Mad Farmer Sascha #69 - United Communities

United Communities -- Crossing the Borders

    I been thinkin bout crossing the borders and crossing the lines -- in my mind, in my house, on my block, in my neighborhood, in this city, in this state and country, then Canada and Mexico, and finally everywhere. My mind’s been going micro to macro back to micro -- scaing out and back in. I’ve been thinking bout how all the borders depend on each other and are reflections of one another -- our relationships with our neighbors show us the roots of foreign policy. Not like we be makin the decisions to bomb motherfuckers on the other side of the world from here in North Oakland, I just mean in our everyday actions with one another -- the seeds of self destruction of the entire planet in how we be treatin each other in this house.
    But we be workin on it -- poco a poco. The election reults came in last night and they say they still don’t know who the president is and I think: alright -- where do we go from here? We can’t control who the president is, but we vote every minute and every day of our lives in the actions we take. It starts right here in this bed I’m lying in and the dreams I had last night. We need to be living the revolution every day of our lives in every action and thought -- every kiss or prayer or meal we cook for ourselves or our friends in the hood. We need to be revolutionaries in how we treat each other: fuck picking up a gun and shooting some pig if we can’t get along in our house -- on our street.
    The revolution happens one block at a time and all kinds of revolutions be happenin all the time -- what might seem like insignifigant events might later have huge consequences
somewhere else. A butterfly flaps its wings and a storm happens on the other side of the world, we all hear that. Practice random acts of kindness and beauty, like the bumper sticker says. But what if me and my friends and their friends and everyone else around us started flapping our wings together? Shit would change. We just gotta be ready when it starts going down -- it is essential that we be getting along and understanding one another. Figure out the really important words for yourself and then translate them into different languages that everybody can understand. We need to be practicing conscious acts of solidarity
    We have to start respecting ourselves and feeling good about the work we do. We have to get over the fears of delving into the hard stuff because thats where the answers really lie -- deep down in the scary shit that no one in our community wants to talk about. When we can begin talking about our internalized racism and class privledge and fear of other people in our community -- when we start breaking down those borders on our block -- that when we can begin tearing down the other borders de veras.
    Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about gentrification and our white anarchist/artist/activist traveler community that has been my extended home and sanctuary for so many years now wherever I travel. Been thinking bout how wherever I go I see me and my friends unwittingly perpetuating the same economic cycle that we talk so passionately about destroying. It goes something like this: we look for neighborhoods with
cheap rent -- they are inevitably in working class communitites of color. We are the first white kids on the block. Eventually some more of our friends move into the hood. The demographics shift -- we eat different foods, we have different asthetics, some of us be mad open and we do our art for everyone on the walls and in the streets. We attract attention. The real estate speculators start noticing that now there be white kids in the hood. Suddenly it’s a “safe” place to live here for a different class of people. The rents go up and the houses on the market get bought.
    Then the gentry come, and with them they bring their cafes and restaurants and their overpriced health food stores. They like the art coming from our souls out of love but they just buy it and sell it and turn it into their hip culture for all their friends and community. They don’t mean to be fucking shit up -- they just ain’t conscious of how their actions be affecting those around them. Do they talk to their neighbors? Or do they come from a suburban monoculture where no one talks to one another because they don’t have to? Like the liquor store owner from Yemen down the street said to me the other night when I asked him if he had any black friends: “If you run a business you don’t need friends. They just get you into trouble.” Meanwhile, he’s happy that there are finally “respectable” White and Mexican people moving into the neighborhood.
    But suddenly me and my friends gotta be living nine folks to a three bedroom house -- our rent was just raised $200 last month. An economic revolution is takin place but it ain’t be comin from the folks in my neighborhood -- it be comin from Silicon Valley an shit. Now there’s mad money in the hood. And to people on the outside it looks like a good
thing -- better restaurants, cleaner streets, young property owners with disposible incomes putting much needed capital into the community. The streets are “safer”. The police come when you call them. But what actually be goin down? The rents be goin up. There be mad kids wandering around the hood with nothin to do -- getting into trouble, drinkin and smokin blunts, going to prison for bullshit because as we all know the system is set up to fuck the young, black, and poor.
    And suddenly those poor people don’t have a place to go -- the schools are a mess and the prisons are creeping up like cancer. They be buildin more prisons everyday. Playin it straight means temp services or micky d’s and there be no future in that bullshit, we all know that. They not teaching skills to empower people and lift them out of their economic situation. They be sendin you to school to sit in front of a computer so you can get used to typing useless data all day for their big machine. Or they be sendin you off to go kill some motherfucker on the other side of the world that be in the same situation as you. Or they let you fall into the trap they laid (through a combination of intention and neglect) -- slanginrock and packin a gat and then you in they prison and they’ll make you work like your great-granddaddy on the plantion down south. Cept this time it ain’t pickin cotton or tobacco -- this time it’s factory work: making clothes and answering phones and putting shit into boxes. Still yous a slave.
    Meanwhile, me and my white activist friends are being targeted for our political work -- more and more of us are ending up on the other side of the prison bars for our comittment to challenging the system. We be getting our asses beat in the streets of big cities and we be havin our phones tapped and our pictures snapped and our records checked and our houses monitored. The next wave of COINTELPRO be coming and we all feel it. The Oregon prison system now classifys “Anarchists” as a dangerous gang. The shit me and my friends were talking about ten years ago in the streets of New York City is starting to become part of the public dialog. We been stokin the revolutionary fires and now theys mad peopleto the pass the torch to -- it feels good.
    We have new communication technologies that let us be talkin to our comrades all over the world all the time -- chiquito mundo, familia grande.  Alternative models are being set up and linked together. There is a movement of people building who want to see a radical shift in how the global economy functions and recognize its roots in colonialism and
racism and war culture. We have an alternative vision based on community control of agriculture and medicine and housing, respect for biological and cultural diversity, a people united in paying our rent not to some landlord who lives on the other side of town, but paying our rent to the Mother Earth by taking care of her and being humble amidst her glorious wonders, from the food on our plates to the weeds growing through the cracks in the concrete outside our door. Even if we don’t agree on everything, we recognize that in order to survive we’re going to have to learn to share. Healthy regional economies and local support networks -- taking power out of the hands of people who control the food and drugs (liquor stores are much closer than grocery stores round these parts) and putting it right back in the hands of the people in our cities and the farmers growing our food. A vision based on the diversity of people and ideas.
    One of the obsticles we have to have to face is that a lot of white activists come from subcultures that. We be havin a hard time where we grew up relating to other kinds of folks -- even our own kinds of folks. That’s part of why we hang so tight together. But what that means is that a lot of times we ain’t used to stepping outside of our little world -- we go from house to house in our neighborhood but we ignore everybody else inbetween. We have our own slang and symbols and cultural . But we’re good people with good ideas. We don’t mean to be fucking shit up -- we just ain’t conscious of how our actions be affecting those around us.  And thus we perpetuate the cycle of gentrification.
    But we all be gettin kicked out our neighborhoods by the gentry just like everyone else. So what do we do? Lets scale back our vision for a minute and before we be talkin bout overthrowing the whole global economic system, lets start by walking around our hood and getting to know our neighbors. Lets share some food. Lets try to find some common ground.