American Decline

Detroit’s Anarcho-Progressive Homesteaded Community

By Karen De Coster

This is a fascinating video about a progressive-anarcho “grassroots movement” community in Detroit near 7 Mile and Woodward, called Fireweed Universal City. The “about” page reads:

Fireweed Universe-City is a grassroots, not-for-profit movement to transform a devastated, burned-out Detroit city neighborhood into a sustainable, eco-friendly, intentional community that will be the grounds for urban farming, residential and creative space for artists, healers, musicians, and like-minded, forward-thinking, progressive individuals, families, small businesses, and the surrounding community already in place.

It is a community of self-actualization where individuals are expected to contribute and live honestly, and those who don’t are eventually shunned. They live off the grid for the most part, with only minimal services. They homestead abandoned buildings, applying their love and labor to make the structures functional and livable. They do accept donations to help them rebuild the abandoned structures. They also run a neighborhood bicycle collective and use vacant lots for urban farming.

Legally, they mostly stay under the radar, though they have had interaction with police and the government bureaucracy. They appear to communicate that there has been no bureaucratic resistance to their homesteaded community. That is what makes Detroit so special right now – a lack of political officialdom in these areas of blight, allowing a spontaneous order to root and thrive. Yeah, they may be progressives and a wee bit different, but a peaceful, self-governed, spontaneous order knows no ideology or declared “normal.”

The young man being interviewed rode his bike all the way from San Francisco to embrace the opportunities found here in Detroit. This is cross-posted at my blog, “Detroit: From Rust to Riches.” Follow me on Twitter @karendecoster.

Leave a Reply