2018 Abstracts

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Human rights – the postcolonial accusation that human rights are only a tool of colonialism

There is a lot of critique on human rights – the postcolonial accusation that human rights are only a tool of colonialism, made by old white men to oppress people of colour, or the fascist accusation, that the western universalism destroys the peculiarities of different peoples. But all this criticisms fails, why the human rights can't be a mean for a real social and economic change, for the one reason because they do not focus on the trias of state, law and capital.

Anarchism is traditionally in opposition to this trias, even though many anarchists invoke human rights. Still it is possible to develop a critique on human rights based on the traditional anarchist theories, which shows exactly why human rights can't be a weapon in the fight for a post-capitalist world.

In my lecture I want to point out this critique and show that human rights are either – in the best case – an instrument of reformism or – in the worst case – a step on the way to a totalitarian world.

The Libertarian Socialism of Daniel Guerin: An Integration of Anarchism and Marxism?

Abstract: Daniel Guerin (1904—1988) is known to anarchists as the author of Anarchism and the editor of No Gods, No Masters. He was one of the most prominent members of the Left in France from the 30s to the 70s. Active in the labor movement, among Trotskyists and other revolutionary socialists, and a leader of the movement against the Algerian War, he was an early Gay activist. Guerin engaged in an effort to bring together the best of anarchism with libertarian-autonomous Marxism.

Today there is a revived interest in such an integration of revolutionary anarchism and anti-statist, humanistic, Marxism. This is evidenced by the book Libertarian Socialism: Politics in Black and Red (eds.: A. Prichard, R. Kinna, S. Pinta, & D. Berry; 2017; PM) and the publishing of Guerin’s For a Libertarian Communism (ed.: D. Berry; 2017; PM).

After describing Guerin’s work, I will explore how anarchists might learn from aspects of Marxism, without capitulating to its authoritarian and repressive side (which is very real). I will encourage discussion from all directions.

Deciding: An Anarchist Perspective

In this paper I will mount a defense of deliberative assemblies -- in households, workplaces, neighborhoods, and voluntary associations -- as an essential social form for anarchy. This will necessitate, as an aside, a rebuttal of Crimethinc's attack on democracy, even direct democracy. But the main focus will be on analyzing decision making in individual persons, dyads, triads, small groups, small assemblies, large assemblies, and across assemblies. As part of analyzing decision making across assemblies, I will critique and reject the historical and uncritical devotion of anarchists to federation. I will also consider philosophical issues related to promises, treaties, contracts, bylaws, constitutions, and other negotiated agreements, and their relevance (or not) to anarchy. A major section of the paper will be given over to renaming and recasting so-called consensus decision making, to make it suitable for and compatible with anarchy. Historical and theoretical antecedents pertaining to assemblies will also be surveyed.

Anarchist Conceptions of the State

Regrettably, far more attention has been given to establishing that anarchism is “more than anti-statism” than to clarifying in what sense, and to what extent, anarchism is anti-statist. As a result, there is a great deal of confusion regarding how the concept of “the state” has been understood within the broad anarchist tradition, how this understanding has informed anarchist critiques of the state, and how these critiques have informed anarchist strategies for resisting, opposing, and, ultimately, abolishing the state. Insofar as it is impossible to address satisfactorily all three of these issues in a single essay, the presentation to follow will focus primarily on the first. Its principal aim in so doing is to provide a general overview of prevailing anarchist conceptions of the state that may serve as a foundation for subsequent explorations of the normative and strategic dimensions of anarchist anti-statism and, by extension, of the extent to which the latter distinguish anarchism from competing ideologies—especially those, like Marxism, to which it is especially close.

Anarchism and nationalism: On the subsidiarity of deconstruction

This paper engages with anarchist approaches to ethno-cultural identity – the notion of a collective bond based on kinship, ancestry, language and culture which survives the anarchist critique of national chauvinism. While early anarchists such as Kropotkin and Grave tended towards a naturalist understanding of “peoples” as distinct constituents of the human family, others – most prominently Rocker – have explicitly problematised this notion, deconstructing of claims to ethnic and linguistic continuity and affinity. At the same time, ethnocultural identity is central to movements in which anarchists are participants or accomplices, from indigenous and black liberation in North America to national liberation movements in Chiapas, Palestine and Rojava. In the context decolonial politics, does the deconstructive impulse not risk attacking the very particularisms that make claims on anarchists’ solidarities? If the anarchist ethic of recognition entails prima facie acceptance of oppressed people’s – and peoples’ – own articulation of their identities and goals, then deconstruction may disrupt the balance between conceptual coherence and political solidarities. Are appeals to ethnocultural identity subject to deconstructive critique selectively, on a friend-or-foe basis? Or is this an inevitable disjuncture of theory and practice which can only be approached as a record of the social antinomies that underlie it, and resolved through their eventual transformation? My central argument here is that the deconstructive impulse towards ethnocultural (and gender, and other) identity is valuable and should be sustained; nevertheless, a principle of subsidiarity should be applied to its deployment. This suggests an ethics of deconstruction informed by the principle of subsidiarity and by attention to positionality, taking personal stakes and asymmetries of power into account in the practice of anarchist philosophy. By setting up the discussion in these terms, I am using the lens of nationalism to read between theoretical and political commitments and to suggest a new starting point for discussions of decolonial solidarity.

Etat des lieux de l’historiographie littéraire anarchiste : réflexion contextuelle sur le système de genre

Dans le cadre de cette présentation, je souhaite dresser un état des lieux de l’historiographie littéraire anarchiste en montrant comment celle-ci s’articule autour de paramètres et de valeurs androcentriques qui ont contribué à reléguer les femmes aux marges du discours dominant. En appréhendant le récit historique traditionnel sous l’angle des rapports sociaux de sexes, et plus particulièrement du féminisme matérialiste, j’entends proposer une version de l’histoire littéraire anarchiste inclusive qui intègre une réflexion contextuelle sur le système de genre ayant cours au XIXe siècle en France. Pour ce faire, j’ai l’intention de retracer certaines trajectoires de femmes et de restituer quelques-uns de leurs écrits littéraires en abordant les espaces de production textuelle dans lesquelles celles-ci ont évolué. Le foyer d’écriture principal des femmes étant la presse écrite, je veux esquisser un panorama des périodiques et des journaux anarchistes qui servent de courroie de transmission à la propagande révolutionnaire et de tremplin d’écriture pour les femmes. Non seulement j’envisage révéler l’apport des femmes – jusqu’à aujourd’hui largement invisibilisé – à la vie littéraire de l’anarchisme, mais également de donner à lire une histoire littéraire mixte qui rende compte à la fois des rapports hiérarchisés entre hommes et femmes et des liens complexes que la littérature entretient au mouvement anarchiste.

Towards a political economy of anarchist intersectionality theory

Intersectionality theory has been mobilised in anarchist politics both as a rejection of liberal multiculturalism and identity politics, on the one hand, and of a reduction of struggle to class, on the other (e.g. Shannon and Rogue, 2009; Volcano and Rogue, 2012; Cudworth, 2015; Gordon, 2016). Anarchist intersectionality theory, in contrast to liberal account of intersectionality, suggests how political praxis can be grounded in an understanding of exploitation and domination as structural conditions that require the destruction of capitalism, patriarchy, colonialism and the state to be overcome. This presentation aims at building a historical and conceptual approach to anarchist intersectionality theory that grounds this understanding in an examination of the historical development of structures of exploitation and domination. It provides an overview of Marxist intersectional theory (e.g. Bannerji, 2005; Whitehead, 2017) and asks how an anarchist intersectionality theory can provide a more holistic approach to political economy, by taking into account the role of the state in constituting intersecting exploitations and dominations and by tracing the roots of these structures beyond the emergence of capitalism.

Anarchism and Academe: from paradox to emancipation?

In what ways can anarchism be a lens through which we can approach the academic production of knowledge? Anarchism is a paradigm of thought and action opposed to all forms of domination, exploitation, and hierarchy. Anarchism is not singular, but rather a multiplicity of “anarchisms.” As such, anarchism has historically been comprised of a wide array of tendencies, ranging from mutualists to anarcho-syndicalists, philosophical to political anarchism. These tendencies have put forward a variety of critiques as well as positive projects, sometimes mutually reinforcing, sometimes in tension with one another. However, these debates are often marginalized within academic discourses about capitalism, the state, patriarchy, race, law, education, etc. We believe that identifying anarchist logics and praxis requires a language to articulate it – a particular set of concepts with which to detect and comprehend anarchist potentialities within mainstream discussions. We will present a framework for identifying and giving legitimacy to an anarchist lens across academic disciplines. In this presentation, we will share the syllabus created for a reading group in order to address this absence. We have organized our readings by applying anarchism to fields of study central to each of our own research. Thus, we designed a set of theoretical and ethnographic readings on a range of topics: Anarchism and the Law, Anarchism and Autonomy, Property and Possession, Anarchism and Education, Anarchism and Feminism.

Cultures of Resistance or Cultures of Occupation? Researching Anarchist Culture in the Context of Settler Colonialism

This paper draws directly from my ongoing research into the intersections of anarchist cultures of resistance and their engagement with the context of settler colonialism. This paper considers the implications of constructing anarchist culture on stolen lands, especially with regard to the prefigurative politics sought by anarchist movements. I consider how, based on this context, anarchists understand, articulate and engage in resistance to settler colonialism through the reproduction of anarchist cultures of resistance, the lessons from such resistance so far, the considerations moving forward, and possible implications for broader social movement cultures and resistance. I examine these questions by looking at anarchist political/movement cultures of resistance (Gordon, 2008) and how resistance to settler colonialism is understood, contextualized, articulated and reproduced within them. I consider settler colonialism as a key structure that is foundational to the context within which anarchism in so-called ‘North America’ occurs. How does anarchist culture integrate discussion, analysis and resistance to settler colonialism? In what ways have anarchists sought to alter the structures of settler colonialism? What possible ways forward might there be that are focused both on prefigurative politics and radical futures, but also directly in dialogue with disrupting and unsettling persistent discourses of settler colonialism? I seek to provide a view into the reproductive processes of anarchist culture at the level of movements using a participatory ethnographic practice of anarchist political cultures, and interviews with anarchists themselves. I am interested in the movement implications and further possibilities of anarchist resistance to settler colonialism.

Riot-ization: Biopolitical Sovereignty and Social Control in the Trump Era

In his account of the history of prisons and social control, Michel Foucault argued that France had moved beyond an age when the King wielded his power through force; maintaining the compliance of his subjects through violence. He stated that over time, citizens became accustomed to such methods, internalized State power, and as a result, began to self-censor. In Foucault’s thinking, the Monarch then reduced its outward brutality, selecting more modern means to encourage citizens to be fearful and remain passive. This genealogical discussion of social control remains a useful framework for understanding policing practices as they relate to biopolitical control and sovereignty. In the years following the attacks of September 11, 2001, government rhetoricians frequently labeled their enemies terrorists, extending this label to describe radical social movements who broke the law. This ‘naming and shaming’ of political dissidents represents Foucault’s Monarchical power, and should be understood as a single strategy within a wider array. In the transitional period between Presidents Obama and Trump, US actions have signaled a shift away from the self-policing promoted in the past, and a return to the public, spectacle-centric displays of State power. The prosecutions and language used to defame Black Lives Matter, anti-pipeline, and anti-fascist demonstrators as rioters, exhibits this performative State strategy, which showcases the condemned, reminding the populace of the potential for ruthless punishment, and relying on such displays of brutality to maintain social control amongst those in dissent.

We’re Brokenhearted: Understanding Fierce Love in Anarchist Organizing

Anarchism is rooted in a deep sensitivity to the pain of others and the world, which can lend anarchists to often beautiful, but also sometime unhealthy coping mechanisms as we navigate the particular difficulties of this characteristic. How do we stay healthy while sacrificing so much to help heal a broken world? Authoritarianism, toxic masculinity, white supremacy, patriarchy, ableism, and late stage capitalism converge to crush our spirits, vulnerability, passion, and empathy precisely because they are the key to a strong resistance. Mystic traditions throughout history, which are often very anarchic in nature, honor and value that sensitivity through specific personal and community practices. We’ll explore past and present mystic faiths to help us better understand some of the problems we encounter in our organizing and personal relationships which hinder our revolutionary action and solidarity.

Anarchism and Democracy

Building on recent symposiums hosted by CrimethInc, and the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS), my own recent publication in Theory In Action, as well as a special issue currently being assembled for the same journal, I propose, either a panel discussion, a workshop, or a solo presentation on the topic of anarchism and democracy.

Based on my own research, it seems that anarchist views on this topic (assuming that these views can all be considered anarchist), can be plotted in a two-dimensional space. The first is a prefigurative-pragmatist dimension. At the prefigurative end of this dimension one finds radical stateless democracy (e.g., Wayne Price), “zones of encounter” (CrimethInc), and freed market anarchism (C4SS). At the pragmatist or gradualist end of the spectrum, one finds the idea of a democratic transitionary state (my own work, and perhaps that of the AnarchyRules project), as well as pragmatic direct democracy (Asimakapolous).

The second dimension ranges from organizationalist/partyist to independent/individualist. At the organizationalist/partyist end of the spectrum, one finds my work on the democratic transitionary state (multiparty system), the constitutions of highly democratic states such as that of Iceland, and to a lesser extent the stateless democracy of Wayne Price. At the independent/individualist end of the spectrum one finds the lottocatic method of delegate selection (Asimakapolous), chaos (CrimethInc, Blackbloc), as well as concentric legal orders and “market democracy” (C4SS). Around the center of this two-dimensional space I would locate Occupy Wall Street, and Michael Albert’s parpolity. One might also identify a third dimension ranging from public to privatized political decision making.

Among other things, this workshop could contribute to our understanding of anarchist ontology, and help to clarify our understanding of the meaning of the term anarchism.

“Graduated Necropolitics” and the Indigenous form of life: An analysis of Mapuche diasporic politics in Santiago, Chile

This paper examines the attempted governance of the Mapuche communities and Mapuche politics in Santiago, the capital of Chile. In the Mapuche territories, Wallmapu, Mapuche communities have struggled to reclaim collectively owned land lost during the Pinochet Dictatorship (1973-1990), and have confronted forestry companies, hydroelectric industries, and the Chilean police. However, the praxis of the Mapuche diasporic communities in Santiago, despite comprising almost half of the Mapuche population in Chile, has not been analyzed in relation to the struggles in Wallmapu. In this urban context, Mapuche communities confront urban precarity and police surveillance while they develop collective social lives that seek to counteract the assimilationist effects of dislocation. To make sense of governance and Mapuche politics, I will draw on Achille Mbembe’s concept of “necropolitics” in order to analyze case studies of urban governance in contrast to urban Mapuche collective forms of life. In this light, state governance functions through attempts to expose Indigenous subjects to gradations of physical, social, and cultural death. As a result, Indigenous politics should not be seen as forms of resistance but instead as affirmations of Indigenous forms of life.

The Trouble with Pierre Clastres

2017 marked the 40th anniversary of the death of anarcho-ethnologist Pierre Clastres. My goal is to examine Clastres’s lasting theoretical contributions to anarchist political anthropology while assessing the shortcomings of his work. I plan to present an overview of his account of how societies against the state ward off state power, and then I will consider his two theses that he presented regarding the cause of the transition from a stateless society to a state society: the reversal of debt and the introduction of voluntary servitude. In general, I will argue that left critiques (I will focus on Claude Lefort’s and Samuel Moyn’s) that fetishize statist democracies don’t give us much insight into Clastres’s work. By contrast, Indigenous critiques of Clastres’s work do.

I will argue, in the critical component of this talk, that Clastres gave too much weight to the problem of voluntary servitude. He presents the introduction of voluntary servitude as unidirectional threshold that serves as a point of no return for a given society—once the state is introduced, it cannot be destroyed. I will argue that his account is overly dualistic and commits him to a form of salvage ethnology that accepts the Western/settler trope of the “Vanishing Indian.” Clastres’s framework does not acknowledge ongoing forms of Indigenous resistance to colonial state forms. I will focus first on what Gerald Vizenor calls “survivance” as a mode of resistance, and then I will examine the politics of Indigenous resurgence as discussed by contemporary Indigenous theorists including Leanne Simpson and Glen Sean Coulthard. I will trace how Clastres’s work has served as a point of reference for Indigenous theorists when they critique Western ethnology and anthropology.

Potsherds and Possibilities: An Introduction to Anarchist Archaeology

This presentation will highlight what is going on in Anarchist Archaeology, I'll introduce the emergent sub-field, talk about some of the scholars involved, and hopefully inspire some folks to delve into some archaeology.

Foregoing fascistic feminism and embracing a radical trans militant future

The settler-colonial occupation of so-called "Vancouver, BC" has a longstanding, institutional and ongoing history with groups and individuals organizing around trans exclusionary and sex work exclusionary radical feminism, dating back to the foundation of the Vancouver Rape Relief crisis centre and the recent creation of the Vancouver Women's Library. These second wave women use smokescreens to hide their malicious motives, and label anyone who dares to critique and expose their violent, and bourgeois politics as misogynists. In the leftist world, they have sought to infiltrate radical spaces such as Spartacus Books in Vancouver, and organize alongside the anarcho-primitivist group Deep Green Resistance. This outdated and what I deem fascistic, reactionary, and colonial forms of "feminism" actively seek to doxx and harm trans women and sex workers, sometimes with the help of members of the alt-right. Their attempts to police , create hierarchies and invalidate gender and labour self-determination are counter to our goals and commitments as anarchists and radicals that seek to abolish hierarchies, power and oppression. My presentation will theorize on how anarchist communities can better define who to work in solidarity with, and who are our enemies, as well as how to emphasize gender and labour are self-determination in our movements until capitalist wage labour and gender binarism are abolished.

Reclaiming the cape in an impossible context: The rise and fall of a nuclear protest camp

In April 2015 a Finnish newcomer nuclear power company, Fennovoima, started preparatory works at Hanhikivi cape in Northern Finnish coast. Two weeks later, a group of activists moved into two summer cottages provided by local cottage owners who would lose the houses when the construction works would start. The on-site occupation camp from which direct action against road works, forest cutting and other preparatory works blockading were organized, lasted until September 2015 when Fennovoima, with the aid of police and coast guard, evicted the activists. The camp moved to nearby forest and continued direct action against the works over the winter. In the end of April 2016, the camp organized an international action week around Chernobyl disaster 30 years anniversary, Reclaim the Cape, that turned into an end for the whole camp, after escalated situation between the police and some action week participants and repeated evictions. Research on social movements has often focused on resource mobilization, political opportunity structures, or framing processes. However, these approaches have for the most part ignored actors’ choices and desires and situational dynamics, and treated the participants as taken-for-granted. Through ethnographic inquiry of the protest camp, I aim to analyze the underlying microsociological dynamics constituting the here-and-now of the formation, survival, and decay of the movement: Experiences, interactions, and emotions of those initiating and participating resistance, focusing in choices on morality and tactics, enthusiasm and devotion, commitment and solidarity, as well as conflicts, apathy, emotional burnouts, and finally the political motivations in a context that has no traditions of long term radical direct action and civil disobedience. This research contributes to the understanding of the meaning of internally oppressive structures such as forgotten underlying everyday meaning making and work in a protest.

Destroying Capitalist

Anti-capitalism is still one of the most central elements of anarchist political thought. When anarchists come into ideological conflict with proponents of capitalism, they must be prepared to provide deep, cutting, concise arguments to show that capitalism must be rejected. Of course, arguments, especially hostile ones, are typically not the proper method to persuade human beings. This talk will not focus on how to persuade people or argue effectively. It will focus specifically on what arguments work best (when arguments are indeed needed) to diffuse pro-capitalist arguments, specifically the most sophisticated and powerful pro-capitalist arguments.

Anarchists might like to think that capitalism has yet been eviscerated. The author of this talk does. However, certain arguments in favor of capitalism may appear that are quite hard to deal with. What we must do is learn the basic outlines of those arguments and then learn how to quickly refute them. This talk will aim to function as a boot-camp on doing just these things.

We will assess capitalist arguments from the classical liberals up to twentieth-century capitalist villains, Hayek and Friedman. Then we will look at the most cutting-edge, state-of-the-art arguments given by contemporary pro-capitalists. Lastly, we will set all of these arguments on fire and laugh.

If successful, attendees of this talk will leave with a road-map in their mind of how arguments against capitalism might play out and how to argue various cases. Road-maps make presenting arguments far easier. We need to, we have to, we must present the best arguments that we can against capitalism when the right moments appear… because the point is to win. The point is to end capitalism.

Policing Desire: Resisting Police Interference in the Lives of Queers and Sex Workers

Panelists will be discussing past and present attempts by police to discipline non- normative sexual desires and practices out of existence. Attention will be payed not only to the differential treatment of queers and sex workers by police vis-a-vis sexually-conformant populations, but also to the dissimilar ways in which police assert control over the sex lives of queers and sex workers. Time will also be spent exploring possible avenues of resistance to police enforcement of hegemonic sexual norms. This panel represents a prime opportunity for solidarity-building between queer and sex worker communities. This panel presentation brings together speakers from Even the Dust, a Montreal-based anti-police research publication, Queers Crash the Beat, a collective group of Toronto-based queers that formed in response to historical and ongoing failures in policing, and Stella, l'amie de Maimie, a Montreal-based sex-workers organization.

On the popularity of anarchist practices within hierarchical business contexts

The nature of capitalism is to make money out of everything, so one should expect to see anarchist ideas being peddled for a quick buck. There is therefore currently a rise in the popularity of certain anarchist practices within the business world. However, the application of anarchist practices without anarchist values can lead to disastrous results.

Three practices familiar with anarchists will be presented in more details: consensus-based decisions, self-management, and horizontal organization. While some of the results are proving very profitable for people at the top of the organizational hierarchy, these practices have a very significant impact on the workers at the base. In short, anarchist-style teams can be made more productive and less costly to supervise, resulting in increased profits for business owners. For instance, companies like Gildan have imposed a quota-based approach to pay their workers, where the quota is not based on individual production, but team production. This approach forces workers to self-manage themselves: Gildan therefore no longer has to pay for training, and no longer needs to pay for supervision. Abuse against slower teammates is therefore common and while illegal, is not the responsibility of the company. People familiar with their 20th century history will recognize this approach as a popular one imposed within stalinist GULAGs.

While the use of anarchist practices at large can be seen as positive, it is a dangerous tool when left in the hands of the ruthless.

Where the Desiring-Machines Swarm: Technics, Mental Health, and Consumerism

I will be making the argument that our contemporary affliction (sedated subjectivity and anxiety) is actually the exploitation and alienation of our attention; systemically sustained by what the Situationist International called the diffuse spectacle.

Attention it is the latest iteration in a long lineage of philosophical concepts (such as will to power, potentia, puissance, élan vital etc). As a force, pure unadulterated attention is now the most valuable commodity. This era is characterized by an increasing intensification of the New Mediascape, rife with the unchecked proliferation of the digital advertising industry. Attention can be understood through a metaphysical framework comprised of Bergson’s theory of durational time and Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of desiring-production, their epistemological synthesis being the idea of desiring-machines (mechanistic traps that cut into the continuous material flow). The concept of the desiring-machine can be used to reveal the complex interplay between technics, mental health, and consumerism.

My affirmative refrain, inspired by the Situationist avant-garde project will be that of anti-production—constructing opportunities (or perhaps situations) to perform a collective existential re-orientation. The instruments of production may be constantly revolutionizing themselves, but this is not an instantaneous undertaking. I seek to illustrate that there is always an opportunity for disruption and strategic subjective steering through radical media pragmatism as developed by media theorist Geert Lovink.


Nous voudrions faire une activité de projection vidéo et discussion à partir des thèmes des vidéos. Réalisés dans plusieurs régions du Québec, les vidéos Des-terres-minées livrent des témoignages intimes, permettant un tremplins vers des réflexions collectives. 27 capsules vidéos et audios ont été réalisées avec des personnes s’identifiant comme femmes, autochtones et allochtones, qui voulaient témoigner de leur lieu au territoire et des impacts de l’exploitation de celui-ci. Les projets extractifs qui se multiplient à l'heure actuelle impliquent diverses politiques qui engendrent les bris de liens aux territoires de multiples communautés. Les processus de colonisation (passés et actuels) ont provoqué des déplacements forcés de communautés autochtones, en lien avec un génocide culturel et social et une désintégration territoriale. Ces vidéos, d'une durée de 2 à 7 minutes, sont des portes d'entrée pour aborder différentes thématiques inter-reliées, à savoir les conceptions du territoire, la colonisation, l'extractivisme, les impacts des développements extractifs, les impacts genrés de ces développements et les luttes pour la protection du territoire. Vous pouvez visionner ces capsules : desterresminees.pasc

Decolonizing our territories: women fighting extractivism and colonialism

Through the short videos of the Mined-lands project, we will explore the colonization of our territories, the gender-based impacts of extractivism and the struggles led by women for the land. Mined-lands (Des-terres-minées) is a project that wishes to create spaces of discussion and reflexion for all individuals living oppressions based on gender on our relation to the territory, the threats to the territory and the defence of the territory. How can we carry-on anti-colonial struggles for the land? Outside the colonial box, what does the territory mean? A moment, shared, to reflect on the multiple oppressions intertwined in our link to the territory.

Good life and technology: the uses, abuses and potentials of novel technologies for positive change

Perhaps the most famous lesson taught by the history of technology is that technology is not inherently positive nor negative, or neutral. Practically all technologies can have both positive and negative uses, but all embody both implicit and explicit value judgments made by their creators. Therefore, some technologies may be inherently more suited for helping and advancing positive social change, whereas the mere use of others may conceivably push people and societies towards a less desirable future. However, there seems to be a distinct need for far-reaching and regular critical discussion about technology and how it relates, helps, or hinders those who believe in a brighter future. As an example, certain technologies for distributed trust, better known as cryptocurrencies and blockchains, have recently captured the spotlight partly thanks to counter-culture, even revolutionary claims made by many of their advocates. Behind this facade, however, lurk genuinely troubling tendencies and encoded values from ultrareactionary right-wing libertarianism to quasi-religious belief in technology as the ultimate solution to world’s problems.

In this session/workshop, we would like to gather together people who are interested in discussing, sharing and/or developing theories of technology for positive societal change. For example, what academic and practical approaches could be useful for those of us who think about technologies on a daily basis? How can we help guide the development and use of technology to more pro-social ends? Are there technologies activists should be more aware of? How could we communicate these issues to people who are actually developing and implementing new technologies, and could we help the emerging critical, even revolutionary community of technologists? In the spirit of Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful,”, Mumford’s “polytechnics,” Stallman’s free software movement, and Lanier’s “You are not a gadget,” let’s think about the tools of better tomorrow!

Anarchizing the Disciplines

In the last few decades, a slew of anthropologists, best-known among them David Graeber, have shown their discipline's affinity with anarchy. On the other hand, my field, German studies, may be one of the least politically oriented of all, despite its Marxist reputation. Struggling to reconcile this with my commitment to anarchism has led me to the question: what would an anarchist literary studies look like? More broadly, what would it mean to "anarchize the disciplines," that is, to recreate the university's current forms of knowledge by focusing on anarchist techniques, resonances, and worldviews? I argue that engaging with these academic forms of knowledge is worthwhile at all, a point that's not obvious. Marxism had a moment in the post-68 period whose imprint is still visible today, and though I don't want to copy that, it's worthwhile to think about what it would mean to outplay the university at its own intellectual game, given its outsize influence on North American social hierarchies and its alibi as a beacon of truth during liberalism's troubles. If, as I would argue, anarchist and anti-authoritarian thought is more present than ever, how can we make that political message more visible in a context like the US where anarchism is rarely more than an epithet? And, if the goal is to make anarchist science better (and more fun) than the neoliberal university, how can we do intellectual work in an anarchist way? With reference to Fred Moten's quip, "the only possible relationship to the university today is a criminal one," I offer some thoughts on how we could defraud biology, architecture, economics, and all the other disciplines for the sake of outdoing the old and eminently corrupt structure. Pace Francis Bacon (and DARPA, as it happens), knowledge is power.

The disruption of nature within a capitalist society

Being under the effects of widespread fossil fuel extraction, catastrophe erupts into our daily life, painting a somber future…What we call a catastrophe is really nothing other than the norm of an economy founded on acceleration, growth and mistreatment of irreplaceable natural resources. Through the intimate relationship of ecology and anarchy, this presentation will discuss the commitment to freedom that is required, in order to protect endangered territories from privatization and exploitation. More specifically, it will discuss the war against fossil fuels and fracking in Gaspésie, Quebec. Junex, a drilling oil and gas wells company who planned to start a project in Gaspésie, were recently halted as a result of activists who protest the issues previously mentioned, by emolishing the company’s barricades. They reoccupied the territory, and demonstrated the continuity of ecological and decolonial perspectives, that are crucial in making space for new possibilities of successful struggle.

Capitalist values, that have been so deeply instilled, have individualized humanity and its values, causing our species to fall out of tune with our natural environment. This has become a radical issue, because as we lose touch with nature, and the delicate balance we are able to give and take from it, we increase our risk of forcing it to total exhaustion. It will continue to give if we treat it with respect, and plan to use it sustainably. Elisee Reclus said, “One is corrupted by routine and servitude, it is by knowledge and freedom that man will regenerate.” It is not enough to know about a problem, change is a result of action.

At the end of the presentation, participants will be a part of an open discussion. It will aim to question whether occupying a land, in order to protect its finite life from the fatal exploitation to gain capital, is worth it.

Low literacy levels, anarchist publishing and militarized repression

Comparative study within a century of the cultural activity through print culture (books, newspapers, journals, pamphlets, flyers) after the bolshevization of the left wing and of the governments of the postrevolutionary period, one of which consecuences was the intensifitcation in the persecution of anarchists by the political police -tasked with the espionage and political control of the enemies of the strengthening regime. It was in that period that all of the known anarchist printing houses and publishers were dismantled.

The government surveils collective groups, squatters, individuals, communities, federations, mutual aid groups, affinity groups... Anarchists face harassment, arbitrary detentions, imprisonments and disappearances. The impact and the scope of contemporary anarchist publishing is far from what was achieved in the past. Enduring persecution by a militarized country, low levels of literacy, and whose biggest demographic represents a youth whose future is being robbed, anarchist publishers face a colossal challenge.

Microfascism and Other Paranoiac Mechanisms: An Axiological Inquiry

This paper explores the psychic effects of contemporary control mechanisms that route desire into authoritative practices, habits, and discourses. On a molecular level, the increasing tendency towards microfascism and other paranoiac tendencies institutes forms of control that reproduces hierarchical modes of interactivity in daily life. In more traditional and legible forms, we experience the counterinsurgent-oriented interventions against revolt and destabilization. But in non-Statist modes, forms of power that come from the "private" sphere are reaching the cybernetic goal of extinction through automation and control. Ultimately, these mechanisms extinguish potentialities and temporalities that are and have been produced by alternate relations to the ecological systems. We want to consider how an understanding of a psyche determined by forces tending toward paranoia affects our potentialities, practices, and self-conceptualizations in order to understand how we can invent and proliferate new forms of relationalities with our selves, our social existences, and the environment.

Not Your Founding Father’s Anarchism

Anarchism’s record on the issue of gender liberation is at once ambiguous and contradictory. Historically, the anarchist response to the “woman/sex question” was mixed. During the period of classical anarchism, women were active in anarchist organizations, publications, and projects throughout the globe. While most of them rejected the label of feminist (seeing feminism as a bourgeois movement), they nonetheless spoke out against sexual subordination and called for the emancipation of women with the overthrow of all forms of social, political, and economic hierarchy. At the same time, countless others were at best ambivalent to the idea of sexual equality and at worst outright hostile to it. Frequently credited as the founding father of anarchism, Pierre Joseph Proudhon vehemently argued against the rights of women to be anything other than wives and mothers. And, many accounts of early anarchist movements note the pervasiveness of “anarchist antifeminism” and “anarcho-sexism”. This presentation will examine the question of anarchist history from an explicitly feminist standpoint. It will look how introductions to anarchism and accounts of anarchist history are routinely gendered; explore the prevalence and operation of patriarchy in past anarchist movements; consider the ways in which anarchist women engaged in “dual struggle”; and discuss the lessons and insights that might be drawn to help us address the presence of (trans)misogyny in our anarchist spaces today.

The necessity of practices of healing in anarchist organizing and community-building: an experiential dialogue-based workshop

In our experience in Mexican and US contexts, we’ve seen that despite being committed to resisting to all forms of domination, we anarchists can act in oppressive and authoritarian ways in our organizing spaces + communities.

Beyond naming, blaming and critiquing, what does it take to unlearn and heal from deeply ingrained oppression and authoritarianism, from the wounds of systemic violence that keep us from organizing effectively and loving boundlessly? In this experiential and dialogue-based workshop – aligned with the growing number of movements who are recognizing the importance of bringing together healing and justice work (including Black Lives Matter, If Not Now, Movimiento Cosecha, to name a few in the US) – we will explore the ways that practices of collective healing2 are necessary to create communities of anarchist resistance that are resilient, powerful, diverse, welcoming, boundary-crossing, and grounded in love; where everyone feels empowered to contribute their unique and essential role in the revolution. While holding critiques of religious institutions that uphold patriarchy and colonialism, that suppress critical consciousness, and so on, we believe that it’s a grave mistake for anarchists to run away from spirituality and healing, and that assimilation into white supremacy and capitalism is deeply connected to a loss of spiritual traditions.

Messy Anarchism in a Memphis School

Deborah Reed-Danahay, in her 1997 volume Auto/Ethnography: Rewriting the Self and the Social, argues that auto-ethnography can “question the binary conventions of a self/society split, as well as the boundary between the objective and the subjective.” Following her methodology, I will share several vignettes and reflections from my time as an anarchist teacher in a strict public school. My vignettes will focus on the moments that I tried to put my anarchist values into pedagogical practice, and my reflections will sort through the wide range of responses that I got from my students and colleagues. My overall argument is that we should give up ideas of anarchism predicated on purity and identity. Instead, we can search for hybrid collective understandings of what anarchism looks and feels like in local institutions. Efforts like these can make our theories more richly textured and our practice more widely effective.

Studying Toward Anarchy (Pedagogical Becomings Of/Against Anarchy)

(Panel Discussion)

In this 60 to 90-minute roundtable conversation, the 5 of us are going to teach you how to be good anarchists. Or not. Actually, the opposite of that. Perhaps a mixture? Through an open conversation, this session probes at questions and tensions in the relationship between pedagogy and anarchy. Emerging from work in a multidisciplinary reading group, we (anthropologists, philosophers, Germanic scholars, and educators), wander through issues of study (Moten & Harney, 2013) and thinking against mastery (Singh, 2017) to explore how we learn to do and be what essentially stands against learning. We will begin with brief remarks (15 minutes total), framing the session through relevant literature on anarchist pedagogy (e.g. Hawthorn, 2012) and offering examples of links between anarchy and education. We will then open the session to those who join us, asking questions like:

  • How have you come to anarchist praxis?
  • How does one teach anarchy? Is that inherently anti-anarchist?
  • Does such a thing as an anarchist pedagogy exist?
  • If so, how can it be infused in the commons?
  • Who gets to learn about anarchy? When? How?
  • how can we conceive of a relationship between anarchism and traditional venues of education (e.g. schools, universities), or should these venues be
  • altogether?
  • What are some examples of actually-existing anarchist study? what tensions do they encounter/embody?

Old School, New School, Deschool: An Anti-authoritarian Approach to Hip Hop Education

Many Hip Hop educators (Stovall, 2006; Akom, 2009; Tinson & McBride, 2013) have embraced and built upon Paulo Freire's model of critical pedagogy. Utilizing Freire's democratic "problem-posing" approach, these radical educators of color use Hip Hop critical pedagogy to encourage historically oppressed students to interrogate their social locations in the world in order to challenge the systems of white supremacy, capitalism, and other forms of oppression. However, despite its near ubiquity in radical educational spaces, many anarchist and anti-authoritarian educators view "critical pedagogy" as potentially replicating systems of oppression and hierarchy it is assumed to disrupt. In Deschooling Society (1970), Ivan Illich argued that the notion of radical educators and intellectuals being obligated to "teach" the oppressed how to "read the word and the world," ultimately prepares those students for "passivity and alienation" (p. 67). Rather, he struggled for the disestablishment of all institutionalized or obligatory forms of schooling, replacing them with self-directed "educational webs" where people have opportunities to "transform each moment of [their] living into one of learning, sharing, and caring" (p. x). This paper seeks to examine what anti-authoritarian Hip Hop educators can learn from Illich's approach to deschooling and other variations of "anarchist pedagogy" in order to build autonomous and horizontal educational networks. For example, Illich's call for the establishment of public archives and repositories where people could freely access knowledge, share skills, and exchange ideas peer-to-peer, actually shares much in common with the foundation of Hip Hop culture itself. Prior to the era of the capitalist domination of rap music, hierarchical institutions didn't control the dissemination of Hip Hop. Instead, young people of color learned Hip Hop performative culture, such as DJing, breaking, graffiti, and MCing via informal archives (records), educati onal webs, skill shares, and peer matching with others in autonomous youth-led spaces.

Nonhierarchical Organizational Patterns in the Information Age

As an anarchist, one of my greatest interests is learning how to achieve a multiplicity of complex tasks, tasks that will require the work and expertise of tens or thousands of individuals, without hierarchy. Since the age of the internet, we have seen thousands of individuals voluntarily come together to work on a variety of complex projects, like Linux based operating systems or Wikipedia. They are doing this work (intentionally or not) in inspiring anarchistic ways. The structure of these organizations, including rules (both informal and encoded) and the cultural norms surrounding communication and technology use, have sprung up to prevent the entrenchment of power in single individuals or sub-groups.

This talk will describe these organizations and highlight the more anti-hierarchical or anarchist elements of them. These project are largely tech related, but can we free some of the designs and patterns of online organizations for use in for our local communities? Or can we use them to grow our location-based communities or projects to involve people with across towns and borders? Perhaps we can even use the technology and habits of technology-use to incorporate into our projects those with disabilities or other life scenarios that make it difficult for them to contribute.

Challenging Transphobia in the Anarchist Movement

Abstract: The inclusivity of transgender folks in contemporary radical social movements have varied. In the 21st century, there is a growing awareness of the importance of challenging transphobic beliefs and practices in social movements. Nonetheless, there is a legacy of transphobia in anarchist and feminist theory and activism. This presentation will specifically discuss the problem of transphobia, both historically and currently, in the anarchist and feminist movements. While anarchists value anti-authoritarianism and are often conscious of challenging the various intersections of oppression, some individual anarchists and organizations have sought to exclude trans folks from their movements. Popular anarchist publishers have also published and given a platform for trans exclusionary authors. I will specifically address ways anarchists have challenged transphobia both internally within their movement organizations and externally with nonmovement actors attempting to derail movement activity. Some radical feminists, influenced by second-wave feminism, have particularly attempted to discredit the validity of trans identities. Trans exclusionary radical feminists in the anarchist movement have targeted anarchist events, for example promoting and distributing anti-trans propaganda at anarchist bookfairs in so-called North America and the UK. For instance, the London Anarchist Bookfair, which was globally the longest running bookfair, announced in 2017 that they would no longer organize the event because of the flak they received for not maintaining a safe and inclusive space. In contrast, other bookfair collectives, including the one I am a part of, have acknowledged that we need to be better prepared to hold space and have continued to strategize ways of ensuring the safety and inclusivity of our events. The aim of the presentation is to further explore the ways social movements can increase the inclusivity of gender variant folks within movement theory and practice.

Digesting Blockchain, Decentralization, and Crypto- as an Anarchist Insider

My investigation understands the relevance of crypto - for digital politics by leveraging Bernard Stiegler’s theory of technics: a domain between the organic/biological and the inert/mechanical that, in modernity and today, is marked by the rationalization of politics, management, and all forms of organization. Technics discloses the logic internal to a technique and independent of any particular implementation. I contend that the history of crypto- where it intersects computer networks—finding here its much-vaunted politicality as decentralized governance achieved via blockchain—must be understood on technics’ own terms. By leveraging anarchist theories of technology alongside Stiegler, the contemporary landscape of crypto- arrives in focus. Is there a political promise contained in blockchain decentralization? Can technical anarchies environ techno-anarchism? Or does crypto-anarchy merely leech resources to an adaptive capitalist metamachine?

Trans-ing Anarchist Studies / Anarchizing Trans Studies

In this paper, I explore the ways in which transgender (or trans*) studies can provide new theoretical and practical tools for anarchist praxis. Trans* studies spans a wide variety of disciplines and theoretical and methodological approaches. The first thread that I pull out is concerned with bioand necro-politics. Susan Stryker, a key figure in the development of transgender studies as a field, argues, “A critical theoretical task now confronting the field is to advance effective strategies for noncompliance and noncomplicity with the biopolitical project itself” (2014, p 41). This echoes Saul Newman’s own call for radical politics, particularly anarchism, to deal with the biopolitical. This represents a point of connection that can be used to draw together trans* and anarchist studies. Another thread in trans* studies and activism that I want to use as a linkage, is the focus on the body as a site of knowledge, political contestation, and imbrication with the more-than-human world. The work in somatechnics, transfeminismo in Spain and Latin American, and trans* ecology provides new ways of theorizing the relations of the body, technology, knowledge, and power (that is not separate from the bio/necro-political). Moreover, I argue for the infusion of anarchist perspectives in trans* studies and activism. The political imaginaries of trans* studies and activism can be productively opened through anarchism. I seek to build on already existing connections, such as trans* prison and policing abolitionism. Language: English Length: ~20 minutes Attendance: Ideally, in-person. But may need to present remotely.

Les squats comme résistance aux frontières racistes et sexistes

Les frontières ne sont pas constitués que de murs : elles existent aussi à travers la racialisation des corps, les coups de matraque, le poivre de Cayenne, les déportations et les expulsions systématiques des habitations précaires.

À Calais, la résistance s’organise sur plusieurs fronts. Dans le cadre de cette conférence, j’aborderai la question de la résistance matérielle et spatiale anarcho-féministe (entre 2012 et 2014), et ce, à travers la pratique du squat. Contrairement à ce qui est soutenu dans le texte Trapped on the border. A brief history of solidarity squatting practices in Calais i , le premier squat légal Lacaillette, n’a pas été occupé avec une volonté « désintéressée » et « émanant » de convictions politiques « articulées » : il a plutôt été initié par une «necessity for survial» dans un contexte de militance hostile aux femmes. Ce texte qui marginalise les revendications féministes — jugées individualistes et apolitiques — s’inscrit en continuité avec les résistances antiféministes expérimentées sur le terrain, résistances qui prennent racine dans la dichotomie entre l’action politique et l’acte de survie.

Afin de lutter contre cette notion d’action politique (qui positionne le militant blanc comme acteur principal) j’exposerai — à partir de mon expérience militante — les impacts politiques qu’ont eus ces squats, soit la création d’espaces de coalition (entre différents groupes minorisés) et de contrepouvoir (à l’égard de plusieurs groupes dominants). Les deux premiers squats « légaux » (Lacaillette et Victor Hugo) transgressent les normes androcentrées du militantisme et permettent un éclairage nouveau afin de repenser l’objet politique, où la frontière entre le militantisme et la survie individuelle/collective est brouillée.

The Saga of the Masterless Men of Newfoundland and the Emancipatory Myth of Revolt

While I use the historical term Masterless Men, I am quite aware that the quest for “masterlessness” has no gender. The usage of the name Masterless Men refers to a particular group of eighteenth century rebels who fled conditions of servitude and set out to live a life of liberty in the Butter Pot Barrens of Newfoundland. As an anarchist, I do not seek to be slave or master. Instead of relationships of servitude, desire ones of individual freedom and mutual aid. The Masterless Men have been an inspiration to me in that quest. My analysis here is not based on a dualistic understanding about myth and reality. Rather than seeking to objectively disentangle myth and legend from documented reality as a way of convincing the reader of the historical accuracy of the Masterless Men story, I will focus my attention upon the ways in which historical and poetic facts can interact in a mutually reinforcing manner to create an inspirational anti-authoritarian saga. Even if not conclusively verifiable in every detail, the story of the Masterless Men can serve to illuminate the underlying human desires and aaspirations that animate the myth of revolt even in the bleakest of times. In keeping with the inspirational potential of collective myths of revolt, the legend of the Masterless Men can be understood as an outlaw history involving not only a remembrance of mutual aid among anarchic rebels, but one which especially prizes those who survive by breaking the law or cunningly living outside of it. In this regard, the saga of the Masterless Men, though it may not be based entirely on provable historical fact, reminds us that the poetic truths associated with myths of revolt can act as an antidote to despair even in times characterized by great pessimism.