2013 Workshops

Below were the workshops for the 2013 Boston Anarchist Bookfair! Click here to view the 2013 schedule.

A for Anarky: Comic books and Anarchism

Sunday at 1:15pm

I will present a talk on how the philosophy of anarchism has been presented within the context of comic books.

To do this I'll largely be comparing the characters of Anarky (by Alan Grant) and V from V for Vendetta (by Alan Moore) and seeing how these two characters embrace and distance themselves from anarchism in various ways. I'll also be making other smaller references to anarchism in comic books (such as Scarlet Rue from Brian Michael Bendis' Scarlet, Superman: Red Son, Batman and other more vigilante types like the Punisher) to illustrate other ways in which anarchism may be relevant.

Abolition of the Prison Industrial Complex

Sunday at 11:45am

In this workshop, we'll ask participants to come up with all of the components of the prison industrial complex (PIC) to start with a shared understanding. Then we will compare and contrast the characteristics of reformist reforms with abolitionist reforms, and ask participants to categorize some examples. Finally we'll share abolitionist visions of different organizations and ask participants to share their own. One day there were no prisons, and that day will come again!

An Anthropological History of the Concept of Race

Sunday at 11:45am

This presentation will consist of an explication of an anthropological history of race (from the origin of the concept forward). It will consist first in a presentation (using projected computer visuals) of the material and conclude with a discussion. We will journey through time from the antecedents of the racial worldview to the birth of 'race' and hopefully gain insights through exploring this history. The concept of race's colonialist origins in the 16th century and subsequent iterations will provide insights for anyone battling white supremacy now.

Anarchism 101

Sunday at 10:30am

We'll discuss as a group the history, theory, and practice of anarchism, covering important ideas, events, people, and why anarchism is one of the most vibrant left currents across the globe. This will be a good introduction for those curious about anarchism and want to get the most out of the rest of the workshops this weekend.

Anarquismo en Puerto Rico (Anarchism in Puerto Rico)

Sunday at 1:15pm

The workshop will start by presenting the historical origins of anarchism in the island. By doing so we hope to contextualize past and current efforts at anarchist organizing in a colonial context. It will end with an analysis of future possibilities. It aspires to create conversation to rethink anarchist approaches in historically specific contexts.

Asia's Unknown Uprisings & the Obsolescence of the Left to the Rise of Movements

Monday at 10:00am

While the 2011 Arab Spring, Occupy, and other recent movements are well known, the wave of uprisings that swept Asia in the 1980s and 1990s remain hardly visible but extremely important. What lessons can these and other unknown uprisings teach us about today's revolutionary theory and practice after 20th Century "socialism?" George Katsiaficas, author of Asia's Unknown Uprisings: Volumes 1 & 2 (PM Press), will lead a discussion to uncover the histories of hidden uprisings, show how the movements of ordinary people can surpass leaders holding the reins of power, and evaluate strategies that impact today's revolutionary struggles and determine the trajectory of future revolutionary movements.

Disconnecting to Connect and Relate Responsibly

Sunday at 5:00pm

What I plan to present is the importance of self-awareness and self-expression on the basis of disconnecting from media, mass consumption (and waste), boycotting any expression of bias (gender, religious, political, cultural, or otherwise) in order to realize Self-Love with perpetuates love and respect with others in a large scale. Tools to work cooperatively within communities, old-school networking, back-to-basics humanitarianism, and peaceful resistance by education and pro-action.

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: Supporting Families in Anarchist & Social Justice Movements

Sunday at 1:15pm

How do we create new, non-hierarchical structures of support and mutual aid and include all ages in the struggle for social justice? Let's brainstorm ways that non-parents can support parents, children, and caregivers in their communities, social movements, and collective processes. Good for those who are curious and would like to learn more, those new to parenting and children’s issues, as well as the more experienced. Let’s build an all-ages, inclusive revolution that leaves no one behind!

Especifismo: Anarchist Praxis in Latin America / El Especifismo: Práxis Anarquista en América Latina

Monday at 3:15pm

This workshop will focus on the ways Anarchists put their ideas into practice through personal stories and reflections on movement-building in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay (and possible other locations). It will begin with a short video, and continue with live discussion via video chat with comrades from the Global South. The video will be in Spanish with English subtitles. The discussion will be in Spanish with interpretation to English.

Fat Justice

Sunday at 11:45am

We will be presenting the basic framework for fat justice. We will start by deconstructing basic myths about fat bodies and how these myths serve a capitialist/ state agenda. We will then delve into the history of fat justice and how it is relevant to our movements today.

Fighting to Win: New England Solidarity Networks

Monday at 12:45pm

Boston Solidarity Network and Hartford Network for Solidarity (Hart-n-Sol) are two active organizations using the "solidarity network" model of organizing - which draws on a rich history of community organizing and working class solidarity - and was especially influenced by the success of the Seattle Solidarity Network. We are all volunteer groups who use direct action and mutual aid to win struggles against bosses and landlords who violate our rights. Join us to learn more about this organizing model, hear about successes, and get involved!

Finding Ease: approaches to mental health

Sunday at 5:00pm

In this workshop, we will talk about what herbs are, how they work, how we can use them. We'll look about different spaces of mental health we find ourselves in, and how to nourish ourselves in those difficult spaces with the assistance of herbs. Through open discussion we'll address what concerns around mental health we have and attempt to talk about them in a sustainable and empowering way.

Free As a Bird: Natural Anarchism and Animal Liberation

Sunday at 4:00pm

The Chicago Anarcho-Feminists warned us back in 1971 and now it's really true: "The world obviously cannot survive many more decades of rule by gangs of armed males calling themselves governments." The forcible violation of ecosystems that led to and emanates from the violent partition of the earth into nations has brought us to the dangerous days of cracking ice caps and disappearing islands. Pretty soon we'll be living on what climate change scientist James Hansen calls "a different planet." But hope, as Emily Dickenson wrote, is "the thing with feathers." Birds and other outlaws routinely disregard the authorities and boundaries established by people while working cooperatively with one another to pursue their own purposes in the context of human exploitation and expropriation. This is anarchy in its purest form. People can be natural anarchists too. Working from within an ecofeminist appreciation of the intersection of oppressions and the interconnection of all life, natural anarchists understand that true liberation resides in the restoration of healthy relationships among people and between species. Recognizing that more than a rearrangement of power relations among people will be needed to rescue ourselves and our planet from man-made catastrophe, natural anarchists see plants and nonhuman animals as allies in a shared struggle for peace and freedom for everybody. This talk will lay out the tenets of natural anarchism before inviting audience members to participate in imagining its praxis.

Graphic Design for Radicals: Making Our Shit Look Good

Sunday at 4:00pm

Design means more than making things look pretty: good design can be measured in more members in your group, more donations to your cause, and more protesters at your rally!

We'll be going over design principles and examples — and we'll show you the tools you need to make your outreach look amazing without having to buy expensive Adobe programs.

If we don't take the time to produce decent materials, why should we expect the general public to take the time to look at them?

We'll cover the basics of graphic design, along with poster and flier design: with an emphasis on the styles and techniques that organizers and activists are most likely to use.

For extra awesomeness, bring your laptop! And be sure to stay around for the second workshop on Online Organizing & Web Design!

Online Organizing & Web Design for Radicals

Sunday at 5:00pm

There are a myriad of free online tools and strategies that radical organizers can use to spread their message, get people excited, and get stuff done! From social media to websites to petitions we'll cover many of these, and more. This is also a partial continuation of the first Graphic Design for Radicals workshop.

Green Syndicalism vs. Anti-Civ: Social Revolution or Primitivist Reaction? A Polemic

Monday at 10:00am

At present in the West, we can say that two major philosophical currents inform the analyses made by self-identified anti-authoritarians of ecology and the dire environmental crisis. On the one hand, there is a more classical trend combining anarcho-syndicalism and anarcho-communism with environmental concern—green syndicalism, social ecology, eco-socialism, and ecological anarcho-communism—while on the other there exists a far more rejectionary approach which desires the outright abolition of “civilization”: the anti-civ tendency.

This talk will seek to elucidate the philosophical underpinnings of both major trends within the larger sphere of green anarchy and to discuss some of the implications for political praxis stemming from each. Specifically, the general green syndicalist line will be shown as emphasizing the ongoing importance of class struggle and mass-popular intervention from below, toward the end of abolishing capitalism and subsequently reorganizing society radically along lines promotive of human liberation as well as ecological sanity. Conversely, the anti-civ tendency will be shown uncompromisingly to favor a mythical collapse resulting in the abandonment of agriculture and most (if not all) technology, with a concomitant mass “die-off” of putative social undesirables. Whereas it will be argued that the green-syndicalist tendency helpfully advances democratic and liberatory notions of politics within the context of an undoubtedly urgent environmental crisis, the anti-civ strain will be shown to be undialectical, highly inegalitarian, and even reactionary in its assumptions and recommendations.

Incarcerated Realities

Monday at 11:15am

In this workshop we go over what the realities of prison life are, the conditions, the resources or lack there of, and the effects it has on inmates as well as the communities they are taken from, as well as the privatization of prison facilities. We go into institutional disadvantage for marginalized folks and how they are targeted for prison populations.

We then talk about the queer specific experience of incarceration, the increasing trend of incarcerating queer/trans people and the lack of accommodations and institutional silencing for queer identities/bodies in prison.

Ink Marks: An Intro to Screen Printing and How to Build Your Own One Color Press

Monday at 2:00pm

Screen printing is one of the most accessible forms of printmaking. It allows for a relatively easy, cheap and quick way to spread your message, promote your band, or just have fun (it's quite relaxing!) This workshop will focus on the basics of screen printing and give helpful and creative tips so that you can start your own printing station and keep the cost down! You will also have an opportunity to try printing one of our screens for yourself so bring t-shirts or whatever you'd like to print on!

The June 2013 Uprising in Brazil

Sunday at 4:00pm

Last summer, Brazil exploded in protests unlike anything in living memory. At the peak, a hundred cities participated in fierce clashes with the authorities; a movement that began with demonstrations against public transit fare increases and became a veritable popular uprising. Yet as the middle class joined in, nationalist and reactionary narratives muddied the message.

Despite this, the movement succeeded in blocking the fare increases in many cities, demonstrating the effectiveness of new forms of struggle without parties or unions. Autonomous and horizontal groups forced other issues to the surface, including the consequences of the upcoming World Cup and Olympic games in Brazil.

In this presentation, Brazilian anarchists will describe the context from which the events of 2013 emerged, and explain their impact on other ongoing struggles. What conclusions are Brazilians drawing from their experiences, and what can North Americans learn from them?

For more background:
The June 2013 Uprisings in Brazil, Part 1
The June 2013 Uprisings in Brazil, Part 2

Know Your Rights

Sunday at 4:00pm

This is a radical know-your-rights training, given by two radical organizers and lawyers. Because if we understand their laws we are better equipped to dismantle them.

Library Machines

Sunday at 5:00pm

The Library Machine Workshop is time and space to get all kinds of folks together to discuss, design and market the future of our libraries. After rapid fire inspiration, we’ll jump right into a hands-on design sprint.

The workshop will focus on coming up with "library machines": mechanically or electronically operated devices for performing a library function ("library function" here is quite expansive).

It all starts with a little formula, “mad libs”-style:

“It's a special kind of _______ (SITE) _______ (THING) that when you ________ (ACTION) it __________ (REACTION)! It's cool because ____________________ (TELL US WHY IT'S COOL).”

After we get some initial machine ideas, we'll start building out our ideas. Creations could include: doodles, memes, terrible animated GIFs -- anything that captures your vision.

The Persistent (Tele)Visibility of Police Violence

Sunday at 2:30pm

This presentation considers the importance of surveillance technologies and social media in making police violence persistently visible. By highlighting the civilian production and circulating of media documenting police violence, I call into question popular assumptions and activist discourse about the presumed power and political efficacy of these practices.

We're all Copwatchers now, and we have considerable access to distribution channels and viewers for the media we produce. Since police activity is increasingly militant and depends more than ever on a wider array of weaponry, various publics are exposed to their violent applications. But the proliferation of these media alone is evidence of the limits of these documentations in challenging police power. What explains this? This talk will consider some key case studies and suggest some answers to this important question for how we might act respond to police violence and the visibility thereof.

Quebec student strike 2012: the aftermath

Sunday at 2:30pm

This workshop will begin with a very brief introduction to the student strike in Quebec in 2012, then move on to discuss themes outlined in the recent Crimethinc text, "After the Crest". This will center around oppurtunity, strategy and maintaining pressure- and the sometimes depressing and disorienting after-effects that occur when mass movements grind to a halt.

Queerbook Committee

Sunday at 2:30pm

Jacinta will host a salon-type MAKE-YOUR-OWN coloring book workshop. It's like spending an evening in the arts and crafts cabin at your favorite summer camp for unicorns. Using found images from pop culture, we will transform ordinary images into subversive new coloring books. Because so much of media does not include Trans, Queer and Feminist characters and ideas, we will create our own media. Hundreds of these D.I.Y. (Do-It-Yourself) coloring books exist around the country as Jacinta has left behind a trail of inspiration every place she's traveled. Don't miss the chance to make some new friends, cut-n-paste with a real live glue stick, and change the direction of pop culture. No longer will there be a shocking lack of narratives for gender outlaws. No artistic experience necessary.

Radical/Anarchist education: a brief history and discussion

Monday at 11:15am

A workshop facilitated by several school teachers discussing a brief history of radical and anarchist education, including methods and pedagogy. Following this will be implications and lessons learned from the Greater Boston Free School about putting Anarchist Education (with adults) into practice. This joint program will be followed by a Q & A and/or a discussion about organizing implications and modern Anarchist pedagogues.

Rural Anarchy

Monday at 2:00pm

Our goal is to facilitate a conversation around rebuilding the anarchist tradition in rural America — vast areas of the continent that many on the left have abandoned and ignored, either by romanticism with urban struggles or by defeatism over a seemingly overwhelming conservatism. While rural organizing isn't easy, it's a crucial contestation point — especially as domestic resource extraction ramps up.

Presenters will discuss the anti-fracking, anti-mountaintop-removal, and anti-development movements: the nuts and bolts organizing work being done, how anarchists have played a role in building these movements, and how cultivating a renewed rural anarchist presence can help push these struggles forward.

Street First Aid

Sunday at 1:15pm

A super condensed rundown of basic medical emergencies, chemical weapons, how to prepare for and treat them, and other information. Also a section on psychological first aid, and how to administer in the field.

Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street

Sunday at 2:30pm

Book event and discussion with author Mark Bray about Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street.

Translating Anarchy tells the story of the anti-capitalist anti-authoritarians of Occupy Wall Street who strategically communicated their revolutionary politics to the public in a way that was both accessible and revolutionary. OWS organizer Mark Bray combines his direct experience in the movement with nearly 200 interviews with the most active, influential architects of Occupy Wall Street, to reveal the revolutionary anarchist core of Occupy.

By "translating" their ideas into everyday concepts like community empowerment and collective needs, these anarchists sparked the most dynamic American social movement in decades.

Urban Homesteading: America's Forgotten Housing Giveaway Program

Monday at 3:15pm

This session will explore the history of the federal Urban Homesteading program as a solution to inner-city abandonment in the 1970s and '80s. We will also explore contemporary approaches to the dual problems of abandonment and inaccessibility to fair housing, and synthesize a recommendation for a version of urban homesteading to meet the mark where the current programs fall short.

What the Fuck Am I Doing Here?

Monday at 12:45pm

"What The Fuck Am I Doing Here?" is an anti-folk opera about anarchists and the Quebec student strike of 2012, written by and starring Caytee Lush. It is a one-woman show that explores the swirling vortex of emotions that was birthed in the city of Montreal during Quebec's student strike of 2012, and in particular the position of anarchists in that struggle.

Who are We? A Presentation of the Anarchist Interview Project, an Ongoing Collection of Anarchist Self-Narratives

Sunday at 1:15pm

Our workshop is a reportback on the Anarchist Interview Project, an initiative by the New York based Practical Anarchy group to collect and distribute stories of how people came to identify with and act on anarchist beliefs. In addition to introducing some of the stories from the project, we will also show the different steps involved in creating this project, ranging from interviewing, transcription and editing, with the larger goal of encouraging other such listening projects. Listening to each others' stories of how we came to identify as anarchists will hopefully enable us to build bigger and stronger movements and organizations.