At El Kilombo Intergaláctico, we are dedicated to bringing together people from student, low-income, and people of color communities to tackle the challenges we face in Durham, NC. We believe politics is an everyday practice of making and re-making our own lives on our own terms, rather than appealing to an outside force for concessions to better our lives. We therefore make decisions democratically in a community assembly and work cooperatively to build concrete solutions that meet our needs regarding health, work, housing, food, learning, and more. Our Social Center houses our many Programs and is the space out of which we have created various Projects. Simultaneous with our efforts in Durham, we are connecting with others around the country and world to create alternatives to a global capitalist system premised on exploitation, theft, displacement, and repression.
We see the tragic inadequacy of single-issue campaigns, solidarity and charity groups, NGOs unaccountable to communities, and professionalized activist identities. Instead we need self-organized communities with the collective and democratic capacity to determine their own future and connect with others.
El Kilombo is rooted in our community assembly, the decision-making body of our organization. The assembly evaluates the programs at the center, discusses the needs of our community, makes decisions about program changes and innovations, establishes commissions (e.g. the health commission or community garden commission), and designates tasks. The community assembly is made up of people who have participated in our programs and studied in our seminars for a period of time, and who also have some commission responsibilities. All of our programs and projects are motivated by the following pillars:
We create spaces for communities with distinct experiences of exploitation and resistance–such as students and people of color communities in Durham–to meet and get to know each other. Listening and learning through encounter allows for the creation of ways to act effectively in common without erasing our differences.
Connect with others through daily programs in our social center, community dinners, the circulation of translations and writings, our Website, Radio Kilombo, PaperBoat Press, the Book Tour, and a Speaker Series.
After encountering each other, we need ways to decide together. In our community assembly, we make decisions democratically and work cooperatively to determine the future of our community. Our decision-making body refuses the representation of leaders and instead requires the collective participation of all the individuals who participate in our programs.
Strengthen our community assembly, nurture the formation of our youth assembly, and improve practices and processes of cooperative work and decision-making.
We do not ask or wait for our rights to be granted but work to implement our own decisions. Autonomy means recognizing that we already have the capacity to realize our needs and desires. We are building community-determined institutions based in collective production (governing, health, education, food, housing, etc.).
Build Community-Determined Institutions like a Health Clinic, Community Garden, Cooperative Housing, and Cooperative Employment.
Neoliberal capitalism privatizes, commercializes, and militarizes public space. The foreclosure crisis and gentrification spatially destroy community, displacing poor, working class and people of color residents to the periphery of cities. Durham, NC is no exception. We therefore fight to secure territory cared for and enjoyed in common.
Secure a permanent building for El Kilombo, form a low-income Housing Cooperative, fight the privatization of our public neighborhood park, host an annual Community Festival in the neighborhood park, and research Durham as a Globalized City.
The sharing of skills and knowledge is a deliberate part of our daily practice. This includes not just technical skills and knowledges but the capacity to work together, listen, and communicate. Our emphasis on capacitation on allows more and more people to directly sustain and coordinate all aspects of our organization.
Increase our Community’s Knowledges and Skills through English and Spanish Classes, Seminars, Technology Access and Computer Literacy, Kids’ Literacy, a Lending Library and more.
Intellectual work and the creation of new ideas play a central role in our striving to create new worlds. We must analyze the changing situations in which we find ourselves, recovering histories and traditions of struggle through which we build a future and envision new ways of living.
Develop spaces for study, analysis, and circulation of information and ideas through Spanish and English Seminars, Translations and Writings, our Website, Radio Kilombo, PaperBoat Press, the Book Tour, and a Community Speaker Series.