Since the founding of Mijente, we knew that we’d have to contest for power using multiple strategies for the good of our gente. Our communities have long been creating alternatives to oppressive structures. By providing help and support to one another when government systems left us high and dry, our people made a way where there was none. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we witnessed communities tapping into their hustle-wisdom. Using ancestral learnings and cultural practices, people transformed despair and hopelessness through collective action.
The Origins of La Vida Local
We launched La Vida Local in 2020 because we believe in the capacity of our people to imagine and bring to fruition solutions. These alternatives give us the opportunity to live into our abolitionist futures in the here and now. Through this work, individuals and communities get a taste for radical democracy, pro-conflict, confidence-boosting, trust-building new beliefs and behaviors that can help us get the goods and keep them.
La Vida Local projects answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions:
- Can you live off it?
- Can you eat from it?
- Does it replace a harmful entity?
- Does it exercise the muscles for participatory democracy?
Having the space and resources for collective practice and imagination are a necessity to carrying out this type of work. As we continue to lean into these alternatives to the status quo, we deepen our understanding of ourselves and of our communities. Then, we get better acquainted with our power. Our telaraña or web of individuals and communities keeps growing stronger. And then, we continue learning more about what it takes to do this type of future-building work.
How Local & Collective Efforts Fit With Our Vision
La Vida Local is part of our “sin el Estado” strategy. Sin el Estado takes the work of resistance and moves it one step further into the realm of imagination and transformation. The reality is that we are gente living under state capitalism, white supremacy, and heteropatriarchy. And we are often asked to define our existence in relation to the dominant structure. As organizers, activists, and resistors, we are often faced with the need to react en contra or against these conditions.
Sin el Estado work at its core is about being active participants in creating the solutions and antidotes that our communities need now. This way we explore other, liberatory ways of existing as individuals and communities — right here, and right now.
Check out our blog to learn more about our Sin el Estado strategy.
In a couple of weeks we’ll be launching the application for our 2023 cycle of La Vida Local, be on the lookout and jump in!
Let’s begin our abolitionist journey not with the question “What do we have now and how can we make it better?” Instead, let’s ask, “What can we imagine for ourselves and the world?” If we do that, then boundless possibilities of a more just world await us.— Mariame Kaba
Abolitionist solutions are happening right now and we need more of them.
P.S. If you’d like to check out what a couple of our La Vida Local 2022 awardees are up to now, take a look at these videos from FUGA in Tucson, Arizona and Buford Highway People’s Hub in Atlanta, Georgia.