Night School: The Case for Optimism: Radicals and Progressives Take on Trumpist Nihilism

We can all see the empire coming, and we want to strike back.

Is it enough to say ‘NO’?

What are we fighting for? How do we take the initiative back?

The truth is we already have the initiative. Once progressives and the counterculture challenged the competitive society of materialism and dehumanization, inequality and alienation, hierarchies and disempowerment, distraction and inauthenticity, the conservative movement began mobilizing to stop us.

The internal hemorrhaging of geopolitical empire is a catastrophe for victims everywhere who will suffer its wrath-filled decline. Experiencing a pervasive sense of threat, many urgently seek to mount an opposition to the present assault on American institutions and the American (and many other) people. What is less clear is what the fight is for. Many wonder, is there even a vision for viable alternative? We must not let the empire suck our dreams from us. We must recall that American society refocused its fateful slide into domination and violence following the 1960s. After progressives and the counterculture challenged mainstream American life, immersed in materialism and consumerism, inequality and alienation and disconnection, hierarchies and disempowerment and loss of dignity, nihilist distraction and interdiction of genuine selfhood and community, many saw this was not a way to live and live well, certainly not in a time of post-industrial productivity where all can have more of what they need, and justice can be done, here and elsewhere, perhaps everywhere.

When progressives and radicals punctured the myth of the immaculate system and it started lurching and taking in water, conservatives and reactionaries bailed out and attacked and assaulted their very own system. Ironically, it has been liberals and even progressives who have returned to the defense of the system, the very system they were the first to insist needed wholesale change. Young people see the deeper rot in the system, and the lives of meaninglessness and desperation it offers and demands – and do not simply seek a return to pre-Trump or even pre-Reagan ‘normalcy.’

THE TIME OF VISION HAS COME: Our issue is the moral quality of our lives and communities and the opportunities to nurture and harness the power every one of us has for a life of realization, meaning, and contribution. We are entering a great experimental age – discovering new kinds of relations, work and play lives, temples and churches and communions, communities, families and education and the raising of children in just and empowering ways. This is a great age for envisioning, inviting us to explore hopeful and engaging ways to live. If we can then live these experiments boldly and mutually, share them, report on them, network and become them, we will find that vision indeed inhabits the land in new and compelling ways.

Join us for a Night School discussion as we welcome James Block, author, political theorist, and professor of political science at DePaul University in Chicago.

Sunday, May 28 at 6pm
Riverwest Public House Cooperative
815 E Locust St.
Milwaukee, WI 53212

Night School: Affordable Housing

Can we find a home for everyone?

Can we be a city where everyone has a great place to live at a price they can afford, or is this a utopian fantasy?

Join the discussion: Sunday, April 2 at 6:00 at the Riverwest Public House

Can we learn from other cities’ affordable housing strategies? Can we start creating tomorrow’s affordable housing with existing tools? Is the community a passive recipient of unaffordable housing, or can the community demand something better?

This event is organized by Milwaukee Community Land Trust, a not for profit organization seeking to use the community land trust model to permanently solve Milwaukee’s housing problems. This event is hosted by the Riverwest Public House as part of our Night School series, a community education program.

Night School – RCA Explores Co-op Finances

Hello All Cooperative Peoples!

The Riverwest Cooperative Alliance in cooperation with the Riverwest Public House invite you to a March Night School.

Join us for a financial excursion into the books of the Riverwest Public House.
An introduction to the profit and loss statements of a business by looking at and discussing pre-prepared statements and then collectively navigating the program (quickbooks) commonly used to generate live reports and discuss.

Join Tracey, Don, and Peyton to learn some basics about the statements and software used by business and how we can then analyze the information and create reports to better understand operations and make decisions.

Board members, workers, members of area cooperatives, this is for you!

Interested in starting a co-op or becoming more involved with other co-ops, get a little taste of the financial aspect!

Sunday, March 5th at the Riverwest Public House 6-8pm!

The Public House is turning 5!

The Public House is turning 5 years old on March 17th, and you should be proud. You’re part of the reason we’ve made it five years. A lot of businesses don’t make it that long. And let’s be honest, not everyone thought we could do it:

(click for larger version)

To celebrate, we’ve got a whole month of amazing events. But the real treat this year is the week of programming dedicated to amplifying the 5 Year Anniversary message.

From Saturday, 3/12 to Friday 3/18, we have a strong sampling of the shenanigans that have made this place what it is. Saturday March 12 is a Pants Off Dance Off, Sunday has a Night School Sex Ed for Adults featuring the adventures of a youth sexual health educator followed by a show with KP&ME, The Pukes, and Abby Jeanne Rebel Love. Monday the 14th is a special edition of Karaoke modeled after that TV show The Voice, with our own panel of celebrity judges. Tuesday and Wednesday will have some weird stuff you’ll just have to sit tight for the details on. Thursday is our huge 5 year anniversary member party with classics from the Squeezettes, a set on the heavier side from Power Wagon, and the styilngs of Thistledown Thunders. The week rounds out with The Midwest Drag King Spring Fling on Friday.

A lot of the folks who are reading this aren’t active members (meaning your membership is due for renewal). If that’s the case, this month is the best time ever to join or renew your membership. Why, you ask? Because for March only, here’s what you get:
– One free tap beer for every new/renewal member
– One coupon good for one free admission to any show.
– If a current member brings in a new member, you both get a free beer. We call that “friends with benefits”
– If a current member pays up to a lifetime membership, you get a choice of a free shirt, tank, tote, or pint glasses.
– Everyone who buys/renews will be automatically entered into a raffle. There are three prize packages:

  1. Pizza Party: 2 pizzas / 6 free drinks
  2. Dranks: 2 free empty pint glasses / 4 free drinks
  3. Swag Bag: shirt, button, stickers, pint glass, tote bag.

– Temporary membership card
– New member packet with info about the bar, the neighborhood, and cooperatives.
– Bell gets rung and you get your very own round of applause

We really do appreciate all the love and support that has come our way over the years. Riverwest is the best!

To kick off the month, Tyranena Brewing Company will be taking over Public House taps tonight from 6pm to 9pm.
They’ll be raffling off 6 packs of beer to take home and some Tyranena swag. The line up:
– The Devil Made Me Do It! Coffee Imperial Oatmeal Porter
– Down ‘N Dirty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
– Hop Whore Imperial IPA – Bitter Woman IPA
– The Wrath of Rocky Imperial Brown Ale

See you there!!

Love and Solidarity,

Your Riverwest Public House Cooperative


Night School: 3 Part Series – The Intersectionality of Homelessness

Part I: Sunday, December 8th at 4pm 

In Homelessness You Find all of the Ills of Society

Part One of the Series, “In Homelessess you can find all of the Ills of Society,” will be a discussion surrounding the problem of homelessness in Milwaukee and will feature speakers from various backgrounds who are currently struggling or have struggled with homelessness. The conversation will also include the most updated information surrounding the Step by Step Collective’s current Drop-In Center Initiative and how we as a community can address these issues collectively and holistically.

**Part II: Sunday January 12th
Homelessness and Sexual Assault

**Part III: Sunday February 9th
The Working Homeless

The Step By Step Collective is a group of community members focused on bringing awareness to trans and cis women’s issues in Milwaukee. The current Community Housing Inititative aims to reclaim a vacant, public space and to transform it into a drop-in center for single trans/cis women and families struggling with homelessness. We are focused on creating community-driven, sustainable homeless solutions in the city of Milwaukee while simultaneously addressing the root causes of the issue on a political and cultural level.

A Conversation About Placemaking with Linda Pollack and Sara Daleiden

Tuesday, December 3rd at 6pm, FREE, 21+ (unless accompanied by a parent)

The Riverwest Public House Cooperative, Greater Milwaukee Committee, and
MKE<->LAX present a conversation between Linda Pollack and Sara Daleiden, who both have practices based in Los Angeles that focus on the arts, the economy and cultural exchange. Linda and Sara will explore national tendencies with placemaking through major funders such as ArtPlace America’s Innovation Grants and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)’s Our Town Grants. Linda will share a Midwestern iteration of her project My Daily Constitution generated in Indianapolis as a case study of placemaking in extension of a public art dialogue. With My Daily Constitution, Linda generates an expressive public platform for conversation about democracy, where an active interpretation of the U.S. Constitution connects to the values of a local place.

Linda Pollack is the creator of My Daily Constitution which was initiated for the “Democracy When?” exhibition at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in 2002. The project came as a response to the political and cultural climate in the United States after the initial shock of 9/11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act. Continuing her investigation into the culture of democracy, Linda brings together innovators, the People, and the U.S. Constitution into public conversations to explore the U.S. Constitution as a living document that affects our daily lives.

Sara Daleiden is the director of MKE<->LAX which investigates cultural exchange between two American regions, with Milwaukee and Los Angeles as epicenters, through residencies and public programs focused on the arts in both places. MKE<->LAX creates conditions for social interactions in developing landscapes with an emphasis on regional poetics and expansion of market. She currently works as a consultant for the placemaking initiative ‘Creational Trails funded by ArtPlace America. ‘Creational Trails has an open Call for Performance Ideas available to residents of Harambee, Riverwest and nearby neighborhoods.

Night School: How Do We Build Community? Sept 8th at 7pm

Steve Jerbi, pastor at All People’s Church, will be leading a discussion on how we, as people, can help each other and ourselves build community. The event is free and open to the public (21+ unless accompanied by a parent), and comes on the heels of an uptick in crime in our neighborhood. Timing aside, the reason this event came to be was because somebody asked for it on our “Writing On The Wall” workshop at our Annual General Meeting last June. Please join us.

This event was originally scheduled for Sept 1, but has been moved to Sept 8th.


Night School: West Virginia Mine Wars

Sunday April 28
$3-5 suggested donation
[no one turned away for lack of funds]

Blair Pathways is a multi-media project which uses music and narrative to tell the story of the West Virginia Mine Wars (1900-1921). The story is told through a series of historic music pieces, covered by contemporary musicians, which take the listener step-by-step through the main events and themes of these wars. The CD features 20 tracks along with a fold-out map, which coordinates track numbers to the geographic sites of each historic moment. On our website, this same map links to short essays which detail each historic moment, and explain the thematic connection to the musical piece.

The West Virginia Mine Wars were, undoubtedly, some of the largest and longest-lasting labor battles in the history of the United States. Between 1900 and 1921, three major periods of conflict arose: the Fayette/Kanawha strikes of 1902, the Paint Creek/Cabin Creek Strikes of 1912-1913 and the Mingo-Logan Wars of 1919-1921. These conflicts were spread across southern West Virginia, which was the nation’s preeminent producer of bituminous coal in the early 20th century. These conflicts culminated with a week-long militant uprising in August of 1921, involving over 10,000 men and women. Much of the fighting was focused at Blair Mountain in Logan County. Blair Mountain currently meets standards to qualify as a national historic battle site, but sadly faces threats from mountain-top removal mining. Money from sales of the CD will go to benefit Friends of Blair Mountain (FOBM), a non-profit working to save the Blair Mountain battlefield site.

NIGHT SCHOOL: WISCONSIN MINE RESISTANCE – The Chippewa Spearfishing and Boatlanding Witness story

No Penokee Mine Poster

Presentation by Rick Whaley and Friends. Rick Whaley was active in the movement which heroically protected Native Spearfishers threatened by racist vigilantes in the Ceded Territories of northern Wisconsin during the late 1980s/early 1990s. He was an organizer for the boatlanding Witness for Non-Violence and is co-author with Walt Bresette of Walleye Warriors: The Chippewa Treaty Rights Story. Following the dramatic reading and reenactment, including music, there will be a discussion and updates on the Bad River/Penokee Hills struggle to stop the G-Tac mine, and an update on Chippewa spearing and cultural food-sovereignty rights today.

This event will also have Potluck Food at 5:45 PM; Liquid Refreshments for purchase at the bar. Bring your own plate and eating utensil. This is Part 3 of Night School at Riverwest Public House.

ADMISSION IS FREE, BUT YOU MUST BE age 21 or older to attend (unless with a parent).