For the recent G20 meeting of “world leaders” in Hamburg, Germany hundreds of activists staged an action, dressing like the walking dead in gray clothes and faces, passively walking the streets, they illustrated the myriad effects which can, do, and may in the future result from the callous, petty, and greedy actions of the summit attendees. They did this not simply with catchy (or tired) slogans, posters, or even throwing trash bins threw the windows of Starbucks. They did this by visually distilling into abstract all that is possible when we choose money, power, and nationalism, over consideration, solidarity, peace, and cooperation. It was an astounding, and brilliant demonstration and serves, not simply as a wake up call, but a pivot point for all of us. What matters? What more can we do? What haven’t we done? What may come in the future? We need more of this.
Another thoughtful and inspiring gathering around municipalist strategies yesterday as we read over the draft of the Barcelona en Comu International Committees statement for starting municipalist platforms in America. Much to unpack; from ideas around pluralism, difference, power, and notions of commonness, there’s obviously a lot of cultural and political translation to be done between a European and American municipalist model. And yet, so much to grab on to, desire, feel energized and inspired by. An aspect that stuck out for me which bridged this cultural divide was the necessity to begin and aggressively maintain a desire to build critical connections around ideas between people and existing publics, maintaining a close but healthy distance from the electorate. This isn’t to say that an “authentic” municipalist platform will avoid electoral politics, more so that it will access the electorate as a means and not an end. Much more to unpack, many more connections to form and sustain, and more barbecues to have after our get-togethers as well, because you know, those are where those critical connections take root.