Workshops

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IAT Workshops 2019

(see list below)

The Anarchist Summer School is a gathering of adult troublemakers of all ages who come together for eight days to immerse themselves in rigorous co-learning in a co-created community of care. Together, facilitators and participants, we aspire to build a vibrant space of popular education that celebrates social anarchist as well as radical feminist and queer thought, traditions, and practices; cultivating intergenerational relationships with each other and the nonhuman ecosystem; and challenges us all in generative ways to stretch ourselves and grow through critical thought and serious yet playful experimentation.

What does that look like exactly? Unlike a traditional school or academic setting, we learn, teach, think, practice, eat, feel, share, socialize, reflect, grow, and so much more together, whether in our barn-as-classroom, doing meal prep with others or offering an informal skills share, or around a campfire. Over the eight days, the Anarchist Summer School’s schedule and offerings, from workshops to social time, aspires to weave ideas, questions, and themes into an increasingly powerful, generative conversation that both challenges and nourishes everyone.

Here’s what some participants from the past two summers had to say about it:

“Bright and beautiful space, … imagined with intention, love, and care.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a time in my life where I’ve felt so nurtured in mind, body, and spirit at the same time.”

“[The Anarchist Summer School] was complete immersion into a consistently supportive and experimental anarchist mind-set that left me feeling transformed. … This immersion changed my heart and my resolve.”

“There was a culture of care. … There was a large amount of warmth and acceptance. I could see anarchist ideals realize themselves in the ways that we were treating each other, which is rare.”

“Everyone was willing to listen, learn, and grow.”

“I think a running theme I took home was to always be thinking prefiguratively. I think I often fail to strategize more tangibly about creating the world we want because I’m so caught up in responding to the world we don’t want.”

“There was a lot of invitation to be open and vulnerable; that we can be generous with each other.”

“I felt there was a really great balance between orderliness and organization and fluidity, and I liked that the learning processes were collaborative.”

“I liked the arc of what we built together.”

We’re now accepting applications for the Institute for Advanced Troublemaking’s (IAT) third annual Anarchist Summer School, August 3-11, 2019, and hope you apply and/or help spread the word!

Once again, we have limited space and will be prioritizing people whose identities are often marginalized by the dominant society. Applications will be decided in two batches: for applications received on or before February 1, 2019, we’ll get back to folks by March 15, 2019. For applications received on or before April 1, 2019, we’ll let people know by May 15. 2019.

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WORKSHOPS

(in alphabetical order by title; a few more workshops will be added soon)

ANARCHA-FEMINISM AND COMMUNITIES OF CARE
HILLARY LAZAR

What is anarcha-feminism, and how does it relate to solidarity, shared struggle, and transformative social relationships? While there is no single theory or approach to anarcha-feminism, for many of us, it’s about challenging patriarchy and domination in all its forms, which means understanding the connection between heterosexism, white supremacy, colonialism, ableism, and of course capitalism. It’s also about prefiguring the kind of world we hope to live in by adopting daily liberatory practices that help to cultivate more empathetic, transformative ways of relating to one another based on understanding these struggles as interrelated. In effect, it’s a way to approach the creation of more caring communities that are based on love, solidarity, mutual aid, and a desire to see full liberation for everyone. This workshop will explore the meaning of anarcha-feminism through this lens — paying particular attention to the critical influence of other radical currents such as black feminism, queer theory, decolonial thought, and social ecology — and how we can better incorporate these ethics and practices into our own lives, relationships, projects, and communities.

Hillary is an activist, educator, writer, and returning instructor for the IAT who has been involved with social justice struggles since the 1990s. Over the years, she has been part of numerous anarchist projects, particularly related to radical education and building prefigurative spaces. She is currently on the board for Agency: An Anarchist PR Project, a member of the speakers’ bureau for the Institute for Anarchist Studies, and working to unionize grad student workers. Her writing has been featured in Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, Anarchism: A Conceptual History, and Emma Goldman: A Documentary History. Hillary lives in Pittsburgh, where she teaches about gender, power, and resistance while grappling with the meaning of anarchist parenting.

ART AND/AS ACTIVISM
ARTIST/ACTIVIST/DESIGNERS FROM MONTREAL/TIO’TIA:KE

This workshop will provide opportunities for discussions on the role of art in social struggles and the multiplicity of ways in which artistic practices support radical movement building. The facilitators will share examples of diverse approaches drawn from their own experience as artist-activists (in antiracist and anticolonial struggles, Palestinian solidarity work, student activism, queer liberation, and anticapitalist cultural production), highlighting both successes and failures within specific campaigns and contexts. They will examine the affective bonds that are a central component of collective art making and the experiencing of art to show how they are essential to the building of solidarity within as well as between social movements. The workshop will also include hands-on skill-share time using both DIY creation techniques and the facilitated tech and tools at a Worcester anarchistic makerspace. The sessions hope to challenge the separation between “art” and “activism,” revealing and deconstructing the ideological frameworks that structure all artistic practice.

Facilitators are members of a network of artist/activist/designers from Montreal/Tio’tia:ke, working out of and in collaboration with LOKI design studio, Zola, and Sidetracks Screenprinting collective. LOKI, a multidisciplinary design and communications studio working at the intersection of graphic design and social change, creates images, objects, and experiences that engage, empower, and oppose. Zola is the pseudonym for a queer, settler whose work focuses on the iconic character of the masked protester as a romantic allegory for street politics while shifting its representation to embody the diversity of folks who engage in this radical tactic. Sidetracks aims to be a collective run by and for people who are trans, two-spirit, queer, indigenous, and/or people of color that makes screenprinting accessible to projects and organizations working for transformative social change.

DECOLONIZING ANARCHISM
MAIA RAMNATH

This workshop will explore the history, structure, function, and ideologies of colonialism, anticolonialism, and decolonization from an anarchist perspective. For starters, it will offer a broad historical overview of colonialism over the past five hundred years — anarchism in anticolonial action. This requires understanding and confronting the interconnections of empire, capitalism, race, and resource extraction. It will then focus on how anarchists (in both colonizing and colonized positions) have related to anticolonial struggles, including those identified as national liberation struggles. The workshop will consider various specifically located traditions of resistance and liberation philosophy/praxis that have affinity or share some key concepts with anarchism. Finally, the workshop will center on anarchism and decolonization today, concentrating on some contemporary hot spots of empire and settler colonialism, identifying manifestations relevant to participants, and considering ethical and practical concerns for action, taking into consideration how anarchistic thought and praxis might look in different political, social, and cultural contexts.

Maia is a writer, historian, teacher, activist, and performing artist based in New York City. She has taught modern South Asian and world history, and written two books (and is working on a third) and numerous articles on transnational radical anticolonial movements. Coming up on her twentieth anniversary as a “self-identified anarchist,” she has worn many different organizing hats to face a range of intersecting issues of social, economic, racial and environmental justice, Palestine solidarity and indigenous solidarity, all understood as interlinked aspects of the same imperial/colonial system. Check out Maia’s book Decolonizing Anarchism: An Antiauthoritarian History of India’s Liberation Struggle, and her pieces in No Gods, No Masters, No Peripheries and the Routledge Handbook of Radical Politics.

DIRECT ACTION PRAXIS
CRICKET COLLECTIVE

This direct action training will focus on scouting in both urban and rural areas. Scouting is important work to make sure our actions are as effective and low risk for our crews as possible. Ever get caught before you even did an action? Ever get trapped trying to slink away from one? Ever try to do a banner drop and realize, “This banner is three times too small to be read from a distance”? You could have used some scouts! Information gathering and knowing the area are key. Scouting skills can vary from scoping out areas for future actions, understanding police formations, sneaking into buildings and corporate conferences or through forests, and mapping escape routes. Participants will learn the basics of direct action and strategy before splitting into two groups: one focused on evasion, blending in, and scouting in cities, and one focused on scouting, subterfuge, and hiding out longer-term in the woods.

The Cricket Collective is made up of folks who’ve been trainers and schemers in a wide array of struggles, including environmental, animal rights, antiracist, indigenous, and antifa movements. They prefer to be purposefully vague!

EXPLORING ACCOUNTABILITY, BOUNDARIES, AND CONSENT IN OUR LIVES AND COMMUNITIES
(2 SESSIONS)
WORCESTER FUCCRS

This participatory workshop will collectively construct a clear definition of consent and affirmative consent practices using participants’ own experiences as a guide. The aim is to provide participants with tools and opportunities to practice running scenarios in order to better bring affirmative consent and clear boundaries into their lives and relationships.
Space will also be opened up to explore what happens when things go awry in relationships and communities when consent isn’t well practiced. The sessions will use frameworks and tools from the FUCCRS curriculum to guide this work, including, but not limited to, role-playing, dialogue, storytelling (explicit and anonymous), and pod mapping.
Worcester for Understanding Consent, Community, and Relational Sexuality (Worcester FUCCRS) consists of CoquiLily, Bettny, and Holly. They are a loose affinity group of leftists who have all organized together in a multitude of capacities including at the Stone Soup Community Center and FemSex Worcester. They have all done work as sexual health educators, and have been present to their community for processes around consent and accountability. This group has as many questions as answers, but is working to facilitate a world with less patriarchy and pain along with more joyful, liberatory practices of love.

REPRESSION AND RESILIENCE
MICHAEL LOADENTHAL

What does political repression look like today? How can it be reflected in past eras? How has it changed? And how can we learn to be more resilient in our movements, networks, and communities? These key questions will be examined in this hybrid workshop-discussion. We will begin by exploring how repression operates generally, and how to understand these strategies. How can repression be examined psychologically, legally, practically, and through the lens of language and discourse? What lessons can we take from the Red Scare, COINTELPRO, the Green Scare, and specific methods of domestic policing, including infiltration, surveillance, grand juries, and laws such as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act? What can we learn from the increase in felony prosecutions, conspiracy charges, and antiprotest laws? Finally, how can we build on this knowledge to discuss strategies and tactics for countering repression, acting boldly, remaining free, and increasing our abilities to bounce back when knocked down?

Michael has been an anarchist organizer and trainer for the past two decades, and regularly writes and speaks about strategies of resistance, state repression and political violence. He has been an organizer with a variety of local, national, and international networks helping to plan and protect direct action campaigns on four continents. He works as a precariously employed professor of sociology and social justice studies, and directs the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) and the Prosecution Project (tPP), which seeks to untangle the prosecution of political violence in the US court system.

SOCIAL ANARCHISM AND RADICAL ECOLOGY
PAVLOS STAVROPOULOS

What does it mean to look at anarchist and liberatory movements and struggles through an ecological lens? How can a radical understanding of ecology strengthen anarchist theory and practice? How can anarchism bring out the implicitly radical potential of ecology? How can a radical ecology address immediate needs, guide us toward long-term visions and goals, and imbue our activism and everyday lives with desire, play, and curiosity? Drawing from social anarchism, social ecology, permaculture, and traditional indigenous knowledge, and informed by decolonization, feminist, and queer theory and movements, we will critically, and playfully, examine our assumptions and practices while exploring tools and strategies that emphasize social as well as ecological integration and liberation.

pavlos is a longtime activist, educator, and organizer involved in ecological, indigenous, queer, liberatory, and anarchist struggles, including solidarity projects in their native Greece. The founder of Woodbine Ecology Center, which focuses on the confluence of sustainability, social and environmental justice, indigenous knowledge, and decolonization struggles, pavlos is currently writing queer speculative fiction, and is a certified permaculture designer and instructor, water and sustainability educator, street medic, translator, and father.

TRY ANARCHISM FOR LIFE!
CINDY MILSTEIN

In the best spirit of anarchism, this participatory workshop will strive to create a space of learning together, drawing from our shared understandings and experiences. It will explore anarchism as an ethical compass, which points simultaneously to an overarching critique of all forms of hierarchy and an expansive social vision of what it could mean to be free people in a free society. The workshop look at how anarchism can offer a way of thinking—a critical or dialectical theory—to find “cracks in the wall.” And crucially, it will dig into anarchism as a living, breathing, prefigurative politics, utilizing illustrations from messy-beautiful experiments in the here and now that at once gesture toward a liberatory, loving world. At its heart, this workshop will revolve around what it means to aspire toward and practice an “everyday anarchism,” where notions such as self-organization and self-governance, mutual aid and solidarity, autonomy and collectivity, dignity and care, to name a few, become commonsensical second nature as well as the basis for new social relations and social organization.

Cindy has long engaged in anarchistic organizing, contemporary social movements, and collective spaces. They are the author of Anarchism and Its Aspirations, coauthor of Paths toward Utopia, and editor of two anthologies, Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism, and Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief; a new anthology on self-governance is forthcoming. Most recently, besides co-organizing the IAT, Cindy did support work for J20 defendants and made trouble with Solidarity & Defense, Huron Valley. Cindy is honored, when asked, to do talks almost anywhere, and/or death doula and grief care.

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