Thursday, October 23, 2008

Autonomous Geographies

Autonomous Geographies is a two year action research project run jointly by geographers at the University of Leeds and the University of Leicester, and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

We use the term autonomous geographies to define those spaces where there is a desire to constitute non-capitalist, collective forms of politics, identity and citizenship, which are created through a combination of resistance and creation, and the questioning and challenging of dominant laws and social norms.

The project looks at how activists make and remake these types of spaces in their everyday lives by exploring their core ideas, beliefs and visions, how they are translated into action, what kinds of spaces for participation and identity are created and what it means to live in-between the overlapping spaces. We are currently participating in three UK-based case studies and are guided by an advisory group. By engaging in such research, our aim is to critically explore and support autonomous spaces in the UK and the ideas, struggles and practices that bring them to life, as well as help to introduce them to new audiences.

Who Runs Leeds?

An Action Research Project run by the School of Geography and Corporate Watch with financial and research support from local trade unions.

The emergence of Leeds as an economic powerhouse in Britain in the past decade has been nothing short of spectacular. The second largest metropolitan district in England, Leeds is now the leading financial and law centre outside London. In the last 20 years, more jobs have been created in Leeds than in any other UK city outside London, and it is expected to provide 45% of employment growth in the region over the next 10 years. But beneath this comprehensive transformation of Leeds from industrial town to thriving metropolis, a dramatic restructuring of power, ownership and wealth is taking place prompting citizens to ask: who is really running Leeds?

The Common Place - Leeds' autonomous, radical social centre

DO IT YOURSELF: A Handbook for Changing Our World / Edited by The Trapese Collective

A Radical Guide to Ethical and Sustainable Living

Climate change, resource wars, privatisation, the growing gap between rich and poor, politicians that don't listen. Massive issues, but how can we make any difference?

This book shows how. It's not a book about what's wrong with the world, but a collection of dynamic ideas which explore how we can build radical and meaningful social change, ourselves, here and now. Covering nine themes, the book weaves together analysis, stories and experiences. It combines in-depth analytical chapters followed by easy to follow "How to Guides" with practical ideas for organising collectively for change.

Download a Sample Chapter (PDF)

Trapese Collective

Trapese is a Popular Education Collective who offers workshops and training aimed at inspiring and promoting action for changing our world.

TRAPESE stands for ‘Taking Radical Action through Popular Education and Sustainable Everything!’ Our work involves interactive workshops, games, films, trainings, and action/campaign planning sessions. We aim to provide opportunities for children, young people and adults to explore the big issues of our time. Our work focuses on practical steps to inspire, inform and enable action, and how to develop workable alternatives. We are a not for profit collective motivated by a passionate belief in the power of learning together.

The Rocky Road to Transition: The Transition Towns movement and what it means for social change / Download Book (PDF)

Misc. Essays

Paul Chatterton / Jenny Pickerill

Chatterton, P (2008) "Demand the Possible: Journeys in Changing ourWorld as a Public Activist-Scholar".

Chatterton, P (2006) "'Give up Activism' and Change the World in Unknown Ways: Or, Learning to Walk with Others on Uncommon Ground", Antipode. Vol.38, No.2.

Pickerill, J & Chatterton, P (2006) "Notes towards autonomous geographies: creation, resistance and self-management as survival tactics", Progress in Human Geography. Vol.30, No.6.

Pickerill, J (2008) "A surprising sense of hope", Antipode. Vol.40, No.3.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Beehive Design Collective's Coal Campaign

Beehive Design Collective / Coal Campaign

Understanding the devastation of Mountaintop Removal is perhaps primarily a visual undertaking - the vastness of the altered landscape cannot be conveyed with words alone. And while the Beehive Collective is known for graphics that speak in pictures across the cultural and language barriers of North and South Americas, it is our hope through this campaign to use our image-based storytelling methods to cross domestic class, geographical, and literacy barriers very close to home. We intend to produce a learning tool that artfully captures the human and ecological scale of totalitarian resource extraction while reinforcing and participating in the rich storytelling tradition of Appalachia.

Coal Graphic Campaign / In Process Gallery

Halfway through our drawing process, the Beehive is beginning to share the Story of Coal with diverse audiences through two banners: one explaining our research trip and one outlining the upcoming graphic.

The Beehive Design Collective is a 100% volunteer driven non-profit political organization that uses graphical media as educational tools to communicate stories of resistance to corporate globalization. The group, based in Machias, Maine, has a mission objective to "Cross-pollinate the grassroots by using imagery as an effective organizing tool". The Beehive Collective is most renowned for its large format pen and ink posters which seek to provide a visual alternative to deconstruction of complicated social and political issues ranging from globalization, free trade, militarism, resource extraction, and biotechnology.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eating in Public & Historic Waikiki

EATING IN PUBLIC / Gaye Chan + Nandita Sharma

In November of 2003 we planted twenty papaya seedlings on public land near our house in Kailua, Hawai'i. In doing so, we broke the existing laws of the state that delineate this space as 'public' and thereby set the terms for its use. Our act has two major purposes: one is to grow and share food; the other is to problematize the concept of 'public' within public space....

{ Part 1 : Autumn }
{ Part 2 : Winter }
{ Part 3 : Spring }
{ Part 4 : Summer }
{ Part 5 : Spring/Summer/Autumn }
{ Part 6 : Winter }

Eating in Public is an anti-capitalism project in Hawai'i nudging a little space outside of the commodity system. Unlike Santa and the State, they give equally to the naughty and the nice. They do not exploit anyone's labor. And they do not offer tax-deductions. They are, in all the word's various definitions, free. Following the path of pirates and nomads, hunters and gathers, diggers and levelers, they gather at people's homes and plant food on public land. They currently have two ongoing free_stores and a website.

"Sowing the seeds of awareness" / Honolulu Star Bulletin

"Store's open — and free" / Honolulu Advertiser

"Eating in Public" in Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations, Collective Theorization

Historic Waikiki

Historic Waikiki is a project by DownWind Productions, a collaborative of artists, writers, teachers and activists who examine the impact of colonialism, capitalism, and tourism in Hawai'i. We distribute information and agitprop commodities through the marketplace and e-commerce to help tourists and locals alike understand our complicity in the decimation of Hawaii's land and people, and to imagine different relationships with each other and with our own desires and longings.

DownWind is subjected to everything that happens and happened upwind. When hunting, it is recommended that you position yourself downwind of the hunted.

Waikiki: A History of Forgetting and Remembering is a work of art, critical history, and investigative journalism that assumes the unlikely form of a coffee table book. Written in an accessible style, the book creatively draws from historical text and images to tell the story of Waikîkî’s transformation from a self-sustaining community to one of the world’s most popular and overdeveloped vacation destinations.

The result is an innovative collaboration between an art historian and an artist. Written by Andrea Feeser, the text is carefully researched and masterfully woven, using literary metaphors alongside documentary evidence and historical narrative. Artist Gaye Chan contributes lush and haunting imagery that at once serves to illustrate the text and questions the veracity of photographic evidence.

Equally satisfying for a Hawaiiana enthusiast or a cultural studies scholar, a visitor or a long-time Hawai‘i resident, the book offers little-known facts about Waikîkî as well as theoretical and poetic reflections on the very process of memory and history making.

Download Table of Contents (PDF)
Download an excerpt from the book, Chapter 3 - Ala Wai (PDF)

Gaye Chan @ Creative Capital

"Where Spouting Waters Ebb" / Honolulu Weekly

"Room for a View: Projects influence how we see Waikiki" / Malamalama

"Real-time and Digital Communication in and about Contested Hawai'i: The Public Art Project Historic Waikiki" / Andrea Feeser

THERE THERE / Gaye Chan + Nandita Sharma

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Right to the City

Battle of the Bailout: The Fight For The City 2008

The Right to the City, David Harvey, New Left Review, September-October 2008

Examining the link between urbanization and capitalism, David Harvey suggests we view Haussmann’s reshaping of Paris and today’s explosive growth of cities as responses to systemic crises of accumulation—and issues a call to democratize the power to shape the urban experience.

Download PDF

David Harvey: The Right to the City / Sustainable Cities

The question of what kind of city we want cannot be separated from what kind of people we want to be. David Harvey invites all manner of social movements to assert their 'right to the city' - the right to re-make the city in a different image.

Theory Talk #20: David Harvey

David Harvey on the Geography of Capitalism, Understanding Cities as Polities and Shifting Imperialisms

Right to the City Alliance

Right to the City (RTTC) is a newly formed alliance of base building organizations from cities across the country as well as researchers, academics, lawyers, and other allies. We came together in January of 2007 to build a united response to gentrification and the drastic changes imposed on our cities. We stand together under the notion of a Right to the City for all.

Right to the City offers a framework for resistance and a vision for a city that meets the needs of working class people. It connects our fights against gentrification and displacement to other local and international struggles for human rights, land, and democracy.

We are coming together under a common framework to increase the strength of our community organizations and our collective power. Our goal is to build a national urban movement for housing, education, health, racial justice and democracy.

Principles of Unity for the Right to the City Alliance

1. Land for People vs. Land for Speculation
2. Land Ownership
3. Economic Justice
4. Indigenous Justice
5. Environmental Justice
6. Freedom from Police & State Harassment
7. Immigrant Justice
8. Services and Community Institutions
9. Democracy and Participation
10. Reparations
11. Internationalism
12. Rural Justice

Building Power in the City: Reflections on the Emergence of the Right to the City Alliance and the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance / Harmony Goldberg / In the Middle of a Whirlwind

Citizenship and the Right to the Global City: Reimagining the Capitalist World Order (PDF) / Mark Purcell

Excavating Lefebvre: The right to the city and its urban politics of the inhabitant (PDF) / Mark Purcell

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

In the Middle of a Whirlwind

Will you join us in the middle of a whirlwind?

In the Middle of a Whirlwind: 2008 Convention Protests, Movement and Movements

A one-off online journal of theory, art, activism and organizing out now!

Coordinated by: Team Colors Collective

Published by: The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest Press

In the Middle of a Whirlwind (Whirlwinds) inquires into current organizing efforts in the United States, and through that process, assembles a strategic analysis of current political composition as a tool for building political power.

Whirlwinds' strategic context is this summer's RNC and DNC protests; through these documents and the discussions that erupt from them we hope to directly impact the anti-Convention organizing. In a larger sense, and in the long-term, Whirlwinds is intended to provide a set of useful documents for contemporary radical organizing. Each essay and interview addresses the issues of movement, working class power and composition, and/or gives strategic insight into organizing, and the strengths and weaknesses of current movement/s in the U.S.

A Letter Among Friends: A Whirlwinds Introduction / Conor Cash, Craig Hughes & Kevin Van Meter/ Team Colors Collective

Team Colors News & Events

Team Colors @ MySpace