2015 Workshop Schedule
Saturday April 18 at Judson Memorial Church
The Rojava Revolution” A State-less Liberation in Northern Syria (Assembly Hall)
This panel discussion will look at the history of the Kurdish struggle (from a radical perspective): how and why the Rojava revolution happened in Northern Syria, what is going on today, and how anarchists in the US can support this unique and impressive radical social experiment by 2.5 million ordinary people in war-torn Syria—the most ambitious liberatory social experiment since the Spanish Civil War. This presentation will explain the context and theoretical roots of Rojava, including the role anarchism has played in shaping the revolution. We will also be collecting books to be donated to the Mesopotamian Academy, the first university in Rojava.
Jerry Koch (facilitator) is co-editor of A Small Key Can Open a Large Door (Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness, 2015), the first US book on the Rojava Revolution. The panel will be hosted by Rojava Solidarity-NYC, an anarchist collective that has been doing Rojava support work since last summer.
For further information about this panel, contact Smokey, (347) 768-9763, .
Anarchism and Animal Liberation: The Persistence of Speciesism Among Otherwise Thoughtful People (Garden Room)
A talk on the inconsistencies still prevalent among anarchists concerning speciesism, leading into a discussion of the issues surrounding animal exploitation—particularly among those who otherwise claim to harbor concerns about hierarchy, rights of the oppressed, and the ecology of a dying planet.
Dr. Jerry Vlasak is an American animal rights activist and former trauma surgeon. He is a press officer for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, a former director of the Animal Defense League of Los Angeles, and an advisor to SPEAK, the Voice for the Animals.
For further information about this talk, contact Will Hazlitt, Press Officer, North American Animal Liberation Press, (914) 361-9455, , or visit animalliberationpressoffice.org.
An Expanding Security Apparatus: Counterinsurgency and Uncompromising Resistance to Oil and Gas Extraction (Balcony)
This presentation aims to evaluate the growing threat posed by industry and the state, while highlighting ongoing ecological direct action and indigenous resistance to oil and gas projects. Over the past several years, oil and gas extraction on Turtle Island (North America) has grown dramatically. With calls for “domestic” energy and jobs, Tar Sands oil and hydraulic fracturing have created a new economic “boom” that threatens all life. At the same time, the oil and gas industry has been expanding its security apparatus to curtail the proliferation of uncompromising resistance through the incorporation of military psy-ops, counterinsurgency training, and collaboration with law enforcement. We will finish the session by opening up for dialogue about how these struggles can adapt to changing terrain, drawing parallels between green anarchy, indigenous resistance, and ecological direct action.
Roger, a longtime Earth First! organizer, mostly focuses on resistance to hydrofracking and gas infrastructure, along with old-growth forest defense. As a green anarchist, he has also been active in anti-police and student organizing.
Since the Bristol Riots: The Informal Anarchist Federation, the Earth Liberation Front, and the Angry Foxes Cell in the UK (New School)
A multimedia overview of guerrilla sabotage in the UK by anarchist groups striking blows in defense of our planet and our autonomy. While very active in recent years, information about these movements has been slow to cross the Atlantic.
Leslie James Pickering is a co-owner of Burning Books, a friendly local radical bookstore in his hometown of Buffalo, NY. He was formerly spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front Press Office.
For further information about this talk, contact Leslie James Pickering, (716) 881-0791 or (716) 604-4552.
The Brooklyn Solidarity Network: Anarchism in Practice (Assembly Hall)
The Brooklyn Solidarity Network is an organization designed to build revolutionary solidarity among Brooklyn residents. We exercise solidarity through direct action against the capitalist exploitation of our friends and neighbors. Members will discuss their project to build strategies in which land, housing, and industry are communalized by demonstrating working anarchism in Brooklyn.
For more information about this panel, contact Brooklyn Solidarity at or visit https://brooklynsolidarity.org/.
A Talk by Lenny Foster (Garden Room)
Lenny Foster, a Diné activist, was a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and among those who occupied Wounded Knee in 1973. Over 30 years ago, he developed the Navajo Nation Corrections Project and today travels to prisons around the Southwest, where he conducts sweat lodges and pipe ceremonies for Native American prisoners and any others who wish to attend. He is the spiritual adviser for many hundreds of these prisoners, who rely on him for counsel and guidance. He has testified at UN conferences on indigenous issues on such topics as sacred sites.
For further information about this talk, contact , (646) 429-2059.
Books that Burn: Radical Publishing Today and Tomorrow? (Balcony)
A panel discussion with three anarchist/radical publishing houses, addressing why radical publishing is still relevant and how it can survive going forward.
Smokey (facilitator) is a co-founder, author, and editor of Combustion Books. Suzanne Shaffer has been a member of the AK Press collective since 2005. B. Traven is a participant in the underground publishing group CrimethInc.
For further information about this panel, contact Smokey, (347) 768-9763, .
South Sudan’s Slow Liberation (New School)
A presentation about South Sudan, and African country that became independent in 2011 after many decades of liberation war, and why national independence failed to end the violence. Often that violence is explained as “tribal” or “ethnic” conflict—an explanation that simplifies and conceals the rapid economic and social changes that were
brought about by South Sudan’s harsh incorporation into the capitalist world economy and its long 19th and 20th century wars.
This presentation will look at the revolution through local stories: of cattle-keepers trying to navigate a new economy where food is not just grown or raised by households but is bought, looted, or allocated by humanitarian agencies; of town people trying to get an education and to persuade the government (the country’s biggest employer) to give them a job. Edward Thomas, author of the new book South Sudan: A Slow Liberation (Zed Books, 2015), lived in Sudan and South Sudan for a decade—as a school teacher, human rights worker, and researcher. He is now based inLondon, working as a freelance writer and living in a group house based on anarchist principles.
For more information about this talk, contact Eddie at .
Decentralism, Direct Democracy, and Federalism (Assembly Hall)
Is a decentralized society technically and technologically possible? How would it be presented in a radical popular movement? Wayne Price discusses the concept and practicality of a radically decentralized society, with special reference to the radical ecological/anti-climate change movement and demands for worker self-management in industry.
Wayne Price is a long-time writer, union activist, and theoretician in the anarchist and libertarian socialist movements. He has written three books on anarchism and Marxism and many articles forwww.Anarkismo.net. He is currently a member (not a spokesperson for) NYC System Change Not Climate Change.
For further information about this talk, contact Wayne Price, , (718)543-4971.
Meet the anti-fascist opposition! (Garden Room)
In the face of an epidemic of racist police killings and a history of white supremacist terrorism, there has been a resurgence of resistance in the US. How can anarchist and anti-fascist organizing contribute to this resistance? In Europe, meanwhile, the rise of the far right and violent hate groups challenges anarchist anti-racists to confront fascist groups. This panel brings together voices and reports from the front lines of anti-racist resistance to the police state and white supremacist terror to discuss the dangers of a new global threat of fascism. We are the opposition!
Immigrant Anarchism in New York City, 1880-1945 (Balcony)
This workshop highlights the multiethnic, transnational, and internationalist character of the anarchist movement in New York City during the late 19th-early 20th century. Among the topics will be the Italian and Jewish anarchist traditions, anarchist feminism—its theory and practice—and the memoirs of Helene Minkin, a Jewish anarchist who became the partner of Johann Most. Our main goal is to uncover the lost histories of American anarchism and bring attention to the multilingual anarchist materials, often obscure or neglected by scholars, and, by doing so, show the difficulty and importance of researching the anarchist past.
Marcella Bencivenni is Associate Professor of History at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York and author of Italian Immigrant Radical Culture: The Idealism of the Sovversivi in the United States, 1880-1940 (New York University Press, 2011, 2014). Tom Goyens teaches American History at Salisbury University, Maryland. He is the author of Beer and the Revolution: The German Anarchist Movement in New York City, 1880-1914 (Illinois, 2007) and editor of Helene Minkin’s Storm in My Heart: Memories from the Widow of Johann Most (AK Press, 2015). Jennifer Guglielmo is an associate professor of history at Smith College and the author of Living the Revolution: Italian Women’s Resistance and Radicalism in New York City, 1880-1945. She is currently translating short essays written in Italian by immigrant women anarchists in early 20th century New York City and northeastern New Jersey, which will be reprinted in her next book, My Rebellious Heart. Kenyon Zimmer is an assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington. He has written numerous articles on immigration and anarchism, and is the author of Immigrants Against the State: Yiddish and Italian Anarchism in America, appearing this summer from University of Illinois Press.
For more information on this panel, contact Marcella Bencivenni at .
The Past, Present, and Future of Anarchist Propaganda in Chile (New School)
Panel description TBA
Felipe Valenzuela hails from Santiago, Chile. He is a founding member of the Productora de Communicacion Social (Social Media Studio), and since 2006 has been producing a semi-regular anarchist video-zine, Sinapsis. Felipe is also an active member of the Sociedad de Resistencia de Santiago, which hosts various talks on anarchism and topics of interest to anarchists. In his free time, he likes to practice trapeze, pet stray dogs, and ride his bicycle.
For more information about this talk, contact Felipe at .
Jean Vigo and the Anarchist Eye: A Film Screening and Discussion (Assembly Hall)
David Weir will present a screening of anarchist filmmaker Jean Vigo’s film, Zéro de conduit (Zero for Conduct, 1933) and discuss his recently published book, Jean Vigo and the Anarchist Eye (On Our Own Authority!, 2015). He will discuss the film’s relationship to anarchist politics and pedagogy and Vigo’s personal family history in the anarchist movement.
David Weir is professor of comparative literature at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He is the author of Anarchy and Culture: The Aesthetic Politics of Modernism (University of Massachusetts Press, 1997) and American Orient: Imagining the East from the Colonial Era through the Twentieth Century (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011), among other books.
Mujeres Libres: Identity, Community, Sexuality, and Power (Garden Room)
Mujeres Libres is one of the great stories of the Spanish Civil War. An organization founded by Spanish women, it aimed to emancipate women from their “triple enslavement to ignorance, to capital, and as women.” During its less than three years of existence, it mobilized over 20,000 women in activities designed to empower individual women while building a sense of community. This talk will locate Mujeres Libres within the context of the broader anarcho-syndicalist movement in Spain at the time and look specifically at the ways that questions of sexuality (understood broadly, to include access to information about bodies, birth control, sexual health, maternity, prostitution, and homosexuality) were dealt with both within the movement and within Mujeres Libres.
Martha Acklesberg is the author of Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for Women’s Emancipation (AK Press, 2004), and many articles on issues of gender and sexuality in the Spanish anarchist movement in the years before and during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). She has also published Resisting Citizenship: Feminist Essays in Politics, Community and Democracy and is currently engaged in exploring the politics of historical memory in contemporary Spain.
For further information about this talk, contact Martha Ackelsberg at or phone (646) 559-2582 or (413) 923-1504 (cell).
JamZine (Jamming Fanzine) (Balcony)
With reuse paper (printed on one side and clean on the other) collected at work, home, or school/college, collective work and many ideas, you can build a printed original on a low budget. For this workshop, bring your ideas, pictures, stories, texts, scissors, magazines, newspapers, photos, stickers, or whatever you imagine you can use, to build a fanzine and distribute it on the day of the book fair.
Marcelo Arroyave’s relationship with anarchism was born in college, with a theoretical approach that later became direct action. Over time, the inertia of direct action led him to work with fanzines in which he expressed what anarchism has taught him. After college, he worked as editor of a magazine that was produced with no reliance on trade or monetary exchange.
Marcuse and Bakunin, Magón and Benjamin: Investigating Mutual Affinities (New School)
This talk examines the close affinities among four important radicals, two of them renowned Russian and Mexican anarchists—Mikhail Bakunin and Ricardo Flores Magón—and the other two German critical theorists, Herbert Marcuse and Walter Benjamin. Marcuse and Bakunin shared a common passion for Hegelian dialectics, the radical negation of the status quo, and the critique of Karl Marx, while Magón and Benjamin shared an enthusiasm for journalism and the written word in subverting bourgeois society. We will review their mutual affinities and consider their meaning for anarchist and anti-systemic struggles today, particularly in ecology, feminism, and global anti-authoritarianism.
Javier Sethness Castro is the author of Imperiled Life: Revolution against Climate Catastrophe (Institute for Anarchist Studies/AK Press, 2012) and For a Free Nature: Critical Theory, Social Ecology, and Post-Developmentalism (Lambert Academic Publishing, 2013). He recently completed a draft manuscript of a political and intellectual biography of Herbert Marcuse, and a Spanish translation of his first book,Clima, Ecocidio y Revolución, will soon be published with Bloque Libertario/Revuelta Epistémica in Mexico.
For further information about this talk, contact Javier at , (323) 775-7820, or visit https://intlibecosoc.wordpress.com.
What Makes a Queer Relationship Queer? (Garden Room)
Practicing relationships that don’t fit neatly into the heteronormative model is an anarchistic approach to relationships. But what makes a queer relationship queer? What makes it successful? This presentation and discussion highlights the Queer Relationships Project (www.queerrelationships.org), a new online resources archive and oral history project aimed at making models, theories, and practices easily accessible and visible. We will share some things the organizers have learned so far and hear about your experiences, challenges, inspiration, and dreams. The goal of the Queer Relationships Project is to help deconstruct the hierarchies that frame them as deviant, subordinate, and/or oppositional to more “conventional” forms.
Disco is a local activist and community organizer in the queer and Radical Fairies communities in New York City, whose personal journey of exploring different relationships has been an exciting part of living in a queer community. These experiences, together with multiple discussions with friends, lovers, and family, inspired the Queer Relationships Project.
For further information about this presentation and the Queer Relationships Project, contact Disco at: .
Spreading the Anarchist Movement (Balcony)
From middle America to the Mideast, disenchantment with the state and capitalism is reaching new heights. But mobilizing people’s outrage behind a new vision of a free society is not a simple matter. How can anarchists build on the greater visibility that anarchist ideas have achieved in recent years, and the growing interest in non-hierarchical, anti-statist, directly democratic organizing, to once again become a mass movement? Is this possible? How can we achieve it, while making sure that anarchism remains a diverse and decentralized movement?
Irina C. (moderator) is a longtime organizer, writer, teacher, and movement lawyer based in Vancouver/Unceded Coast Salish Territories. She speaks and works from a deep interest in building viable infrastructure to support and nurture movements for radical social transformation, particularly in North America and the Balkans. Eric Laursen is an independent journalist, organizer, and anarchist writer and publicist. He is the author, most recently, of The People’s Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan (AK Press, 2012). He is a member of Agency, an anarchist PR project that promotes contemporary anarchist perspectives and practices through commentary on current events, media relations, and educational campaigns. B. Traven is a participant in the underground publishing group Crimethinc., which last year launched To Change Everything, a multimedia outreach project intended to introduce anarchist ideas to the general public.
For more information about this panel, contact Ryan Only, Managing Editor, Agency, , www.anarchistagency.com.
Victor Serge and the Revolutionary Illusion (New School)
Translator Mitchell Abidor discusses his new anthology of Victor Serge’s anarchist writings, Anarchists Never Surrender (PM Press, 2015). Instead of looking at Serge’s later critique of anarchism, he will use the writings of the younger, individualist anarchist Serge to critique his later positions and provide answers to the questions he posed in the 30’s and 40’s about how the Russian Revolution went wrong and about the revolutionary enterprise in general.
Mitchell Abidor has translated dozens of key anarchist works for the Marxists Internet Archive, including Libertad, Sebastien Faure, Louise Michel, Bakunin, Han Ryner, Ravachol, and Emile Henry as well as forthcoming volumes on the Paris Commune (Voices of the Paris Commune) and the propagandists of the deed (Death to the Bourgeoisie).
For additional information about this talk and the related book, contact Mitch Abidor at .
Change of time: Sunday April 19 – 11:00am – 1:30pm
Title: Anarchist Convergence
With the appearance of a contemporary anti-state region in Rojava, the vehemence of recent anti-police movement across the US, and global disengagement with/mistrust in hierarchical governance, the time seems ripe for anarchist systems of organization. We would like to call this convergence so that geographically separated anarchists can meet face-to-face and discuss their projects and ideas for driving the movement forward. We want to welcome groups and spaces from out of town and look forward to learning from you and sharing the strategies behind NYC-based projects.