Here is the best story of the “Milwaukee Renaissance,” an on-line movement magazine and resource that chronicles and advances the “renaissance moments” of Milwaukee and its expanding web of partner cities.

My life has been profoundly marked by my work as a “Freedom School Teacher” in Dr. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference “Freedom Summer, Chicago 1966,” during which time I was a marshal in the successful open housing marches.

Here is a picture that captures the moment Dr. King was stoned in Marquette Park(I’m the thin Euro-American behind Dr. King and to the left of Andy Young:

I have a Masters in Urban Affairs from a Jesuit school called St. Louis University and am “all but dissertation” in my Ph.D. studies in political economics at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. My first dissertation manuscript came from research as a Fulbright Fellow in Tunisia 1972 and a National Science Foundation Fellow 1971, but was rejected by my department, which judged words like “cultural imperialism” as “symbolic violence” as too far-out left wing and unscholarly. So
I started a roofing company based on my high school and college work experience(my Father did not want me “tarnished” by association with tool and die workers(!), but allowed me to work with roofers. I had visions of turning my roofing skills into a Mondragon/Jaroslav Vanek inspired “Support Corporation” for webs of connected self-managed artisinal enterprise. Here’s a link to the first Community Roofing web site which has a short essay about this dream now coming true with Sweet Water and Community.

Here’s a couple of nice pictures of Community working with President Jimmy Carter’s Habitat for Humanity, which I hope to inspire to incorporate urban agriculture and aquaponics into their offerings.

There are dozens of platforms that chronicle various “moments” of the Milwaukee Renaissance and some of my partners’ contributions to the same. Here is an early draft of a flyer that captures some of this work I assembled back in 2006.

The power of the internet had much to do with victories involving:

  • Ted Seaver Street

  • Milwaukee Preservation Alliances founding and early victories

  • Founding of the Bay View Neighborhood Association and the Bay View “Renaissance”

  • Back-Street Historic Tours developed by Urban Anthropology

  • The Saving of the Soldiers Home

  • Blocking a Navy Battleship from permanent residence in Milwaukee’s harbor

  • Blocking an ill-conceived plan for Pabst Brewery

  • Blocking the widening of interstate freeways through our renewing city streets

Here is the best media coverage of the wiki site called Milwaukee Renaissance, a
movement magazine and resource.

What I Hope to Accomplish In Talks With Students

Dear Ann,

It is really my life-long commitment to social business and social enterprise that finds me in the urban agriculture industry/social movement. This quest for ennobling work that combined a chance to do my children justice, as my parents did me, with a commitment to the humanizing movements of our time, e.g. civil rights, peace, historic preservation, environmentalism, and now the urban agriculture movement, led me to start, back in 1974, a roofing company with nothing but skill and energy, i.e. Community Roofing, that was a lot more than just a roofing company!

Here’s a short essay on my visions of “worker managed co-ops” back in 1974.

It was small business, not a Ph.D. that enabled me to give my children their birthright. I was judged too radical back in 1972 because I believed concepts like “cultural imperialism as a form of ‘symbolic violence’” were worthy of serious consideration. My conservative Political Science department did not think there was such a thing as cultural imperialism back then.

Community Roofing has been the start-up work experience that has given rise to as many as 25 small custom artisinal shops that specialize in restoring, repairing, and “greening” old Milwaukee homes and buildings. It provided the resources for “The Milwaukee Renaissance,” on on-line “movement and social business magazine and resource,”

as well as for Sweet Water, which includes a mainstream social business, Sweet Water Organics, as well as a non-profit which is harvesting information for training and co-op development purposes.

There are about 10,000 pictures and paragraphs if one follows all of the links provided here:

A key reason I am absolutely thrilled to be visiting Indian cities is my vision of “cooperative global enterprise experiments” in social business and social enterprise, starting with “Urban Agriculture and Aquaponics TV.” I think there is no excuse for people to whine and complain about “The Media.”

We can be our own media! With facebook, youtube, and increasingly accessible video technology, it’s not a question of money that keeps people from connecting their businesses, enterprise, and social movements across the planet in illuminating and entertaining media. It’s “The Spirit!”

I believe we are poised for a great breakthrough toward sustainable abundance and more graceful urban living, given the power of the internet to connect us across boundaries of identity and geography, and the spread of “small is beautiful” “Budhist economics” advanced a generation ago by one of my heroes, Schumacher, in “Small Is Beautiful.”

It will be my great pleasure and honor to share stories, visions, and concepts about ways to start one’s own business and social enterprise. I have only been learning about sweet soil and sweet water art and science these past 5 years. But I have spent a lifetime doing small business and movement work, since my first lawn care, snow shoveling, and errand running business back around 1954.

“Bring me my bow of burnished gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariots of fire!
(Blake, I think, which I’m told Gandhi enjoyed)

I hope increasing numbers of Indian students and youth will not settle for a life in a job that is merely a job to make some money. In the way that I pray, I pray I can offer some support, in my meetings this trip, but also in facebook and internet connections on up through my 100th birthday, for their quest of work that is a “calling” and source of meaning, joy, and relevance for the existential challenges we face.



On Fri, May 27, 2011 at 1:39 AM, Seshadri Anne L <> wrote:

Would you be able to provide a few lines that we can use to promote a talk by you focusing on your expertise at turning a good idea into reality, something generic and catchy that will enable us to reach the widest possible audience? We do have some interest in ag. and environment but I want the audience to benefit from you almost as a motivational speaker and activist, if that works for you.

Last edited by Tyler Schuster. Based on work by godsil and Godsil.  Page last modified on May 27, 2011

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