2012 Workshops

Below were the workshops for our 2012 Bookfair. Click here for our 2011 workshops!

 

Descriptions and Presenter Bios






 

For dates and times of the workshops go to the "Schedule page"

 

Activism in the Archives

In “Archival Activism: Independent and Community-led Archives, Radical Public History

and the Heritage Professions,” Andrew Flinn states that instead of being objective, archival
practice is “political, loaded with meaning, pressures, and consequences.” 1

This presentation addresses the potential for the archive to serve as a space for political
and radical action. Archives and libraries hold a place in many societies as institutional
keepers of history, memory, and cultural heritage. But, although there are many stories to
tell, most of these institutions are working within mainstream narratives that privilege the
dominant culture, and so stories are left untold.

However, there are ways to make archives and libraries more open and relevant to all
communities. In this session we plan to engage the audience in exploring some of these
possibilities.

The presentation will include a short introduction to these issues and then will engage in a
mutual discussion and idea-share with the audience. Some things we will talk about:
1. What are archives and how are they relevant to us?
2. Whose stories are being told?
3. In what ways are archives political?
4.. How can archivists, other informational professionals, and community members work
towards making archives more representative of underserved groups?

Ana Knezevic, Dominique Medal, Talya Feldman-Stern, Patti Condon, Emily Gonzalez, and Vanessa Reyes are archives students in the Graduate School of Library and INformation Science at Simmons College


 

 

Art and Revolt in Mexico

Sublevarte Collectivo, a group of graphics creators, emerged during the student movement of 1999-2000 at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (National Autonomous University of Mexico). Its work is the result of the solidarity and accompaniment of several struggles of resistance. The collective will present some of them, and the graphics used to join and support them; like the Zapatista movement, which represents the ideological base of the collective; the struggle to defend the land in San Salvador Atenco, and the resistance of the people of Oaxaca.
Sublevarte has kept a horizontal way of working, and has built close ties with many collectives in Mexico to collaborate with them. Also, it has participated in many of the expressions of resistance through Mexico.

 


 

Community Accountability and Transformative Justice

This workshop will focus on community accountability and transformative justice, specifically addressing constructive means of fostering a culture of everyday consent, accountability, and support. Anarchism is a project of community building and it is our collective responsibility to confront and transform the way oppressive systems manifest themselves in our collective and individual lives. This workshop will offer concrete and tangible recourses for implementing our vision of a liberatory society.

 


 

Eco Defense Panel: 

Hear from activists on the front lines of the ecological resistance, from occupying blockades and sabotaging machines to grassroots organizing and producing independent media. Discuss the history of environmental direct action.


Analyze the potential future of a movement dedicated to stopping the expansion of industrial civilization.
Find out how you can get involved. This presentation includes photo slides, and a talk hosted by editors of the Earth First! Journal, a movement publication in print over 30 years. There will also be a large selection of Earth First! literature and merchandise available.

With members of Maine Earth First!, Hudson Valley EF!, the Earth First! Journal and RAMPS:

Panagioti Tsolkas Current editor on the EF! Journal collective and EF! activist organizer since 1997. From 2000-2004 he was a trainer for the Ruckus Society. In 2004 he ran for the Mayor of Lake Worth, Florida, as an anarchist propaganda campaign (accidentally getting 1.35% of the vote, just enough to help bump 4-time incumbent real estate developer out of office). Tsolkas was named ‘Troublemaker of the Year’ in 2009 and ‘Activist of the Year’ for 2010 by New Times magazine (Broward/Palm Beach edition). He has no formal education past 10th grade--diploma-free and proud.

Jordan Davis  is an activist organizer with Hudson Valley Earth First! working chiefly on fighting hydro-fracking and gas infrastructure. He was on the planning committee for the 2012 Round River Rendezvous in the Marcellus Shale this past summer

 



CULTURE CLASH:  COLONIALISM, CORPORATISM AND CREATIVITY

 This workshop combines a lively discussion/lecture on the real history of HipHopculture from it's humble beginnings in the slums of the South Bronx , with a hands on workshop where attendants are taught to create there own "resistance rhymes" while simultaneously gaining/learning a new respect and reverence for the art of Rap.

Local to Global Connections: with social struggles of black and brown movements for liberation.

Performances (within workshop presentation)

Creations/Activities:Autonomous Cipher (freestyle session), Group Design (the shared creation - collective project).

Not4Prophet:The emcee/singer/graffiti artist/writer and all around agitator known as(not4)Prophet was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and came up on the streets of East Harlem and the South Bronx, NYC. As a teen-ager he was homeless, and(then) a squatter. He went on to form(ulate) and front the underground anti-corporate political punk/hip hop/salsa/reggae fusion band known as RICANSTRUCTION, as well as the radical agithop group called X-Vandals, and later founded the  art and agitation collective called RICANSTRUCTION NETWERK that has over the years organized and mobilized political rallys,demonstrations, benefits and fundraisers in support of worthy (and varied)political causes throughout the US, Latin America and other barrios,favelas, and ghettos around the world.

 


 

The Jericho Movement: Freeing Imprisoned Heartbeats

 

This workshop will be a short slide show and historical presentation connecting penal abolition to why the meaning of political prisoners/pows is still tied to empire & revolution. It will also be joined by several former political prisoners of war for an Elders’Circle. And finally we will have the audience participate in a writing exercise: “Envision your organization drafting a position and workplan for freeing all political prisoners.”*
 

We ask that participants will bring their organization brochure or mission
statement.*

Laila Murad Facilitating. Presenters below:

 

Ashanti Alston bio: Ashanti Alston is an anarchist activist, speaker,
writer, and former member of the Black Panther Party and the Black
Liberation Army (BLA). He spent more than 11 years in prison after
government forces captured him and the official court system convicted him
of "bank robbery".

 

Ray Lavesseur bio: Ray Levasseur is a Vietnam veteran, former political
prisoner and carpenter. He was imprisoned from 1984-2004 and has been
active in one capacity or another with prison and political prisoners
issues for 45 years.  He currently works with Jericho and Maine Prisoner
Advocacy Coalition (MPAC).

 

Kazi Toure bio: Kazi Toure is a former political prisoner, longtime
community organizer and freedom fighter. Kazi was the first New Afrikan
convicted of seditious conspiracy in the U.S., for which he served nearly
ten years in prison. He has served as co-chair for the National Jericho
Movement working for freedom for all political prisoners. He is continually
struggling for the liberation of all oppressed people worldwide.

 


 

Isolating Resistance: Communication Management Units and the Case of Tarek Mahanna

In April, 2012, Tarek Mehanna was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison on charges of "material support for terrorism." The charges were based on political speech: writings, translations, and conversations in support of the right of Muslims to resist US aggression.

Since May, 2012, Tarek has been held at a "Communication Management Unit" (CMU) in Terre Haute, IN. Introduced by the Bush administration in 2006 as part of the "war on terrorism," CMUs are special segregated areas within the federal prison system designed to limit contact with the outside world and to subject prisoner communications to a regime of total surveillance. As the name implies, their real purpose reveals the nature of political imprisonment itself: to stop the spread of political ideas considered dangerous to US policies.

This workshop will examine the reason the government felt it necessary to isolate Tarek: his words. Circulating first on activist blogs and e-mail lists, the statement Tarek gave during his sentencing jumped around the globe in the days immediately following his sentencing, and was soon reprinted on major alternative news sites. His statement unequivocally supported a people’s right to self-defense and opened up new space for public discourse around the issue.

Laila Murad is an Arab-American Muslim organizer based in the Boston area. Her organizing currently has a focus on the struggle to defend and liberate Muslim, and all, political prisoners, the struggle to free Palestine, as well as support for anti-authoritarian and various liberation movements.


Kate Bonner-Jackson is an organizer in Boston whose political interests include the prison industrial complex, creating new ways of living on our own terms, federal and state agent non-cooperation, and industrial collapse. Her political work for the past two years has been centered around organizing support for Tarek Mehanna.


 

Montreal: From Student Strike to Unlimited General Strike

This past spring in Quebec saw a student movement against the tuition hike
transform into a generalized revolt against state control. This workshop
will offer some context and perspectives on the explosion of rebellion
within the streets of Montreal and its aftermath.

Meena is an anarchist who lives in Montreal and participated in the
student strike

 


 

Nine Years of Anarchist Agitation: The History of the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement (2001-2010)

Book talk by the author, for book which will be newly released just in time for the bookfair.

“In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and in the midst of the sequent nationalist fervor, Boston radicals came together to form the Boston Anarchists Against Militarism (BAAM) Coalition. Through interviews and an extensive study of BAAM's public statements, activities, and publications, this history explores the evolution of BAAM from an anti-war coalition into a general union of Boston anarchists. The lessons of the past decade are useful to today's generation of activists as they grapple with the questions of political organization and activity in the struggle against global capitalism.

Jake Carman has been involved in the Boston anarchist community since the Iraq war began in 2003. He was an active participant of BAAM from 2003 until its disbanding in 2010. He is the secretary of the Boston Local Union of Common Struggle - Libertarian Communist Federation, the secretary of Freedom/Libertad newsletter, and a member of the IWW. He is an expectant father, a grocery store worker, and sings and plays guitar in the Boston folk-punk band, Jake and the Infernal Machine.  Jake is the author of the upcoming book, "Nine Years of Anarchist Agitation: The History of the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement (2001 - 2010) and Other Essays."


 

Nine-Tenths of the Law

Property and Resistance in the United States

How does "property" fit into designs for an equitable society? Nine-Tenths of the Law examines the history of squatting and property struggles in the US, from colonialism to 20th-century urban squatting and the foreclosure crisis of the late 2000s, and how such resistance movements shape the law. Squatting is defined by Dobbz as “occupying an otherwise abandoned structure without exchanging money or engaging in a formal permissive agreement.” Stories from our most hard-hit American cities show that property is truly in crisis: 

  • One in five homes in Buffalo, NY, are abandoned. 
  • Our national housing vacancy rate is 14 percent. If we gave a house to every homeless person in the United States two-thirds of that stock would remain empty. 
  • In May of 2011, 1 in every 103 homes in Nevada was in foreclosure. 

Nine-Tenths of the Law expands our understanding of property law and highlights recent tactics like creative squatting ventures and the use of adverse possession to claim title to vacant homes. Hannah Dobbz unveils the tangled relationship Americans have always had in creating and sustaining healthy communities.

Hannah Dobbz is a writer, editor, filmmaker, and former squatter. From 2004 and 2007, she filmed a documentary about squatters in the San Francisco East Bay called Shelter: A Squatumentary. She has toured extensively with the film, lecturing at conferences, universities, and community spaces across the country. She has written numerous articles about squatting and property law. Currently, Hannah lives in Pittsburgh, where she has grown quite fond of power tools.

 


 

No Gods, No Masters: The Anarchist Critique of Religion

Description: Scholars and Activists in the Anarchist tradition and more broadly, the radical left (Marxism, Leninism, Maoism), provide us with a scathing critique of religion as a means of oppression, subjugation and slavery. The clerical class use religion to pacify the masses and eliminate skepticism. As a result, Idealism triumphs over Materialism and thus, the masses view the spectacle of power and capital that accumulates before them, perceiving them to be reality when in fact they are but an illusion. Contemporary society is witnessing the rise of radical religion in the public sphere and the response from the left. The victor will shape our future society. Therefore, it is imperative to be aware of the critiques of religion from the broad left tradition to combat the rise of religious fundamentalism.

Christopher Helali is an Adjunct Professor of History at MassBay Community College. His interests include Marxism, Anarchism, Political Philosophy, Critical Theory and Psychoanalysis.

 

 


 

Popular and Community Resistance in Palestine

 

 Resistance to Israel's military occupation and apartheid policies can be found in many villages and neighborhoods across the occupied territory.  Since 2005 citizens of Bil’in have held weekly demonstrations against the building of the Israeli separation wall through the community’s agricultural lands, and the steady encroachment of illegal settlements. The demonstrators are often joined by Israeli and international peace activists, and have maintained a commitment to non-violent methods of resistance in spite of armed, military opposi

tion by the IDF which has resulted in many injuries and some deaths.

These demonstrations are the subject of the recent award-winning documentary film 5 Broken Cameras, which was made by the speaker's brother, Emad Burnat.

 

Iyad Burnat was born in Bil’in in September of 1973. He is married and has four children. He became involved in popular resistance as a teenager, and was arrested by the Israeli military for the first time at age 17. He was accused of throwing stones, and imprisoned for two years. Since then he has been arrested and imprisoned by the Israeli military several more times.  Iyad Burnat is the current head of the Bil’in Popular Committee and an active participant in the village’s non-violent popular resistance movement.


 

Queer Organizing and Community Building

This will be a panel of organizers who cross multiple efforts including

grassroots community organizing, direct service, youth empowerment,
queer people of color power building, motherhood, prison abolition and
more. The panel will address questions of strategy and relevance of
anarchism in queer movements today. Speakers include Evan Greer, Sarath
Suong, Vilma Uribe and Jason Lydon.


 

Safer Spaces

A interactive workshop for folks who are interested in gaining skills and tools to build safer spaces. We will discuss steps towards creating anti-oppressive culture as well as examine hypothetical situations. 

 
Julia currently lives in Worcester, MA. She's into collective liberation, art, music, and food. 
 
Michelle is a resident of Allston. Also into liberation they knit, make a mean coffee and craft with gluesticks. 


Computer Security.

How to keep the FBI from reading your email, and other cool internet tips.


 

The Anarchist Origins and Future of Social Security

The future of Social Security is perhaps the key domestic political issue in the US today. But very few people realize that Social Security traces its origins to 19th century anarchism and the philosophy of mutual aid. If Congress decides to cut or privatize Social Security, this will become more than just an interesting historical fact. How would working people in this country rebuild a system of collective old-age protection, outside the framework of the State? At the same time,. this topic is directly relevant to us as anarchists, because it pushes us to think about how we can create a cradle-to-grave system of social solidarity - something that activists have failed to do up to now.

 

Eric Laursen is a lifelong anarchist and a longtime activist and independent journalist. He has worked with such groups as the New York City Direct Action Network, No Blood for Oil!, Witness Against Torture, and Occupy Franklin County (Massachusetts). He has written for such publications as Z Magazine, The Indypendent, The Nation, in Our Time, and The Village Voice. He is the author of The People's Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan (AK Press, Spring 2012) and co-author of Understanding the Crash (Soft Skull Press, Spring 2010).

 


 

The Flawed Vision of Hahnel and Albert: A Critique of "Parecon" for Anarchists

After a brief guide to the Robin Hahnel / Michael Albert corpus and to the literature on participatory economics, and a quick survey of their attitude toward anarchism, a description of the main features of Parecon will be presented along with a summary of the anarchist critiques.

James Herod joined the struggle against capitalists, politicians, and priests (or to use the abstractions, capital, state, and god) during the social upheavals of 1968 and has remained in it ever since. He is the author of the book Getting Free: Creating an Association of Democratic Autonomous Neighborhoods (2007). He has a web site at: www.jamesherod.info


 

Victor Jara's Liberation Songs Will Not Die!

workshop/presentation on the musical work of Chilean compositor/singer Victor Jara (born September 28, 1932 –  Assassinated September 16,1973 by the capitalist dictatorship of Pinochet).

Victor Jara was 41 years old when the military dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile killed him while in prison. The military destroyed his hands and then killed him,hoping to silence his revolutionary music. They didn't succeed. His music and his working class revolutionary legacy continue alive in Chile and throughout the world.

Sergio Reyes, a former Chilean political prisoner, will sing his songs and placed them in the political and social context of Chile between 1970-1973. The songs will be in the original Spanish but translation of the lyrics will be provided. For more information on Sergio Reyes visit www.sreyes.org


 

 

Veganism: Let's Talk About It.

Veganism has been growing as a social movement - but it is not to grow unchecked. While there are many valid criticisms of veganism, there will be a discussion about why veganism is still a valid form of opposition from capitalism as well as speciesism. This workshop will largely be led by the questions brought into it, and might flow in many different directions. The ideas from books such as Breeze Harper's "Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society," as well as Peter Singer's "Animal Liberation," might enhance some of the discussion.

Rachel Atcheson is an organizer in Boston whose main projects include vegan/vegetarian outreach, the Free Tarek campaign, and college activism at Boston University. Rachel believes in the total liberation of all humans and non-human animals, alike.

 

 

Do You Know BRIC? BRIC Might Know You: How Boston Polices Political Dissent (Urszula Masny-Latos)

Since 2004, Massachusetts has two "fusion centers." In addition to their official role of analyzing data related to terrorism and gangs, the center conduct daily surveillance of political dissent. The Massachusetts chapter of the National Lawyers Guild is currently spearheading efforts to obtain surveillance records from the Boston Regional Intelligence Center via the Freedom of Information Act.
 
Urszula Masny-Latos is the director of the Massachusetts NLG.

 

 


Counterculture/Counterpower: The role of culture in building resistance movements

A forum on the intersections of direct action and cultural resistance. Panelists will lead a discussion on the importance of cultural intervention in building movements for radical change.

Presenters: Dey Hernandez (Papel Machete), Alex Carrion (Common Struggle/Lucha Común), Chris Williams (Leftist Lounge), Adelaida Carbajal (Voces del Pueblo, City Life/Vida Urbana) Moderator: Monica Majewski (Bad Comrade)

 

 


Direct Action Training

A highly interactive double session on planning & implementing actions, street tactics and building affinity with one another. Covers such topics as affinity groups/action roles, march planning/implementation & tactics, de-escalation strategies, methods for dealing with an attempted snatch/arrest, know your rights for street actions and MORE! Will include a mix of physical excercises and facillitated discussion.

Chris Longenecker, based in Boston, MA, is an activist, organizer and direct action trainer. He is a founding member of Occupy Wall Street’s Direct Action Working Group. He is also a freelance writer, his work appearing most recently in the Anarcho-Syndicalist Review, The Indypendent, The Village Voice and Waging Nonviolence.

 


Tactical Terrain Research

 

Tactics always occur somewhere, and the features of that space have a profound impact on the dynamics of action in that space. But, there is always a tendency to understand tactical space as static, as if space does not evolve or get moved through. To gain an understanding of the dynamics of tactics in a space requires more than just reading maps. This workshop will review some of the variables involved in his sort of research and some of the methods that have been employed, and are being employed, to understand the relationship between action and the space it occurs within.

 

Tom Nomad:  From a long background in direct action training and tactical theory writing, his work focuses on the immediacy of tactical engagement and the materialization of the concepts of the state.  This work has manifested in a series of direct action workshops, given in dozens of locations since 2006, the Tactical Analysis Series of pamphlets and the Intro to Anarchy blog (introtoanarchy.blogspot.com).  Tom is also a university lecturer and organizer currently living in Pittsburgh.

 

 


Lockpicking

 

A brief introduction to opening locks without the key.

 


Monthly IWW Meeting

 

The monthly union business meeting of the IWW. We run our own union — without bureaucrats –and conduct union business democratically through discussion and voting. We invite all those interested in how we operate to attend.