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Alliance For Just Money and Unity Through Creativity are teaming up to create a Singing Tree of a Just and Democratic Economy. This collaborative mural methodology, inspired by trees, is part of an international invitation for the whole world to create together. The process involves artistic creation accompanied by non-violent leadership training process that envisions success in community challenges, often around a central topic. The collaborative visual will be unveiled and presented at Mayday for Money!, a march and demonstration in Chicago, on May 18, 2024!

In our first session, we explored the economy as a series of exchanges that happen in nature with the theme of generosity. We learned about crows offering gifts to people who feed them and discussed other instances in nature where exchange occurs (hermit crabs that exchange shells, mycelial networks of trees, etc). During our creative time, we did the 5 shapes activity where we experimented with spirals, circles, squares, triangles and crosses as a composition, acknowledging the meaning behind each shape preference. This allowed our blossoming creative core team to tap into their free-flowing and nonjudgemental creativity and allowed us to create some sketches of what a singing tree would look like.

In our second session, we gathered a larger crew interested in contributing their gifts and creativity. We watched the video describing the creation of another themed tree: the ST of Climate Solutions. We also watched the incredible collaboration of crabs, to exchange necessary resources, equitably with each other based on their needs, and even according to the right size! What an amazing instinct of collaboration nature has! We opened ourselves to the words and wisdom of others as they described what an ideal form of currency would look like, understanding that form follows function, and we need the function to be better for us.

In the next session, We will dive deeper into the power of these units of exchange we call money, and their implications for human and planetary life. Our creative session will be doing the River of Life activity, encouraging participants to come to the exploration of what their lifespan journey with money has been like. Institutions of money will be questioned, as will our philosophy around keeping money vs giving money; and keeping vs gifting other resources. We will name symbols that help bring our vision forward, such as gears of collaboration in a system, or spirals of growth. Our participants will continue to work on their sketches and newcomers will be able to add their vision into a Singing Tree of a Just and Democratic Economy! 

We are actively recruiting individuals to join the Core Design Team! Please join us for the second session on February 6th at 8PM ET / 7PM CT / 6PM MT / 5PM PT. Register in advance for this meeting. This is an open invite and we encourage you to come even if you missed the first session!

Art is a good way to get people to understand and mobilize behind a cause. Throughout social movements and in cultural evolution, art has been a cornerstone for transformation of people’s thoughts (think Dante’s Inferno, the Garden of Earthly Delights, the image of Manifest Destiny). Art represents a vision. The power of art for transforming thought and seeding change is such that it is routinely looked down on, oppressed in counterculture and punk rebelliousness.

 

John Gast, American Progress, 1872. Wikimedia.

Art is valuable. Do you think this statement is true or false given our current system of thought, capitalism, and colonialism? It’s defunded on a public level. It’s beautiful to look at but who’s really got the time to go around creating it? Might as well leave that to the AIs. The danger of allowing ourselves to be disconnected from the creative power that we all hold as humans is the same danger as leaving our monetary system in the hands of the few. We don’t imagine things beyond what they are. After all, “there is no alternative”.

Our movement for just exchange units in the form of democratic monetary reform is such an important movement, providing a framework for analyzing and resolving complex world problems. Our cause is important because it addresses inequality and often-abstracted worldly problems that spiral into worse poverty, death, degradation of the commons, and exploitation of nature and man. Art exists to say all this in fewer words.

 

Artist unknown.

Art is the birthright of humanity, and we have been creating art since the beginning. Every single one of us is an artist. That is a truth that’s been kept hidden, under wraps. As we are asked to specialize since the agricultural revolution, some people may have said, “Art is not an acceptable career. Do you want to be a starving artist?” That was enough to keep me from pursuing my artistic talents for a long time despite being an artist since the beginning.

I joined the Nectarine Singing Tree mural at Keystone Heritage Park as a collaborator. Everyone is encouraged to reconnect with their creative expression, to be playful and brave placing one stroke of paint on the layers below it, knowing that it will be visible to all. It takes a form of bravery to be involved in large art, in community art, knowing that you do not own the creation. It helps to look at the creation as if it is a gift that goes out of the creator and through you into the world. We have the responsibility to let it loose.

As a new economy is yet to be born and evolve, it is our responsibility to express the vision for a new world. This art needs to be deep and express the severity of the problem— blood money and usurped power— while providing us with a vision for a better future, one where a Just and Democratic Money System that values human health in sustainable development within our planetary limits, and holds a responsibility to the shared resources on this spaceship Earth.

I invite all people to come and create. Please join us for the second session on February 6th at 8PM ET / 7PM CT / 6PM MT / 5PM PT. Register in advance for this meeting. This is an open invite and we encourage you to come even if you missed the first session!

 

Restorative Justice Singing Tree, 8’ x 16’, Oakland, CA, 2020.

 

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