave.

A Children’s workshop in the gardens using natural and botanical materials. Ages 6 and up, younger children must be accompanied by an adult. This workshop will be conducted by artists and educators Suzanne Goldenberg and Begonia Santa-Cecilia, members of the Making Worlds Commons Coalition.

- – - – - – - – - -

4:00-5:00pm (EAST VILLAGE)

D) Swarm Organizing w/Superglitch
Green Oasis Garden
E.8th Street betw’n Ave. C & D

Swarm intelligence is an emerging field of biologically inspired artificial intelligence based on the behavioral models of social insects such as ants, bees, wasps and termites. Biological Swarms involve the collective behavior of decentralized, self-organized systems. This session will involve a basic primer on Swarm Intelligence followed by a workshopping session whereby participants imagine how activists might apply Swarming techniques in practice. For example, the honeybees’ waggle dance technique could inspire new ways of locating housing for Occupy protesters.

- – - – - – - – - -

5:00-6:00pm (EAST VILLAGE)

E) Hey, Honey!
Green Oasis Garden
E.8th Street betw’n Ave. C & D
East Village, NYC

Skillshare on making lip balm with members of Green Oasis Garden.
Honey based treats will be served!

- – - – - – - – - -

6:00-7:30pm (EAST VILLAGE)

F) Squatting Vacant Lots
El Jardin Del Paradiso
E.5th Street, between Ave C & D
Meet near the willow tree house to start.

Workshop will detail the tactics and techniques of squatting (occupying, rehabilitating and defending) vacant lots for the purpose of creating community gardens and parks with and for the local neighborhood residents. Workshop by Frank Morales.

- – - – - – - – - -

6:00 pm (WILLIAMSBURG)

G) An Evening of Poetry/Una Tarde de Poesia
Heckscher Children’s Garden
134-136 Scholes Street

This is the first ever community event in our garden. Through poetry we will be opening this space to the community, the young, old, friends and neighbors. All are invited to read their favorite poetry of love, hope, struggle, peace, frustration, inspiration, worldly poems and your own poetry. Appetizers are
appreciated too.

- – - – - – - – - -

8-10pm (EAST VILLAGE)

H) Conviviality in The Garden with Artists
La Petit Versailles Garden
E. 2nd St. b’tween Ave B & C

“The garden is the smallest parcel of the world and then it is the totality of the world.” -Foucault, Of Other Spaces (1967)

The conviviality that is possible in the garden is multiplied by it’s ability to be at once many different spaces for those who are present, and exponentially so as one moves through the garden. As the sunsets on this long day of venturing inside gardens, we’ve invited several artists to this informal gathering to reflect on art projects related to nature, gardens, and conviviality. Invited artist include Brian Zegeer, Hsiao Chen, Forest Purnell, Antonio Serna, and others TBA. please check vizkult.org for updates.

Zaac Chaves

“Turns out the parks are better stocked than the aisles of Trader Joe’s. Chaves’s favorite park bounty includes stinging nettles (he cooks these iron-rich leaves up like spinach), dandelion greens, mulberries, morel and maitake mushrooms (he once found 30 pounds of maitakes around a tree in Prospect Park), crabapples (he substitutes them for pectin when making jam), and hickory and hazelnuts.” – A Prospect Park forager eats better than most New Yorkers, Well And Good NYC April 7, 2010

Zaac Chaves will be speaking about about foraging this weekend at the Brooklyn Food Conference in NY. The description to his workshop specifically mentions that he will focus on evasive and disruptive plants in order to show how humans (not chemicals) can aid in the balance of the earth’s ecology. Speaking of nettles, I had my first nettle soup a couple of weeks ago prepared by a good friend.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Brooklyn Food Conference*
Brooklyn Tech High School
29 Fort Greene Place Brooklyn
New York 11217

Workshop #2
12:30PM-1:45PM

Foraging for Empathy (Room 5E4)
w/ Zaac Chavis
ALSO NOTE…

Sunday May 13th,
A second day of programming
is being organized by the NYCGA/Occupy Wall Street Animal Issues Working Group , a schedule of the sunday programming can be found on their website: http://animalissues.nycga.net/brooklyn-food-conference-proposed-workshops/

NYCGA Animal Issue Working group page:
http://www.nycga.net/groups/animal-issues/

Geographies of Anarchy, video recording

Geographies of Anarchy, panelist:Stephanie Wakefield, Steven Duncombe, Alberto Toscano

I keep thinking back on the summer leading up to Occupy Wall Street events. First, A Line In Nature, the foraging reading group that was meeting up to discuss, lastly, rituals in nature, with the idea that we would possibly do some camping in urban parks  not necessarily as a direct way of confront capitalism in the manner in which OWS has attempted, but to rediscover life in an urban environment, maybe as an alternative to the architecture of capitalism. It would be an action to call upon a history that has been forgotten, or a future that is begging to become a reality.

Secondly, I keep thinking back to “The Anarchist Turn“, a forum held at the New School that spring. More specifically I kept thinking about one particular panel called “The Geographies of Anarchy”. On this panel, moderated by Chiara Bottici was the views of Stephanie Wakefield, Steven Duncombe, Alberto Toscano. I have notes that I can dig up later, but for now I found the video archive for that forum online at the website for Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies. I was mostly interested in the attempt to define the space of Anarchy in relation to the occupation; how does it exist symbolically/politically, or otherwise?  How does this affect or is affected by the literal anarchistic gesture in physical space, in terms of the space of direct action, and other physical forms in which it may exist? and finally how does the space of anarchy exist within ourselves, in our own imagination and interpretations, and dreams?

In any case there are other videos from The Anarchist Turn if “Geographies of Anarchy” is not your thing.