Our Lady of Ferguson by Mark Doox, whose art might deserve a longer tour in a future edition.
Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi is part manifesto, part battle plan, and part invitation to believe another world is possible. The chapter by Max Rameau on land and housing – leaning on the strategy developed by Kali Akuno – has an especially tight logic to it.
If the right to housing means everyone gets a home they can afford, then how do banks, developers and landlords make a profit? Conversely, if banks, developers and landlords have the right to profit maximization by increasing prices, how do the human beings who do not have a lot of money access housing?
Housing can only serve a single function: that of a home. In order to advance this bold vision, our general strategy must be to end the investment function of housing by protecting housing from the forces of the market forces. In short, because it is an essential human need, housing cannot be a commodity subject to profiteering.
The tactic to achieve the solution: the decommodification of land and housing through community land trusts, or, the Decommodification Imperative.
Properties are liberated to serve out their more important social functions of housing human beings, growing food and providing common spaces from which to build community.
More good stuff along these lings over at Cooperation Jackson.
Another key point by Sacajawea Hall about participatory budgeting in Jackson:
The important part is actually how decisions get made, not only about allocating resources through a budget, it is about who is there to make those decisions, how much power to they have and can use in the process.
Here is Cal Newport – who wrote Deep Work, which truly changed many of my work habits – on why working remotely can be so difficult:
When he was writing “On the Origin of Species,” Charles Darwin invented a ritual to help him settle into work each day: he staked out a meandering path through the most scenic areas of his family estate, outside London, placed a set number of stones at the beginning of the path, then walked circuit after circuit, kicking a stone into the hedgerow after each lap. With every go-round, he pulled his thoughts away from personal concerns and toward evolutionary theory.
For many people, the rituals of the commute—podcasts on the train, hellos in the elevator—serve as a similar preparation for the day’s work. Without them, it becomes easy to lose track of the distinction between professional and personal life. Work time becomes more scattered, and leisure time less pure. There’s a reason so many professional writers stretch their budgets to lease private offices, even though, on paper, the extra expense seems unnecessary. They knew what many socially distancing knowledge workers are now discovering: deep work requires some degree of separation.
Reading: Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital by John Restakis – an excellent follow-up to Jackson Rising.
Writing: Some collaborative writing on a Journal of Teacher Education editorial with other members of the editorial board. Of course, we are focusing on what research in teacher education might look like in response to Covid-19. As I’ve said before, I don’t exactly get excited about that topic, especially since what we are writing now won’t come out about October – and what schools will look like then is anybody’s guess. But the piece is shaping up to lead with the only line of reasoning I feel strongly about: that folks need to slow down.
Listening: The second album from Sault, simply titled 7. It’s so, so good – for me, because it’s slightly tougher on drums and more political on vocals than their first album. Some critics have said they hear ESG and Can in the group’s sound. That’s a great take. There’s still some mystery about the group, last time I checked, since nobody is quite sure who is in it. My spidey sense tells me there are Philly connections.
Making: Dancing shoes on for a track I was able to finish recently. Ohio is all through this one. That airy sample comes from a rare record made by an old Columbus group (given to me by one of the band member’s sons), and the drums came from a record copped while digging in Akron.