Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

Rhizomatic Openings

In this time and space of so much suffering, loss, and grief—and sadly, so much fracturing instead of stronger bonds of rebellious love and solidarity—it’s an even more remarkable and indeed precious feat to fling open the doors in the warmest of ways to a new social center, which is exactly what the folks at the Rhizome House in so-called Cleveland did last Saturday at their opening gala.

While you’d never know it from these security-conscious photos—glimpses of banners (including for those who lost their lives in the 2020 George Floyd uprising), backyard, zines, and art within this expansive first-floor location on a foot-traffic-busy street in Cleveland—the space was overflowing with people from start to finish (around 6 hours).

Out front, a table filled with free anarchist stickers and zines caught the eye of many a random passerby, who was then invited to check out the newly renovated—with anarchist elbow grease—spot, and many happily did, including kids, teens, and folks from all generations, several who spoke of the history of this building and how glad they were it was staying in community-oriented hands versus being turned into a business. Anarchists, like-minded organizers, social justice activists, artists, and others came from near and far (like me and my friend) to see and celebrate this new space over food, music, and lots and lots of friendly Midwest socializing.

Impromptu “tours” expounded joyfully on all the thought and care put into Rhizome before it even opened, from organizational infrastructure learned the hard way in earlier projects, to which banners seemed most inviting for the front of the space to welcome in the most varied types of people, to the physical layout to encourage diverse types of events and activities beyond only anarchist or friendship circles, to visions of what Rhizome could and should make possible, including social relations and/of connection. And as if to underscore connection, collective members graciously shared their own and the city’s rad histories.

No doubt there will be bumps ahead, but Rhizome showed that in this ugly here and now, folks can band together to generously create time-space, to world build, for and with each other.

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This entry was posted on September 24, 2022 by in Uncategorized.
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