Creative Wildfire supports artists and grassroots organizations to create art that fuels our movements and imagines the world we need to thrive.
Resist A Return To Normal. Build A Just Transition Now.
The Creative Wildfire Resist and Build Manifesto
written June 2021
We are in a pivotal moment.
The Global Pandemic and the continued injustice toward people and the planet is changing life as we know it. So much is being lost, taken away, or destroyed. We say: enough is enough.
As parts of our world re-open, we’re told it’s safe to return to “normal.” But what is normal, really?
Normal is careless.
Normal is ableist. Normal is profit over life. Normal is having a boss. Normal is not getting paid what you deserve. Normal is the theft of land and life, and the myth of white supremacy.
Normal is what got us into this mess in the first place.
We have been on the frontlines of this “normal” extractive economy for centuries. We see and feel what it is doing to our bodies, our spirits, our lands, our communities. To our ways of thinking, our ways of being, our ways of providing, our ways of caring.
And we grieve.
We grieve because it is necessary.
It is part of the healing process.
In healing through grief we reclaim our power to create.
And we get to choose what comes next.
As communities on the frontlines, we study and learn from the freedom dreams and actions of our elders and ancestors. The ones who sowed the seeds to restore community self-determination that we see sprouting up today. The ones who broke the rules to change the rules. We carry forward their labors of love and struggles for dignity, inspiring us to prepare and plan for the ecological ruptures that they knew were coming. We carry the strength and wisdom of our lineages to create the worlds we need, again.
We have histories of advancing bold, visionary solutions that nourish regenerative solidarity economies. We carefully and lovingly hold the threads of these histories in our present work as we repair relations and remember our way forward.
It is time to assert OUR solutions. Creative solutions that ensure ecological, economic, and racial justice.
As we resist going back to “normal”, we have the power to move money to real community solutions. Defunding, dismantling, and abolishing the systems that cause us harm — police and prisons, corporate healthcare, Wall Street profiteering, fossil fuel extraction — is critical but only half of the bridge toward justice. The second half is reinvesting the resources that exist in our communities to build cooperative, caring, connected, community-controlled institutions that provide for our needs.
This is a moment of opportunity.
Transition is inevitable.
Justice is not.
The question is: transition to what?
Community land trusts
Community controlled renewable energy
Mutual aid networks
Local non-extractive loan funds
Worker-owned health clinics
This is not the time to return to normal. We are calling on everyone who knows this to commit and recommit to the work of building regenerative solidarity economies. We need to expand the radical imagination of newly politicized people who took to the streets in historic numbers over the past year demanding a transformation from a genocidal system to a life-affirming system.
These efforts need more people to make them real, to get them supported and resourced, and to shift our collective creativity towards cooperation and caring over individualism.
- Form study groups to learn from history and chart the path forward. The Center for Political Education is a great source of information, including this resource list they created for a recent training.
- Check out “A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy” – outlining how frontline groups are demanding transformative policy shifts through a Green New Deal and more. The report includes a useful list of key concepts and terms.
- Read Movement Generation’s Just Transition Zine From Banks and Tanks to Cooperation and Caring
- Watch “Solidarity Economy 101” Workshop by the US Solidarity Economy Network and the Highlander Center and read “System Change: A Basic Primer to the Solidarity Economy”
- Learn about artists and culture bearers building regenerative economies: www.art.coop
- Watch “A Message From The Future II: The Years of Repair”, produced by The Leap and The Intercept.
- Communities everywhere are setting up their own funds and deciding how their labor, land, and resources will be spent instead of letting big corporations decide. Here are a few of many you can support:
- Spend and bank with solidarity economy enterprises that already exist in your community. Donate to community gardens. Become a member of a cooperative grocery. Buy from worker-owned cooperatives. Drop your big bank and join a credit union instead.
- If you have access to wealth, check out Resource Generation’s Transformative Investment Principles. Join their members as they pledge to not make money off of the wealth they hold, and instead to boldly redistribute it.
- And of course, give freely and directly to those who need it in your communities and networks. Invest in the individuals who organize mutual aid, often risking their individual financial security for the good of the whole.
- Join community and political organizations where you are to build organized power from the ground up
- Make demands of power that expand democratic control of the economy, including participating in the Participatory Budgeting Process in your town
- Experiment in your community to find ways to meet peoples’ needs through mutual aid, creativity, and cooperation
- Follow the lead of grassroots organizations (like CJA and NEC member organizations), commit to long term support, and make gifts of time and money to support these groups building systems change
- Advocate for policies that support the development of a solidarity economy in your community. “Pathways to a People’s Economy” is a great place to begin!