Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Talkin about a revolution (Metro Times Detroit)

(Metro Times)

When singer and poet Gil Scott-Heron warned "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" 35 years ago, who knew how prophetic he'd prove to be?

As Venezuela's social and political revolution continues to unfold, the world — or at least most American audiences — seems largely in the dark about the goings-on of the troubled nation. Recently, there've been reports of such American activists as Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte embracing Venezuela's brazen President Hugo Chavez, but little information about the origins of the Venezuelan situation is readily available.


This week, the Detroit Summer Collective — a crew of activists, musicians and urban intellectuals — has organized a community dialogue entitled What Can Detroit Learn from Venezuela? The discussion will be part of their monthly Breaking Bread Community Potluck.

In addition to the Detroit Summer staples — music, good eats and community — the freeform discussion will feature 25-year-old activist and writer Chesa Boudin, who recently returned from a one-year stint in Venezuela working as a political analyst for President Chavez's International Relations office. His research will help him shed some light on Venezuela's current policy of offering cheap oil to U.S. cities hit by high fuel prices. Boudin will explain how Detroit can get in on the deal. More importantly, Boudin wants to explain how the struggle for social transformation in Latin America is relevant to the D.

The room will also be filled with scores of Detroiters returning from the World Social Forum (the lefty version of the World Economic Forum, which was held recently in Caracas). The energy in the room should be caliente.

One of Detroit's hardest-working welfare rights advocates, Maureen Taylor, will also be speaking on current issues relevant to Michigan's welfare recipients.

6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9, Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Center, 3535 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-0199.

Jonathan Cunningham is a freelance writer. Send comments to

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