As many of you have heard, Gov. Dayton and the Republicans have arrived at a budget agreement that will end Minnesota’s government shutdown within a matter of days. Thus, on Day 14 of the Shut Down, Rise Up! convergence, we decided to bring our nightly dinners and general assemblies to a close.
When we kicked off SDRU on July 1st, we envisioned a large, diverse gathering of people coming together around dinner with the intention of launching new, radical initiatives to address community needs. After a strong start, however, momentum in the park dwindled day after day, leaving us scrambling to provide dinner and low on energy to push above and beyond the bare minimum of what we’d set out to do.
Despite the ways in which the model we experimented with fell short of our dreams, we’re not ending this convergence with a sense of failure. In order to achieve radical change, we must constantly push ourselves to try new things and integrate new people into our organizing networks. Over the past two weeks, we’ve made some significant accomplishments. We created a political pamphlet offering a valuable analysis of the shutdown and budget process in the context of the capitalist system, along with a beautiful poster that’s visible all over South Minneapolis. We distributed several thousand copies to people across the Twin Cites, engaging in political education both within and outside of our radical circles. We created an interactive map of free resources across the Twin Cities, hosted skill shares and classes around bike maintenance, herbal health care, and anarchism, and seeded the creation of a new health cooperative – the MN Health and Wellness Collective. We provided free dinner to several hundred people over the course of two weeks, and partook in the ongoing work of building communities of solidarity, resistance, and mutual aid.
Now, we’re emerging with expanded networks and valuable lessons learned, a step ahead of where we began this project.
Of course, the end of the shutdown is only the beginning of the next troubling chapter for Minnesotans. Full details of the new budget are still emerging, but it’s clear that all possible outcomes include severe cuts to government services that our communities rely on–everything from transportation to health care, environmental protections to higher education. These cuts come at the expense of the most vulnerable Minnesotans, while the ruling class continues to profit and thrive.
Though those of us gathered under the banner of Shut Down, Rise Up! have opted to stop serving nightly meals in Powderhorn Park, we intend to continue organizing and growing as anti-authoritarians, both in resistance to austerity measures in Minnesota and to the whole system of capitalism and the state.
Shut Down, Rise Up!