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Justice for Trayvon Martin?

Grace Lee Boggs

Grace Lee Boggs

By Grace Lee Boggs
Special to the Michigan Citizen

I believe the question of justice for Trayvon Martin is one of the most profound and challenging questions our country now faces.

To begin with, it now requires a federal civil rights trial that focuses on Zimmerman’s racial profiling of Martin, a critical and obvious factor in this tragedy, which the Florida judge excluded from the criminal trial.

But justice for Trayvon Martin goes beyond a new trial. It requires that we accept the challenge and responsibility for creating a society in which there are no “outsiders.”

In his 1963 book, “The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Workers Notebook,” Jimmy Boggs warned in chapter four that in a society where jobs have been eliminated by technology and the right to live has been tied to work and jobs, millions of “outsiders” without the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are being  created. Therefore, he said, we now urgently need a philosophy of what it means to be a contributing member to society that is not based on being a worker or having a job.

At this point in our country’s history, I believe this means accepting the responsibility for struggling to create a new American Dream, a dream based on a mode of production that provides everyone with the opportunity to produce the goods and services that a community needs. We now know what Jimmy didn’t know, that high tech, using 3D, can be the basis of a new mode of production in which workshops in every neighborhood can provide every community’s needs for everything, from clothing to housing to transportation.          So nobody needs to be an “outsider.”

This “new work, new culture,” initiated by University of Michigan Professor Emerita Fritzhof Bergmann, is now being seriously discussed and explored in Germany and Detroit. We will soon hold a meeting at which Boggs Center board member Barbara Stachowski will report on her recent discussions in Germany with Bergmann’s colleagues and coworkers.

Meanwhile, I suggest reading “The Printed World” in the May issue of Smithsonian Magazine; the discussion between Professor Bergmann and YES! Magazine editor Sarah van Gelder on the Boggs Center Web site; and the two articles on “Re-Imagining Work” by Rich Feldman and Barbara Stachowski in the little pamphlet on (R)Evolution in the 21st Century.

This is our opportunity to go beyond protest and engage in visionary organizing to create “the beloved community.”

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