Bio: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is an historian and author, most recently of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States and, forthcoming in January, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment.
Description: A history of the origins and development of US nationalism reveal that at its core, US nationalism IS white nationalism, and that generations of British and other western European settlers, and even later Eastern European and Asian immigrants, have embraced in participating and perpetuating anti-Black racism, along with opposition to or little interest/knowledge/support for the claims of land-based Indigenous Nations as well as for Mexican nationals. This reality presents a challenge for US anarchists who see themselves as global actors in opposition to all states and all nationalisms, in that there are particular responsibilities of US citizens and residents in a settler-colonial nation-state, including anarchists, to focus on the specifics of WHITE nationalism, which is US nationalism, rather than assuming a general anti-statist stance, which does not acknowledge settler-colonialism and resistant nationalisms; the Eurocentric origins and continued theorization of the state and nationalism.
Bio: Lorena Mansilla es integrante de Acción Socialista Libertaria (ASL), que se radica en Argentina. Actualmente estudia en UC Santa Cruz y es militante de la Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra.
Description: En Argentina el 3 de septiembre de este año se realizó el Foro libertario, donde mas de 400 personas se encontraron para hablar sobre sindicalismo, politicas antirrepresivas, feminismos, educación y la situacion politica actual en Argentina, donde gobierna un gobierno neoliberal y la izquierda tradicional y la nueva izquierda, apuesta por la alternativa extraparlamentaria. Los y las anarquistas, los y las socialistas libertarias dimos el paso el pri.er paso para pensar, debatir y organuzarnos juntos .
Please note that this workshop will be presented in Spanish/Este taller se va a presentar en castellano.
Bio: Stephan Hammel teaches at the University of California, Irvine. He has given talks on Marxist value theory and aesthetics both within and without the US. He is currently at work on a book about the historical materialist approach to the history of music.
Description: For most Americans the Great Recession never broke into a sustained economic recovery. Left-of-center economists now warn of an extended period of “secular stagnation.” My presentation will frame the current economic situation in the US in Marxist economic terms to demonstrate the relevance of his political economic insights to revolutionary strategy today. In particular, I will focus on his theory of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall with the aim of making clear what Marx and his contemporary followers understand to be the fundamental internal contradiction in the capitalist system.
Bio: Theo Kayser has been a Catholic Worker for over seven years. He currently lives and works at the Los Angeles Catholic Worker where he is part of an intentional community that runs a soup kitchen on LA’s Skid Row. He has been to jail for protesting militarism and nuclear weapons, run from tear gas in Ferguson and has warrant out for his arrest for disrupting Donald Trump, all in attempt to take the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth seriously.
Description: Christian Anarchism is a term considered to be an oxymoron by Christians and anarchists alike. While a handful of texts have been used historically by Christians to justify the state and other oppressive institutions this reading of the Bible ignores the central theme of the text as a whole, liberation. From the foundational story where God sides with slaves against the empire of Egypt to the state sanctioned execution of Jesus of Nazareth, God reveals herself to be amidst those struggling against oppression.
Decentralization and anti-imperial rearrangement of social interactions are key to understanding the ethics of God as liberator. The Catholic Worker Movement has concerned itself for 85 years with taking this message seriously. By not waiting for either church or state to intervene on behalf of the oppressed the Catholic Worker has attempted to address the immediate needs of those pushed to the margins of society while at the same time attempting to challenge those institutions that perpetuate oppression.
Bio: Soyla, collective organizer since 2013, and continued organizing with Ovarian Psycos, Undeportables, Comida No Bombas, Casa Solidaria Del Sur, East Side Cafe, and many more. Substance abuse counselor, graduated with an MA in child psychology from (input a stupid universities name) and continued accomplice of all forms in resisting and dismantling this patriarchal system of oppression.
Description: Destroying mental health stigma and its relationship to burn outs in grass root collective organizing. A self help support group, self sustainable, anti-capitalist, horizontal structure of sharing experience in preventative circles, from people of color, for people of color. Breaking down societal conditions of oppression that have been perpetuated by our own process of socializing. How to structure a self help support group and the do’s and don’ts to mental health.
Please note and respect that this is a workshop meant only for people of color.
Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ)
Bio: Mimi Soltysik was the Socialist Party USA’s 2016 presidential nominee and is currently the Secretary of the Socialist Party Los Angeles Local. He served as the Socialist Party USA’s Male Co-Chair from 2013 – 2015 and ran for California State Assembly in 2014. He is also a member of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and was a founding member of the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice.
Kris Baumgartner is a Los Angeles-based socialist and activist working as an organizer for the International Marxist-Humanist Organization and Coalition for Revolution, Peace & Social Justice. He writes on war, imperialism and the Middle East focusing on Syrian issues.
Description: We will have two speakers from the CPRSJ give 10-minute introductions to the CPRSJ and its politics and then open discussion over these topics and its principles of unity. One speaker will talk about traditional coalition structures and the challenges and importance of setting up a democratic structure that reflects its politics inside and out. The other will talk about the importance of anti-capitalism being the core of any peace coalition.
María Castro and Javier Sethness Castro
Bio: María Castro is professor in the French and Spanish Department at
Occidental College in Los Ángeles. Her publications in specialized literary journals include work on themes related to the intersection of art and literature in the Spanish-speaking world.
Javier Sethness Castro is author of Eros and Revolution: The Critical Philosophy of Herbert Marcuse and of Imperiled Life: Revolution against Climate Catastrophe, and translator/editor of I Am Action: Literary And Combat Articles, Thoughts, and Revolutionary Chronicles by Praxedis Guerrero.
Description: In this presentation, we will explore the philosophical and political affinities between Richard Wagner and Mikhail Bakunin, beginning with their joint action on the barricades of revolutionary Dresden in 1849. We consider Wagner’s Ring cycle as depicting the Proudhonian idea of theft and Siegfried and Brünnhilde as Bakuninist-Feuerbachian heroes. By examining Wagner and Bakunin’s common anti-Semitism, feminism and anti-feminism, and revolutionism, we discuss how anarchism and anti-theism influenced the creation of The Ring as an epic opera that depicts the rise and fall of capitalism.
Nevertheless, in light of the anti-Semitism that drives The Ring, we cannot overlook the undeniable Aryanist, national-anarchist, and proto-fascist aspects of Wagner’s pseudo-revolutionism, which represent disturbing lines that connect typically left-wing notions of anti-statist and anti-capitalist upheaval with ultranationalist myth.
Richard Modiano, Pam Ward, Marcellus Davis, and Will Alexander.
Bio: Richard Modiano has been a member of the Industrial Workers of the World since 1974 and works at the Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center in Venice, CA.
Description: Since the Book Fair is being held in Leimert Park, the center of African-American arts in Los Angeles and home to the World Stage that was founded by poets from the Watts Writers Workshop, a poetry reading featuring black poets seems appropriate. I will curate the best African-American poets who will be available on the day assigned to the event. The perspective represented will be that of people of color who are fighting the capitalist-racist order.
Bio: Shon Meckfessel has been active in disruptive social movements for nearly twenty-five years, beginning in his native Sacramento, CA. After blocking highways to stop the first Persian Gulf War, he was never again inclined to petitionary protest. He has since researched and participated in social movements across the US, Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. Shon is the also the author of “Suffled How It Gush: A North American Anarchist in the Balkans” as well as numerous essays and articles. He has appeared as a social movement scholar and advocate in the New York Times and on Democracy Now, Al Jazeera, CNN, NPR, BBC, Radio, and Fox News. Shon is a member of the English Faculty at Highline College.
Description: I will be presenting my book, recently published on AK Press. Basically, my talk has four parts:
a) How the material conditions faced by social movements have changed drastically over the neoliberal era, but how our language and understanding of movements often don’t acknowledge these changes.
b) A historical analysis of the idea of “nonviolence,” acknowledging the power nonviolent direct action has had at key moments in the past (and analyzing why it worked,) but critiquing how “nonviolence” uses shifting definitions and questionable equivalences to opportunistically disavow the risks incurred by challenging power.
c) Why public performances of property destruction and clashes with police have become commonplace in recent movements – what it is that riots say, and
d) The differences between antifascist and anticapitalist violence, and antifascist strategy.
Bio: Frieda Afary is producer of Iranian Progressives in Translation and a member of the Alliance of Syrian and Iranian Socialists. She has published articles in English and Persian on Marx’s Capital, Piketty’s Capital, Marxist theories of state-capitalism in the USSR and Maoist China, the nature of the Iranian economy, Marxist Feminism, as well as political analyses of events in Iran and Syria. She holds a B.A. in history, M.A. in Philosophy, and M.L.I.S. in Library and Information Studies.
Description: In this presentation, I argue that the current global rise of authoritarianism is related both to capitalism’s crisis of profitability and the ways in which capitalism affects the way we think. I will draw on new and old works such as Michael Roberts’ The Long Depression (2016), Ryan Avent’s The Wealth of Humans (2016), Karl Marx’s Capital, and the Frankfurt School’s critique of “instrumental rationality.”
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) Oakland
Bio: We are organizers from the Oakland chapter of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. We come from various backgrounds including families of formerly incarcerated folks, labor unionists, and academics. By working together to facilitate the creation of a prisoners union and support prisoners taking their own power, we on the outside seek mutual political development. We hope to develop and evolve by participating in this forum.
Description: This will be a presentation and facilitated discussion that will frame the fight against prisons as directly fighting white supremacy and colonialism. We will present historical examples and analyze through the lens of the trajectory of the abolitionist project since the largest prison strike in US history that began on September 9, 2016.
We will focus on this in a historical context of the history of the creation and propagation of prisons and police in the so-called United States. From slave-catching in the northern states and convict leasing, as well as criminalizing Black skin in Oregon and other people of color (Filipino and Japanese) in Alaska and California, we will provide an overview of the way prisons have worked in various iterations in the broad white supremacist, colonial, capitalist project that warehouses challengers of white dominance.
We will also highlight examples from recent prison uprisings and the broader reform prison movements to discuss the trajectory of abolition. We will identify strengths for mass organizing in the Millions For Prisoners/Amend the 13th movements. We will discuss shortcomings of various reforms, including bail reform and re-entry policy. We will seek to synthesize themes and tactics of various abolitionist projects, including the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement, Cooperation Jackson, and how we have applied elements of those projects in the Bay Area.
Throughout the presentation, we will be real about the effects of white supremacy on our work. We will provide examples of how local white supremacist attacks in the Bay Area have affected our work in various ways, including loss of capacity and targeted repression. We will talk about how the project of building for prisoners to take their own power is paramount to defense of our own communities.