Of bikes and cars: Authors stop in Grand Rapids for two Bloom Collective events

This story is reposted from GRIID.org

Thurs. May 26 6:30 p.m. Drugs And Daydreams
Sun. May 29 6 p.m. Stop Signs: Cars & Capitalism
The Bloom Collective671 Davis NW (Corner of 5th & Davis)
Suggested Donation $3 – $5

In the coming week, authors of two very different books make a stop at The Bloom Collective as part of their North American tours. On Thursday, May 26, the Raise the Stakes Tour invites local folks to join Shaun for “an evening of stories and scheming” as he shares and sells hand-made copies of his book, Drugs And Daydreams. On Sunday, May 29, Canadian authors, Bianca Mugyenyi and Yves Engler, facilitate a discussion of their new book, Stop Signs: Cars & Capitalism on the Road to
Economic, Social and Ecological Decay
. Both events will begin with a potluck.

Raise the Stakes

Using drugs as a metaphor to describe his sensations during three different bicycle
trips along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts,  Drugs And Daydreams “lingers in the fringes where the wild clashes with the civilized; those places where conventional notions of geography and travel
give way to a world of one’s own design.” Shaun calls the book part romance and part travel autobiography. He writes, “The most accurate metaphor I’ve heard for travel is comparing it a love affair. A love affair thrives upon shattered rules and shattered roles. Upon a whirlwind that comes by surprise and leaves everything in its path upturned, transformed. A feeling beyond the grasp of science. Beyond the map. This is where I seek to travel. This is how a love affair begins. This is how my story begins.”

Shaun invites local artists, musicians and poets to share their work as part of the program. So, bring your own zines to share, poetry to read, acoustic music to play and art to display. All copies of Shaun’s book on sale that night are made of scavenged materials and hand-bound by the author within individually relief-printed hard covers. He writes, “Maybe living as scavengers can last, I thought. Knowing that not everyone can do this, but if we can, then we have a responsibility to strike at capitalism’s vulnerabilities. And all of our wits and creativities not dulled by numbing work weeks and banal distractions exist for the sake of us living out our wildest dreams, of us putting a stop to those entities that hurt those that we identify with.”

Stop Signs: Cars & Capitalism

Authors Yves Engler and Bianca Mugyenyi are coming to Grand Rapids via Greyhound Bus to present this anti-car road trip story. Born in Uganda in 1980, Bianca Mugyenyi came to Canada as a child, spending parts of her youth in Swaziland, Kenya and England. She is coordinator of Concordia’s Gender Advocacy Centre and was the Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students (Quebec).   A Montréal activist and author, Yves Engler has published three books: The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy; Playing Left Wing: From Rink Rat to Student Radical; and (with Anthony Fenton) Canada in Haiti: Waging War on The Poor Majority.

Stop Signs: Cars & Capitalism shows how “the automobile’s ascendance is inextricably linked to capitalism and involved corporate malfeasance, political intrigue, backroom payoffs, media manipulation, racism, academic corruption, third world coups, secret armies, environmental destruction and war.”  In short, challenging the domination of cars challenges capitalism.

In a Sept. 2010 article for Counterpunch, the authors wrote,  “Nearly three-quarters of U.S.households earning less than $15,000 a year own a car, and in an extreme example of auto dependence, tens of thousands of “mobile homeless” live in their vehicles. The poor purchase cars because there is no other option in a society built to serve the needs of the automobile. If you want to work you need a car. If you want to visit your friends you need a car. Car-dominated transport eats up a disproportionate amount of working-class income. At the same time, the automobile is an important means for the wealthy to assert themselves socially. A luxury vehicle lets the whole world know that you have arrived, both literally and metaphorically.”

Make your holiday weekend more memorable (and less gas dependent) by celebrating bikes and other alternatives to a car-crazy capitalist culture.  Bring a dish to pass. The Bloom will provide vegan options.

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