An illuminated sign sits in a dark forest, lighting up the trees. The sign reads: "OTHER WORLDS ARE POSSIBLE". The word possible is ex-ed out and the word HERE appears under the sign in hand-writing.
Welcome to the Bullet Train
a love letter
a time capsule 
that cannot be contained
 by Owólabi Aboyade and Bridget Quinn
          The Bullet Train exists in multiple time zones. It snakes through time the way that most trains snake through space.  As we ride this train, we see the ongoing murder of our Black brothers and sisters. We receive word that we have lost relatives to the virus. We aren’t safe on this train, but we are learning to move together. There is a systematic nature to death in this empire. If you are reading this, you are still alive. And you know that to do nothing is to invite death. 
           We must train. 
           Dismantling this empire and creating new ones requires persistence, spirit, analysis and precision.  We ask for the help of our elevated ancestors as we train.
            This zine is being slipped through a cracked window on the Bullet Train. Cast into the wind, with an arching trajectory as the train whizzes through spacetime. This dispatch lands at your beautiful feet. The feet of a warrior? A healer? A poet? An artist? A mutant? Perhaps something unnamable and magic? 
           Who are you being called to be?
           This is a love letter and an invitation to the movements for liberation and justice in Detroit, those who stand shoulder to shoulder and those who work from other outposts. We intended to print this in a more “timely fashion” but we found ourselves within thresholds that have to be honored. We could not step through as if we were walking machines. 
          The essays, poetry, and images on the pages of this zine were written in the summer of 2020, and this printing in 2021 is a reverberation of that energy and meaning- a delay. We live cyclically, and we revisit these words and images now so that we can be more conscious and prepared as we shape the world and move with increasing confidence in what we are being called to be and do.
          Come with us to the ecologies of the city, where the truth of nature and cultures’ inseparability is laid bare. This other world is not organized around the tyranny of the clock, and its mechanized goose stepping from past to future. This other world does not demand that we ignore our bodily reality to “fit in” to our supposed function in the economic machine. Here the message “another world is possible” is spoken casually by the movement of every leaf, even the rodents, the birds, and the bacteria- it resonates in our being. Many of us have gotten glimpses of other possibilities as the economy slowed down, as workplaces closed and we were forced to make time for grief -- both recent and inherited. This summer we sought refuge by our beloved Detroit River, gathered in local parks, and made sanctuary in backyards, gardens, and porches. 
          At the threshold of this other world, we sit outside, beneath the trees -- the sun -- the rain and -- the clouds and wonder, what is property but an imaginary border between what’s yours and mines;  but all too often, what is “his” and what belongs only to “them”. We yearn to deeply belong, to claim streets and neighborhoods as our own but we are stuck in a system that only values words on documents and sees no value in our relationships to land and kinship. As the american society “re-opens” and evictions threaten thousands, these observations transform from whimsical visioning  to a righteous anger at this current economic system and a growing refusal to “back” to the bullshit that existed before.
          This world we feel when we’re outdoors is accessible to all bodies and all the complex and beautiful manifestations of human form that transcend neat categories. This world requires our  full attention and creativity. It asks that we look out for all gathered in circles around the fires and that we work together so all stay warm and fed.
          “No Trespassing” signs, racialized slurs and hostile gazes, the fearful armor of police attempt to keep us “out” or force us back “in”. These guards seek to hide visions of the other world from our view-- to make us believe that is not possible. As we spend time on this journey we grow increasingly dissatisfied with the system of racialized capitalism we live under and we yearn to go to another, a better place. There is no better place to flee to-- there is no “elsewhere”  in this world, only the living cultures that we must heal, connect, co-create, and protect.
          Welcome to the Bullet / Train. Let’s hop the fence to our Ancient Future!
           Black Lives Matter! 
          AND capitalism in 2020 is much more than a force that is harming Afrikans. Look at the tags on the household goods.  A pan-handler in the u.s.a. making $20 a day from begging makes 10 times more than 3 billion workers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Our entire society is made up of the enslavement of People’s from around the world. With this we see a combative protection of systems of oppression that seek to ensure continued comfort of an ever smaller slice of people (predominantly straight, “able” bodied, white men-- and all those positioned and willing to accept genocide as an acceptable cost of their comfort).
          The defunding of these systems of militarization and exploitation must promote Our liberation- that is the liberation of Afrikans from the u.s. Empire, the sovereignty of indigenous nations to harmonize with their own lands as they see fit not as merely dictated by u.s. Law, the development of settler forces “children of colonizers” and voluntary immigrants to take control of the mechanisms of our society and economy in order to compost them so that something new may grow that is not a manifestation of Empire and domination of Nature.
          At the same time many of us are constructing units of “mutual aid” “freedom schools” and “survival programs “ that will save lives and develop our own identities as the ones we can count on to take responsibility to guide our people’s’ futures.
          Asking government units to voluntarily shift resources or “defund” is useful to introduce to people the comprehensive harm of this racialized capitalism -which at a deeper look is imperialism. It is good to instruct people in that we do not “deserve” this murderous system and we deserve rich full beautiful lives. This strategy of reforming aspects of the american social structure may even get monies to support endeavors that bring comfort and room to work and live.
          Yet --we have to be careful that we are not lulled to thinking however that we “deserve” an equal lifestyle based on the theft from other peoples. That is the pit that “social net” states of Europe fall into sharing freely and equally the spoils of exploiting  and economically bullying Africa, Asia, South America and others. We are not aspiring to a more diverse capitalism. What we deserve is dignity that comes from redistribution of the stolen wealth and the destruction/ transformation of those mechanisms that made such thievery positive. Stolen from indigenous and New Afrikans yes AND from the exploited shackled laborers of the world. 
          We deserve the sweat filled joy that flows in a society that we make. Let’s make no promises as to the level of “material comfort “ but know that our success will in no way resemble this current life or what we see as normal on Hollywood Hulu and Netflix media shows.
           But we cannot let our people be lulled into thinking this current economic political system will give us the materials with which to make the life we desire. We cannot be lulled to thinking all the settler municipalities and the global corporations will stop defending themselves from us whether by shifting resources from urban and progressive municipalities to suburban, county, and rural forces that still “support our police”, to shifting aggression and policing tactics to ICE and federal units, or to defunding public forces and investing in private security.
          It is not too late to give positive leadership to all the energetic peoples that want to see Black Lives Matter, that want to see a society based on dignity for ALL. It is not too late to give Indigenous Land Back by signing over deeds and supporting cultural restoration. It is not too late to teach others and ourselves what Collective dignity demands. It is only by building liberation movements that incorporate rebellion, self-defense, mutual survival/healing aid networks and some strategic policy interventions that Detroit will ever breathe freely.
           You hold in your hands a Bullet, a Train- our humble material expression of culture that we have yearned for. This first Bullet /Train focuses on our relationships with the land that holds us. Subsequent issues will have different themes to focus on different aspects of Detroit culture and the possibilities we are creating.
           An imperfect, evolving embodiment of Detroit’s collective work towards right relationship with each other, this planet our home, and all our destinies.
          Thank you for riding with us!

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