Friday, February 22nd 2013, 7PM
The Brecht Forum
451 West Street, New York, NY 10014
We’d like to invite you to an open communal meal and potluck at the Brecht Forum. We’ll be cooking a simple vegan meal, but encourage others to bring food as well: fruits, vegetables, breads, cheeses, wines, juices, chocolates, sweets, snacks, etc., whatever you want to bring, cook, share.
We have been talking about organizing a series of open communal meals in different neighborhoods and spaces around the city for months, even years, and this is meant to be a modest beginning. We hope all those interested can find each other at some point during the dinner to figure out how we can proceed, how we can support each other, where we can do these dinners, where we can find the food.
We have been part of many events, discussions, screenings, presentations, meetings, assemblies where we have cooked or shared food. But the idea for this dinner, and subsequent ones, is that we give ourselves the time and space to eat and talk and meet each other without it being tied to another event or program.
We have often talked about crisis and austerity, and different forms of resistance that arise in response to them, such as those that have taken place in Greece in the last few years, in Argentina following the 2001 economic collapse and insurrection, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense’s “Survival Programs,” or the activities of the Motherfuckers on the Lower East Side during the late ’60s.
We were reminded of this necessity for self-organization in October/November following the havoc wreaked simply by some rain and wind in the form of Hurricane Sandy. Now, four months later, we realize that the vulnerability and precarity revealed by Sandy are still with us, as is that of the financial collapse we saw in September 2008, as well as the new normalization of militarized society we’ve seen since 9/11/2001. How can the forms of mutual aid and solidarity that were mobilized in the post-Sandy context be extended to respond to the ongoing disaster we are all living through?
We recognize that so-called food politics can often be dominated by hippie or yuppie tendencies, or forms of activism and voluntarism that work in parallel with the kind of charity and bare sustenance we’ve seen offered by the church and the state. How can we foster practices that are intentional in their relation to the production of our food without reproducing the economic and cultural elitism of existing practices? How can we establish relationships with local farmers, markets, cooperatives, gardens so we can eat healthier food, obtained directly from the people growing it? Where can we find food to cook and share at little or no cost? Ultimately we desire to move towards sustaining ourselves outside of the state and market relations, achieving material autonomy, and abolishing money, hunger and loneliness.
There is already a huge infrastructure and network in the city around growing, distributing, sharing, cooking food. It will take some work and research to figure out what possibilities there are for cooperation and alliance towards realizing the desire for open communal dinners proliferating around the city. We are building a kitchen infrastructure in a number of spaces — pots, pans, dishes, spoons and forks; rice, greens, vegetables, and the like; and we hope to build more with active collaboration. How can we collectively find the resources needed to eat together and with others, to find venues in our own neighborhoods with stoves, tables, chairs, plates, utensils, where we can cook, meet, talk.
We need camaraderie, conversation. We like cooking and would like to reproduce relations built around our coming together to eat. In the process we hope to directly counter the social fragmentation, isolation, loneliness, and depression that seem more and more to be part of our everyday lives. We hope we can informally find each other at this dinner to talk with anyone interested, to begin making plans to move forward.