An ode to our elders: I am only able to digitally compose these truths because of the outpour of investment that has been entrusted to me. I pay homage to those that have and continue to struggle towards actualizing revolutionary values while being forced to navigate (let alone attempt to thrive) within these systems of oppression. The best way I know how to honor this, is to continue becoming a truer version of myself while reinvesting in others and our communities.
Who here is a revolutionary?
As serendipity would have it, I was voted onto Seward Co-op’s board the same day I transitioned from working at a cooperative development entity. This past work was to establish minnesota’s* third [diasporic] black*-led credit union. Personally, I had intentions of (a) mobilizing New Afrikans throughout the twin cities* towards group economics and (b) co-creating a landing place to divest from capitalism. Shout out to the current team leading this effort forward. In my past lives as a movement organizer, I’ve been forced to meditate on and practice principled struggle (which entailed heartache, individual and communal accountability). I’m reminded many times over that revolutionary work requires a collective response—no individual saviors are needed. With those experiences and learnings on my heart, I offer loving challenges to our Seward membership:
Shopping at a natural foods cooperative is a dope start, yet not enough. We must remember that expanding whole-food access goes beyond shopping and donations. Abolition is a necessary mechanism needed to materialize revolutionary values with shared accountability. These values must be actualized in an organization’s (1) bylaws, (2) internal and external operations, (3) human resources policies, and (4) culture. We must place value in the utility of shifting alongside our communities as demographics and needs change. Principled solidarity across communities has proven to be the only way forward.
To accomplish this, there must be a reckoning. These glorious ideologies will require us to reinvest in education and resource redistribution towards revolutionary self-embodiment, praxis, and solidarity.
The last time I wrote to y’all, I encouraged us to dig into cooperative abolitionist history and become active and informed members. The conditions of everyday people are still being fought for, from Fong Lee to Amir Locke. From the #Fightfor15 to the closing of HERC, we are winning! At the board level, after the state sanctioned murder of George Floyd, up the street from our Friendship store, we committed ourselves to ensuring SCC board’s actions would speak for themselves.
As members, let’s continue to ask:
1. What do we want to accomplish with Seward Co-op’s buying power?
2. What innovative strategies can we use to accomplish our Ends without strengthening capitalism?
I hope you will join me as I continue to ask myself:
3. What’s the most we can do to revolutionize the food system, from seed to storefront?
4. What is required of each of us to materialize our cooperative values?
Our path forward may seem daunting, but don’t worry fellow students of abolition, I won’t leave y’all hanging. See below for calls to action for households, cooperators, and aspiring revolutionaries, to get movin’ and groovin’!
Again, I’ll pose the question: who here is a revolutionary?
“A fall in the pit, a gain in the wit” (Mao) — a luta continua (the struggle continues) … venceremos (we will win) in the long run.”— Jalil Muntaqim, We Are Our Own Liberators.
With revolutionary love, my heart and soul, towards our collective liberation.
Free the people, free the land, Tamil Eelam and the Republic of New Afrika, forever!
* euro-colonial names are intentionally not capitalized in this letter