One year of building Territories

This month, Territories celebrates its first anniversary. We launched one year ago as a virtual hub—a place to share tools, learn from one another, and discover what we have in common. More than a newsletter, we’re an open source library of collective intelligence.

Thanks to all the writers, editors, translators, artists, designers, developers and everyone else who make this project happen each month. And of course, thanks to each of you following along.

We have big plans for 2021: new articles, interviews, and DIY guides. New sections and new formats in the works. More videos, secret projects, and battle plans for the year to come.

If you feel what we’re up to in Territories, get in touch. We want your feedback, new ideas, wildest dreams, deepest desires. Send your stories, tools, blueprints—whatever helps us build new worlds amid the ruins.

In this issue, we’ll look back at some of our favorite pieces from the last year. You can check the full archive here. Stay tuned: we’ll be back next month with a special issue.

Two Inhabitants recently appeared on Protean Pirate Radio in a discussion about the pandemic, uprising, and finding meaning on Path B. Thanks to the Protean crew for the chance to chat and think through this year’s upheaval.

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On the George Floyd Rebellion

Our extended essay on the George Floyd Rebellion, published back in June. Also distributed as the print pamphlet A Gift to Humanity—check your local distro for copies. There’s an audio version floating around too, read by friends of Inhabit. French translation is available as well.

There is unrest in every state. A generation is learning what it means to live and fight. The racist urbanism that structured our cities is being torn apart. Landscapes are being reconfigured with the art of distance and the spirit of rebellion. Outside the burning Third Precinct, laughter and speeches. Outside the burning Wendy’s, sideshows with dirt bikes and cars doing donuts. In cities everywhere, fireworks and gunshots in the distance. The mood of this uprising oscillates from rage to exuberance, from celebration to seriousness—somewhere between block party and civil war.

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A strength and conditioning guide for insurgents

From our debut issue back in January 2020, this how-to for insurgent fitness shows us how to reclaim our bodies, capacities, and lives. Written by Mila with design and illustration by Eros Dervishi, this illustrated guide is available for download in both read and print versions.

Although hellworld keeps us from knowing our physical potential and the world to come is too much of an unknown to be able to properly prepare, we still have the ability to win small battles within ourselves and among the people around us. If we invest in collective gym spaces, we create a place to learn about ourselves, meet one another, and begin to reclaim our bodies together. To become our strongest, we need people to be there with us, to support us, motivate us, and offer constructive feedback. Emotional strength helps to build physical strength, and vice versa. Our individual and collective strength will largely depend on each other.

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The Commune and the Virus

Rural perspectives on coronavirus and the post-pandemic future

Conducted in May, this survey collects interviews with a variety of rural organizers, small farmers, and country communards about the challenges—and opportunities—brought by the pandemic.

I think we’re going to be left reeling, as we pass the surges and residual cases, with the question of what it means to be here right now. These ways of living are clearly not working and are not meant to sustain people. What can this place offer, not just for those who are here now but for those who we don’t even know, who will be here one day in the future? At the core of it is this question: how do we care for ourselves and how do we care for others? Our sense of being here is so deeply connected to other people. I think we’ve learned through the pandemic what isolation means. How do we build that life in common?

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It's Only Going to Get Weirder

An interview with Ingrid Burrington

Our interview with Ingrid Burrington, published in May, covers the reign of Amazon, pandemic disruption to global supply chains, and elaborates on what problems technology can solve and what it cannot. For more on tech, look to DeepMay’s overview from March: “Experiments in Tech Autonomy.”

Part of the work of trying to restructure really complex systems, that currently feel quite intractable and recalcitrant, is finding the wherewithal to think on that longer time horizon. Which can feel very out of reach for a lot of people right now. Certainly it’s hard for me. I also think it’s about understanding what tools you actually need. Engineering new systems, in this case—some of them are technical problems, but most of them are political problems. The reason it’s apparently easier to go to the moon than to address poverty is because nobody in power has to give anything up to send someone to the moon.

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Hunting the Hunt

On Recent Expressions of Anishinabe Sovereignty

This essay from Liaisons Montreal & Committee for Territorial Defense and Decolonization looks at the ongoing resistance of the Anishinabe against the encroachments of the state, developers, and sport hunters. Published in November, translated from French. Pair with Frances Nguyen’s piece from March on the Wetʼsuwetʼen blockades: “Dousing the Glim.”

The blockades give time for the forest to replenish itself, so it can thrive once again. Fawns will survive to become adults who give birth to more fawns. How many settlers have never seen a moose, living a life pitted against wildlife? What will happen to the Anishinabe forest, still spared by colonial infrastructure in spite of the mines and clear cuts, when the settlers come to expropriate and privatize the fresh water sources, once they poison their own? What will happen when white people flock to one of the last livable places on the planet, for the very reason that they have not spoiled it yet? The role non-Indigenous allies will be called on to fill in those days starts here and now. The forest can teach what is required to defend it, if only one can listen.

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“The People Don’t Need Permission to Feed Each Other”

Santiago de Chile’s community kitchens amid the pandemic and uprising

Benito Brava’s September essay on Santiago’s community kitchens explores the tension between mutual aid and popular uprising, between government approval and state repression. Make sure to also check the first in this series on Chile: “Another End of the World is Possible” from our debut issue.

The conflict between the ollas comunes and state institutions reveals that autonomous relief initiatives can contest territory through normalizing evasion and providing space for conspiracy. By evading forms of surveillance and social control, autonomous relief initiatives have the potential to contest the boundaries of abandoned territories and populations through bringing together disparate, seemingly incongruous social blocs. In doing so, they can further fracture long-standing divisions between privileged and marginalized, between formal and informal, between citizen and criminal, between frontliner and homebound, and between network and organization.

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Stay sharp. The world’s not getting any saner.

You’re on Path B,