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Zali Zalkind – Butterside Down Cooperative

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Zali Zalkind

To combine the language of Ed Abby and James Scott, I’m somewhere between a hill person and a desert rat.  Raised on the top of a mountain in the Yavapai National Forest in rural central Arizona, I was home-schooled for round about the first decade of my life.  I mainly hung out in the bushes eating manzanita berries if I wasn’t doing sculpture or traveling to art festivals with my folks.  My mom’s a bit of a zen food jew from Boston and the closest my pop’s ever come to describing himself is as a quaker rastafarian, but I think he was being ironic.  Beyond the specific, I think the major contribution and influence that I carry with me from growing up is both the visceral experience and deep understanding that humans can and do live outside of corporate and state structures, that we are self directed peoples that have every capacity to create our own realities and our own trajectories, that security is illusory, and that doing ones own work is primary.

I wound up dropping-out of high school, where my primary identity and activity was as a musician, because of constant harassment by the authorities and also because high school is a complete waste of time.  I remember I got banned from using school amenities after announcing a meeting of “anarchists for peace” over the intercom.  I could have graduated but failed Phys.Ed. due to too many absences (I was taking classes at the local college that conflicted with my school schedule).

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