Monday, February 6, 2012

Blood-Stained Banner

   BloodStainedBanner by Guy Mingo
         For some, the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday is considered an opportunity to look, and leap, forward. On Jan. 14, the sanctuary of the Messiah Church on East Grand Blvd. was inhabited by folks versed in the idea of the 'beloved community', most of them through personal experience. They were ready to advance MLK's thinking in the spaces that continue to open up in our neighborhoods.
        Grace Lee Boggs stated that the homage was an opportunity to connect King's philosophies with the political realities of today.
        Frithjof Bergman added to the discussion, asking the question: can Detroit's dispossessed working class take back our economic and political sovereignty through hi-tech solutions?
        Bergman thinks Detroit is the perfect place for that to happen. Thousands of underemployed have survived, barely, the capitalist version of technology-based manufacturing. They are primed and skillfully able to execute the new and potentially community friendly hi-tech vision.
        In 3D 'Fab Labs', any thing that can be digitally rendered can be produced in an area the fraction the size of a typical factory. Parts for bicycles, tractors, tools, and many goods have been designed and made in an area no bigger than a small wood shop.
      Self-reliance is the key to transforming our economy positively, according to Bergman, and cutting ties with ,"a system that is currently tyrannical."
       The growing number of community leaders in Detroit are starting to take note. The path to economic independence starts with a local system that weighs quality of life first, not margin of profit.
       Martin Luther King Jr. was a revolutionary and a visionary; he was forward thinking with the ability to address future political and economic challenges creatively. We can take his example and apply it, liberally, to the many challenges we face in Detroit today. We may change the look and motive of technological advancement in the process.

     During the January 14 MLK Day celebration at the Messiah Church, activist Sandra Hines led the crowd in a rendition of the gospel standard, "We Are Soldiers". I've included elements from that performance in the musical selection above. The spoken word segments were taken from a speech made by Ron Scott during the same event.