2016 Talks

The following talks are planned for the book fair this year.

And these two are nearby at Pipsqueak:

10:30 – 11:30

No Tolerance 4 Rape Culture

No Tolerance 4 Rape Culture is an intersectional activist network and community formed to dismantle the systems of oppression that contribute to rape culture within musical and artistic social spheres. We are action and education oriented to most effectively accumulate and distribute accessible tools to create safer spaces for marginalized people.

After Sacramento: Antifa Resistance and the Rise of the Far Right

Eugene Antifa

As the Trump phenomenon continues to galvanize far right groups across the country, stoking the flames of white supremacy, xenophobia, and Islamaphobia, Antifa resistance has taken a firm stance against the further institutionalization of neofascism in American politics and culture. Most notable among the recent anti-Trump protests was the scene played out in Sacramento on June 26th, where white supremacist groups were effectively barred from rallying at the state capital by Antifa resistance—a scene that ended with several Antifa comrades being stabbed. In the wake of the event, discussions about violence and first amendment rights have saturated social media threads, and the phenomenon of “doxxing” has become a tactic utilized by those on both the right and the Left.

Racism and fascism are nothing new in American politics and culture, but in recent years they have taken on new forms and found new outlets for spreading their ideology. In this talk, we will explore the rise of far right groups such as the Traditionalist Workers Party, the Alt Right, and the 3 Percenter movement, as well as the emerging culture of the far right in response to Trump’s rise in mainstream politics. We will also explore strategies for responding to the further recruitment, organization, and institutionalization of the far right, both as a means of stopping neofascism in its tracks and of building toward a more unified vision of the Left. 

11:45 – 12:45

Tools That Cut Both Ways: Thoughts on Anarchist History and Publishing

Shawn Wilbur

There is an approach to the study of the anarchist tradition that focuses on the process of documentation, with the guiding assumption being that at least one of the ways that we can put our history to use in the present is simply by confronting it in all its diversity. History is messy and, as a result, a continued engagement with anarchist history is one guard against the solidification of nominally anarchist ideology. With projects like Corvus Editions and the Libertarian Labyrinth archives, I’ve probably been as ardent a champion of that approach as anyone in recent memory. And I like to think that there have been some real positive, practical results from the years of saying, over and over again, “But wait! There’s more! Anarchism’s possibilities are far from exhausted!” That said, I’ve also had a very intimate experience of the strategy’s failures and incapacities.

One of the successes of the long campaign was that a few years back I became sufficiently known as someone who knew things about anarchist history that presses started wanting to turn some of that knowledge into “real books”—and not just little, insignificant books. Suddenly, I found myself in a position where I could not help shaping the reception and understanding of some very prominent figures and central texts. I had been pretty cozy being the champion of figures like Sidney Morse, Eliphalet Kimball, Jenny d’Héricourt and “He who was Ganneau.” Work on Proudhon has been less cozy, certainly, but increasingly satisfying in a personal way, while the public impacts follow their own much slower course. All of that fit well in the life I have been eking out.

Then, out of the blue, I was the editor—and pretty much the whole team, if truth be told—of the collected works of Bakunin in English. I was preparing new editions of “God and the State” and Nettlau’s “Short History.” I had potential outlets for my Proudhon translations. And Déjacque. And Ravachol. I had the opportunity to produce a mass-market introduction to anarchism. And, of course, I had a chance to weigh in on the question of Emma Goldman and feminism.

The transition from working at the margins of both anarchist publishing and anarchist history to work somewhere much closer to the core of both involved a lot of complicated rethinking about the uses of the tradition for practical purposes. I want to talk about some of the new projects, the process of turning them from Corvus-style document collections to “real books,” and the standard that I have been developing for judging when a work of anarchist history or theory is really finished and ready to be unleashed upon the world.

I started with a sort of general question: “Is this a tool yet?” It has always seemed necessary, if I was going to bring a manuscript to a publisher, that it have a fairly clear use, adapted to present or foreseeable future problems. But as I wrestled with the revisionist elements in some of the projects, the criterion became a bit more specific: “Does it cut both ways?”

To “cut both ways,” in this context, means that not only does the work of history provide some means of dealing with present, “real-world” problem, but it does so in a way that at least has a fighting change of clarifying what it means to confront present problems as an anarchist. Sometimes that means confronting problems in the anarchist tradition itself. Sometimes that simply means updating old analyses. And sometimes, finally, it simply means recognizing our entertainments and consolations as such and presenting them accordingly.

This talk—which I hope will fairly rapidly become a conversation—is, first, an opportunity to introduce the new Emma Goldman anthology, Anarchy and the Sex Question, and to preview some forthcoming books, but it is also a sort of explanation and position-taking regarding the work that I do as a writer, translator, archivist, publisher, etc. If you’ve ever wondered just what is driving my various projects, well, I’m right there with you sometimes—but I think perhaps I’m ready to explain.

Animal Resistance, Solidarity & Liberation

No New Animal Lab

No New Animal Lab has been the largest grassroots animal liberation campaign in the United States in over a decade. Drawing from the history of pressure campaigns such as SHAC, built on a foundation of horizontal networking, embracing tactical diversity, and strengthening our solidarity through radical coalition building, No New Animal Lab became the vehicle for the resurgent U.S. animal liberation movement, emerging after decades of repression and cooptation. This presentation will focus on this history and how it has shaped the organizing model of No New Animal Lab. The campaign will serve as a case study for a more effective and uncompromising movement for animal liberation in the United States. This presentation will provide a lens into the current state of the movement, critiquing the internal and external barriers that we face, and outlining a path forward to realize animal liberation.

1:00 – 2:30

APOC and QPOC Against All Oppressions Decolonizing Caucus

APOC, QPOC LGBTQ, POC Lefty radical alternative folks autonomous People Of Color, Indigenous and Mixed Race ONLY caucus &h; meet up. Against All Oppressions for Decolonizing our personal experiences in being marginalized and profiled both in society, our alternative living communities and in the radical Left. Common spaces & community where we should be welcomed but somehow & times treated as the Other, or for some disconnected to our people and roots due to our white passing identity. This may be general treatment that leaves us with feelings of inadequacies to people not liking you or don’t want to work with you, maybe due to hidden or undiscovered ethnocentrism which is the legacy of our shared colonization.

APOC (Autonomous People Of Color) was started at the 2003 APOC Detroit conference, then Hurricane Katrina happened which drew away all our POC folks for support. So, we restarted from a national call-out for it to be at the 2008 Bay Area Book Fair for APOC, QPOC and POC radical & alternative folks that felt marginalized by main white anarchy-left. It manifested into all the APOC and Decolonize organizing from all these years since.

2:45 – 4:15

Autonomy in Syria

Our goal is to promote a more nuanced analysis of all revolutionary activity in Syria, including Rojava as well as liberated Syria, and beyond. The presentation will include a portion of the documentary concerning the Syrian revolution by Spanish anarchists found here.

Outline:

  1. Welcome
    1. Decolonizing anarchism opening – “what if” questions
    2. Describe the overall scope and goal of the presentation.
    3. Lay out guidelines and principles for discussion.
  2. Brief presentation of Democratic Confederalism in Rojava
    1. Goals/vision
    2. Examples
  3. Brief presentation on liberated Syria (should it be liberated syria or revolutionary syria?)
    1. Goals/vision
    2. Examples
      1. Omar Aziz
      2. LCC’s
      3. Movie clip?
  4. Discussion Questions
      1. We started out this conversation by considering different scenarios and how they complicate the realities of revolution. Revolutions are messy and made up of imperfect people – how do we come to terms with that? Especially when we are not of the culture or society, but are in many cases colonizers of it?
      2. How do we walk the line of being critical of movements while supporting people in building new (realities? Systems? A new world?) for themselves?
      3. Challenge support predicated upon ideas of perfection

Examples from Rojava and from other revolutionary groups in Syria are imperfect, and what can we learn from their experiments?

Why the Bolivarian Revolution Failed and Why We Should Care

Clifton Ross

Clifton Ross is a former supporter of the Bolivarian process under the late Hugo Chávez who shifted his support to the social movement and left opposition in the spring of 2013 (See the article published here, at counterpunch.org).

The Bolivarian “Revolution” under Hugo Chávez proposed to revive the moribund concept of socialism in the twenty-first century and he drew supporters not only from what remained of the traditional left, but also from social movement activists of the World Social Forum, autonomists and even much of the anarchist and libertarian left throughout Latin America and the world. In the first phase of the Bolivarian project, Chávez proposed direct, participatory and “protagonistic” democracy to replace the old corrupt (what he called “false”) representative democracy and apparently favored local control of the economy. He drew on libertarian thinkers when he argued for the “Socialism of the Twenty-First Century” which he suggested would be based on cooperatives and “co-management” of large industries rather than nationalized industries and a centralized economy under state command. He proposed local rule under community councils that he funded and these would eventually, he suggested, be the basis for a “Communal State.” This would become known as “Petrosocialism, an economy funded by oil revenue rather than a “new mode of production.” This money would be used to fund not only the development of Venezuela (“endogenous development”) but also to build “Latin American Unity” with projects like ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), Petrocaribe (subsidized oil to Latin American neighbors) as well as to fund political parties in Spain (Podemos) and other international initiatives (UNASUR, Banco del Sur, Telesur, etc) and to mold public opinion in the U.S. and the UK.

Despite oil prices well over $100/barrel, there wasn’t enough money to fund all these ambitions and by 2008 Chávez’s project was faltering so by 2008 he began to borrow on future sales of oil, thus taking the country deeply into debt. As the cooperatives had failed, Chávez began expropriating and nationalizing industries, placing trusted generals and other military figures in control of the enterprises and the state, and he began to increase state power over the economy as a whole. At the same time he had begun to increase his control over the media and further consolidating control over all branches of government by using his power to rule by decree. Gradually, the “Socialism of the 21st Century” began to look like its predecessor of the 20th century.

The leftists who supported the Bolivarians are responding to the crisis in various ways. Some continue to find ways to defend a government widely seen as corrupt and incompetent and unable to meet its most basic obligations, such as ensuring its citizens have access to food, clean water and other elements of modern life such as functional cities, etc. They do this by denying or minimizing the current problems of the country or by blaming them on “the oligarchy” or “the imperialists” for “economic warfare.” Given the US actions in the Cold War, especially against Arbenz (Guatemala, 1954) and Allende (Chile, 1973) and Castro (Cuba,1961- the present), such assertions might seem valid, were they supported by some evidence, but the bulk of the evidence places responsibility for the collapse in Venezuela and the unfolding humanitarian disaster on the Bolivarian government. Ross will offer an alternative social movement left critique of the failure of the Bolivarian Revolution in this presentation.

The failure of the Bolivarian Revolution raises questions about what sort of realistic alternative economic proposals, if any, the broad left has to offer to the modern, heterogeneous urban world; questions about where we need to focus our attention to effect change in our world; about whether or not a “revolutionary process” can be introduced top-down; what a “revolutionary process” would look like in the present; and why did those of us (including this writer) on the libertarian left decide to support the Bolivarian process in the first place? Finally, Ross focuses on the failure of the Venezuelan social movements to question power (Chávez) and of international social movements to support social movements within Venezuela when they did push for change, such as during the student uprising in February 2014.

4:30 – 6:00

Everything is in Utter Chaos: The Situation is Excellent

El Errante (pzs)

A review of anarchist tactics and practice from Canada (Hamilton, Ontario), France (Paris, the ZAD, Nantes) and Brazil (São Paulo): Communes, Contestation and Camaraderie.

The workshop will discuss my most recent travels through North America, the Northern European continent and South America. Topics will include reviews of pre-insurrectionary organizational forms known as collectives, cooperatives, occupations or the more generic, communes. Of interest in the discussion of these organizations includes the dialectic of structure versus structurelessness, decision-making processes, participant responsibilities, induction and orientation of new communards, and characteristics specific to each social and environmental milieux from which they arise. The various types of contestation that were observed will be described; street actions, props, weapons, personal protective gear, resource acquisition and allocation, manipulation of space for security, tactical considerations, and recruitment and training of fighters and militia. Particular attention will be paid to the tactical innovations of the French milieu known alternately as the appellistes, the Invisible Committee or the Tiqqunists. While their theoretical material is a tangle, much of their practical work has proven extremely effective and should be studied and perhaps utilized by North American anarchists. Finally, principles and mechanisms of camaraderie, engagement and discourse were observed and the impact of these less belligerent activities have also shown to be effective in communicating basic ideas of anarchism to unaffiliated radicals, and folks looking for political ideas that make sense to the individual, a philosophy that that fits. No small task in an age where most democratic political forms produce in intelligent individuals only disgust and loathing.

Attica Prison Strike Info

Free Us All

The 45th anniversary of the Attica uprising, Attica Day National Prisoners Strike Sept 9th, 2016

Prisoners across the US have called for a nationally coordinated work stoppage and prison strike starting on Sept 9th, 2016, the 45th anniversary of the Attica uprising.

Prisoners are organizing this strike in order to put an end to prison slavery. Many prisoners are forced to work for little or no pay. The 13th amendment to the US Constitution legally allows continued slavery in US prisons. It states, “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall havebeen duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”

Slavery is still alive and well in the prison system. This is a call to support prisoners in ending slavery in America.

In order to help the efforts of these prisoners organizing nationwide, please spread the word about September 9th to those you know behind bars and to supporters on the outside.

More information about how to support this effort as well as frequently asked questions about the strike can be found at https://supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org/sept-9-2016/.

At Pipsqueak:

11:00 – 1:00

Stay Safe, Stay Dangerous: Protest Safety/ Less Than Lethal Weapons Primer

Puget Sound Medic Collective will offer a basic workshop on how to stay
safe and protect each other in the streets. While this is NOT a first aid
or street medic training, it is intended to give folx some idea of the
forms of less than lethal weapons we’ve experienced in Seattle and provide
a basic understanding of best practices for treatment. We hope to provide
context to the history and ethos of street medic work, excite interest in
learning more about direct action medical skills…and you’ll get to
practice an eye wash!

2:45 – 4:15

Amanda Schemkes, Attorney & Grassroots Organizer

This workshop will cover the constitutional “rights” that are most relevant
to protesters (and how to assert those “rights”), tips for dealing with law
enforcement encounters, and security culture basics to keep your community
safer.