The Boggs School and PEN Scotland...
The mission of the James and Grace Lee Boggs School is to nurture the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating just, productive, conscious, and ecologically sustainable communities. It is largely down to the work and vision of the late James and Grace Lee Boggs which has driven forward the school, alongside the Boggs Center.
PEN Scotland are delighted to have an ongoing relationship with the James and Grace Lee Boggs School stretching back to 2020.
On this page we have included information recommended by the Center's organisers which showcase their work, including information on publications and links to video and articles.
The Boggs Center...
In her autobiography, Living for Change (1998), Grace Lee Boggs recounts:
“In November 1994 I invited twenty-eight movement-oriented, theoretically minded African Americans to gather in Detroit to respond to the question, What Fire Can Younger Generation Catch from the Work of James Boggs? … One concrete idea that came out of the gathering was Alice Jennings’s suggestion that we create a James and Grace Lee Boggs Community Foundation to develop community leadership. [...] So far, the board has raised the money to purchase the house at 3061 Field Street, which has been the site of so many movement-building activities over the years…. We…are generally agreed that the center will be a Community Think Place and Visioning Center that through dialogues and multimedia will honor the work of community people, bring together elders and young people, and open up the minds especially of young people and children to rethink fundamental ideas about revolution, politics, and citizenship…”
The film American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs (Cherry Sky Pictures, 2014), offers a biography of this most remarkable thinker, activist and organiser. It plunges us into Boggs’s lifetime of vital thinking and action, traversing the major U.S. social movements over the course the second-half of the twentieth century: from labour struggles to civil rights, to Black Power, feminism, the Asian American and environmental justice movements and beyond. Boggs’s constantly evolving strategy – her willingness to re-evaluate and change tactics in relation to the world shifting around her – drives the story forward. It places Boggs's humanism at the forefront, offering hope and courage to all who share Boggs's vision of a better future.
James and Grace Lee Boggs, Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century (Monthly Review Press, 1974)
This book provides a concise and instructive review of the revolutions of the twentieth century, with separate chapters on the Russian, Chinese, Guinea-Bissau, and Vietnamese revolutions, in which the authors seek to extract the principle lessons from each of these struggles and the special course taken by each. In these and in a summary chapter on the dialectics of revolution the authors furnish a picture of the principal aspects of Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, and the other currents of Marxism active in the revolutions of our times. A second section is devoted to the United States, and begins with a survey of the class forces in American history from the settlement of the original thirteen colonies to the present, with special attention to the enslaved black population.
Nate File, 'Detrioters Are Not Waiting To Be Saved', Boston Review (21 April 2022).
Inspired by the work of James and Grace Lee Boggs, many young Detroit activists are turning to forms of mutual aid to meet the needs of their communities. This article from the Boston Review addresses the concept of 'mutual aid' and how a new generation of activists throughout Detroit -- a city ravaged by capitalism -- are fighting back by helping themselves.
In part a response to the decline of the motor industry in the city, and in part a response to the Covid-19 pandemic (where unemployment rates briefly shot up to 45% only 'improving' to 25% in July 2021, the self-help groups that emerged were based on the clear view that no one was coming to save their communities. The practical, mutual aid, is also a rejection of longstanding American ideas of individualism: “You don’t need all of these fancy words and collegiate dialect to ask, ‘yo, what do you need in your community?’”
Richard @ Boggs Center, by Sean Bonner. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License. Downloaded from https://www.flickr.com/photos/seanbonner/7853304836/in/photostream/
Grace Lee Boggs, by Castilibrary8. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License. Downloaded from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Lee_Boggs#/media/File:Grace_Lee_Boggs.jpg