Sunday — 06.07.20 — Testing Assembling Sixth Edition

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Sunday — 06.07.20 — Testing Assembling Sixth Edition

0. Short Note
1. Sunday’s Assembling

0. Short Note

We send this invitation to the sixth testing of assembling.
Please note, we will start one hour earlier at 10 AM New York time to be able to assemble on our streets.

Sunday June 7, 2020 at 10am New York Time.

Please write to mai [at] 16beavergroup.org if you are interested to take part.

1. Sunday’s Assembling

“(Annie) A former black panther, who brought to life and raised twenty five children, struggled against all the pre-existing conditions which are the real legacies of this country, mass displacement, enslavement, genocide, criminalization, incarceration and denial to this day of the deep structural violence that remains terrorizing her community, our communities. How will we be able to stop these racist and racializing machines so fine tuned to destroy life, to capture it, imprison it?”
May 10, 2020

This text was written and included in the fifth part of the series of films we have shared entitled Contagious New York. Those films have been an attempt to try to articulate questions which under this time of the virus became impossible to avoid, absolutely urgent, necessary to consider, address.

If these connections could be made a month ago, before these attempts on our streets today to answer these questions, we surely should see the connections now.

From the outset of this period of lockdown, with the texts we have shared, and with these assemblings we have helped organize; we have attempted to feel our way through this moment, to see how this experience of the virus has not only exposed the darkest conditions of our shared existence and our troubled relations to life, earth, one another, and the institutions which purport to care for or support life. It has also opened up a space for paying attention, developing a common sense and care for the things that truly matter, preparing with friends our measures to exit, to stop, strike against the systems around us which force our complicity but we know to be the destruction of our worlds.

What the virus also makes more evident is that we can no longer afford to compartmentalize the catastrophic events we are living through into separate crises. The question of the colonial and patriarchal basis of modernity and capitalist processes of objectification of earth and life, are not academic concerns. They have everything to do with the impaired senses and respect for life, for difference, structured occlusions, which have severed possibilities for relating to life itself, what it can mean, how it can be lived, cared for and with whom.

On the streets of New York in this week inside the processions of bodies, differentiated and beautiful in their commitment to change, one feels this sense of resolve, as if it had been collectively decided to refuse to return to and reproduce the pre-existing conditions, to refuse the systematic racist conditions, the devaluation and destruction of black life and the life of people of color, the systems of inequality, injustice and violence, which incarcerate and imprison generations in a senseless economy based around the production of death and criminality without any possible redemption or communally determined processes of justice and accountability.

We started this period of writing, assembling, making films as a way of opening a space of feeling with others this moment and a way to anticipate and situate the questions which could animate the struggles to come, the struggles which this time opens, and the virus has helped make more tangible, visible.

In these conversations, the questions of state violence and the pre-existing conditions which the police are paid to enforce and preserve, have emerged in various moments as one of the impasses which marks our time and the various attempts globally to find other ways, principles of organizing collective life beyond the colonial, patriarchal, capitalist coordinates.

The question of state violence is a global phenomena which certainly targets and affects communities disproportionately based on the particular histories of each place, but they are at the base of many of the political experiences we have been in contact with over these last decades.

As we assemble recalling, each day on the streets of our cities, the breath denied to George Floyd, his suffocation, we see state regulations being enacted which allow for the further destruction of our environments, of our air, seas, forests, like the Amazon and the murder of indigenous peoples who struggle for their own breath, which are also the lungs, the breath of our earth.

As Achille Mbembe has observed in a text which we found resonating with some of the ideas we have shared, a text which has also been published before the murder of George Floyd (though certainly with Eric Garner in mind):

“Before this virus, humanity was already threatened with suffocation. If war there must be, it cannot so much be against a specific virus as against everything that condemns the majority of humankind to a premature cessation of breathing, everything that fundamentally attacks the respiratory tract, everything that, in the long reign of capitalism, has constrained entire segments of the world population, entire races, to a difficult, panting breath and life of oppression. To come through this constriction would mean that we conceive of breathing beyond its purely biological aspect, and instead as that which we hold in-common, that which, by definition, eludes all calculation. By which I mean, the universal right to breath.”

But it is this very question of universality that maybe the virus also complicates in this moment. That this and other viruses like it emanate from processes of destruction of habitats, environments for other life forms, especially ongoing processes of deforestation is not a minor footnote in this complex web and question. What defines a life worth mattering? Who defines the terms of that mattering?

The struggle for the mattering of black lives is at the heart of the matters which need attending. Not only on the immediate terms of disarming and confronting the states of violence our communities face daily. But also because the forces which underlie and underwrite that violence are the same which have continually determined the meaning and terms of life, what deserves our care and what does not.

It is where life has been and continues to be split, severed from itself, appropriated earth, appropriated life, plantation, slave, placed at the service of ‘higher men’, who continue to this day to speculate, loot, pillage, plunder, deprive and destroy our worlds, our air, our lives.

If we say Enough.
There’s history behind it.

We will meet this Sunday June 7, 2020 at 10am New York Time.
Please write to mai [at] 16beavergroup.org if you are interested to take part. We will be sending details in the morning.