Occasional Update #10

Well, since we’re a collective house, it’s probably good that we’ve transferred ownership of our home to an LLC. of which we are all equal part owners. Send us a message if you want tips on getting this done (it’s not too difficult).

Now that our land is owned collectively, we qualify for membership in the Federation of Egalitarian Communities. The FEC is a union of–that’s right–egalitarian communities, which help to support each other by circulating skills, labor, and funds between existing and forming communes. Alex went to their conference in the Ozarks and presented the Midden’s official membership application. A couple weeks later they approved our application.

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The FEC assembly in Missouri. Alex is down there on the bottom.

Sometimes they make time to update their website

Like any other FEC community our spring season involves lots of gardening. Cole is taking point on a lot of our garden work, with help from our newest member: Molly.

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Molly had a birthday breakfast, so we made her a cake made of pancakes. She liked it.

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Molly also works with the beehive design collective. Their newest print is (finally) being printed. It’s amazing. Molly is trying to write what it’s about. Check out these tiny crops from the full print.

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Our other newest member is named Eric. He’s pretty quiet. He fixed our gutters, though. Everything he does is secret. We can’t talk about it.Image

While we’re enjoying the company of two new members we’ve also lost two. Wes left to live with some other friends a little ways north of us, and Ben moved to a farm just outside of columbus. He gets to play drums with plants most of the day if he wants to, so we’re happy for him. We’re also happy for Wes, who now has more time to work with Kate and other friends building resistance to fracking and the prison system.

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We mentioned, last fall, that we’re struggling to find ways to respond to the gentrification of  our street and the rest of our neighborhood. Well, we found one we’re comfortable sharing with you all.

Backstory: Our housemates have been involved in an ongoing neighborhood organizing effort facilitated, in part, by a national group called Everyday Democracy. Mattie has had taken point working with them locally, organizing a collection of dialogue circles. Groups of 8-15 residents met in dialogue circles weekly to share their experiences in the neighborhood and brainstorm opportunities for grassroots collective action.

Last March, Alex pitched the idea of a Community Land Trust to an audience of neighbors, developers, and nonprofits at a self-described “Action Forum” hosted by the Weinland Park Civic Association. Mattie and Alex are standing up front with another facilitator.

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The developers ignored us, the nonprofits seemed skeptical, but several of our neighbors have felt compelled to meet with Alex, Cole, and Eric weekly to develop our thinking and plan for the future.

A CLT, in brief, is a nonprofit that exempts real estate from the speculative market. This allows apartments and homes to remain affordable in the midst of steeply rising rents and property values. Let us know if you’d like to know more about CLTs.

Mattie has been deeply involved in the planning and organization of said Action Forum.

The neighborhood has a strong demand for his facilitation and organizational skills. He also took a road trip across the country and back.

Aside from redbird, Kate has had a lot of writing to do for a zine that she’s authoring and compiling (can’t share it, yet). Cole got a job driving bread and cookies around town, so her car smells really good. Cole and Molly are organizing a divestment campaign from Huntington bank in response to their investment in Ohio’s frack waste industry. Eric found work as a computer programmer, since he knows how to program things. Cole and Alex finished a draft of a graphic novella. Alex found out that his mother does not have cancer.

Several folks organized and participated in a conference about the Lucasville uprising. Panthers, peace activists, ex-cons, their loved ones and supporters all gathered in Columbus to review and compare strategies and tactics to confront the prison industrial complex and support people on the inside. Particular attention was paid, of course, to those indicted in the Lucasville Uprising, a prison riot that occurred in Lucasville, OH 20 years ago.

I’m consistently impressed by the work that RedBird does, and the trust that they’ve built between generations and across cultural boundaries. Here’s more about the Lucasville conference, and RedBird in general.

And our cherry tree bloomed this spring.

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I think that’s enough for now. How are you?

-alex

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