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November 08, 2006

REFLECTION: an info center radiating outward

The Dry River Collective is an info center for “the revolution”—many avenues of people reflecting on the existing world-systems of colonialism and dominance, and seeking to share information and create action to regenerate systems of earth and social harmony (in my words… theirs might use more language of radical anarchism).

My experience at Dry River is a reveals some obstacles in the “movement” – we may not be fulfilling our potential!! Note: I fully respect and support what Dry River is doing; I’m using only Dry River as one example that we can learn from.

Three lessons:

  1. I think it’s human nature to be attracted to places and people that feel/look like ourselves… and that’s ok. But it limits us! Dry River seeks to be a resource center for activists, yet even I was nervous to go there since the crowd seemed “different” than me… but when I got over this and walked in, I found a great community space, interesting conversations and an amazing library! This just gets me thinking…
  2. Another tidbit: I had an interesting conversation with one DR collective member, Eric. He told me about their bi-weekly political movie night, and that on the off weeks another guy, Lee, hosts political movies in his backyard. Eric then mentioned that Lee should just host the movies at DR each week, since it is such a great space. BUT what Eric didn’t realize is that Lee attracts a totally different crowd, even though they are interested in the same movies (and has a great space, too—outside!). So I suggested to Eric that they make an effort to get DR folks to Lee’s and that I would encourage Lee to get his crowd to DR. What an easy and fun way to connect two different segments of political activists—nourish the diversity, but keep the safety of being with “your own crowd”! Imagine the power if we connect the punks and hippies!
  3. Getting involved “outside” of our bubble: While DR activists are working on many issues globally, regionally and locally, it seems that many DR folks don’t even realize the resources they have right in their backyard. The Dry River Collective is located in a very active neighborhood, two blocks from Brad’s superpermaculture house. Brad (et al.) hosts an annual tree planting, and many open houses/workshops about regenerating earth systems, at home and throughout the city. So, I invited the DR folks to join in the tree planting (that just happened to be in a few days) and I encouraged Brad to bring one of his Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands books over to the DR library, and consider offering work shops in their space. Again, I think this is an example of a simple disconnect that with just a little effort, could deepen all of these movements… a little intentional cross-pollinating and magic happens!

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