Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 3
I missed the Indigenous Water Ceremony and so I went to the qi gong session in Cobo and then walked around the vendor tables before the 10am session.

AM: Attended Gabriela USA session on "militant global women's movement in the 21st century". Kudos to Lolan Sevilla and her crew for this workshop which was well attended (about 40). Good mix of folks from various backgrounds. It's good to see Fil Ams represent at the USSF.  Bayan USA and IBON North America are also doing a workshop tomorrow.

I felt that two hours is not enough time for the workshop to come up with answers to the question: How should a militant global women's movement in the 21st century look like? But we tried. I specially found this question difficult to answer because my relationship with the "women's movement" has always been ambivalent (and I explained why in the small working group). I liked the answers of the two young women in my small group:  Creativity is needed for a militant movement.

PM: Attended Word and World session on Sabbath Economics. Bro in law and sister led the first part of this session. Jim provided the biblical context for Sabbath economics and then Lily led the group in the interpretation of MAtthew 20 (Parable of the Vineyard Landlord and Workers) ala theatre of the oppressed. The purpose of the exercise was to learn to read the parable as a political cartoon, to read it against the grain and hopefully, the participants would come up with a reading of the parable that is critical of imperial economies; a reading that questions  the very notion of "owning the land"; or a reading that questions the concept of work vs job, wage fraud and wage theft, etc....

Following this exercise a fishbowl session with Grace Lee Boggs and Vince Harding (look them up if you don't know who they are), Jenny Lee, Lisa Richter, Julio Guerrero -- all were tasked with telling local stories of "Another Detroit is Happening"...

Grace framed the discussion by providing the historical context of Detroit in the 50s to the Detroit of the present - its industrial rise to its decline in the present. Seminary-Sanctuary-Streets -- these are the interconnected parts of the faith-based movement that is a key player in re-imagining Detroit as a City of Hope. The other panelists then told stories about Detroit Summer, Allied Media Project, Urban agriculture projects, and labor movements that are revitalizing Detroit and leading the rest of the country in modeling the values (sustainability, spirituality, grassroots/localization) that will undergird our communities in the future.

Vince Harding provided the inspiration on how to continue to struggle. It is a time of opportunity and it is a dangerous time. But transformation happens because people like Grace Lee Boggs choose to stay and build a community.

I'm glad I was at this session. Learned a lot about many of the things that Detroit is doing right...

Here's photo with Grace Lee Boggs and sis Lily.

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