anything i can't justify as a remotely connected to web development will go here instead of

If one person or family loses their home—the place they live, be it a mortgaged house or rented apartment or squatted bit of park—because of an unfair and uncaring economic and political system, that is an injustice.

If 9,000,000 (again— see 2008 financial crises) or 90,000,000 people are about to, that is fuel for a rebellion against the unjust system.

Tell your neighbors and people in your community they are not alone. Find on organization – – or find or start a solidarity network – – to help organize eviction defense.

Letter to the directors of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board – 2020 June 12

Thank you for allowing some of the gathered houseless in Minneapolis to gather in Powderhorn Park.

We all know that it is morally abhorrent and practically disastrous for people to go without housing, nutritious food, medical care, and opportunities to live a full life.

But if we keep police around to push it out of sight, we'll never make the other big structural changes we need— whether the police kill some people in the process of holding us down or not.

It's not fair that your parks, our parks, is where this is playing out— but that is the smaller unfairness. We need to tackle the problems that are bigger than anything park police can clear out of a park (and abolish policing in parks, too).

What can you do, individually and as organizations, to work for real justice?

Speak out on these larger issues is a start.

What does this broader fairness even look like?

Here are some ideas:

Thank you,

benjamin melançon resident of Minneapolis (Near North)

Redistribute wealth

Abolition has always been tied to economic justice. Intertwined with white supremacy, inequality is one of the root causes of the problem of policing.

Even aside from the 'protection of property' basis for policing, aside from the injustice of arresting people who shoplift and not people who underpay wages, there's another question: why do people from one population shoplift (for survival, not for fun, as the latter transcends classes and groups) while people from another population commit wage theft?

We all know this is a matter of wealth inequality.

Even though economic injustice is global and nations hold most geopolitical power, Minneapolis can take significant steps to address the unequal and unfair distribution of wealth that is a key driver of racial inequalities.

A resident dividend (payments to every person living in Minneapolis) funded by increased property taxes would leave most property owners paying a net lower tax rate (with the increased taxes more than offset by the dividend). Houseless people and renters, meanwhile, would receive money that can be put toward housing. At the same time it would make it economically unfeasible for anyone, especially non-resident/corporate owners, to leave properties empty and unused.

Pay reparations

Black and indigenous people in Minneapolis (as everywhere in the US) are owed reparations for harassment and physical harm by police, for past and ongoing discrimination, for slavery and genocide.

There are models for doing this locally, chiefly Chicago. (See How Chicago became the first city to make reparations to victims of police violence and Slavery reparations seem impossible but in many places they're already happening )

For one option in Minneapolis, city land (and land abandoned by out-of-town owners because of the property taxes funding the resident dividend) could be turned over to a Black and indigenous-led cooperative land trust.

Universal basic income

Money doesn't solve all problems, but that's no excuse for not giving enough money to people to solve what problems it can.

The modest wealth redistribution of a resident dividend can also be considered to serve part of this purpose, as it can and should be paid out at least quarterly.

But Minneapolis should further raise what it can towards a weekly or monthly guaranteed minimum income.

An excellent source of revenue for that is charging people for the harm their pollution causes.

Minneapolis could impose a fee for all potential waste coming into the city, literally everything from natural gas to be burnt to soda cans. Similar to how some states have bottle bills, people get a refund for turning things in, but for anything that is littered and lost or wasted or used up the paid-in money is distributed to everyone equally.

Neighborhood connectors

Another form of prevention, organizers or coordinators who are paid to simply know their neighborhoods, and connect people to resources formal and informal.

Community security

Different people trained to respond to intervene in different situations of crisis.

Different crisis call for different responses. You've already started to identify this in the analysis of calls to 911, but lets not forget how rarely many people call 911 at all. There's lots of situations, such as the majority of domestic violence, that aren't reflected in current data.

Crisis situations can be handled in part with a central number dispatching the relevant professionals for mental health emergencies, interpersonal disputes, physical altercations, injuries, etc. These professionals would be drawn from or at least required to live in the immediate neighborhoods they serve, allowing both rapid response and an increased chance of cultural awareness and knowledge of particular people.

This must be supplemented by broad training in the community so we can all help each other with first aid, peer therapy, and the like.

If we have a generic all-purpose first responder, they will not have a gun, and de-escalation and first aid will be the main training.

Much like a having a standing army leads to its use and abuse, at home as well as abroad, we cannot repeat the mistake of having even a small full-time armed force in our city. For the relatively rare occasions when physical intervention is needed to stop someone in the act of doing harm, we can turn to people trained and paid to be on call. But people with physical intervention training (weapons-trained or not) will neven be on a full time patrol, as that leads to viewing every person they interact with as a potential threat.

Above all, there can be no special rules that apply to people in the role of protector. We can never again be in a situation where the person with their knee on someone's throat is “doing their job” and someone rushing in to stop this harm could be killed or arrested for assaulting an officer.

The law must apply equally to all.

No harm, no crime

Make clear in policy (and update local ordinances accordingly) that there will be no restriction or imposed cost on acts which do not coercively harm others.

Most obviously this brings interactions between consenting adults, including selling drugs and sex work, into the realm of using the same dispute resolution practices that are (or will be made) available to everyone.

Restorative justice and community accountability

Policing has failed people facing intimate partner violence so thoroughly it is where some of the most thought and work has gone into alternatives:

Our communities' capacity for restorative justice must be sown and grown to replace prosecuting people as criminals.

Free therapy

If we're all going to be more able to help people with their own mental wellness challenges, we're all going to need therapy.

Mental Health Minnesota's “warmline” may be a model to adopt/expand.

Guaranteed jobs

For people aged 16 to 30, the City of Minneapolis should guarantee a job for anyone who wants to work.

The city should borrow massively at close to zero percent interest to invest in public works, including along the lines of the Green New Deal, as part of the way of fulfilling this jobs guarantee.

Support what's already working

Women's shelters, substance abuse programs, youth enrichment and employment programs, mentorship, and so much more, should find their work much easier with everything else the city starts doing for its residents. Nevertheless, Minneapolis should be sure to continue and expand support for anything with evidence that it's working.

Paying for neighborhood connectors, community security, community accountability facilitators, free therapy, guaranteed jobs, and other social supports

How to pay for for all this? Having the entire police budget will help a lot, but continually re-creating a wonderful city that has all its key needs met should not be done on the cheap.

A community currency to supplement taxation can help the critical need of paying people for helping their fellow city residents. Indeed, Minneapolis could have its first income tax, steeply progressive but payable solely in our own city-issued currency, to kickstart demand for the alternative currency money we can in part use to pay people for all this local work— there's no need for anyone to fight for mal-distributed US dollars to pay for local needs.

Continuing the visioning and learning process

We'll need to deepen our democracy to succeed. In the immediate term we need to publicly collect people's visions and collectively work on organizing these resources for our near-term abolitionist future.

Agaric technology cooperative can help with quickly setting up a wiki for that.

Note: This was written with input from just a few other people and does not represent any community consensus. It is just one response of the thousands undoubtedly elicited by the call for visions put out to in-person and remote attendees of the Path Forward Meeting last Sunday in Powderhorn Park organized by Black Visions Collective and Reclaim The Block.

Do it. Dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and lead us into a non-violent future

Dear Mayor Frey and City Council Members,

My name is benjamin melançon. I am a resident of and homeowner in North Minneapolis, in Ward 5 and the soon to be former 4th police precinct.

I can't get the video of the meeting to work unfortunately and during COVID-19 we shouldn't be there in person, but i wanted to send my strong support for dismantling the police department and local jails, and putting the money saved into support for all residents, especially youth 16-24.

We will continue to come together to protect each other, just as we have this past week— when we had to protect ourselves from the MPD and opportunistic outsider racists.

Further, i urge you to look into taking strong measures to ensure that every person can live in Minneapolis in prosperity, health, and mental well-being, including:

  • a resident dividend funded by increased property taxes, which would leave most property owners paying a net lower tax rate, houseless people receiving money that can be put toward housing, all while make it economically unfeasible for anyone, especially non-resident/corporate owners, to leave properties empty and unused.
  • a fee for all potential waste coming into the city, literally everything from natural gas to be burnt to soda cans, just like some states have bottle bills, where people get a refund for turning things in, and for anything that is littered or wasted or used up the money is distributed to everyone equally.
  • a community currency to supplement taxation and help the critical need of paying people for helping their fellow city residents.

Please above all adopt a budget that defunds the police and funds community-led health and safety strategies that do not use violence.

Have courage, and thank you greatly,

benjamin melançon

For any buildings that burn down tonight, there will be no question where the blame falls: squarely on the multiple levels of repressive government whose military branches—National Guard, state police, sheriff's forces, and still the god-damned Minneapolis Police Department—claiming sole right to be out in public.

It would not be hard to station people at every potential target, especially Black organizations and houses of worship, if even protecting property were higher on law enforcement's priority list than targeting protesters.

People out defending their neighborhoods were, at one point at least, not being harassed by law enforcement, which seems to be taking the threat of white nationalists seriously for once.

But already what i feared is coming in from reports across the city— the various police focus, coordinating together, are focusing on driving protesters out of sight in their own city. Suppressing dissent, at the risk of harming or even killing people, is more important to the police than protecting buildings.

That's not what we mean when we say lives are more important than property.

THIS WAS OBSOLETE BEFORE I HIT PUBLISH, DAMN: Indications so far tonight are good— people out defending their neighborhoods are not being harassed by law enforcement, which seems to be taking the threat of white nationalists seriously for once. (Not seriously enough to remove the white supremacists in their ranks, but still, a welcome shift in focus.)

Dear friends outside Minneapolis

The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) has continued to do violence against people while most media and politicians are promoting the usual racist and status quo supporting narrative that property destruction is the real problem and that it merits a violent military-style response— even though the violent military-style attack by police started before any property destruction, and despite the attacks by police being human rights violating collective punishment.

Despite police forces as usual often macing, tear gassing, and otherwise brutalizing reporters along with everyone else, that framing rarely makes it into the coverage.

Minneapolis police started this situation (obviously). What's being hidden is their role in perpetuating it. The MPD has repeatedly escalated by brutally attacking protests (the kind of civil disobedience even racist reactionaries now claim to support) while calculatingly allowing the images they want us all to see, property distruction and 'looting' (the most indebted, underemployed generation in United States history spontaneously taking back a few dollars of the billions rich people and their corporations have taken from us).

That is, when the police are not starting off the property destruction themselves.

Early in the protests the MPD fired a chemical weapon cannister through the glass of a bus shelter at a Unicorn Riot reporter.

And there's good indication that the vandalism at the Auto Zone that ended up ane early, bad fire was started by a police officer acting as an agent provacateur.

Even if you're so racist and uncaring about people's lives to think the MPD should be protecting corporate property rather than going out and arresting the four (for now, ex) police officers who murdered George Floyd— that's clearly not happening, but the way events here are being portrayed makes it harder to make that connection.

Nothing about how the police are conducting themselves was conducive to or about stopping the things, the property destruction and theft (still many times smaller than direct wage theft by employers) that will be endlessly cited by the racist in chief and all-too-many deadly white moderates as justification for killing more Black people.

Hell, for example a couple Democratic Socialist of America members decided to stand in front of a Somali restaurant last night to protect it from unfocused damage. Except that at this point community trust of Minneapolis police is negative— a well-earned complete lack of trust, and anything police chose to protect would be suspect.

For the MPD again for these past three nights has violently attacked anyone standing up to their perceived authority, focusing its forces on protest— and rather than send in the State Police and National Guard to protect people from these violent police, these forces also used military-style tactics.

The only decent solution in Minneapolis is to shut down the entire police department and hire twice as many unarmed peacekeepers at half the cost (a half-decent solution would be to shut down half the department, or perhaps re-instate a residency requirement and furlough the 90% of police officers who do not live in Minneapolis). This isn't a radical solution— it's still co-opting potentially revolutionary rage. But it's a solution that gives government a possibility of legitimacy, rather than raw, violent force.

This matters to everyone because if the lesson our politicians and billionaires take is “repression works” we will get more military style and actual military occupations of our cities and anywhere else people can't take the deteriorating economic, health, and social situations.

Citations in my past retweets (i have to get back to work, which is sadly not journalism)

MOST IMPORTANT: Support the group that has been eloquently calling for reduction (and ultimate abolition) of the Minneapolis Police Department before any of this latest awfulness happened:

i'm not one to say that we can just come to some understanding on fundamentally different conceptions of fairness and freedom but even some of the people literally yelling for (more) inessential businesses to begin serving their wants and/or making them money, and truly a supermajority of all people even in the United States, can be brought around to a couple basic points:

  1. Everyone should have the resources needed to live no matter what the global or personal economic, medical, or social conditions

  2. We need near-universal, regular testing for COVID-19 to safely stop staying at home as much as possible.

Like how hard is it for us all to be on team “let's stay alive and not go broke”?

So lets put the pressure on all who hold power to send us all money for the foreseeable future and to get the testing to full capacity NOW— or nothing goes back to normal for anybody.

And our ability to put pressure on will likely depend on us dismantling our local police department, but pressure starts with a demand, and we're already allowing that to get muddled. Healthcare (including COVID-19 testing), housing, nutritious food, safe water, and other essential human rights are not negotiable demands. Right now it is also clear that the right to stay alive includes money, COVID tests, personal protective equipment for all non-remote workers— and being freed from prisons and jails.


cut for length and clarity (ok, ok, stop laughing):

And every moment we allow scapegoating of each other (people goaded to ridiculous action by evil megalomaniacs and a willingly servile media army; immigrants; other countries) to deflect from putting pressure on all our putatively elected and non-elected holders of power ... [is a moment not working for true liberation or whatever]


[in response to someone on Facebook saying money doesn't come from nowhere and represents people's skills and if there's no one working there's nothing to buy]

and as long as people have money to meet their needs, there will be people who find a way to make it. And the US government is making dollars appear out of nowhere by the literal trillions right now, but giving it to huge investment banks, corporations that are themselves as much financial scams as producing goods and services, car dealerships owned by congresspeople— and yeah all that money does represent value that people generate using their skills, value that the people being given this money will be able to extract from all of us who are not getting it (a problem long existing but that must be ameliorated not exacerbated by this current crisis). What needs to stay closed is anything where people gather in person, not every factory, and we need tests and PPE and health care to even keep those open safely. To dodge that point is to be arguing for tens of thousands of additional deaths, of people who do not have to and should not die.

if you or someone you know, especially people only really hearing much about Bernie Sanders for the first time because he's no longer campaigning and it's now safe for corporate & establishment media to talk about him, are upset at the prospect of an uninspiring representative of entrenched financial power being the Democratic nominee meant to face down the racist, hateful, fascist president of the racist, hateful, fascist Republican party that can only maintain power by exploiting and increasing the unequal and unfair aspects of a system never designed to give people much power over their government in the first place...

...if you don't make more trouble for the rich and powerful now than you ever have, they're going to keep denying us any choice beyond gross oligarchy.

Defund your local police department.


Put money and effort into the most radical movements you can find, even if you personally would be satisfied with health care and a coherent candidate for president. There are local solidarity networks and anti-colonial revolutionary movements and workers everywhere literally fighting for their lives in the COVID-19 crisis to support. Stocks went up despite no material improvements in the economy— indeed, stocks went up precisely because the rich people who own them and their representatives believe Sanders stepping down means it's less likely there will be any material improvement in most of our lives, and the share of what we produce that goes to people who own capital will remain obscenely outsized. Prove them wrong and maybe you'll get health care; smash inequality entirely and maybe we'll get freedom and justice.

And let's keep talking and working together. So much is possible but it takes collective action, and one first step can be knowing what steps people will take together.


We expected going online would lead to mass democratization, that the access to information and ability to share information would empower groups of people.

gave people who have wealth and power and own means of production the ability to outsource all the expenses that generate

costs of maintaining fleet of vehicles is off the balance sheet

instead we got outsourced

Anthropology-trained educator Kasey Qynn Dolin just made this point.

Outsourcing and pushing costs onto people as individuals has been the result of our networked world.

Increased democracy has not.


Information technology makes it easy to compartmentalize (decouple, encapsulate) work.

Information technology does not make it as easy to share power.

Of course, information technology has been developed in the context of our existing power structures and

But it seems that it is inherently harder

Psst OK it's midnight now i can tweet this. Some of the circuses are shutting down and in some places it's hard to get bread.

The time for organizing— and for a short period, especially digital organizing, is here.

We need to build power and we need to build ways to share it.

Corona virus is a crisis and it's terrible and do everything you can to keep you and your loved ones and everyone else safe. Wash hands and stay home as much as possible and all that, but also...

Move public opinion and policy on things that will save lives right now & longterm

Like, stop people from getting evicted by the rich and the courts and police who serve the rich:

Move toward prison abolition and decarceration by demanding jails in this crisis reduce pressure to what they can deal with by releasing older and other at-risk inmates:

And work to put a freeze on entangling more people in the judicial system in the first place:

And do whatever you can, where you are, like by getting food and necessities to others

And yes, in the name of harm reduction, work to get @BernieSanders elected President and other candidates elected and to get near-universal public support for universal public programs and benefits

And build communication networks that break through the levels of propaganda that keep us in one of the lower levels of hell— communication that builds organizing that builds power. It's vital that we share control over this communication to share power.

A huge thing in the #CoronaCrisis and for the future of humanity is to get people out of prisons and jails and take care of people in their communities

Tech i want to help build to build networks of communication that keep the power we build together shared among us, that doesn't exist yet, that i can find.

But the tech to help one another now sure does exist:

We don't have much power. But there are many places we can apply pressure— such as pushing more businesses, universities, and towns to provide paid sick leave to their workers— immediately helping people now, and establishing precedent for long-term improvements.

More on such efforts:

Oh and

I definitely meant to have an #AbolishICE resource in this #coronavirus action list. @ConMijente is one organization for that. Here's the reason to give people in their own self-interest, that may also help people see immigrants as human:

Covid-19 hitting is making people viscerally realize we need to rebuild the social net shredded by reactionary policies (implemented by Republicans and the Clinton/Biden side of the Democrats) over decades. (But the net was never great; we need a social floor no one falls below)

and part of that is restoring resiliency as a value more important than ephemeral efficiency:

Philidelphia looking at keeping people safe (from compounding the effects of poverty) in their homes throughout the epidemic. What about your city?