Friday, August 6, 2010

Grace Lee Boggs & Immanuel Wallerstein @ USSF

in conversation with Grace Lee Boggs and Immanuel Wallerstein from Mark Dworkin on Vimeo.

I've posted this elsewhere, but given the comments on the "Soup" post below, I thought it would be helpful to have it here. One of the the highlights of the 2010 US Social Forum held in Detroit this past June was a conversation between Grace Lee Boggs and Immanuel Wallerstein. For those of you who don't know (and shame on you if you don't), Grace is a longtime Detroit activist and philosopher. She's a leader in the urban farming movement, local self-reliance, and postindustrial utopian vision. Wallerstein is a sociologist who originated something called world-system theory, which studies the development of capitalism from its origins in early European colonialism into the present.

World-system theory has been extended backward in time to look at all forms of world-systems, including Ancient Mesopotamia and China. One of its present-day concerns is the question of whether capitalism as we know it and ecological sustainability are ultimately compatible. (Verdict so far: They aren't.) This bears on our conversation about art in Detroit because it helps explain how we got here and what options we might have for moving forward. My whole idea of the art of the commons is in part premised on my understanding of world-system theory and the place of Detroit in that story.

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