utopia from the ashes

Utopia From the Ashes: A Teach-In on Building the Future We Deserve

A virtual teach-in on creating a better future from the uprisings today against racism, global crises and pandemic

What if 2020 was an historic turning point, where the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic and global uprisings against racism drove us to build back a better society in which no one is sacrificed, and everyone is essential?

This virtual teach-in will use the animated short film Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair to help envision this kind of a transition, and will features representatives from incredible organizations engaged in the kind of work that could make it a reality.

David Boys is PSI Deputy General Secretary and coordinates PSI’s work on privatisation, climate and emergency workers and water, waste and energy utilities. David joined the PSI team in 1999. Public Services International is a Global Union Federation of more than 700 trade unions representing 30 million workers in 154 countries. It brings their voices to the UN, ILO, WHO and other regional and global organisations. It defends trade union and workers’ rights and fight for universal access to quality public services.

Cathy Kennedy is President of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC), and Vice President of National Nurses United (NNU), the largest U.S. union and professional association of registered nurses. NNU is a founding affiliate of Global Nurses United.

Annie Leonard (@AnnieMLeonard) is the Executive Director of Greenpeace US, the US office of the global Greenpeace network which is includes more than 50 countries. Greenpeace uses research, creative communication, people power and non violent direct action to create a green and peaceful future for all. Prior to Greenpeace, Annie created the Story of Stuff internet film and book.

Avi Lewis is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist, and lecturer in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University. In 2017, he co-founded and is now Strategic Director of The Leap – an organization launched to upend our collective response to the crises of climate, inequality and racism. He produced, and co-wrote with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Emmy nominated short film, Message from the Future and is producer and co-writer with Opal Tometi of the new short film, Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair

@avilewis (partner to naomi klein)

The Leap: https://theleap.org/

Nick Tilsen (@NickTilsen)

Leila Salazar-López has served as the Executive Director of Amazon Watch since 2015. She is a mother, proud Chicana-Latina woman, and passionate defender of Mother Earth, the Amazon, Indigenous rights and climate justice.


notes/quotes on livestream:

avi: on 9 min film [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m8YACFJlMg]

my notes/quotes from it below

leila: on the virus et al.. evidence where out of (sync).. systemic racism et al.. 528 yrs of colonization in the americas.. we don’t need endless consumerism.. we *need to live well ie: community, shelter, water, clean air.. those are the basic things we need in life.. many have gotten away from that.. now is the time to remember and come back to that

*even deeper.. would hasten that return

nick – we want to build a world that works for everybody.. there’s a way for us to fight with authentically who we are .. w/o erasure politics.. because have to be authentically who we are.. there isn’t another way.. we have to lean in this direction.. then on the land back movement.. re establishing relationship w land.. we can build a world with black reparations.. for indigenous it’s simple.. land back..

doesn’t have to be a fight.. there’s a nother way

nick: consent is about entering into an entirley new era.. instead of consulation.. ie: we’ll consult you before.. we need free/prior inform/consent.. as fighting.. radically imagining what we are building

even deeper.. public consensus always oppresses someone(s).. fighting is an energy suck

cathy: on angle from nurses (during this crisis).. nurses can see life’s work reflected in this film.. transformed to where everyone is essential.. what nurses have been fighting for.. global climate crisis affects all people.. must be a global scope

yeah.. that.. deep enough for all of us.. humanity needs a deeper leap.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity ..  simultaneous fittingness.. what we need is a means to get everyone in sync.. ie: a means to undo our hierarchical listening

david: on tax justice, debt relief.. but i’d focus on privatization.. workers in trade unions et al.. we’re building online tool.. people over profits.. knowledge library.. campaign builder.. able to respond to privatization threats.. spread best practices to fight the privateers.. on monitoring threats in ie: africa.. we’re doing a lot.. but this tool we’re willing to share to cause of the film

even deeper – not responding.. acting/living/being.. as if already free.. (decision making is unmooring us law et al)

segue to that (utopia).. let’s try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence .. w/ubi as temp placebo.. needs met w/o money..people forget about measuring

avi: tool for campaigning.. (that’s) a real constructive approach

really? sounds more like energy sucking – responding.. fighting.. et al

annie: on facts not helping.. if truth would set us free.. we’d be free.. we have all the truths..

well.. we have the truths (?) .. stories.. about whales in sea world

annie: the stories we are tell selves are blocking our collective ability to imagine something better.. if can’t really imagine something better.. can’t fight for it

annie: goes on to tell the stories being told to us (racism et al) and how we need to stand together and tell diff stories

yeah .. but most/all need detox first.. and then.. we may find it’s not even about the stories.. but rather.. daily curiosity.. et al (instigating utopia everyday ness)

imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people

annie: one of big stories blocking us now is of scarcity.. constantly being told ‘we can’t afford that’.. but virus showing us.. there is money.. same govt giving billions to huge orgs..

annie: so.. 1\ there’s a once in a life time infusion of money and 2\ old stories are crumbling.. huge pivot point for our society.. so we’re working on advancing a vision for a just recovery.. it would create millions and millions of good union jobs of caring for each other


yeah.. great opp.. but we’re missing it by thinking we need ie: jobs et al

annie: things we need to make sure we don’t invest in.. fossil fuels.. lock in that continued carbon production

and.. investment in jobs.. locks in that broken feedback loop of whales in sea world

avi: a rousing reminder of the stakes of this political moment.. first is to get rid of trump

yep.. a rare global pause .. and we’re missing it.. (and being distracted by all the politicals/politician ness) .. to (virus) leap et al

avi: hard to make film in short period.. of turmoil.. to show this new vision.. alt future..

cathy: this is an opportune time for us.. there’s money .. but we constantly have to fight.. i want my grandchildren to have that world we’re talking about

yeah.. so let’s legit re imagine a nother way

nick: the roll of culture bearers.. story tellers.. artists.. and we don’t value them.. probably one of the reasons we’re in the place we are (then onto the stories of being what we’ve been thru.. but artists showing another way..).. if we can see what we’re fighting for.. we’re going to be hungrier.. let’s make this the new normal moving forward – valuing artists

yeah.. but that’s all of us.. it has to be all of us.. so what we need most/first is a means to undo our hierarchical listening

actually .. fighting harder ness.. is a distraction.. and energy suck..

nick: and the balance.. we have to be fighting

yeah.. i don’t think so.. if it’s for all of us.. even the inspectors of inspectors.. (ones we keep fighting)

leila: how to do this work of defending/protecting/resisting.. we want to make the revolution *irresistable.. we want to dance in the streets.. not just protest on a bull horn.. i want to see the dance/ceremony.. art is beauty and it does help cure

yeah that.. but deeper .. org/infra around something 8b hearts already *crave..

ie: cure ios city.. focusing on the itch-in-8b-souls.. everyday anew

david: diff between public and private utility


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b free people

let’s org for that dance

avi: can’t be a laundry list.. film tries to tell story how movements come together w/o saying.. movements are coming together.. it’s one story.. surrounds the theory of change.. monumental change.. so would like to hear on prospects/conditions of movements coming together.. we need one now like never before..t

ai humanity needs most: augmenting interconnectedness

again.. imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. 

ie: 2 conversations as infra

annie: need to realize it’s the same system of oppression.. it’s mission critical that we see how they (racism and climate) as relying on each other.. t.. ie: because we have a racially based society we allow pollution to exist.. it is all the same struggle.. we are one and the same

so.. begs we go deep enough for our infra.. to something that resonates w 8b people today.. to something 8b people can access/use today.. to an ecosystem that would set/keep 8b people free.. today.. ie: cure ios city

nick: we have to realize this moment created by blm.. to build relationships for moving forward.. themes that have to make how we do our work.. makes for true collaboration.. so important to create the connective tissue.. so need to create political anal and ed for our people

nice energy.. but we need to go deeper man.. if you think you need to train people.. red flag we’re doing it wrong

let’s try ie: this connective tissue



9 min film (livestream above was about) – art by molly

1 min – web of hand to hand relationships.. reminder.. we are all entangled.. making each other sick.. keeping each other alive.. one of the first lessons of covid

2 min – the virus showed us what was truly essential

well.. essential to a (virus) fight .. not essential to human being..

3 min – and we couldn’t breathe.. that is how the virus changed everything.. we had to build something new

suffocating – from the day ness.. to a nother way

4 min – we joined in the streets to join together..

not deep enough ie: has to be everybody for the dance to dance

5 min – years of repair.. 1st step – rebuilding the econ

oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space

6 min – whatever we did we did outdoors.. ie: school.. and it made us happier.. and nobody missed shopping.. we finally had time to look back.. that guided where we repaired and how (schools, prisons, hospitals)

again.. you’re describing some people..

7 min – land back program.. taking care of earth lays ground for taking care of each other

kiss the ground (doc) et al

8 min – our systems of care and repair.. no one is sacrificed.. everyone is essential

deeper ie: cure ios city

wish we could talk.. wish you could hear me.. so we could hear 8b people.. everyday.. so doable..


intro’d via this tweet


Utopia from the Ashes

Join writer/producer @avilewis & special guests for a conversation on the role of radical utopianism in a time of crisis, & building the future we deserve

#MessageFromTheFuture @TheLeap_Org 

Stream here: https://t.co/WmtS7gWuzC

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/haymarketbooks/status/1316420341904871425