Towards a New Paradigm of Creative Revolution — Part One

by Owen Charles, environmental, peace and community activist

We are in a time of great innovation, some say, mostly speaking of computer technology, “AI,” microparticle physics, genetic science, and other man-made detritus.

We are in a time of great crisis, meanwhile, as we soak in a toxic environment and begin to experience looming climate destruction borne of man-made garbage–hydrocarbons, plastics, pesticides, and other technologies.

It is time to recognize that we are in a downward spiral. As a species, we are clearly incapable. That is why it is up to SOME of us to recognize we are in a downward spiral… and do something about it.

No, not come up with some technological solution or grand design that will “save the world” but independent, creative, revolutionary ways of disconnecting from and unplugging from the destructive dystopia around us, so that we may build a new future. Tapping into our own creative revolutions, inviting and engaging, and welcoming those around us.

Is this a revolutionary idea? – YES and NO. YES, in that it is the answer towards upending the Existing Order (Capitalism, carnism, consumerism, etc.) that will likely implode as destructive forces it has unleashed grows in Tsunami fashion and drowns (most of) us all.

NO, in that it is already late to be getting to the party. Revolutionary work has started all around. Not cults of 150-year-old revolutionists or other political goings-on…. But, in the almost anonymous goings-on of growing autonomous movements — Bioregionalism groups, independent local movements of people living off the grid, tiny houses, living in vans & other vehicles, autonomous agricultural innovations, “gig economy” pursuits, bartering and new economies, and in the rise of cooperatives, collectives, and back-to-earth communalism–it is no longer enough to say “No”! In fact, it is counter-productive to spend much time doing this–opposing the facets and faults that in aggregate comprise the Existing Order.

While Bob Marley was right that “Total destruction is the only solution (no one can stop them now),” there will not be a turning point among humans to turn around the destruction of the planet (and each other) through our out-of-control hydrocarbonism, consumerism, and Capitalism… not until after climate destruction has so disrupted our lives that the great majority live in constant struggle to survive amidst the new environment of the planet. We ARE beyond… beyond the point of no return. Thus, we don’t say NO… We don’t say INCREMENTALISM. Thus, we say YES!

The clear answer for a monumental transition lies before us… lies in our embracing this, and saying “YES”.

Yes, to new paradigm.

Yes, to new ideas, ways of living, ways of helping each other, ways of creating anew.

Yes, to positive action.

Yes, to communes- bounding together to create new economies, new healthcare and educational possibilities, new ways of moving forward from where we are now.

And in this “new” paradigm there certainly may be echoes of the past… indigenous and ancient ways of basic, communitarian existence in a more balanced harmony with each other and with nature…

You can look at it as saying NO to the toxic culture and capitalism, and war, and… BUT it is important not to look at it this way and to instead approach it as SAYING YES.

Yes, first off to each other.

We need to unleash ourselves from the paradigm of individualism and that it is a dog-eat-dog world… and instead embrace that we are all IN THIS TOGETHER. This is one of the first rules used to sublimate us, is the rule of “divide and conquer”.

Thus fighting each other is abandoned as a mode of revolution, and in fact is Counter-revolutionary. Let’s continue to look around and find and support those who represent a new paradigm hidden in plain sight all around us!

We say YES to each other in the mode of improvisational group creation… “YES, And” … Your idea AND mine… “BOTH AND” (not Either / Or)… this way we do not tear ourselves apart and tear each other down, but we BUILD TOGETHER new ways, new organizations, new creative revolutions.

YES to cooperatives, YES to collectives, YES to unplugging and working, YES to more DOING and less TALKING, YES to CREATING, YES TO BIOREGIONALISM, YES to MUNICIPALISM, YES to YES to YES to YES to YES.

YES to down-sizing, YES to living more ruggedly with less, YES to helping others to do so (not shaming them), YES to creating ways to communicate independently YES to BEING the CHANGE we want to see. YES to worrying less about fear, division, disagreement, and looming destruction, and YES to focusing more on creative revolution to create the new ways of living that sustain us, save us, inspire us, give us some hope, some unity, and rebuild our interior and human goodness from the first step of the first individual, in a chain that has the potential to be unending, and free us from the chains of our dystopia.

Please reach out to us by joining our Facebook group @shorelinegreenparty or contacting me! Owen Charles at owencharles2003@yahoo.com

Ives Gallery Open Call for 2020, Submission Deadline: Oct. 31, 2019

Lauren Bisio, New Haven Free Public Library

The New Haven Free Public Library seeks proposals for exhibitions in the Ives Gallery to take place during 2020.

The Ives Gallery is proud to exhibit work that reflects and celebrates the rich diversity of greater New Haven’s cultural community.

The Library is excited to receive proposals from the greater New Haven community. Eligible applicants include:

  • Individual, pairs or groups of artists
  • Independent curators
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Public or Private K-12 Schools, Colleges, Univer-sities as well as associated teachers and students

Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of members from the New Haven Free Public Library and the New Haven arts and culture community. During review of proposals, panelists will consider the following:

  • Artistic experience
  • Work is appropriate for Ives Gallery and public community
  • Work reflects the diversity of the community and/or provides opportunity for community enrichment or engagement
  • Exhibitor(s) has/have sufficient pieces for a gallery show
  • Quality and completeness of application

For more information and to download the Guidelines and Proposal, please visit nhfpl.org/ives-gallery-open-call.

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PAR Party 5-9 p.m. Saturday July 27 Friends Meeting House, Fair Haven

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Remembering Anne Frank: Film Showing of Redemption Blues June 12 @ NH Free Public Library

In commemoration of Anne Frank’s 90th birthday, please join us for a screening of “Redemption Blues,” directed by Peter Stastny  (2017; 84 min., English & German/English subtitles) Wednesday, June 12, 5:30 to 8 p.m., New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street.

A lifetime after the Shoah: Forgetting is not an option and memory only goes so far. When prayers are not enough, music can keep us going. It is not too late to mourn and not too soon to replenish.

“Redemption Blues” is a film about the thorny legacy of the Holocaust generation and the insights of some of its last survivors. The film begins where conventional Shoah narratives leave off and traces a path forward, through personal and emotional engagement towards hope.

Director and producer Peter Stastny was born in Vienna as the son of Orthodox Jewish refugees. After a career in psychiatry, he began working with film in the mid-1990s, looking for ways to move forward after the immense trauma endured by the Jewish population of Europe during the Second World War.

Discussion with Peter Stastny will follow the screening. Co-sponsors are: The International Association of New Haven and The City of New Haven Peace Commission. For more information, contact Seth, sgodfrey@nhfpl.org, or (203) 946-7450. New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St.

New Book Documents How Ordinary American Communities Challenge the ‘One Percent’ and Win

Good Trouble: A Shoeleather History of Nonviolent Direct Action is a riveting chronicle of stories that prove time and again the actions of thoughtful, committed people can change their country and the world. It is a brisk, inspiring primer for veteran activists and newcomers alike.

Civil Rights struggles. Labor strikes. Immigrant organizing. Tenant occupations. LGBT campaigns. Each of the 40-plus examples in Good Trouble focuses on the power of organizing and mobilizing, relevant in any context, and serves as an “emergency tool kit” for nonviolent direct action.

“Good Trouble comes to us at a time when faith in our democracy is fading,” writes Rev. Damaris Whittaker, senior minister of Fort Washington Collegiate Church, New York.

“Change is the result of action, but those without hope do not act. Good Trouble is a tale of overcoming despair to beat the system,” says Jackie Allen-Doucot, lifelong member of the Catholic Worker Movement.

The book takes its title from a quote by John Lewis, member of Congress and legendary civil rights hero, who led a 2016 sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives: “Dr. King and Rosa Parks inspired me to get into trouble, good trouble,” Lewis said at the time.

Good Trouble author Steve Thornton is a retired union organizer who has spent forty-five years in Hartford CT on the front lines of student, labor, community, environmental, and anti-racist struggles. This is his third book, the first with Hard Ball Press, publisher of a wide range of working-class writings (hardballpress.org).

The Shoeleather History Project: Stories from Hartford’s grassroots: www.ShoeleatherHistoryProject.com.

Make Music Day Connecticut Returns on June 21

Connecticut Office of the Arts

For the second year, cities and towns across Connecticut will join forces to present over 500 free outdoor musical events on Friday, June 21 for Make Music Day, a global music celebration on the summer solstice each year that brings people of all ages and skill levels together to make music. For information, see www.makemusicnewhaven.org.

Last year, Make Music Day made its Connecticut debut, with an impressive 528 free musical performances at 224 locations across the state, coordinated by twelve regional chapters brought together by the Connecticut Office of the Arts. This year, eighteen chapters have formed to organize Make Music Connecticut, the most of any state, joining more than 80 other U.S. cities hosting thousands of Make Music performances across the country as part of the world’s largest annual music event.

Bad People Believing Bad Things: The Threat of White Nationalism — Talk June 11

John Stoehr invites Jason Stanley, the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them (published September 2018), to discuss the rising tide of white nationalist ideology and its influence on the American political landscape. Book will be available for sale. Please RSVP by Tuesday, June 11, 7:30 p.m. at the Young Men’s Institute Library, 847 Chapel St, New Haven. Light refreshments available. Suggested admission $10. Sponsored by New Haven Review with the Institute Library and The Editorial Board.

New Haven Documentary Film Festival May 30-June 9

The 6th annual New Haven Documentary Film Festival runs from May 30-June 9. The 11-day fest will feature over 100 films and other special events in various venues. All film screenings and workshops are free. For the full schedule, see nhdocs.com.

Michael Moore Retrospective will be at the New Haven Documentary Film Festival Friday, June 7 – Sunday, June 9 at the Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium at Yale, 53 Wall St., New Haven. The Festival will feature free showings of seven of Michael Moore’s films. The audience can discuss the films with Michael Moore and filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus and Peter Davis.

Free and open to the public.

New Haven Free Public Library Wins National Award

NHFPL Press Release

The New Haven Free Public Library is one of ten recipients of the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This prestigious award is the highest honor given to museums and libraries across the nation. The medal recognizes libraries and museums that provide unique programming and service to make a difference in the lives of individuals, families and communities.

Nilda Aponte will travel with Martha Brogan, City Librarian and Shana Schneider, NHFPL Board President, to the nation’s capital to accept the award in Washington, D.C. on June 12. Ms. Aponte serves as a community ambassador in the Fair Haven neighborhood for NHFPL’s signature partnership program with the Long Wharf Theatre.

“It is a pleasure to recognize the 10 distinctive recipients of the National Medal of Museum and Library Service,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “Through their programs, services, and partnerships, these institutions exemplify the many ways that libraries and museums are positively transforming communities across the nation.”

“We are thrilled to receive this award, which honors our 132-year legacy and early attributes that still ring true today: a welcoming front door for all, a fighting spirit to serve as the people’s university, a catalyst for civic improvement, a drive to innovate tempered by fiscal restraint, and a love of humanity,” said Martha Brogan, City Librarian.

We were nominated to receive this award by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy who wrote that “NHFPL goes above and beyond in terms of community involvement, in both the quantity and quality of its programming. In the 21st century, patrons require more and different things from their libraries than they once did. NHFPL has fully embraced this reality and established itself as an indispensable hub of culture and innovation.”

This award belongs to you, our community. We look forward to sharing this honor with you when we return from Washington. As a winning institution, we will receive $5,000 to enhance our programming. Additionally, this summer StoryCorps will visit NHFPL and capture stories from our community and preserve at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Happy May Day! Continue the Struggle for Justice!

by the PAR Planning Committee

Since the nationwide strike for the 8-hour workday in 1886, the first of May has become a historic day for the struggles of working people, and for over a hundred years May 1 has been celebrated as International Workers’ Day. Locally, in 1970, the May Day protests on the New Haven Green demanded freedom for Bobby Seale, justice for the Black Panthers, and the end of the Vietnam War. Starting in 1987 and continuing for thirty years on the Green, the annual May Day celebration each year brought together dozens of organizations to promote their work for labor rights, peace, human rights, and economic rights to the broader New Haven community. And since 2006, city-wide marches for immigrants’ rights are held on May 1. Peace, racism, police brutality, union struggles, fair wages, anti-war, immigration, a safe environment, criminal justice issues, labor history, welfare rights organizing, the right to healthcare — these are some of the struggles and issues in the celebration of international solidarity.

April was a month full of upsurge. From April 11-21, Stop & Shop workers from Connecticut, Rhode Island and

Massachusetts (31,000 workers) were on strike. The union considers the new contract a victory, preserving healthcare and retirement benefits and providing wage increases. The next strike in Connecticut will be unionized workers in nursing homes. They are scheduled to strike on May 1.

For days there have been massive protests and marches in New Haven and Hamden condemning the thoroughly unjustified Hamden and Yale police shooting in New Haven of two African-Americans in their early twenties on April 16. Thankfully, Stephanie Washington is recovering from her bullet wounds, and Paul Witherspoon was not hit. Video from the police body cameras has not yet been released. As of this writing, people will gather at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 6 at the Hamden Town Hall for the Legislative Council Meeting. We urge our readers to join in the many rallies for justice around these and other issues and be inspired by the many people at the forefront of these struggles for their lives and their livelihoods.

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