A Call to the Z Community

I feel like the Z facilities could be used for much more collaboration, and could actually function as an incubator for a new alternative media landscape in the U.S. and around the world. It is a great way for us all to network and develop ideas and projects for the future, as I'm sure you're all busy with your respective pursuits. I met many Z supporters at ZMI 2010, and since then have been developing the rough outlines for a new countercultural multi-media platform. Since the Z community has provided me with invaluable resources for living in this world, I hope its supporters will be enthusiastic about this new project.

A new publication, online and (hopefully) in print, that can serve as a vehicle for exploring and developing autonmous social movements for the 21st century.  MOSS, or the Movement of Syncopated Souls, is the name of this new project based in Portland, OR. It grew out of discussions between myself, friends, family, and my experiences at ZMI. More generally, this project is very much a commentary on existing society, as well as on those forces within society that are most likely to change it. As for the name, we feel it captures the essence of the project.

First and foremost, as a project based out of Portland, MOSS is meant to evoke the Cascadia vibe of the Pacific NW. Moss literally covers our landscape, and grows by the spread of its spores. It is beautiful, natural, fertile, and thrives in the right conditions. Naming our publication MOSS is also intended as a jab at Rolling Stone, that once-great incubator and chronicler of counterculture and rebellion. "A rolling stone gathers no moss…" goes the original motto, but the Rolling Stone of today bears little resemblance to its original form. Just try reading one.  

The M for "Movement" is intended to convey our desire to build effective movements for radical social change in the 21st century. The Syncopated part of the title is intended to evoke our affinity for culture, music, media, the arts, etc….as forms of critical and creative engagement, indeed as the essence of human expression. Syncopation refers to an interruption in the regular, normal flow of rhythm. In music, syncopation refers to rhythms which deviate from the standard succession of regularly-paced beats, by stressing the normally unaccened beats. We see this as a useful metaphor for how movements can function within society. Movements are like the unexpected rhythms that disrupt the ordinary flow of society. Movements are deviations from the normal, smooth functioning of the system, which depends upon the unfettered expression of particular social rhytms–greed, violence, domination, manipulation; and the absolute suppression of other social rhythms–love and happiness, freedom, cooperation, solidarity. We disrupt it by amplifying those social forces that are usually dormant, or to keep with the metaphor, unaccented within the prevailing social rhythm. The Souls part of the title identifies a point of unity, a basis on which we can transcend our differences while still recognizing the value of our diversity, a common human thread upon which we can build a new world.

It is an attempt to synthesize the experiences, forms of expression and creativity, insights, strategies, and goals of what we can call the activist, radical Left and the much broader bohemian counterculture. The radical Left is explicitly political in nature; activism, organizing, direct action, civil disobedience, media work, writing, speaking, etc. All essential tools for effective movements for social change, but not the type of work everyone can do, or would even want to do if they could. For many good people, particularly within youth countercultures, leftist work has lost its appeal by imposing on itself a creative, aesthetic, and sensual poverty that is limiting and self-defeating. Just beyond the core of the Left is an array of much broader countercultures, rooted in the music and the arts, dissociative lifestyles, independent culture, autonomous space, and passionate, sensuous living. Within and between these two currents, potential alliances abound. MOSS hopes to forge such alliances in the years to come. We feel each offer what the other lacks.

I'm writing to you in search of collaboration. First and foremost is submissions. MOSS is looking to publish a mix of analysis, commentary, opinions, satire, humor….articles, dialgoues, interviews, graphics/photos/images, poems/lyrics, rants/ravings, book/music/art reviews, headlines, reprints from other media, videos for the web, any and all forms of media. I'll be reaching out to some of you invidiually in hopes of doing dialogue/interviews on the movements exploding around the world, and how we can cultivate more effective movements in the U.S.

If anyone is interested in helping with editing, writing, design, layout, web design/coding, or any other technical skills to offer, let us know!!!

Please reach out to us if this is something you're interested in. And please, forward this along onto your listserves, social networking sites, friends, and family!!


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