Grounded Revolutions: Notes to the Future1

The Pleasures and Dangers of Reading2

Tuesday 24 November 2020 at 4pm

Welcome to the first part of Grounded Revolutions - Notes to the Future series on the Pleasures and Dangers of Reading. This online event aims to bring together folks and organising groups committed to a revolutionary practice in the service of Black Liberation

Thank you to our guests and audience for joining us today

A big thank you to the Windrush Day Grant for supporting this event

I will begin with a small introduction that outlines why we're here today

I will introduce our guest contributors and proceed with the discussion

The last 20 minutes of the event will be dedicated to questions from our audience - please submit them in the chat at the bottom of the page

Some Housekeeping rules

Please keep your mics on mute during the introduction and discussion between our guest contributors. If you have some thoughts during those times, please put them through the chat. You'll also have the opportunity to share and exchange during the Q&A

A reminder that this event is being recorded.Thank you and let's get started!

The series Grounded revolutions - Notes to the future is a continuation from conversations and exchanges from earlier this year. It follows the 15th Annual Huntley Conference in February which brought us together to think about archival knowledge as a resource that uncovers and motivates activism and resistance practices - archival knowledge as a tool that enacts the decolonisation of our shared heritage. The Remembering Walter Rodney Podcast3 was also a gathering of voices that had us thinking about groundings as a process in which our histories, our faith in our memories, in what we can remember and in what we cannot forget, constitute forms of radical knowledge production. In June, our Grounded Revolutions emerged as practices for imagining, analysing, listening and mobilising against disempowerment. As big transformative changes are constantly happening all around us, we need to trust ourselves in the change and in the struggle for liberation.

These moments speak directly to the legacy of Walter Rodney, a revolutionary thinker, historian and political activist from Guyana. In his book "Groundings with my Brothers" - originally published by Bogle- L'Ouverture Publications in 1969 - Walter Rodney engages with the political struggles for emancipation taking place across different contexts. Rodney conceived groundings as the gathering of people across generations and lived experiences, collectively questioning the condition of their existence, critically engaging with the event of History and the mobilisation of local and global solidarity networks. In the same breath, our Grounded Revolutions: Notes to the Future seek to build on this legacy of gathering, of talking and listening, of studying, of mobilising and generating change.

In this discussion, we ask ourselves

What feelings allow us to motion our bodies, our minds and spirit in the wake of transformative change?

What tools elevate our experiences of learning, unlearning and exchange?

1. As part of FHALMA's series of digital roundtable discussions (Accessible here: https://fhalma.org)

2. The title of Pleasures and Dangers of Reading arrived at me, as I was reading an essay by Edwidge Danticat titled Create Dangerously. She recollects the stories of Marcel Numa and Louis Drouin, two Haitians revolutionaries who died so that other Haitians could live. She tells the story of the book group called Le Club de Bonne Humeur whose members read forbidden literature and staged plays quietly to remind themselves that Numa and Drouin hadn"t been murdered because they were foreign rebels bringing chaos into Haiti. Edwidge Danticat (2010) speaking on her writing, where it emanates from and what purpose it serves, states, and I quote: Create Dangerously, for people who read dangerously. This is what I've always thought it meant to be a writer. Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them.. (...) Somewhere, if not now, then maybe years in the future, a future that we may have yet to dream of, someone may risk his or her life to read us

3. Podcast link