A sense of urgency permeated the Eastdale Village Community Church where we gathered for two days in early October. We named who we are and the communities we represent. We are young, old, poor, immigrants, refugees, organizers, queer and trans folk, cultural alchemists, farmers, and workers. We represent our families, our hometowns, our organizations, our cooperatives, and our people in struggle.
We named the massive problems facing our communities, including isolation, state and vigilante violence, voter suppression, and white supremacy. The lack of quality and equitable jobs, healthcare, housing, and education is at the heart of structural racism and generations of poverty, and public systems that have failed our communities. We agreed that enough is enough, we can no longer be dependent on these systems. We recognized that we have resources within our communities that we can share and expand.
We named specific targets: corporate entities, banks, and corrupt politicians who exploit and profit off our people through prison expansion, extractive industries, police brutality, militarization, and gentrification. We named these targets knowing that sometimes their strength is in their invisibility, and our blueprint will include the names we seek to dismantle or transform.
We also recognized our multiple struggles and came to a deeper understanding with a circular view of how all issues are connected. Our consciousness grew clearer that we cannot afford to divide up our people, principles, or struggles, and we desire be part of something that lives up to what we believe is possible.
“We want an economy that takes care of people as human beings. We want to build cooperative systems that offer good food to everyone. And to create our own economic infrastructure in our communities so we can support our families.” – Ruben Solis, University Sin Fronteras
“If you want to know what a Peoples Democracy looks like, look around you. You have to be able to see yourselves in it. It’s not just the rich, the powerful. All of us are gathered here to build a new structure. There has to be something standing when the old structure falls. We are here as part of building it.” – Suzanne Pharr, National Council of Elders