Brown Rd. is an autonomous collective in Albuquerque’s South Valley. Using the city’s discarded resources the way rural homesteaders use nature’s resources, Brown Rd. thrived for nearly a decade, contributing to local and global direct action, and providing a safehouse for activists, artists, and their ideas. Many got inspired by Brown Rd.’s gardens, poultry, solar heating and electricity, bicycle stuff, music, theatre, and art. Hundreds of visitors and guests contributed their labor and style over the years.
In June of 2004 a fire damaged Brown Rd., the neighbors’ property, and the adjoining bosque (riparian woods). The police and press accused Brown Rd. members of being bomb manufacturers, drug manufacturers, common criminals, and squatters. Many bomb squad, drug squad, and federal agents swarming over the property failed to accurately identify a “suspicious device” as a legal and safe biodiesel processor. With insinuations like that who needs evidence? All three co-owners of the property were charged with felony negligent arson.
One co-owner chose to testify at the grand jury hearing. In an ironic twist that activists will appreciate, the grand jury sided with the Collective and threw out the case in less than two hours. Felony charges against the remaining co-owners dissolved into the ether.
In the aftermath of the fire and subsequent legal and political fracas, the Brown Rd. Collective is dissolving. Still united and committed to seeing the work initiated there carried on, Brown Rd is looking for a new ownership group to purchase the collective. Interested ones may contact Lu at email@example.com.