Day 14: SDRU convergence ends

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.

In struggle,
Shut Down, Rise Up!

SDRU Day 13: evaluation + direct action proposals, discussion to continue tomorrow

Today (Thursday) was day 13 of the Shut Down Rise Up! convergence.

We had a great discussion around where this initiative is going, what inspired people to get involved in the first place and what we hope to see grow out of it. Many people expressed various concerns, such as

  • dwindling participation
  • lack of continuity and repetition of ideas
  • burnout
  • adherence to a format without thinking critically about whether it
  • actually furthers the intended goals of the Shut Down Rise Up! initiative, i.e. to intervene in the shutdown with a critical analysis of the narrative of ‘crisis’, and to collectively enable and envision life without government by creating alternatives based on sharing resources, mutual aid and solidarity

There seemed to be general support for continuing having free dinners and project discussions.

We also discussed some direct action proposals:

  1. digging up grass in the park and planting food instead
  2. doing nightly home demos outside the houses of people who create a sense of crisis or benefit from it, e.g. politicians, or CEOs of big corporations based in the TC metro area
  3. disrupt government institutions that remain open but that we wish were shutdown, like prisons, or police offices.

We briefly discussed the second proposal, but ran out of time, so the discussion will continue tomorrow. Some things that were mentioned:

  • legal issues
  • getting media to come
  • collaborate with other groups and shutdown initiatives to gather a critical mass – it was encouraged that people talk to groups they know and are a part of about this
  • Universal Health Care Action Network has experience of home demos

Kim hosted a workshop on useful herbs for healthy living that several people attended. This workshop will continue every Wednesday for as long as the convergence continues, and people are attending the workshop.

As always, the food was delish and plentiful, thanks to everyone who cooked. Food and other logistics are covered for tomorrow. We need to keep bringing our own dishes to eat from, to minimize trash. The Committee to Stop FBI Repression is cooking on Saturday, but we need bottomliners to cover the dinners until then.

– Shut Down Rise Up forum board through Minneactivist here:
http://minneactivist.forumotion.com/f28-shut-down-rise-up

– Shut Down Rise Up Twitter: http://twitter.com/shutdownriseup

– ‘Like’ us on the Shut Down Rise Up Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shutdown-Rise-UP/229707200390627

SDRU Day 12: Wellness Wednesday

On Day 12 of SDRU, we shared a potluck-style dinner and then discussed how we can better determine our lives together.

Today, Day 13 (Wed.), we’ll come together again at 5pm for a free meal – on the north side of the park building in Powderhorn Park – followed by community assembly discussions. Today is Wellness Wednesday, which will include presenting workshops, resources, and materials themed around healthcare.

Food:
We are in need of folks who can commit to bring a dish to share—potluck style—for the next few days, especially tomorrow. Check your pantry and fridge and see what you have to whip up! If you have extra food to share that someone else could prepare, please bring it to the convergence so that others can take it and use it.

– Shut Down Rise Up forum board through Minneactivist here:
http://minneactivist.forumotion.com/f28-shut-down-rise-up

– Shut Down Rise Up Twitter: http://twitter.com/shutdownriseup

– ‘Like’ us on the Shut Down Rise Up Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shutdown-Rise-UP/229707200390627

SDRU day 11: health, outreach, food

On Day 11 of SDRU, we shared a nice dinner and then broke into groups that discussed how we can organize around food, outreach, healthcare, and childcare. Day 12 (Tuesday), we’ll come together again at 5pm for a free meal – on the north side of the park building in Powderhorn Park – followed by community assembly discussions.

Food:
We are in need of folks who can commit to bring a dish to share—potluck style—for the next few days, especially tomorrow. Check your pantry and fridge and see what you have to whip up! If you can bring a dish any day, please let Eli know at eli.meyerhoff(A)gmail.com .

If you have extra food to share that someone else could prepare, please bring it to the convergence so that others can take it and use it. Another project for the food group is to find organizations or groups to bottomline cooking a meal for one day. If you know of any to ask, please do so.

Healthcare:
The MN Health and Wellness Collective (MNHAWC) is working together to put on Wellness Wednesdays, which will include presenting workshops, resources, and materials at the convergence space. During and after the shutdown, they are also creating a grassroots health resource center at the new Minnehaha Free Space (see http://minnehahafreespace.org ). If you’re interested in getting involved with the MNHAWC, email Lucas.

Outreach:
To connect better with other organizations, we are working to have a big event (and many smaller events) at the convergence in collaboration with other groups. If you are part of any groups, please ask them if they would like to participate.

One idea for outreach is to make some door-hangers publicizing SDRU by using re-purposed hanging panels from busses. Pick some up if you can and bring them to the convergence.

We’re working on updating the flier. Also, we have the flier translated into Hmong, and we’re working on having it translate into Somali and Oromo.

A big event that we can connect with is the National Night Out on August 2nd (see http://www.nationaltownwatch.org/nno/).

– Shut Down Rise Up forum board through Minneactivist here:
http://minneactivist.forumotion.com/f28-shut-down-rise-up

– Shut Down Rise Up Twitter: http://twitter.com/shutdownriseup

– ‘Like’ us on the Shut Down Rise Up Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shutdown-Rise-UP/229707200390627

SDRU Day 10: Theme days and childcare

On Day 10 of the Shut Down Rise Up! convergence, we enjoyed sharing a tasty meal cooked by volunteers from the South Side Free Skool (a chapter of Experimental Community Education of the Twin Cities). We had a community assembly, talking about how we can collaborate on outreach, food, health, and childcare.

On Day 11, Monday, we’ll come together at 5pm for a free meal – on the north side of the park building in Powderhorn Park. This will be a potluck style meal, so we invite you to bring a dish to share. Afterwards, around 6pm, we’ll have discussions in project groups.

The following are updates on what’s happening with some of the projects:

The outreach group is working to get more organized and to get the word out to the community to build up a larger force. We would like to focus more on out theme days to generate more participation. Therefore we’d like to do more publicity about Wellness Wednesday and Free Market Friday. This coming Wellness Wednesday we’re planning to have a soccer game, as well as a bike repair station facilitated by Alex. Though at this point we don’t actually have a soccer ball… if anyone has one that they can bring that would be great!

Another big project we’re working on is a big blowout party for Shut Down, Rise Up! We’re working to get local musicians to donate their time, as well as local businesses to sponsor/advertise/donate time as well. This event would act as a revamp for SDRU and really try to get lots of people to come. Anyone who has any connections with local musicians is welcome to try to get folks to join us! We’d also like to get local artists out to perform at SDRU on other days as well.

Lastly, another way we’d like to get the word out is talking to the community about childcare. After talking with everyone today it seems to be a big issue, and we’d like to talk to folks about their needs at SDRU. With that said, we’d also like to create a more comfortable/fostering structure during the general assembly by talking more in the large group and creating disscussion more there. Tommorow we’d like to try this out, focusing on childcare needs and connecting folks who need childcare with folks who can give it. We would like to promote this on our internet media websites and create a discussion for it on our new forum.

– Shut Down Rise Up forum board through Minneactivist here:
http://minneactivist.forumotion.com/f28-shut-down-rise-up

– Shut Down Rise Up Twitter: http://twitter.com/shutdownriseup

– ‘Like’ us on the Shut Down Rise Up Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shutdown-Rise-UP/229707200390627

SDRU Day 9

Today was day 9 of the Shut Down Rise Up! convergence, and we shared another meal in the park, potluck style. Many people were there for the first time, so the discussion focused mostly on a re-cap around what’s been going on and what the plans are for next week.

Tomorrow is day 10 of the convergence. EXCO/ South Side Free Skool is cooking the meal, and people have said they will bring ice cream to make it an ice cream social. Feel free to bring dishes and food to share.

We ran out of disposable cups and cutlery today, so remember to bring your own and maybe some to share.

Somebody suggested writing a press release after the 10th day to send out to the press on Monday. They also suggested inviting media and new groups to attend the convergence since it seems like more people are going to be there tomorrow. Nobody has bottom-lined working on this so far.

-Next Wednesday will be the first of the themed “Wellness Wednesdays” where health-related resources will be shared. A person versed in herbalism will be bring some plants for identification and simple applications. A health library is in the works and people with literature to contribute should bring it on Wednesday to the park around 5pm.

-On Fridays we will continue our Free Market. Community members can bring items they are willing to give away for free at 5pm on Friday, though anyone should feel open to bring good on any day of the convergence. If you bring items to the park for this please be sure you take any items you brought which were not claimed.

-Shut Down Rise Up forum board through Minneactivist here: http://minneactivist.forumotion.com/f28-shut-down-rise-up

-Shut Down Rise Up Twitter: http://twitter.com/shutdownriseup

-Shut Down Rise Up Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shutdown-Rise-UP/229707200390627

SDRU Day 8: Free Market Friday

Today, Day 8 of the Shut Down Rise Up! convergence, we had another People’s Potluck in Powderhorn Park. We shared a variety of foods including vegan lentils, a rice and beans dish, a boiled eggs dish, chips and apples. Thank you to those who helped bring leftovers from yesterday and who brought new dishes. Tomorrow we are planning another People’s Potluck and anyone is welcome to bring a dish for tomorrow. Today was also the first of our Free Market Fridays and we had a couple boxes of things, about half of which were shared and taken up by the community! Thank you to everyone who brought items to share. Several groups met after the general assembly to discuss healthcare, outreach, media and fun.

Upcoming events and ideas planned for the convergence are the following:

-This Sunday will be Ice Cream Social Sunday! Two people at the convergence today volunteered to bring ice cream this Sunday along with others yesterday. EXCO/South Side Free Skool will be cooking the meal in the park this Sunday. They’ll be cooking kale, chard, lentils, and rice. Feel free to bring other dishes or foods to cook too.

-Next Wednesday will be the first of the themed “Wellness Wednesdays” where health-related resources will be shared. A person versed in herbalism will be bring some plants for identification and simple applications. A health library is in the works and people with literature to contribute should bring it on Wednesday to the park around 5pm.

-On Fridays we will continue our Free Market. Community members can bring items they are willing to give away for free at 5pm on Friday, though anyone should feel open to bring good on any day of the convergence. If you bring items to the park for this please be sure you take any items you brought which were not claimed.

-A car maintenance-related skill share will be taking place in the near future.

-A soccer game protest on the Capital steps was suggested – updates hopefully to follow at the park tomorrow.

-A community member is requesting support for her blog: http://usuncutmn.blogspot.com/

-Shut Down Rise Up forum board through Minneactivist here: http://minneactivist.forumotion.com/f28-shut-down-rise-up

-Shut Down Rise Up Twitter: http://twitter.com/shutdownriseup

-Shut Down Rise Up Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shutdown-Rise-UP/229707200390627

Day 9 of the Shut Down Rise Up Convergence is tomorrow. Every convergence is a free space and open to anyone. There is no core group of organizers for the group. Therefore, these convergences are what we make of them. Join your community in the park at 5pm.