Friday, May 6

We May Have To Fight To Save Cheap, Quality Produce In North Minneapolis

From "In Defense of the Minneapolis Farmers Market" by Susan Berkson:

We are in an under-served neighborhood. A neighborhood without food security. Without us, there would be no fruits or vegetables in this area. So by default, we are the green grocer for this neighborhood. And people want their bananas and pineapples and cherries. And they should be able to get them. Regardless of their income.

I don't know about you, but I like bananas. I like them year-round. Coffee, too. And none of it is grown here.

There is a moratorium on resellers, so no new ones can join. But those who are members now are not being kicked out. They fill a need. And when strawberries and raspberries are in season here, the resellers are not allowed to sell them.

The resellers meet a need. And that need should be met.

We feed families here, Minneapolis families. We are their green grocer.

Feeding families doesn't provide much money to the rich and powerful. Selling families football tickets does. So I'm horrified and frightened by the talk of ceasing to use the land on which the Minneapolis Farmer's Market sits as a farmer's market, and instead using it as a football stadium.

I know, one of the elected (*sigh*--seriously, folks??) Hennepin County commissioners who'd been planning to push for this has said he's not going to go through with pushing for it after all.

But what this has revealed to me is that a beloved Minneapolis site that feeds Minneapolis families cheaply is in the sights of people who want more yachts.


I'm feeling particularly depressed about this after reading this post about Benton Harbor at the Radically Hott Off tumblr and following up on Benton Harbor + Jean Klock Park (click here to learn more--I was particularly outraged that among the arguments that might be working on the powers that be is that "public"-with-$200-a-day land = "public"-with-$0-a-day land!) and following up with this quote by "attempter," via Art Jacobson's article "Privatizing Public Properties Is Theft:"
Privatization is easy to understand once you see it as the final enclosure onslaught. Once again the people are to be driven en masse off their own property, for no reason whatsoever other than pure robbery.

Even if it were true that “balancing the books” were either possible or desirable (it’s neither; the books are nothing but fraudulent accounting, real “growth” ended years ago; and besides, if these books represented something real, nominal balance could easily be achieved by taxing the rich and corporations a fraction of their fair share), government officials would have no right to alienate public property. That’s a crime against sovereignty. It’s among the most profound forms of treason.

The fact is that capitalism is never sustainable. Even its own textbooks admit that it quickly runs down and reaches stasis. Or, from the point of view of the profiteers, it stagnates. So the only way to prop up profit rates is to continually repeat the process of primitive accumulation, direct robbery in order to accumulate enough of a capital base to recommence capitalist investment.

The classic example was Europe’s land enclosures. Subsequent examples were those of colonialism, imperialism, the IP regime, and financialization. Today capitalism is dead once and for all, since there’s no plunder frontier left. So the only thing left to do is carry out the terminal plunder, the direct robbery of whatever non-enclosed things are still left. Land, services, infrastructure, public heritage information, the water, the air.

And by the time that’s all commodified, it’ll certainly be impossible for anyone to pay for any of it. But by then debt indenture will no longer be meant to extract money, but to enforce the “new” serf system.


But I guess what I really have to do is not get so depressed. A bumper sticker told me last week, "To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing." (-Raymond Williams, sez Google.)

I admire radicals! I want to be one. So I guess I have to fight FOR feeding families, and not cry ABOUT land-stealing yacht-buyers. Radically Hott Off also recently mentioned activism:
I wonder how much more helpful it would be to...start doing things like reimagining how organizing happens? So that the organizing itself becomes a healing space? (just as an example).

Looking at my tags, trying to see how to classify this post, I see that I've done this before. I have a whole tag called "University Avenue." I crashed and burned because I wore myself out working as a lone wolf. I wouldn't have to volunteer time on work I didn't 100% believe in (like not fighting the light rail's route, and only fighting for mitigation projects). I wouldn't have to suffer the heartbreak of finding out after asking that maybe no one but me wanted to do the project I 100% believed in (fighting the light rail's route). And my project didn't work, despite having 100% support from its volunteer corps of 1, because it had a volunteer corps of 1! :-)

But goddamn, I did it. I have worked to make hope possible. And I'll take all my lessons I learned from University Avenue (including volunteering my time to the projects of the people who are most in harm's way, even if they seem like lousy compromises to me, because 1) they're theirs and 2) they already have a team of affected people on board with the plan), and all the lessons I learn from radicals in the blogosphere, and I will look out for feeding Minneapolis families.

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