2011 Bookfair Workshops

Click here for 2011's Workshop Schedule


2011 Bookfair Workshops:



Descriptions and Presenter Bios


Academia Speaks: Anarchist Paper Presentations

The world of research and academia often gives space for certain voices and ideas but not others. Academic conferences work in the same way, and can be exclusionary spaces where credentials come first. This workshop will give five researchers the chance to share their important work outside of the setting of a traditional academic conference. Each speaker will present on their paper for about 15 minutes and then answer questions. 

Molly Geidel  - "Neoliberal Development and Indigenous Resistance in Bolivia"

Molly's dissertation is about the 1960s Peace Corps and the impact of its heroic-developmentalist ideology on radical movements in the sixties and beyond. While researching the Peace Corps’ 1971 expulsion from Bolivia, she became part of El Colectivo 2, an anarchist research collective based in La Paz.

Molly has a ph.d in American studies from BU and teaches at Harvard and UMass Boston.

James​ Herod - "Making Decisions Amongst Assemblies"

Jake Carman - "Nine Years of Anarchist Agitation: The History of the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement (2001-2010) and other Essays" (Book Talk)

BAAM, a general Boston anarchist union, formed in the weeks after September 11, 2001. At a time when most of the left was afraid to speak out, this coalition brought together anarchists of various stripes to present an organized opposition to the War on Terror. Called at various points "Boston Anarchists Against Militarism," "the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement," and simply "the pleasant sound of authoritarianism being smashed,"  BAAM continued until August/September of 2010. In the course of that decade, as the political climate and social reality changed and evolved, so did the group. The victories and failures, and the analysis and lessons from the time period are useful to today's activists and organizers as they ponder "where do we go from here?"

Jake Carman is a member of Common Struggle - Libertarian Communist Federation and the Industrial Workers of the World. He became involved in BAAM and the anarchist community at the age of sixteen when the war in Iraq started, in March of 2003. Since then he has participated energetically in the anarchist community and Boston movements, helping to found the Cambridge School of Weston Anarchist Social Club, the Emerson Anti-Authoritarians, the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society, the Allston/Brighton Neighborhood Assembly, and the Northeast Anarchist Network, and participating in many other groups and projects. 

Jeff Stein - "La Lucha Larga: Militant Resistance to Mining in Peru"

Jeff has been involved in anti-authoritarian organizing since the age of 16. He spent 6 months in 2011 researching resistance to mining in Peru. He has been a participant in Black and Pink, the BU anti-authoritarians, anti-biolab organizing, the Northeast Anarchist Network, and local, national, and international street medic work.

Romina Akemi "The Woman Question or Feminism? Russian Visions and Radical Thought"

When envisioning Russian radical history, most people reference the Bolsheviks and the Russian Revolution, while others may note Russian émigrés like Emma Goldman. Most are unaware of the long revolutionary history the shook Russia throughout the 19th century. In my paper, "The Woman Question or Feminism? Russian Visions and Radical Thought," I focus on the evolution of the nigilistka, or the female nihilist. While nihilism was not initially associated with anarchism or socialism, over the course of political experiences, most would gravitate towards anarchism and others towards Marxism. From the 1861 student strikes, followed by the creation of communes, and experiencing harsh government repression--the radical youth of the 1860s would evolve into the revolutionary youth of the 1870s. By 1872, the Russian populist organization, the All-Russian Social-Revolutionary organization, was formed and quickly began a "go-to-the-people" campaign to spread their ideas amongst the peasantry and the new working-class. Women nihilists became a leading force behind this movement. Women like Vera Figner, Sofia Perovskaya to Vera Zasulich would become infamous nihilist figures and set the groundwork for future revolutionary women.

Romina is a masters student at Tufts, studying history with a focus in Latin America.


Anarchism 101

Anarchism 101 is an introduction to the histories and theories of different types of anarchisms. We will emphasize how anarchist organizations and actions put into practice anarchist values.

Tristan Husby is a PhD. student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a member of the NYC based group Practical Anarchy. His writings have appeared in Perspectives on Anarchist Theory and Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies. 

Elias Naser hails originally from Los Angeles, and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Elias is also a member of Practical Anarchy as well as a collective member of New York City's Anarchist Book Fair. He is always looking to motivate individuals to seek their freedom through Anarchist theory.


Anarchism Abroad: Connecting Struggles, Building Solidarity

Anarchists play crucial roles in social movements across the world. To better organize and win victories, we should learn from the struggles and successes of our counterparts, as well as explore ways to actively link movements across boundaries and oceans. Oppressive forces and institutions are global in reach -- so must our liberation movements be as well.

Noam Lekach is an Israeli activist and member of the direct action group, Anarchists against the Wall. The main work of the group is to support popular struggles against the Israeli apartheid wall in different Palestinian villages. Noam is currently a BA student in Brandeis and is a co-president of Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine.

Carlos is visiting from Malaga, Spain, where he has been involved in a number of radical autonomous groups.  In Spain, he and others have participated in the movement to squat buildings for open and public use. Carlos is also experienced in using these squats for self managed and horizontal assemblies.

Josh Savala has been active in a variety of struggles for the better part of a decade. Since moving to Boston, he has been active with the Student Immigrant Movement, and is currently organizing with the Tufts Occupiers group, while finishing an MA in History.  His research focuses mostly on Chilean labor history in the beginning of the 20th century, when anarchists were the central part of the labor movement.  Josh has also organized solidarity actions with the Chilean student movement, including a protest against President Sebastián Piñera.


Egypt: Prospects of Revolution and Quagmires of State Structure

On the 25th of January 2011, the Egyptian people were in revolt. On the 28th, the police withdrew, and the state virtually dissolved, leaving people to arrange their collective lives on their own. However, at the same time, the army deployed to the streets in order to protect state institutions. Through a 3 week sit-in in Tahrir, the state was paralyzed, but was it taken over or dissolved? Was it left intact? How did the Egyptian revolution relate to state structure? How did this affect the outcomes of the revolution? Where does this leave us now, as the revolution is far from complete, and the various oppressive state apparatuses are making a come back in full force?

Ahmed Diaa Dardir is PhD Student in Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University, who is working on the formations of the self in relationship to the state.  He received an MA in Political Theory from the American University of Beirut and a BA in Political Science (minor in Theatre) from the American University in Cairo


Especifismo: An Approach to Organizing from Brazil and Uruguay

Especifismo is one of the two main forms of anarchist activism championed by FARJ (Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro) and other South American anarchist organizations, the other being social insertion. Especifismo emerged as a result of anarchist experiences in South America over the last half of the 20th century starting with the Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU), which was founded in 1956 by anarchists who saw the need for an organization which was specifically anarchist. Especifismo has been summarized as: The need for specifically anarchist organization built around a unity of ideas and praxis, the use of the specifically anarchist organization to theorize and develop strategic political and organizing work, active involvement in and building of autonomous and popular social movements via social insertion.

Colin O'Malley has been engaged in student and worker organizing since 2000, after involvement in Buffalo NY's anti-globalization organizing. After 5 years with United Students Against Sweathops, organizing a successful drive of campus janitors, Colin went to study with the worker and anarchist movements or Argentina. On return, convinced on the importance of anarchist organization, he helped to build Buffalo Class Action, and in recent months dedicated himself to the formation of Rochester Red & Black. Both organizations have been developed along especifista lines.


The FBI: From COINTELPRO to Post-9/11 Repression

This workshop directly follows a 2:00 film screening on the FBI's COINTELPRO program of counter-intelligence against social justice groups.

Nancy Murray is the Educational Director of the Massachusetts ACLU.


Fighting Fascism in the 21st Century

In recent years, there has been increased efforts and new tactics on the part of racist groups to gain mainstream acceptance and influence, even using people of color to advance their ideas, but the effort falls apart when we are aware and vigilant against them. Unfortunately, a lot of us are not as educated on today's tactics and would avoid the fight, in effect creating a climate that brings back threats to communities of color as well as those of faiths they try to hurt. If the fascist right are changing their tactics, we must as well. This workshop will help attendees build new approaches among the left against those fascist circles. They will learn how to identify people working in right/far right/racist circles and how to combat them. It also will show how to navigate around those on the left discouraging others from this important fight.

Daryle Lamont Jenkins is the co-founder and spokesperson for One People's Project, an anti-racist watchdog organization that monitors and reports on right-wing activity. Established in 2000 in the aftermath of a racist rally in Morristown, NJ, One People's Project maintains records and information of not only racist groups but the individuals as well. It is OPP's intent to make certain that these groups are not allowed to function in any capacity.


Fracking in Pennsylvania

An overview of what the process of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale entails, including a breakdown of the Oil & Ga$ industry greenwashing.  Including but not limited to: a walk through of the process, greenwashing vs. reality, political and corporate ties, resistance and victories, where the campaign is at right now, and what we can do from here to tie a more cohesive movement together and build more strength as a community against fossil fuel extraction.

Presented by Deirdre Lally, Susquehanna Valley/Marcellus Earth First!er who lives and organizes in the gaslands of northeast PA


#OccupyEverything: Occupy Wallstreet, Boston, and Beyond

Bruce Paul is a Bay Area native who now resides in Oakland. There, he has been working on various different projects including The Holdout, a social center in West Oakland as well as various campaigns against how austerity has been affecting Oakland specifically. He has also been involved with Occupy Oakland from the first meeting and has tried to be at the camp as much as possible - his "normal" life is non-existent.

Brandon B began organizing while in college during the anti-war days, was radicalized during the '06 Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) campaign, and lost all hope at the RNC '08. He has worked with numerous social justice groups, held many signs, and yelled relentlessly at buildings, cops, and other oppressive institutions.  After moving to Boston in the summer of 2009, Brandon became active with with Food Not Bombs, as well as other anarchist based initiatives.  Participating at Occupy Boston since its inception,  he has spent every day at Dewey Square working with the Food Working group, Financial Accountability Working Group (FAWG), Transparency Working Group, White Allies Working Group, Logistics, Winterization, and others.

Fulvia Serra is an activist and a philosophy teacher who grew up in Italy and studied in Siena with Mario Tronti and Maria Luisa Boccia. Before moving to the States, she taught a seminar on power in the Political Philosophy department at the University of Siena, was part of the feminist group Matri_x, based at the University of Rome and published her fictional and non fictional writings on publications like Il Manifesto, DWF and Bailamme. When she moved to the States she immediately got involved with the Wooden Shoe and now cooperates with the Defenestrator and is part of the Food for All Collective. For OccupyPhilly, she put together the website RadoccupyPhilly, to try and reflect the anarchists perspectives on the movement.

Katie Sheldon is a labor activist, alum of the BU Anti-Authoritarian Collective, and a volunteer on the Occupy Boston legal working group.



Political Prisoners and Government Oppression


Dr. Tamer A. Mehanna: Born in Virginia to Egyptian parents, Dr. Tamer Mehanna is the brother of Muslim prisoner Dr. Tarek Mehanna.  Tamer currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts, where he works in the pharmaceutical and biotech management consulting industry.  When his brother was arrested in 2009, Dr. Mehanna rallied the support of thousands of people with the help of a group of associates that today constitute the Tarek Mehanna Support Committee.  The Committee is the core steering group for the Free Tarek Campaign, a broad based grass roots movement to bring greater attention not only to the true facts and realities of the case being fabricated against his brother Tarek, but also to the cases of other Muslims who face similar circumstances in the United States without their own support mechanisms.  


Radical Adventures in History: Boston Style!

Bob D'attilio is a historian largely concerned with radicalism among the italian-americans-in particular with the sacco vanzetti case: its history and its aftermath. He is currently associated with the sacco and vanzetti commemorative society which is trying to place the gutzon borglum memorial plaque to their memory in an appropriate north end location.

Ritch Navin and

 Susie Husted has been an activist in the New England region for more than a dozen years. She has been a part of the organizing of multiple large public actions, such as protests, marches, conferences, festivals and teach-ins -- including the Boston Social Forum, regional anti-war demonstrations, the IVAW Winter Solider Testimonies, Food not Bombs 10


Resistance in Appalachia: The Fight for Environmental Justice

This workshop is an examination of contemporary resistance to mountaintop removal in Appalachia. It uses this past June's March on Blair Mountain as a lens through which to examine the intersection of the labor movement and environmental movements in Appalachia. The workshop will also discuss the environmental, health and economic impacts of mountaintop removal in Appalachia and touch on current campaigns working to oppose it.

Wren Awry is a Boston-based solidarity activist who has lived and worked in Appalachia for much of the past two years. They spent a year working with a direct action campaign in West Virginia's Coal River Valley and organized with the media team for the March on Blair Mountain. They have written about resistance to mountaintop removal for the Earth First! Journal, It's Getting Hot in Here and Make/Shift Magazine, among other publications.

Fern Greenleaf grew up in Gloucester, MA, where she spent more time in the ghost town at the center of the cape than she did downtown. fern currently organizes with RAMPS, Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival, a group that uses nonviolent direct action to confront strip mining in southern West Virginia. In RAMPS' most recent action, fern had luck to be able to spend 30 days in a tree on the edge of a minesite. Fern loves wandering, wondering, wild things, writing, and rodents.

Ace Whatstheirface is a student of Peace and Justice Studies at Wellesley College. They are a Boston based solidarity activist who has worked in Appalachia with Mountain Justice, RAMPS, March on Blair Mountain, and the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards. 


Seattle & Boston Solidarity Networks: Direct Action and Mutual Aid for the Win!

Inspired by the success of the Seattle Solidarity Network www.seasol.net, a number of organizations across the country have emerged under the banner of the solidarity network. Organizing in similar ways, these all-volunteer groups defend the interests of all people against abuses through a variety of direct action tactics, such as pickets or occupations.   Join the the Boston Solidarity Network for a discussion of this strategy for winning against bosses, landlords and beyond. For more information, please email bostonsolidarity@gmail.com

Presented by the Boston Solidarity Network


Summit Strategy

This workshop will provide an explanation of the current situation for the G8/NATO, RNC, and DNC Summits, and discuss what we can do in Boston to start organizing for them!

Jeff from the Lowercase Collective (Chicago) will be presenting.



Student Power: Organizing and Envisioning Democracy in Higher Education

For far too long contemporary student activism has been splintered along issue-based lines and caught up in small, isolated battles on each campus, fighting (however valiantly and often successfully) for relatively minor concessions from those who run their universities.

Organizing and campaigning for student power on campus not only crosses issue, race, party, and ideological lines, but it also lays the groundwork for future victories. Student power is a perfect example of prefigurative politics: If we want to create more democratic and liberated people, we need to make our institutions more democratic and libratory.

We’ll be exploring the history and tactics of student power campaigns, models such as radical student unionism, as well as engaging in a group imagining of what a more democratic and liberating university might look like.

This will be a very participatory workshop – nobody has all the answers, especially for a topic this complex and dynamic! Come prepared to share and discuss!

Patrick St. John is an organizer, graphic designer, filmmaker and writer based in Boston. Patrick has organized at the high school, university, and grad school level, and is currently writing a book on student power. He tweets at @forstudentpower and writes at forstudentpower.org & patrickstjohn.org.

Surviving and Resisting Psychiatry: Questioning the Mainstream and Non-consensual

Few of us have been untouched by the psychiatric system, and yet too few of us have the tools to examine psychiatric discourse and praxis. This panel combines (i) personal experience; (ii) an Anarchist interpretation of the statism and capitalism of psychiatry; (iii) a deconstruction of psychiatric ideology; (iv) presentation of a new framework for understanding psychiatric recovery as an area of liberatory struggle in which survivors have developed systems of mutual aid as an alternative to psychiatry. We will also provide an annotated bibliography to all participants.

Rachel Sommer-Hays has been a part of developing programs of mutual aid for people involved in the Boston mental health system, and works in Boston to protect and expand psychiatric civil rights. She has presented numerous workshops on recovery-oriented principles and practices, and greatly looks forward to the opportunity to connect her professional and personal work with her politics and the anarchist community.


Tools and Tricks for Unlocking Things (CANCELLED)

Sometimes the worst happens: you've locked yourself out of your car, your house, you've forgotten your email password, you've forgotten your hotel keys, etc. This workshop will present tools and tricks for regaining access to your stuff!

Oona Klemser will be presenting.


Trans Communities & Experiences: An Introduction for Anarchists & Labor Activists

Trans issues are labor issues. Although the trans population comprises many different genders, means of gender expression, and experiences of oppression, the oppression itself is universal; consequently, trans people across the globe have some of the highest rates of poverty, homelessness, workplace discrimination, abuse, rape, murder, and unsafe sex work. Unfortunately, current 'LGBT' rights campaigns do little to educate the public about trans people, and even radical groups wind up in the dark about basic trans awareness, etiquette, and other elements that would make radical spaces feel welcoming to trans individuals. This workshop will cover those basics, inform activists in detail about what trans people face, debunk some common misunderstandings, and answer any questions that participants have. Please note that this workshop will openly discuss sexual violence."

Devon Jones is a writer, activist, and retail worker. After having studied philosophy and linguistics at Bard College, he's lived in Boston since 2009, currently residing in Dorchester with his husband and their three cats. With his 'long form' gender identity being something like 'femme pseudopolygender transsexual guy,' he has been physically transitioning for about a year.

Zoe Simone will be presenting.


Understanding Radical Queer/Trans History!

Every movement for revolutionary change has included queer/trans people, whether they were recognized as such or not.  We will spend our time together learning about organizations like the underground group George Jackson Brigade, the struggles between gender-nonconforming soldiers during the US Civil War, the role of the FBI in the 1970s Gay Liberation movement, the assimilationist vs. radical homophile organizations of the 1950s, and more.  The focus will be on U.S. history and the workshop will be very participatory, think 1990s Double Dare game show.  

Jason Lydon is a white-anti-racist, prison abolitionist, anarchist pastor for the Community Church of Boston in Massachusetts.  He organizes around issues impacting queer/trans people and those most impacted by the far reaches of the prison industrial complex.  Jason can also be found riding his bike around town or catching a rest by the Charles River.


Making Economic Democracy Real in the Moment: A Panel on Worker Run Cooperatives

As the occupation movement spreads, not just geographically, but spatially -- adapting direct democracy and its ethical foundations to new territory like the administration of education policy in NYC, urban planning and development in Baltimore, and other spheres well beyond the liberation of public space -- there are increasing murmurs around the nuts and bolts of bringing it to the economic sphere. But to the extent that anarchists in the contemporary era have rarely articulated social transformation beyond the parameters of protest and oppositional practices, dexterity with the practical means of constructing new economic forms or visions is limited. With the United Nations declaring 2021 the International Year of Cooperatives, an opportunity is afoot for making radically democratic interventions in mainstream conversations about the practice of economy. This panel will briefly explore these themes and (hopefully) host lively, vibrant discussion of them, as well.

Deric Shannon is an anarchist organizer who lives on the East Coast in the United States. He’s the co-editor of Contemporary Anarchist Studies (Routledge 2009) and "The Accumulation of Freedom: Writings on Anarchist Economics" (AK Press January, 2011) and co-author of "Political Sociology: Oppression, Resistance, and the State" (Pine Forge 2010). When he’s not writing and reading, he’s playing music with friends or organizing for a livable future.

Joshua Stephens was an organizer with the National Conference on Organized Resistance, and is a board member with the Institute for Anarchist Studies and a founding member of the Just Walk -- a worker owned petcare agency in DC, Baltimore, and New York. He's been active in direct action struggles around housing in Washington, DC and various international solidarity movements, particularly Palestine. He now lives in Brooklyn, NY and blogs from the Occupation Movement for the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

Blake Underwood is an activist, organizer, and full-time dogwalker based in Baltimore, Maryland. A founding member of Just Walk, and collective member at Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, his work currently centers around worker self-management, anti-gentrification, and fair urban development.



Workshop policy of the Boston Anarchist Bookfair:

The Boston Anarchist Bookfair affirms and promotes values of mutual aid, direct democracy, anti-authoritarianism, autonomy and solidarity. We reiterate our opposition to capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy, heterosexism, racism, colonialism, statism and all other forms of oppression; we will prohibit groups and individuals from tabling or presenting if they perpetuate or promote these attitudes.