Report from Mile High Free Skool

Mile High Free Skool-Durruti Denver and What Went Down:

Two 20 somethings created the Mile-High Free Skool-Durruti Denver.  We created a FB page and contacted poets in the Denver/Boulder area as well as invited Marxists and anarchists in Boulder through email and FB, we don’t know if they write poetry.

“Mile High Free Skool-Durruti Denver is a rhizome of 95 Cent Skool held in Oakland.  It has been dreamed up in an effort to gather poets and thinkers of poetics who have a deep investment in the total elimination of oppressive systems.  It is a call to all who think it necessary that poets take a place in the revocation of such a structure.  It is rooted in egalitarian pedagogy and Marxist, and anarchist critique.”

Eight people said they would come.  None came.  We were crestfallen.  Did we not do a good enough job of connecting? Did we fail to get the word out? Why did we not have a community that felt the way we did and showed up to think together? It was futile to try to find out what happened.  This helped us realize that we should look at why the both of us actually showed.  We gathered that it was because we were connected, invested in each other’s liberation and we have perspective on oppression and capitalism on top of our commitment to poetry.

This brought up the question of “community” and “action” so we discussed the reading under that lens.

As we discussed the Kenton and the Zibechi texts we kept thinking and writing down lists.  We laughed, ate chips and took over a corner of a Starbucks and, in a Provo spirit gesture, put a flyer up that said we were having skool.  No one noticed.

The list for the Kenton had some things in common with the list for the Zibechi and when they didn’t match we discarded the items.  What emerged was a condensed list of 12 points, which divided perfectly in half to create two lists of 6 points each.  List A answered our questions about what a community consists of and List B spoke to our questions about how a community takes action.  We were looking and the Provo and El Alto activities and came up with a suggestion, a checklist: directives.

This was the work we had gathered to do, but we were pissed, so we also wrote an angry communiqué.  We renamed ourselves the Provisional Colorado Column.  We made a statement about how we believe capitalism and oppression can end.  The Provisional Colorado Column disbanded and dispersed, member were absorbed by other communities and are currently organizing independently in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Here is what we prepared for DFS:

  1. Statement

People getting together in community, for the purpose of mutual liberation from oppression, within a shared mental framework that places capital at the root of that oppression, offer the most effective assault on capitalism.

  1. The 12 directives

12 Directives For Forms of Community and Collective Action

or What We Learned From Provo and El Alto

A community that strives towards liberation is:

* Unpredictable

* Collaborative

* Strengthened by adaptability

* Anti-authoritarian

* Committed to human dignity

* Possessed of philosophical conviction

The collective body of the community:

* Combats rigid, inflexible enemies

* Eludes control through mischief/audacity/tricks

* Utilizes dispersion and re-articulation as technologies of resistance

* Retakes public space from the state

* Mobilizes in response to larger social events and conditions

* Acts in a decentralized manner

  1. Communiqué

Provisional Colorado Column Comuniqué

Comrades! The West, which seemed the only promising angle in a world of utter hopelessness and despair is null.  The capitalists have returned to work and left behind a legacy of dispersing and dissent: us.  The middle class considers itself victor, but we’re sick of their goddamned Subarus.  Among them we conspire and provoke.  We chose to disperse and abandon these fruitless lands.  Spreading our selves over new spaces and times in order to fall away from the atrocity of a thin atmosphere, where people’s blood is not thick enough to pump real conviction.  To think of the bountiful Colorado river.  Colorado means blood-red.

It is for this reason (and others) that we cannot relate to the landscape, an exploited outdoors.  We especially refuse to do so on indigenous winter camps (Northern Arapahoe, Cherokee) and sacred places (Pawnee), through hiking, climbing and playing rugged sports in thermal fleece.  We are baffled and ashamed.  We seek a frontier that is without history and understand that while the sun shines in this land, it sets in the minds of the Mile High and foothills inhabitants with a darkness unmatched.

This is the provisional Colorado Column communiqué: we’re leaving the state, we’re seeking to organize and form communities elsewhere.  We are migrating to love.  We are hopeful and sanguine.  Durruti!!

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