2014 Session Descriptions

IMG_2623As sessions are confirmed, we will add them here! Check back for a complete schedule posted in March.

2014 Sessions:

  • Forum on Gentrification
    This session will feature organizers from Bay Area groups fighting gentrification and displacement. Groups participating include: Eviction Free SF, SF Community Land Trust, Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, POOR Magazine/Homefulness Project, Causa Justa Just Cause, Phat Beets. More details TBA.
  • A calling-in of our callout culture
    Bay Area Intercommunal Solidarity Committee

    Anarchists (and many others who aspire to a revolutionary politics) have a particular difficulty working together (or in solidarity with others) across political difference, because of the way we think about and practice honesty, accountability, and criticism.
    Our present practice of criticism is often imbued with moralism and functions to reject, divide, and ostracize.  In order to shield ourselves from these consequences, we resort to socially acceptable forms of dishonesty with our comrades (lying by omission, by euphemism, by concealment of our motivations and emotional responses).  This is a self-reinforcing praxis, our fear keeps us from creating space where meaningful and strategic critique can happen, and our frustration with the lack of such spaces forces an increasing dependence on a corrosive “callout culture” that destroys our working relationships with one another*.
    This workshop is intended as an intervention.  It will offer some guidelines for a meaningful (revolutionary) honesty, and outline a praxis of “inclusive” criticism that organizers are using to build inter-communal solidarity in the Bay Area.  We’ll talk about the source of these ideas: they are distilled both from historical example as well as the direct experiences of bay area organizers who have had to overcome personal, strategic and tactical differences order to build stronger and more unified movements. The second half of the workshop will offer space for participants to try these ideas out themselves or observe others engaging in the praxis.
    * This is not a workshop about the “feel” of our communication. It is neither a “radical honesty” or “non-violent communication” workshop.
  • Discussion of Anarchy and Autonomy Para La Raza
    *!Companerxs! You are invited to a gathering for Raza folks interested in the ideas of anarchism and autonomy to come together and get to know one another. An informal discussion exclusively for Raza, Latinx, Xicanx, Chicanx, Central American, South American, or Caribbean identified folks only. We’ll talk about how anarchy and autonomy relate to ourselves and our peoples.*
    *We will do a go-around introducing ourselves, and then have an open unfacilitated discussion on whatever folks want to bring up. Its open to any direction, but here are some topic examples:
    – current movements of resistance in latin america
    – how is anarchism relevant to Raza?
    – our experience with immigration (now, across generations)
    – words like latinx, chicanx, and why folks choose to identify with these terms
    – how privilege and white supremacy manifests in our own communities
    – can we/should we build movements of solidarity with other poc folks?
    *A few of us called this autonomously and we are not part of an organization or project. This is intended to be a womyn, queer, and trans friendly event.*
  • Decolonization and Anarchism
    Bryan Reiss, Francis Mead, Corrina Gould, Kanahus Pellkey
    Colonization’s influence continues span the globe despite the “end of colonization” at the end of the second world war. The effects are different for different groups of people, the panel seeks to explore these differences and similarities as they relate to continuing struggles for decolonization, Particularly the nuances between indigenous struggles, and struggles involving dispersed and displaced people of color who have been “pushed or pulled” from former colonies and now find themselves in the colonial motherland’s metropolis.  The panel seeks to ask: how are the struggles for decolonization among the Diaspora and indigenous groups related? How should they interact? What does decolonization look like this in this context? Can contemporary Anarchism offer anything useful for these struggles? The panel will consist of 4 speakers, two from indigenous groups in North America, and two people of color in Oakland who are involved in local struggles against colonialism.
  • Being Your Own Anti-Repression Committee: Supporting and Sustaining
    Yourself, Comrades, and Radical Struggles
    Anti-Repression Committee
    We operate in spaces in which the State is  constantly figuring out new
    ways to repress social movements. In the face of Grand Juries,
    informants,agents, police brutality and force, as well as ever growing
    scope of surveillance and sabotage it is important that radical circles
    find new ways of adapting.
    How do we as radicals find ways to support each other and grow so that
    we are stronger than these many arms of repression? What does this work
    look like? What resources are available for those who are struggling to
    stay on the streets in spite of the Stats many attempts to silence
    dissent? This discussion will seek to generate a starting point to find
    answers to these questions and start a dialogue in our movements about
    repression’s many faces and how we respond to them.
  • Wielding the Weapon of Solidarity. How and Why We Resist Grand Juries.
    Bay Area Grand Jury Resistance Collective
    Last year, when Pacific North West anarchist communities were targeted with a federal grand jury, radicals across the country went into high alert. Countless solidarity actions were organized for the brave grand jury resisters who chose the path of non-collaboration. Many, for the first time, discussed their own prospect of receiving a subpoena and resisting a grand jury. Since the release of the imprisoned grand jury resisters in Washington, these conversations have died down but the threat of more grand juries and FBI intimidation and harassment still remains.
    A strong resistance to political repression is hinged on our ability and commitment to foster a culture of solidarity, support, and accountability.
    To this end, we would like to ask a series of questions within this workshop to get at some of the nitty gritty of what solidarity looks like and how it is fostered in the face of state repression. Participants will be asked to answer some seemingly simple yet difficult questions. Why do we refuse to answer questions from the State? Why is it important to support resisters? What are hindrances to giving support to resisters? How can we build a culture of solidarity NOW that makes resistance an easier choice?
    We will be joined by a few grand jury resisters who will share their stories of non-cooperation and the importance of emotional and material support and political solidarity.
    Please read our statement on resisting grand juries here: resistgrandjuries.net
  • Social Transformation through Cooperatives: reclaiming our rights to democracy in work and to commons ownership/access to space and property
    Jai Jai Noire, Tim Huet, and John Curl
    Each of the panelists will discuss the transformative power of cooperatives as a strategy for progressive change in society and in personal lives. The focus will be both for newcomers interested in cooperatives (both worker co-ops and housing co-ops), and for radical activists seeking to deepen their understanding of the movement today and in the future. How can cooperatives empower people in work and living situations? How can cooperatives change people’s relationships to each other and to society? What is the historical connection of cooperatives to the anarchist and socialist movements? To the labor movement and other workers’ struggles? Can cooperatives create a powerful force for change independent of governments? Can cooperatives develop an alternative economy that might challenge or transform the existing system? What openings do cooperatives offer for solutions to the global economic crisis?
  • Doing the DAM Thing: the Earth First! Direct Action Manual
    The editorial collective of the EF!DAM
    Eco-defense is on the upswing. Come hear stories and see images from some of the incredible actions in defense of the wild that inspired and informed the new edition of the Earth First! Direct Action Manual. We’ll introduce this newly updated field guide with tactics to take home to urban and rural terrain, alike.
  • Occupy the Farms – a Practical guide to Seizing and Winning Land
    David Grefrath, Brooke Marino and others
    What does it take to plan and survive a direct action land occupation?  Members of Occupy the Farm, a land occupation which has successfully saved 7 acres of fertile farmland and is fighting for 15 more,  talk about logistical planning, challenges, contradictions and curiosities from the first two years of land-based occupations in the bay area.
  • Sex Work and Liberatory Politics
    Ask Your Whore: A Project by Vagina Dentata
    We are committed to a long-term project of building a unified front among fellow sex workers and also in comradeship with other revolutionary groups.  We want to talk about ways in which sex-panic manifests itself in left radical politics, and about how we, as sex workers, experience stigma perpetuated by many of our comrades.  We will draw on our experiential knowledge of being out sex workers in the world as well as our knowledge cultivated through study.
    Goals for this workshop:
    1. To connect with fellow workers. This is an invitation to collaborate and share with each other.
    2. To assert ourselves as sex workers in the movement.
    3. To make visible our comrades’ unconscious aggression towards us, and call them in to better behavior.
    We will begin with a 30 minute Presentation followed by a 10 minute musical performance that RE-articulates the ideas that are being discussed in the oration.
  • Until the Rulers Obey: Global Grassroots Resistance to the Extractivist State
    Clifton Ross, Marcy Rein, Jose Artigas
    Across the Americas and around the world, people are organizing to resist extractive industries, from mining and fracking to industrial agriculture. Until the Rulers Obey: Voices from Latin American Social Movements, just published by PM Press, documents this resistance in countries from El Salvador to Argentina. This panel, with the editors of URO and activists with first-hand knowledge of campaigns in El Salvador and Guatemala, will take an in-depth look at who is organizing and how, what strategies have been most effective, what these fights show about the relationships between the social movements, “progressive” governments and multinational corporations.
  • The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project
    Erin McElroy and Jennifer Fieber
    The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project makes visible the ways in which evictions target SF Bay Area communities. It seeks to de-isolate those displaced and act as a tool for collective resistance. Using digital maps and storytelling, it makes the often invisible processes of eviction, displacement, and gentrification tangible and accessible. Through quantitative and qualitative data collection and coding, it produces digital and interactive open source visualizations. This presentation will introduce the project and show examples of their work.
  • City-wide Activist Art: mud stencils, light brigades, street signs, and other creative disruptions
    Nicolas Lampert, Melanie Cervantes, David Solnit & Emory Douglas
    A presentation on the importance of activist art in movements today and using the city as a canvas for an action. Projects discussed will include the 2009 mud stencil action in Chicago with TAMMS Year Ten, the Justseeds-IVAW street art action in Chicago in 2010, the Warning Sign Project in 2010 (part of the movement to close down the Fisk and Crawford coal fired power plant.) As well, past tactics will be discussed (the Groundworks stencil project in 1989 in NYC to help close a nuclear navy home port on Staten Island) and the Overpass Light Brigade that arose out of the Wisconsin Uprising.
  • Beyond Self-Care: The Subversive Potential of Care
    Corina Dross, Harjit Singh Gill, Roxy B
    In activist circles and beyond, it has become commonplace to speak of self-care, taking for granted that the meaning of this expression is self-evident. But “self” and “care” are not static or monolithic; nor is “health.” How has this discourse been colonized by capitalist values? This panel will present three views on the political dimensions of care, illuminating how it can serve oppressive or revolutionary purposes. Topics will include the self as an object of political struggle, and the limits and possibilities of communities of care. The workshop will include group discussion exploring how health and resistance are linked, and what forms of care might be be able to subvert systems of power.
  • The Commons, Enclosures, and Global Uprisings
    Peter Linebaugh, Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis
    In this panel, we will provide an introduction to the commons and then an in depth conversation that will bring to life the commonist tradition by tracing the  thread from great revolt of commoners in 1381 to the annals of  twenty-first-century capitalism. They will discuss financialization, social  reproduction, women’s struggles, globalization, and other topics as related to  the commons, resistance, and our current place in global uprisings and  transition. As we all take aim at the thieves of land, the polluters of the  seas, the ravagers of the forests, and the removers of mountaintops, Peter, Silvia, and George will foster dialogue on current lessons and emerging tools  for resistance in our period of transition to a common future.
  • The Anarchist Utopian Imagination
    Margaret Killjoy & TBA
    An exploration of anarchist utopian fiction and an introduction to the new The Anarchist Imagination series. How utopian scenarios can inform and inspire anarchist struggle without being prescriptive. A panel discussion on the role that fiction and utopia can have in anarchist struggle. How can stories inspire us? How do they limit us?
  • Surveillance Self Defense
    Nadia, Leez and mark B.
    Starting on June 5, 2013, newspapers around the world have published document after document – leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden – revealing the concerted efforts of the NSA and its 40,000 staff to intercept, collect, analyze and store the whole world’s data and communications.
    For many of us, these exposés have merely borne out our lived experience: marginalized communities have long faced unchecked government surveillance and repression, civil rights lawyers have fought in court for years to stop blanket NSA wiretapping, and a generation of free software hackers have used techniques like end-to-end encryption and anonymity networks to resist surveillance.
    It’s a good time to review the tools that governments have – legally or illegally – at their disposal to surveil us and our communities. What can activists and organizers – whether here in the bay area or anywhere in the world – do now, today, to communicate more safely? How can radicals and revolutionaries monkeywrench eavesdropping by repressive regimes and police spies – or at least force them to work that much harder to target our movements?
    At this workshop we’ll talk about various kinds of information you can try to keep safe – for example, your location, phone call metadata or the contents of your chats and e-mails; the types of threats you, your associates, friends and family may face; and current tools and techniques to communicate and use your devices more securely.
  • Against the Global Land Grab
    scott crow, Andrej Grubacic, Alexander Reid Ross, Helen Yost
    What we have seen last week at the Mi’kmaq blockade is the growing fire of resistance against land grabs around the world that displace people for profit and resources. This panel will explore the intertwined horizons of extractivism, financial speculation, and state repression, while focusing on contemporary activist interventions against the Global Land Grab in the fields of social justice, ecology, and world-systems.
  • MesoAmerica Resiste! Graphic Presentation
    The Beehive Design Collective
    Mesoamérica Resiste is our most recently completed narrative poster, an epic project that took nine years to complete! This is the third and final installment in the Beehive’s trilogy on globalization in the Americas. The intricate, double-sided image documents resistance to the top-down development plans and mega-infrastructure projects that literally pave the way for resource extraction and free trade. We highlight stories of cross-border grassroots social movements and collective action, especially organizing led by Indigenous peoples.
    While focusing on stories from Mexico and Central America, the Bees will weave a much larger narrative about ways people are fighting back against a global economy based on colonialism, land grabs, and exploitation, and building alternative economies, all over the globe – including connecting to ongoing struggles in North America. This graphics campaign also celebrates cultural and ecological diversity through a cast of characters that includes hundreds of endemic (and endangered) species of insects, animals, and plants.
  • Children’s Programming
    Part one: Social justice book reading for kids: Jeff Conant (and friends) will offer a fun and interactive reading of radical literature for the pre-literate crowd, including Innosanto Nagara’s A is for Activist, and A Rule is to Break, by John Seven and Jana Christy. Parents, drop off your kids for the hour, or hang out and share in the fun.
    Part two: Gina, head instructor of Suigetsukan’s Youth Program and Persephone Smith-Donohoe, martial arts student, will be teaching a youth self defense class. We will be teaching verbal and physical self defense techniques to respond to a range of conflict situations.