Freedom News

“This Empire too will be Eclipsed”

from ItsGoingDown

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse crossed across the continent of North America, with the peak of its totality in Makanda, IL, 15 minutes south of Carbondale, IL. On April 8th, 2024, another total solar eclipse crossed through southern Illinois, with the paths of both eclipses intersecting right in Makanda, IL. On the eve of the first eclipse, a joyous march happened in Carbondale with a banner that read, “This Empire too will be Eclipsed.” After the first eclipse, a small group of earthlings took on a very serious mission to build autonomy between the eclipses in Southern Illinois. To not see the eclipses as the dumb movements of balls of rock and gas, but a deep invitation to build and fight for their dying region. This vision can be read more in depth here. But after seven long years, The Next Eclipse did, in fact, come.

On April 7th, 2024, on the eve of the Next Eclipse, a hundred or so marched out of the punk neighbourhood in Carbondale, IL and took the strip. As they marched, they banged on drums, played guitars, and made joyous music over chants of “We are the Next Eclipse”, “The End of the World; the Beginning of the Next”, “Free Palestine”, “Fuck Joe Biden”, and “America is over!” As the march proceeded around the strip, it grew to close to 300, gathering students, tourists, preps, punks, and more off the strip that was full of life for the first time in years. On the first lap, the march stopped in front of PKs, where a punk musical festival was taking place, and the participants sang an old folk song of resistance with modified lyrics, “The end of one world, the beginning of many. Which president? We don’t want any! We will build each other’s freedom. Carry it on, carry it on.”

The march did another lap around the strip and ended by dispensing back into the punk neighbourhood. While the march was a joyous celebration of the eclipse and the coming end of America, the march must also be understood as taking up a historic tradition that the police in Carbondale have tried their hardest to kill over the last four decades. For decades, the people of Carbondale joyously would close down the strip and make its use free to partygoers. Halloween was the grandest of these street takeover parties, stretching all the way from the late 70s to the year 2000. In the year 2000, as the police lost control of the party and streets once again, the pigs and the city finally banned Halloween for 18 long years, which coincided with the decline of the city and university.

This march on April 7th was the first massive taking of the strip for a festive party since the early 2000s and the largest march to take the strip unpermitted since the first night of the George Floyd Rebellion in 2020. The march proved the power of ordinary people to take the strip back and force the police to close highways for our joyous right to party and play there. Going forward, we hope the lesson has been learned that the strip belongs to us Carbondaliens and not the pigs or the crooks in City Hall. May the two glorious eclipses that have passed through our region be a reminder that the pigs and this empire one day too will be eclipsed!

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