Vincent Emanuele is a co-founder of PARC (which stands for Politics, Art, Roots and Culture), a community cultural center in Michigan City, Indiana, USA. Michigan City is a economically-devastated rust-belt city about 50 miles southeast of Chicago on Lake Michigan. According to a recent survey, over half of the population is surviving month-by-month, with considerable violence on the streets and in the homes of people. With people feeling a deep social alienation and resulting individual isolation, PARC is an effort to rebuild community while supporting efforts to politically organize to change the local social situation with the goal of taking local power and prioritizing the needs of working class and poor people.

In this presentation, Vince talks about the social situation in small towns in Indiana like Michigan City, and an innovative effort of self-organization by residents called OUR MC: Organized and United Residents of Michigan City. This is one of the most conscious efforts in the US to build a political project based on a group’s values and visions, intended to build a multi-racial organization that can overcome this social alienation, while building support among black and white working class and poor to take political power, and Vince talks about how this work has gone over the past two and a half years. It is based on a level of thoughtfulness that is fairly rare among the US left, and gives a picture of the country that is not what one will find on CNN!

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