• • Illustration • •
• • Goals • •

THE SOUTH BEND COMMONS is dedicated to autonomous self-organization in Lakewood Heights/South Atlanta and the surrounding area: a real-life gathering place for urban experiments in community, autonomy, and resilience. The Commons will be home to several projects developed in Atlanta since 2011, including a weekly food share, radically-inspired cultural events, and a martial arts gym. On August 1st, we'll open the doors to our brand new building and begin collaborating with like-minded individuals and groups.

From free food distribution to public trainings in self-defense, from herbal remedies to poetry readings, The South Bend Commons aims to bring together efforts from every area of life. The Commons is one moment in an inter-generational effort to move beyond the monotonous and depressing realities of the economy, work, and consumption. We aim to be evidence that a joyful and collective way of living is possible now.

• • Context • •

Everywhere, the landlords have raised rent prices, the streets have been covered with cameras, and condos have replaced our homes and neighborhood spaces. Animal and plant species go extinct everyday - bats, bananas, tomatoes, olives and bees - while the US government props up dictators across the globe in the name of democracy. In revolutions and rebellions across the world, millions of people have risen up to ask themselves: how do we rid ourselves of this pointless suffering? We are a humble part of those millions.

• • Principles • •

1) Reappropriate and collectivize resources, energies, and knowledges to construct the conditions necessary for a good life, outside of and against the constraints of the economy and capitalist exploitation. We organize to overcome the exploitation of our labor, ideas, vulnerabilities and relationships by the rich and ruling classes, and the exploitative extraction of resources from the forests, oceans, and mines of the world.

2) Collaborate, and develop skills for that end. We recognize hard work and respect each other's diverse contributions. None of us knows exactly which methods or initiatives will help us to attain our goals, so we appreciate also the efforts we do not understand or involve ourselves in, as long as they retain a sincere connection to our general principles and ethos. Experiments are necessary.

3) Reject and work to overcome intolerance, hierarchy, and discrimination based on ethnic, racial, nationalist, and religious differences, along with sexism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression. Instead of retaining a judgemental distance from the deep-seated conflicts of our lives, we wish to resolve our disputes, to reach a higher understanding of ourselves and our shared world, and forgive ourselves when we fail to do so perfectly.

4) Organize for collective autonomy and freedom in the here and now. We coordinate our own initiatives and do not impose or accept the control of authority figures in our efforts. We organize on the basis of shared desires and needs and do not wait for validation from politicians, police, or leaders, regardless of how popular their mandate appears to be. We want to build power that builds power.