The Eco Fair Park(ing) Spot

our little oasis...

our little oasis...

We held our third Parking Spot Occupation in conjunction with C’ville’s annual Eco-Fair last Saturday.  It was a whirlwind of last minute organizing. Kassia got a hold of Ari, Chief Organizer of the fair a week before and pitched the idea. He loved it and within two days had us an official permit to use a spot that we’d staked out in the heart of downtown. He also got a landscaper he knows to donate a bunch of sod!

Emboldened by legitimacy, we made this our biggest and best effort. The grassy surface made a world of difference. The spot itself was almost twice the length of most parking spots,giving us approximately 24 feet to work with.

everyone loves a park!

We had a cadre of 5 musicians playing at one point, a bike mechanic (one of the cutest moments was when Bruce and Sky were wrestling the chain back on a 5 year old’s bike), free seedlings, games, visuals and graphics depicting normal and transformed streets, snacks and drinks.  Dozens of people stopped by during the 5 hrs we spent in our temporary park.

We had a great time, and the experience reminded us of a short essay our friend Craig recently sent us.  As it points out, the revolution is not going to happen, it is happening.  Saturday felt very much like a little revolution.

Click here to watch the full Eco Fair Park(ing) Spot Slideshow

The Revolution Has Already Occurred-Reimagining Socialism

By Rebecca Solnit

Barbara Ehrenreich and Bill Fletcher write mournfully that there was supposed to be a revolution–but there was and is a revolution, just not one that looks the way socialists and a lot of ’60s radicals imagined it. The Sandinista revolution thirty years ago may well have been the last of its kind. The revolutions that have mattered since have been less interested in seizing and becoming the state than circumventing it to go straight to becoming other people doing other things without state permission. The fifteen-year-old Zapatista revolution, which never sought state power and (though badgered constantly) was never defeated, is the revolution for our times, or really only the most dramatic of countless thousands involving Native Americans and Indian farmers and South African cooperatives and Argentinian workplaces and European utopian communities.

In the United States the most obvious realm in which this has transpired is food and farming. Organic, urban, community-assisted and guerrilla agriculture are still small parts of the picture, but effective ones–a revolt against what transnational corporate food and capitalism generally produce. This revolt is taking place in the vast open space of Detroit, in the inner-city farms of West Oakland, in the victory gardens and public-housing of Alemany Farm in San Francisco, in Growing Power in Milwaukee and many other places around the country. These are blows against alienation, poor health, hunger and other woes fought with shovels and seeds, not guns. At its best, tending one’s garden leads to tending one’s community and policy, and ultimately becomes a way of entering the public sphere rather than withdrawing from it.

“Do we have a plan, people?” Ehrenreich and Fletcher ask. We have thousands of them, being carried out quite spectacularly over the past few decades, for gardens and childcare co-ops and bicycle lanes and farmers’ markets and countless ways of doing things differently and better. The underlying vision is neither state socialist nor corporate capitalist, but something humane, local and accountable–anarchist, basically, as in direct democracy. The revolution exists in little bits everywhere, but not much has been done to connect its dots. We need to say that there are alternatives being realized all around us and theorize the underlying ideals and possibilities. But we need to start from the confidence that the revolution has been with us for a while and is succeeding in bits and pieces. Enlarged and clarified, it could answer a lot of the urgent needs the depression brings.

If anarchists and neoliberals had one thing in common, it was an interest in shrinking the state that socialists hoped would solve things. Right now nothing but that state exists on a scale to drag us back out of what the corporations and international markets dragged us into, but one of the questions for the long term is about scale. Small isn’t always beautiful, but big beyond accountability or comprehension got crazy as well as ugly.


~ by karmakas on April 21, 2009.

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