It may be Monday in the UK, but it’s very much 6pm on Sunday in San Francisco, so it still counts!
1. And we’re off! That’s right, I am in San Francisco and about to start a crazy busy week meeting with tons of organisations over here that are doing tremendous work on green jobs. I hope to learn a lot from them, make lots of contacts, and bring lessons back to the UK about how we can learn from the Californian example. If you want to be on my green jobs mailing list and get updates from this week, leave a comment below with your email address.
2. This morning started off a bit disastrously. I was supposed to go to a political poster printmaking workshop, but after my 24 hour journey yesterday, jetlag and general not-knowing-where-the-hell-I-am, I tried and failed to get out to Berkeley. Cue lots of tired swearing. So, instead, I took myself out to lunch and to a wander round the famous beat bookstore, City Lights. And I’m so glad I did! Because I discovered a book by Grace Lee Boggs, a 95 year old Asian American activist, called The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century. I read the first chapter over (decaf) coffee and a cookie this afternoon, and it is the inspiring book I’ve been looking for. I would quote the whole first chapter here, but I’ll give you just a bit of it:
Normally it would take decades for a people to transform themselves from the hyperindividualist, hypermaterialist, damaged human beings that Americans in all walks of life are today to the loving, caring people we need in the deepening crises. But these are not normal times. If we don’t speed up this transformation, the likelihood is that, armed with AK-47s, we will soon be at each other’s throats.
That is why linking Love and Revolution is an idea whose time has come.
We urgently need to bring to our communities the limitless capacity to love, serve, and create for and with each other. We urgently need to bring the neighbor back into our hoods, not only in our inner cities but also in our suburbs, our gated communities, on Main Street and Wall Street, and on Ivy League campuses.
We are in the midst of a process that is nothing short of reinventing revolution. For much of the twentieth century the theory and practice of revolution have been dominated by overarching ideologies, purist paradigms, and absolutist views of a static Paradise; arguments over which class, race, or gender was the main revolutionary social force; and binary oppositions between Left and Right. Big victories have been prioritized over small collaborative actions that build community and neighborhoods: the end has been valued over the means. We rarely stopped to wonder how much this view of revolution reflected the capitalist culture that was dehumanizing us.
Now, in the light of our historical experiences and thanks especially to the indigenous cultures that the Zapatistas have revealed to us, we are beginning to understand that the world is always being made and never finished; that activism can be the journey rather than the arrival; that struggle doesn’t always have to be confrontational but can take the form of reaching out to find common ground with the many “others” in our society who are also seeking ways out from alienation, isolation, privatization, and dehumanization by corporate globalization.
3. This is a really cool map of gang areas and injunctions in San Francisco, overlaid with a map of cupcake shops in the area. Now, as we know, I love cupcakes as much as the next bike-riding, crafting, tattooed hipster wannabe 🙂 but it is interesting to think about what the rise of cupcake shops mean in terms of gentrification and encouraging social divides.
4. I was so sad that I couldn’t make it to the March for the Alternative yesterday, but it’s been great to read my friends’ stories on facebook and twitter. It sounds like it went really well – 500,000 people! – even if the media reported it in the usual way.
5. I walked past Jack Kerouac alley today. Pretty super.
6. Love this picture. She is my style inspiration for summer.
7. Generally being organised this week has been pretty cool. I didn’t get everything done (still have to somehow squeeze in time to write 2000 words for my essay this week… ahem), but I did wind up my current contract at Otesha, drycleaned my jackets, got my watch fixed, cleaned my house, watered the plants, and I’ve even ironed all my clothes today in preparation for my week of meetings! I FEEL SO GROWN UP RIGHT NOW. Except I forgot my business cards. Doh.