2015 Workshops

The vendor table area will be held at 775 Commonwealth Ave, and the workshops will be held at 725 Commonwealth Ave.

10 Crimes: Democratizing and Radicalizing Criminal Defense

Sunday at 2:00pm

This is a panel/training that was first given at the Law for Black Lives Conference in NYC. In the panel we discuss the 10 most commonly charged crimes, the political context behind these offenses, creative and political criminal defense strategies, non-legal defense strategies (organizing and other tactics) how to give clients power and radical participation in their own defense and how to train our people too defend themselves/spread this knowledge.

Afiya: Changing the World and Other Extreme Sports

Saturday at 2:45pm

Afiya is a peer respite house in Northampton, Massachusetts, and is a part of the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community. We offer short term support and connection to a broader community for anyone who is going through what they self-define as a crisis.

Crisis looks different for everyone. We have supported people through experiences of trauma, thoughts and feelings of suicide, grief, hearing distressing voices, domestic violence, sexual assault, addiction and other extreme states. Some people have chosen to come to Afiya in place of a hospital or other traditional mental health services. Others may have no experience with the mental health system at all. Afiya is a healing environment for anyone who doesn't want their life to be interrupted any more than necessary while they move through a difficult space. Our approach is one of genuine human relationships, optimism, respect and the belief in every person's ability to self-define what they need to move through their difficult time.

This presentation will introduce Afiya's philosophy and the work that we do. It will also touch on the work of the organization we belong to, the Western Mass RLC. Perhaps most importantly, we will screen our new peer respite film which – although focused on Afiya – is relevant to anyone who is seeking to understand or build a peer respite in their area. Attendees will also be offered an introduction to and a copy of our new peer respite handbook, developed through a collaboration with Intentional Peer Support and geared toward guiding people through all the necessary steps and considerations of developing a peer respite in their area.

Alternative Products and Menstrual “Outing”: How to “Sell” a New Menstrual Narrative

Sunday at 11:45am

The facilitators will provide a hands-on approach to menstrual activism, with discussions and demonstrations of various alternative products. We will emphasize the implications of the menstrual hygiene industrial complex and its control over our purchasing power; providing the space to think together about activist interventions and ideas on how to bring “menarchy” to our community. This workshop will work somewhat as a consciousness raising and informative event. We will suggest the importance of queering menarchy, because some men menstruate and some women don't. We encourage folks of all genders to attend, because knowledge of all bodies is important to ending shame and stigma. Each participant will receive a Menstrual Activist Kit which includes non-working sample products, literature about alternative products, coupons, stickers and much more!

Alternatives to Suicide Groups: Mutual Spaces to Heal in the Struggle

Sunday at 10:00am

"Building welcoming and affirming community is a way for folks with little individual power and resources to start creating those things together. For folks who have experienced trauma, been psychiatrically labeled and for whom thoughts about suicide are a distressing part of life creating community can be both survival and a way of building strength.

Through slides, handouts and hopefully conversation we’ll share about Alternatives to Suicide mutual support groups, created through the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community. These groups came of the need for people to talk through distressing thoughts about suicide without the threat of coercive or repercussive actions.

Through these groups each person can explore experiences and feelings through their own contexts—and for many of us that has been violence and messages of unworthiness we’ve received as objects of oppression (racism, poverty, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.). The suicidal thoughts many of us contend with (and the actions we might have taken living with this burden) are not meaningless symptoms of “mental illness.” So, we ask each other not, “What’s wrong with you?"" but instead, “What’s happened to you, what does it mean and what’s your story?” These groups are based in the ideals of self-determination and mutuality, have no limits to what we can talk about and are intentionally non-clinical.

Often the treatment folks have sought or been subjected to in the psychiatric system further alienate us from who we are and introduce new forms of coercion and trauma. Through Alternatives to Suicide groups and the mutual support communities that give life to them we seek to listen deeply, provide a space for people to share their truths and—as we continue fighting to dismantle systems of oppression—keeping space to heal from and grow beyond harm these systems have and continue to cause in our lives."

An Anarchist Model Work Collective

Sunday at 10:00am

A presentation describing an anarchist approach to a work collective structure that facilitates a cooperative workplace. The model utilizes a non-corporate association, an egalitarian structure and procedures, a radically participatory decision making process, a unique compensation system, and responsible social values. It strictly avoids internal class and power relationships. The approach has enormous legal and tax advantages, including a near-total avoidance of federal and state jurisdiction. Participants will receive at the workshop or by follow-up e-mail a 16-page paper that describes in detail the unique features of the model, explains its purposes and effects, and documents with footnote references its almost unbelievable legal effects.

Anarchism 101

Saturday at 1:00pm

In this discussion based workshop, we will examine some of the conflicting ways that organizers, historians, artists and thinkers have approached anarchism and why they consider this idea important. In addition to looking at, and arguing about, abstract definitions of anarchism, we will listen to anarchist music, read anarchist fiction and historical documents, and look at anarchist art, so that we can appreciate how differently people in the past and present approach this ideal.

Anarchism and Animal Liberation: The Persistence of Speciesism Among Otherwise Thoughtful People

Saturday at 6:15pm

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.

"Bet Your Ass We're Paranoid": Fighting Psychiatric Pathologization of Trauma & Strategies for Supporting Survivors

Saturday at 6:15pm

In this workshop, the role of historical and current psychiatric patholigization of trauma to further gaslight and silence victims/survivors is examined and practical strategies shared for how to better support victims/survivors post trauma.

Fat Justice

Sunday at 11:15am

I 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.

Flood the System against Climate Destruction!

Saturday at 2:45pm

"In September 2015, 3000 activists flooded Wall Street, bursting the carbon bubble on the horns of the bull, unfurling our 300-foot banner, and declaring that Capitalism is Climate Chaos.

One needn't look very hard to see that direct action works: Black Lives Matter taking to the streets, fast food workers striking for $15 an hour, Arctic defenders dangling from the St. John’s bridge in Portland—we see repeatedly that when we express our outrage boldly, the world listens.

This fall, activists from across North America will coordinate a wave of actions against the root causes of climate chaos: capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. In more than a dozen cities, community groups from across movements are gathering to envision what the flood will look like in their spaces.

These actions are being taken in parallel to COP21, the Twenty-First Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention Convention on Climate Change—the annual spectacle of UN climate negotiations that will take place in Paris at the end of this year. Though these negotiations will supposedly revolve around debating global responses to climate change, such conferences truthfully are not about creating effective solutions for healthy communities and ecosystems. They are places where ruling elites seek to sustain capitalism and its destructive consequences.

Rising Tide North America (RTNA) feels this is a natural and important moment to highlight community resistance and alternatives in advance of yet another colossal failure of international leadership. Since the UN conference is being hyped in the media, we have an opportunity to build momentum together and shift the focus away from false capitalist measures toward community-based and anti-systemic solutions. Come hear how we envision Flood the System being a step towards building a robust movement that has the collective power to challenge global capitalism, racism, patriarchy, and oppression."

From Montreal to Mizzou: Organizing for Student Power

Saturday at 4:30pm

We'll look at case studies of recent campus organizing across the world, particularly the Americas, and try and tease out larger lessons those campaigns can teach us as we fight for a free, democratic, and liberated university.

Graphic Design for Radicals: Making Our Outreach Look Good

Sunday at 2:00pm

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?

Punk Rock, Mental Health and Recovery - a Reality Talk

Saturday at 4:30pm

As a part of the punk and activist communities for the majority of my life (1988 - present) I have struggled immensely with mental health, addiction and trauma. This workshop depicts my journey through madness, the process I endured to begin to gain control over my life and my radical human powered transformation to get to the better life I live today. My story is tragic yet inspirational. In the punk and activist communities, mental health is a topic rarely discussed constructively and without the imposition of value judgments. In our communities exists stigma and oppression that we say we are against yet we often actively participate in. These topics must be discussed openly as there are countless amounts of people suffering in pain and many people self-medicating to numb their hurt. I make no secret of the fact that I have not been treated with dignity and compassion by many of my peers in the punk scene and in particular those involved with the anarchist and activist communities in Boston. Yet, these failed relationships ultimately were the catalysts that helped me radically change my life for the better. The strongest messages I will convey are of intense and resilience, overcoming abject dysfunction and facing insurmountable odds to be able to break through those obstacles to get to today. Personal Responsibility and Empowerment is on the menu for anyone who wants or needs it in their lives and for those who are resistant and angry, and I am sure for good reasons, to be able to plant seeds within them, that it is possible to gain control over one’s life, even if it may feel like an improbable and impossible feat; I am living proof that this can happen.

The Surveillance State and What to Do About it

Saturday at 1:00pm

"In the information age, data is currency and surveillance has become a new form of mass oppression. This workshop will be a cryptoparty of sorts; we'll look at how digital surveillance works, and demonstrate some privacy enhancing technologies that can help prevent it. "