Night School: The Case for Optimism: Radicals and Progressives Take on Trumpist Nihilism

We can all see the empire coming, and we want to strike back.

Is it enough to say ‘NO’?

What are we fighting for? How do we take the initiative back?

The truth is we already have the initiative. Once progressives and the counterculture challenged the competitive society of materialism and dehumanization, inequality and alienation, hierarchies and disempowerment, distraction and inauthenticity, the conservative movement began mobilizing to stop us.

The internal hemorrhaging of geopolitical empire is a catastrophe for victims everywhere who will suffer its wrath-filled decline. Experiencing a pervasive sense of threat, many urgently seek to mount an opposition to the present assault on American institutions and the American (and many other) people. What is less clear is what the fight is for. Many wonder, is there even a vision for viable alternative? We must not let the empire suck our dreams from us. We must recall that American society refocused its fateful slide into domination and violence following the 1960s. After progressives and the counterculture challenged mainstream American life, immersed in materialism and consumerism, inequality and alienation and disconnection, hierarchies and disempowerment and loss of dignity, nihilist distraction and interdiction of genuine selfhood and community, many saw this was not a way to live and live well, certainly not in a time of post-industrial productivity where all can have more of what they need, and justice can be done, here and elsewhere, perhaps everywhere.

When progressives and radicals punctured the myth of the immaculate system and it started lurching and taking in water, conservatives and reactionaries bailed out and attacked and assaulted their very own system. Ironically, it has been liberals and even progressives who have returned to the defense of the system, the very system they were the first to insist needed wholesale change. Young people see the deeper rot in the system, and the lives of meaninglessness and desperation it offers and demands – and do not simply seek a return to pre-Trump or even pre-Reagan ‘normalcy.’

THE TIME OF VISION HAS COME: Our issue is the moral quality of our lives and communities and the opportunities to nurture and harness the power every one of us has for a life of realization, meaning, and contribution. We are entering a great experimental age – discovering new kinds of relations, work and play lives, temples and churches and communions, communities, families and education and the raising of children in just and empowering ways. This is a great age for envisioning, inviting us to explore hopeful and engaging ways to live. If we can then live these experiments boldly and mutually, share them, report on them, network and become them, we will find that vision indeed inhabits the land in new and compelling ways.

Join us for a Night School discussion as we welcome James Block, author, political theorist, and professor of political science at DePaul University in Chicago.

Sunday, May 28 at 6pm
Riverwest Public House Cooperative
815 E Locust St.
Milwaukee, WI 53212

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2017 Annual General Meeting May 21 – Run for the Board of Directors

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING MAY 21 at 3pm. Members Only. Vote for our future.

The Riverwest Public House isn’t just a bar. You know this when you get that feeling. The one that comes when you bump into friends and neighbors over a pint. The feeling after an incredible show, or a Night School, a book club, a political art show or a dance party. It is that feeling that we aren’t just hoping for community but that we’re actually building it. We know our neighborhood, our city, our world is a better place every time we raise a glass.

This is why many of us have joined as members. We get sick of politicos dictating what is good “for the people” and disillusioned with the idealists who never get around to doing something. We aren’t waiting for someone else to act, but we are seizing control of our economic and communal destiny. As they say around the block, “You’re doing it!”

But maybe that overwhelming good vibe comes with a little tugging. Maybe you walk out of the pub and think, “It is awesome, but it could be so much better.” Maybe you’re checking the calendar for this weekend shows and say “I want to do more with the Public House.”

Maybe you’re ready to move from the barstool to the boardroom.

OK, so we don’t really have a boardroom, just the long table in front. But still. We’re taking nominations for the upcoming Board of Director elections. We need organizers and activists, dreamers and realists, folks that are good with nuts and bolts and folks that see the big picture. We need finance folks and HR people. We need neighbors and friends. We need the community to lift up leaders and leaders to direct the co-op, especially at this time of growth and change for our organization.

Our board has a few practical functions. We govern by policy and decide by consensus. That means we will look at what are the best practices for this cocktail community we’re creating. We give structural support to our workers collective. We carry the banner of co-ops and tell the story of the Public House locally and nationally.  We’re a working board, with each director serving on a committee.  The board currently meets twice monthly and the schedule will be restructured with the new Board. There are three open seats each with a three year term.

While any enthusiastic organized self-motivator who is a lover of the co-op should run, we are specifically looking for people with experience in HR, Marketing, business management, and of course who couldn’t use a lawyer?

So, if you love building community one drink at a time, come help design the blueprints for that building. Join the board. Email info@riverwestpublichouse.org for more information. Our Annual General Meeting, where board elections take place, will occur on Sunday, May 21. Please fill out the google form board application or you can pick up an analog application from any bartender. All submissions are due by May 7, 2017.

Cheers,

Riverwest Public House Board of Directors

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Night School: Affordable Housing

Can we find a home for everyone?

Can we be a city where everyone has a great place to live at a price they can afford, or is this a utopian fantasy?

Join the discussion: Sunday, April 2 at 6:00 at the Riverwest Public House

Can we learn from other cities’ affordable housing strategies? Can we start creating tomorrow’s affordable housing with existing tools? Is the community a passive recipient of unaffordable housing, or can the community demand something better?

This event is organized by Milwaukee Community Land Trust, a not for profit organization seeking to use the community land trust model to permanently solve Milwaukee’s housing problems. This event is hosted by the Riverwest Public House as part of our Night School series, a community education program.

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April Calendar

Coming up this month:

April2017

 

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Night School – RCA Explores Co-op Finances

Hello All Cooperative Peoples!

The Riverwest Cooperative Alliance in cooperation with the Riverwest Public House invite you to a March Night School.

Join us for a financial excursion into the books of the Riverwest Public House.
An introduction to the profit and loss statements of a business by looking at and discussing pre-prepared statements and then collectively navigating the program (quickbooks) commonly used to generate live reports and discuss.

Join Tracey, Don, and Peyton to learn some basics about the statements and software used by business and how we can then analyze the information and create reports to better understand operations and make decisions.

Board members, workers, members of area cooperatives, this is for you!

Interested in starting a co-op or becoming more involved with other co-ops, get a little taste of the financial aspect!

Sunday, March 5th at the Riverwest Public House 6-8pm!

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Special Membership Meeting Thursday, March 9

For the first time, the Public House’s Board of Directors is calling a special member meeting.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, March 9 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Public House.

An email was sent on January 6 to notify membership of our ongoing financial problems and request members attend a discussion which occurred on January 12. Members who attended this offered many valuable suggestions and ideas. The WC and BoD are committed to keeping the Public House open but we need the members to decide how that will happen.

The purpose of this meeting is for members to vote on our various options to move forward, which include:

  • Members making direct loans to the Public House (for which we have precedent and a formula as we took direct member loans when we first opened)

  • Members making direct monetary gifts to the Public House

  • Members offering collateral to back the Public House obtaining a line of credit from a bank

  • Closing the Public House

 

Background

The Board of Directors has called this special meeting as a result of persistent losses that pose an existential threat to the Public House. While we have never taken out any commercial loans, we have also only posted a profit as a business one year out of our 6 years open. Persistent losses have compounded and resulted in crisis. Attempts to reconfigure our management structure and some of our practices have proven fruitless thus far.

One root of the problem is our income: we need more people to drink here more often. And we need a cash infusion in order to stay open while we implement further changes to the way we operate. In the near-term, we will be seeking a small direct personal loan of $3,000 to make improvements and aesthetic changes to the inside of the space. It is our feeling that renewing interest in the bar is contingent on making the physical space more appealing. We have also increased the number of free events and are making changes to our internal policies to continue to cut expenses and improve service quality.

However, these improvements won’t take place if we can’t stay open long enough to make them. We hope that the membership drive coupled with requests for extra support from you will make the difference.

On the positive side, we posted a profit for the first time in months: $714.92 for the month of January. This is largely due to our manager and workers tightening up and reducing expenses as much as possible. But we’re also putting off paying bills and getting necessary repairs done.

How can I help?

We currently have:

  • 173 lifetime members ($200 fully paid in)
  • 184 active/renewing members (between $40 and $160 paid in and current on their membership)
  • 704 expired/non-renewing members (between $40 and $160 paid in but membership lapsed)

 

Our specific request:

  • Lifetime Members: Would you consider giving the Public House the value of another Lifetime Membership ($200)?

  • Members: Would you consider buying up to your Lifetime Membership ($40 – $160)? If you’re not sure how much you have left, we can look it up for you.

  • Non-members and lapsed members. We get it, not everyone feels like they can swing $40 a year. We ask that if you want to help, that you gift us any amount. Even $10 – $20 makes a huge difference.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE (PAYPAL)

We sincerely appreciate any help you give between now and the special member meeting. Please join us on Thursday, March 9 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Public House as we carve out a path forward together.

 

In Solidarity,

 

RWPH Board of Directors

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March Calendar

March2017.png

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