Let’s talk about Cass and the cooperative movement, ARK, that he started in Philadelphia. This plot point is inspired by the 1985 police bombing of the house that sheltered the Black collective “MOVE.” Why do you think the police, among others, are so afraid of these types of movements? What did you think of the goals/mission of ARK? How did Cass’s controlling and sometimes abusive behavior undermine that mission? What differences/similarities did you see between ARK and the prepper commune we read about in The Survivalists? What good examples of community organizing have you witnessed in your own communities?
What questions do you have for Ayana Mathis? (We will be in conversation with her on November 30th, at 8 pm EST/5 pm PST. Register for the link.)
Policing is about maintaining power and control and the fear is that groups like MOVE and ARK will dismantle the power and control and why communities especially like the Philadelphia neighborhood in the novel are over policed. I think the goals of ARK (free medical care and food for the neighborhood and the children) were well intentioned but as is so often the case the goals weren't aligned with the neighborhoods identified needs. The best community organizing I have been involved with have been organized by those within the community that address micro/individual needs while also addressing the macro/systems issues that contribute the the need. Cass, as the charismatic leader in The Unsettled, was one of the missing pieces that wasn't as strong in The Survivalists, or was that because he was a man and the dominant leadership in The Survivalist was women? Still processing so much of this book and the characters. Interested to hear others thoughts.