Home » Workshops 2011

Workshops 2011

[NOTE: The workshops and presentations listed below were presented at the 2011 Anarchist Bookfair.]

Introductions to Anarchism – SATURDAY, MAY 21

  • 1pm: Anarchism without Anarchists / Anarchism with Anarchists: The Practice and Relevance of Anarchism (Jaggi Singh)
  • 1pm: Discovering Anarchism Through Music (Philippe Morin)

Introductions to Anarchism – SUNDAY, MAY 22

  • 1pm: Wage Labour and Alienation: An Anarchist Critique of Work (Camille Robert)
  • 1pm: Embracing Brazen Laziness: Introduction to Anarchism (Adrienne Hurley)

Workshops & Presentations – SATURDAY, MAY 22

  • 11am: The importance of struggle at the workplace (Industrial Workers of the World)
  • 11am: Transforming Harm: Supporting Survivors and Confronting Sexual Assault in Our Communities (SACOMSS & Philly Stands Up)
  • 11am: Oppose and Propose! Lessons from Movement for a New Society (Andrew Cornell)
  • 12pm: Anarchist Writers Bloc Workshop (Anarchist Writers Bloc-Montreal)
  • 1pm: Anarchist responses to “austerity” measures (l’Union communiste libertaire and others)
  • 1pm: Social struggles in Indigenous communities of South America (Mapuche Support Committee and Nicolas Van Caloen)
  • 3pm: An Introduction to Animal Liberation & Anarchism: How Animal Liberation Attacks the Roots of the Capitalist System (Love & Rage Liberation Collective)
  • 3pm: Orwell, the Anarchist-Tory (Eric Martin)
  • 3pm: Support and Self-Defence in the Face of State Repression: The example of the G20 in Toronto & Montreal (La Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes, CLAC)
  • 3pm: Contemporary Anarchist Perspectives: Introduction to Contemporary Anarchisms (Christian)

Workshops & Presentations – SUNDAY, MAY 22

  • 11am: Anti-authoritarian perspectives on the ongoing revolutions from the gulf to the ocean: Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain,Libya, Iran, Iraq, Palestine (Tadamon! Montreal)
  • 11am: Lessons in Solidarity: The Oscar Grant rebellions and the movement against police terror in Oakland, CA. (Oakland 100 Support Committee)
  • 11am: Physical Proximity, Neighbourhood Life and Anarchist Struggles: The Experience of la Pointe Libertaire (La Pointe Libertaire)
  • 12pm: Towards an International Anarchist Gathering in St. Imier (Switzerland) in 2012 (La coopérative Espace noir)
  • 1pm: Philosophy is child’s play! (Louise Caroline Bergeron, Mubeenah Mughal & Marike Reid-Gaudet)
  • 1pm: Round-table: 10 years after the Summit of the Americas: What impact on anarchists? (Hélène Nazon, Maxime Fortin, Sarita Ahooja and others)
  • 1pm: The Struggle for Reproductive Autonomy: From underground abortion collectives to the fight to decriminalize sex work (Emily Davidson & Kaley Kennedy) – Women & trans only
  • 3pm: Anarchism, Colonialism, and Aboriginal Dispossession in the Canadian West (Paul Burrows)
  • 3pm: Fifty Years of Struggle Against Police Brutality in Montreal, Fifteen March 15 Demonstrations, New Strategies Against the Oppressive State? (Collectif Opposé à la Brutalité Policière, COBP)
  • 3pm: Todos Somos Japon and Planetary Anarchism  (Go Hirasawa, Adrienne Hurley & Sabu Kohso)
  • 3pm: Parole Sans Parole (the termite collective)
  • 3pm: Decolonizing our Solidarity (Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie, PASC)

Workshops and presentations will take place on BOTH Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22, from 11am-5pm.

Workshops will take place either in French (fr.) or English (eng.) or are bilingual (bil.). There is whisper translation available into French or English for every workshop.

This year we present four introductory style workshops for people who are new to, or curious about, anarchism and anarchist ideas and practice. The other workshops (20 in total) go in greater depth into various currents of anarchism and issues facing anarchists. We have also provided space for the Anarchist Writer’s Bloc and an info-session about the Rencontres internationales de l’anarchisme in St Imier (Switzerland).

Workshops take place either at the main Bookfair space – the CEDA at 2515 rue Delisle – or at the Georges-Vanier Cultural Center located across from the CEDA.

Rooms A & B at the Georges-Vanier Cultural Center, and rooms 123 & 125 are wheelchair accessible. Rooms 302 and 305 at CEDA are not wheelchair accessible. We can move workshops in order to meet accessibility needs of Bookfair participants.

SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2011

The Importance of Workplace Struggle (fr.)
11am-12:45pm, Saturday May 21
CEDA – Room 123

Within the historical framework of revolutionary syndicalist and anarcho-syndicalist movements, we will present the strategy of solidarity syndicalism as it is developing today. We will show how groups acting within this tradition carry out effective workplace struggles, in harmony with important anarchist principles.

Presented by Andrew Fletcher and Paule Lespérance, members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Transforming Harm: Supporting Survivors and Confronting Sexual Assault in Our Communities (eng.)
11am-12:45pm: Saturday, May 21
Georges-Vanier Cultural Center (across from CEDA) – Room A

How can we confront sexual assault in our communities in ways that both support survivors of violence and hold people who have caused harm accountable, without relying on oppressive criminal legal systems? This panel will feature members of two collectives working to address sexualized violence in their communities:  the Sexual Assault Centre of McGill, which focuses on supporting survivors, and Philly Stands Up, which also works with people who have caused harm through a transformative justice framework.

SACOMSS (the Sexual Assault Centre of McGill Students Society) is a volunteer-run organization which offers support to survivors of sexual assault and their allies through both direct support, as well as education and outreach. Philly Stands Up is a collective working in Philadelphia to confront sexual assault, and working to restore trust and justice within our community by working with both survivors and perpetrators of sexual assault.

Oppose and Propose! Lessons from Movement for a New Society (eng.)
11am-12:45pm, Saturday, May 21
Georges-Vanier Cultural Center (across from CEDA) – Room B

Movement for a New Society (MNS), a feminist radical pacifist organization active in the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s, pioneered forms of consensus decision making, communal living, direct action, and self-education now central to antiauthoritarian movements.  We will explore the history of MNS as a means of drawing out lessons regarding leadership, movement building, counterculture, and prefigurative politics relevant to radical organizers today.

Presented by Andrew Cornell, an educator, organizer, and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. He is the author of Oppose and Propose! Lessons from Movement for a New Society (AK Press and Institute for Anarchist Studies, 2011).

Anarchist Writers Bloc Workshop (bil.)
12pm-1pm, Saturday, May 21
CEDA – Room 305

A workshop for all interested anarchist writers of fiction (literature, theatre, film, poetry, etc.) to come together, meet each other and discuss projects of common interest. Last year’s workshop, for example, resulted in a first-ever published collection of new anarchist fiction and an on-going anarchist writers bloc.

Presented by the Anarchist Writers Bloc (Montreal chapter), a group of anarchist writers who met at last year’s Bookfair.

Anarchism without Anarchists / Anarchism with Anarchists: The Practice and Relevance of Anarchism (eng.)
1pm-2:45 pm, Saturday May 21
CEDA — Room 123

This workshop will outline the basic principles of anarchism, from its historical origins, to inspirations and antecedents from diverse cultures and movements. From support work with prisoners, migrants and victims of police brutality, to inspiring insurrections and uprisings world wide, we’ll explore the tangible practice of anarchist values of self-organization, mutual aid, solidarity and autonomous action. We will look at meaningful examples of self-organization and resistance from Kabylie & Chiapas to Mapuche territories & the Iroquois Confederacy, including local examples in Montreal. Whether through anarchism by self-identified anarchists, or “anarchism without anarchists” who practice the values of anarchism in the day-to-day, this workshop will provide a basic overview of anarchist ideas and practice, and the uncompromising struggle against capitalism, state and all forms of oppression. This workshop is intended for Bookfair participants who are new to, or curious about, anarchist ideas and practice (not forpeople already quite familiar with anarchism).

Presented by Jaggi Singh. Jaggi is an organizer with the No One Is Illegal, Solidarity Across Borders and the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC), as well as a member of the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair Collective.

Discovering Anarchism Through Music (fr.)
1pm-2:45pm, Saturday May 21
CEDA — Room 302

This workshop is designed for people curious about but not necessarily very familiar with anarchism. Its goal is to discover the origins, central ideas and historical figures and movements of anarchism through the medium of French-language music.

Facilitated by Philippe Morin. Philippe is a member of the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair Collective and has been involved in a variety of other collectives over the last ten years. He wants to change society.

Anarchist responses to “austerity” measures (bil.)
1pm-2:45pm, Saturday May 21

Georges-Vanier Cultural Center (across from CEDA) – Room A

Since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008, governments have tried to download the costs of business shut-downs and financial market failure onto the people. Resistance is everywhere, including in Quebec and across Canada. Through this panel, the Union communiste libertaire (UCL) seeks to highlight convergences and share reflections on the state of mobilization against the Charest government’s austerity measures, and open a space of discussion with anarchists from across Canada on these important questions.

A bilingual panel organized by the Union communiste libertaire with the participation of other anarchist organizations from across Canada.

Social struggles in Indigenous communities of South America (fr./esp.)
1pm-2:45pm, Saturday May 21
Georges-Vanier Cultural Center (across from CEDA) – Room B

The struggle of indigenous communities has intensified since the creation of independent states. Currently, the fight continues as their rights are violated and the struggle to reclaim land is far from over. In Latin America, we are witnesses to great repression, from both the State and from multinational corporations, in order to evict indigenous peoples from their lands and freely exploit the natural resources. In Chile, the State is attempting to crush indigenous demands by criminalizing them through anti-terrorist laws.

Presented by the Mapuche Support Committee and Nicolas Van Caloen. The Mapuche Support Committee is an organization made up primarily of people living in Montreal struggling in support of the cause of the Mapuches in Chile. Nicolas Van Caloen holds a degree in economics and has been a filmmaker, independent journalist and environmental activist for over ten years. He has been involved with Liberterre, Earth First, Sos-Levasseur and continues to be active with the Abya Yala anti-mining coordination network.

An Introduction to Animal Liberation & Anarchism: How Animal Liberation Attacks the Roots of the Capitalist System (eng.)
3pm-4:45pm, Saturday, May 21
CEDA – Room 123

This workshop will discuss the connections between anarchism and animal liberation. We will look at how the capitalist system deepens the oppression of animals and how the current capitalist system depends upon the property status of animals to thrive. Using past examples, we will look at how the animal liberation movement attacks the roots of capitalism and challenges the property system itself, building connections between human, earth, and animal liberation movements.

Presented by The Love & Rage Liberation Collective, an anarchist animal liberation collective. Our education is anti-capitalist and anti-state and our actions directly confront the institutions that harm animals. We are based in Toronto, Canada.

Orwell, the Anarchist-Tory (fr.)
3pm-4:45pm, Saturday May 21
CEDA — Room 302

George Orwell liked to jokingly refer to himself as an “anarchist-tory.” Orwell, who participated in the Spanish Civil War in the POUM militia, had a particular conception of socialism and anarchism in which the defense of culture held an importance place. This workshop will present the ideas of George Orwell.

Facilitated by Eric Martin, political science student at the University of Ottawa.


Support and Self-Defence in the Face of State Repression: The example of the G20 in Toronto & Montreal (fr.)
3pm-4:45pm, Saturday May 21
Georges-Vanier Cultural Centre (across from CEDA) – Room A

There were over 1100 arrests in Toronto during the G20. In the face of these arrests, and broader state repression, groups and individuals organized support networks to defend our comrades who were harassed, beaten, jailed and/or charged with serious offenses. In Montreal, the CLAC Legal Support committee was active in the immediate aftermath of the G20 protests to return comrades back home, and also to provide tangible long-term moral and legal support, while maintaining our public campaigns. This workshop and discussion will share the lived experiences and learned lessons, based in an anti-authoritarian/anti-capitalist/anti-oppression framework, about responding to state repression, including police and state disruption and infiltration of our movements. We will put forward a support model that is contrasted with NGO & civil liberties approaches, a model that strives to put into practice anarchist ideals of mutual aid and solidarity, and rejects the false dichotomies between “innocence” and “guilt” or “good” versus “bad” protesters.

Presented by members of the CLAC (Anti-Capitalist Convergence) Legal Support Committee, comprised of people who were both arrested and detained at the G20, and also involved in legal support efforts. CLAC Legal Support continues to be active in Legal Support efforts related to the G20, including the support of Quebec protesters who still face serious charges.

Contemporary Anarchist Perspectives: Introduction to Contemporary Anarchisms (fr.)
3pm-4:45pm, Saturday May 21
Georges-Vanier Cultural Centre (across from CEDA) – Room B

What are the anarchist tendencies that break with classical anarchism, what are their central animating questions that differentiate them from classical perspectives: anti-civilisation, perspectives in solidarity with indigenous struggles, communization, placing in question of the revolutionary subject, critiques of activism, radical ecological struggles, anti-patriarchy, queer struggles…This workshop will address contemporary anarchist tendencies and the discussions and debates driving them. The workshop will be a presentation followed by open discussion.

Facilitated by Christian, who has been involved in different anarchist struggles, including recently the campaign against the 2010 Olympics.

SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2011

Anti-authoritarian perspectives on the ongoing revolutions from the gulf to the ocean: Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Palestine (eng.)
11am-12:45pm, Sunday, May 22
CEDA – Room 125

As  revolution spreads from Tunisia, to Egypt and now in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, how doe we as anti-authoritarians and anarchists, understand the nature of these revolutions, in how they encompass an anti-authoritarian spirit in terms of their organizing, and how they challenge power structures, hierarchy and capitalism, and a continual process of decolonization in the region. This workshop will also discuss how do we as anti-authoritarians and anarchists movements relate to the ongoing struggles , and how we envision our solidarity with these struggles.

This workshop will be presented by members of Tadamon! Montreal, an anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist, anti-colonial collective that works in solidarity with social justice movements in the Middle East.

Lessons in Solidarity: The Oscar Grant rebellions and the movement against police terror in Oakland, CA (eng).
11am-12:45pm, Sunday, May 22
Georges-Vanier Cultural Center (across from CEDA) – Room A

Reflecting on the last two years of anti-police terror organizing in Oakland CA, members of the Oakland 100 Support Committee will discuss and analyze the work of anarchists to keep momentum from being co-opted by liberal and reformist groups. Topics will include solidarity, messaging, and race.

Presented by the Oakland 100 Support Committee, a group of arrestees, organizers, and community members committed to locating arrestees, participating in a drop charges campaign, and helping to generate a pool of funds and resources for the over 100 arrested during the January Rebellions after the Transit Police murder of unarmed Oscar Grant in Oakland, CA.

Physical Proximity, Neighbourhood Life and Anarchist Struggles: The Experience of la Pointe Libertaire (fr.)
11am-12:45pm, Sunday May 22
Georges-Vanier Cultural Centre (across from CEDA) – Room B

Neighbourhood activism is often associated in our scene with micro-local struggles, often reformist and without significant relevance. From the basis of a critical analysis of six years of organizing in our neighbourhood, we will develop a contrasting argument: that physical proximity in a neighbourhood gives direction to our actions and facilitates the organization and diffusion of an “anarchist culture.” Up for discussion: gains, challenges, pleasures, fears, frustrations, possibilities, anarchy… and debates!

Facilitated by the Pointe Libertaire collective, an anarchist group that concentrates its actions in the Montreal neighbourhood of Pointe-St-Charles.

Towards an International Anarchist Gathering in St. Imier (Switzerland) in 2012 (fr).
12pm-12:45pm, Sunday May 22
CEDA — Room 302

On the 140th anniversary of the Anti-authoritarian International, we would like to propose an international anarchist gathering. We will present the history of the Jurassian Federation and AIT.

Facilitated by Michel Nemitz and May Dubuis, anarchist activists active in the Espace noir cooperative (in Saint-Imier, Switzerland).

Wage Labour and Alienation: An Anarchist Critique of Work (fr.)
1pm-2:45pm, Sunday, May 22
CEDA — Room 123

Wage labour has not always been the primary form of work; if it seems today like the only means of existence, it’s because it was instilled by violence and repression. While it was considered of little value in practically all societies before the 19th century, wage labour was imposed through the disruption of social ties and pre-capitalist solidarities in the name of profits. This workshop retraces the historical development of wage labour by looking at the specific case of Quebec.

Facilitated by Camille Robert, history student, member of the Union Communiste Libertaire, and an activist in student and union movements.

Embracing Brazen Laziness: Introduction to Anarchism (eng.)
1pm-2:45pm, Sunday, May 22
CEDA — Room 302

We tend to be taught from an early age to work hard and that hard work is a virtue.  We may get the message that work is the best way or maybe even the only way to be successful or find happiness.  Laziness, in contrast, is presented to us as a vice, as not good for us, or possibly as treasonous.  We may be praised by employers when we work overtime (particularly without pay).  We may even be expected to do so.  We may be admonished, punished, or fired if we don’t.  If we are not working – if we are unemployed, underemployed, or irregularly employed, we may feel like we are somehow “failing.”  We might be made to feel like there is something wrong with us.  But along the way, something doesn’t feel right in all this working, this drive to work. What does it serve?  What does it do to us?  Bookfair participants who are curious about or new to anarchism are invited to this workshop, which will introduce some basic anarchist ideas that offer different ways of thinking about the meaning of work.

Facilitated by Adrienne Hurley, who teaches East Asian Studies at McGill University.

Philosophy is child’s play! (fr.)
1pm-2:45 pm, Sunday May 22

CEDA — Room 125

This two-part workshop is designed for children and teens aged 9-15 as well as their parents and other curious people. The first part, “Anti-Sophist Kung Fu,” is a practical session for 9-15 year-olds to help them fight against demagogy and to knock out the arguments of those who seek to manipulate us. The second part — “Developing Critical Thinking in Children” — is a space for reflection and sharing, designed for parents seeking examples of philosophy applied to children’s daily lives, as well as suggestions for further reading. Sharing experiences is encouraged!

Facilitated by Louise Caroline Bergeron, Mubeenah Mughal and Marike Reid-Gaudet.

Round-table: 10 years after the Summit of the Americas: What impact on anarchists? (fr.)
1pm-2:45 pm, Sunday May 22
Georges-Vanier Cultural Center (across from CEDA) – Room A

A round-table discussion with different activists who were involved in organizing against the Summit of the Americas. This is not a panel: everyone is invited to speak and participate. What impact did the Summit have on anarchist movements in Quebec? The Summit of the Americas: a spark or burn-out? Amongst anarchists, can we speak of a “before” and “after” Quebec City 2001?

With diverse participants including Hélène Nazon, who was involved in the CASA (Summit of the Americas Welcoming Committee), Maxime “Tony” Fortin, also involved with the CASA, Jaggi Singh, member of CLAC (Anti-Capitalist Convergence), Sarita Ahooja, member of CLAC; Anna Kruzynski, who was involved with Operation salAMI (1998-2001); Aaron Lakoff, who was a member of Youth for Socialist Action, and you!

Struggles for Reproductive Autonomy: From underground abortion collectives to the fight to decriminalize sex work (eng.)
1pm-2:45pm: Sunday, May 22
Georges-Vanier Cultural Center (across from CEDA) – Room B

This women and trans- only workshop will look at several struggles around reproductive health for women and trans- people in North America that go beyond a struggle with the state for specific reproductive rights. The workshop will explore common themes and tensions in these struggles, and provide participants time to strategize ways to integrate struggles for reproductive autonomy into other community struggles.

Presented by Emily Davidson and Kaley Kennedy of *go it alone (together)*, a zine duo that focuses on advocating feminism and supporting people in our communities. You can see our work at www.goitalonetogether.ca.

Anarchism, Colonialism, and Aboriginal Dispossession in the Canadian West (eng.)
3pm-4:45pm, Sunday, May 22
CEDA — Room 123

Peter Kropotkin, Emma Goldman, and Rudolf Rocker all visited Canada, and traveled through the Prairies, beginning with Kropotkin’s cross-country tour in 1897.  This presentation sketches these late-19th and early-20th century visits and explores the travellers’ views on colonization and indigenous peoples, in an effort to grapple with classical anarchism’s contradictory relationship to settler-colonialism.

Presented by Paul Burrows, an activist and writer based in Winnipeg, and a founder of the  Mondragon collective, the Winnipeg A-Zone, and the Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre, all of which can be read about at www.a-zone.org

Fifty Years of Struggle Against Police Brutality in Montreal, Fifteen March 15 Demonstrations, New Strategies Against the Oppressive State? (fr.)
3pm-4:45pm, Sunday May 22

CEDA — Room 125

The goal of this workshop is retrace the history of struggle against police brutality in Montreal and to discuss different strategies and alternatives in denouncing police abuses. In public opinion as well as in activist and anarchist spaces, debate around this topic is ongoing. We want to create a space to exchange ideas and listen to different points of view, discussing new paths of struggles against the armed wing of capitalism — the police and the legal system.

Facilitated by the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP), an autonomous and anti-authoritarian group that brings together survivors, witnesses and those concerned with police brutality and all abuses committed by the police.

Todos Somos Japon and Planetary Anarchism (eng.)
3pm-4:45pm, Sunday, May 22
CEDA — Room 302

What is happening in Japan cannot be deemed merely a situation particular to one nation-state, but a new phase of human history, an opening toward a future unknown equally for the global powers and the people. It is a universal experience in the sense not only of its economic and environmental impact but also in terms of the self-destruction of the apparatus that the modern world has been building up on a planetary scale. While the Japanese government is desperately attempting to sustain its sovereignty, it is revealing its incapacity to solve the amassing problems. Its national territory is being divided up into enclaves of inaccessible regions, the national economy is sinking into the abyss, and all this could result in a fundamental disequilibrium, the possibilities of which we will discuss in this panel.

Participants include: Go Hirasawa, a Tokyo-based cinema researcher and movement historian; Adrienne Hurley, who teaches East Asian Studies at McGill University; and Sabu Kohso, a New York-based critic and translator who has written on urban space and social movements.

Parole Sans Parole (eng.)
3pm-4:45pm, Sunday, May 22
Georges-Vanier Cultural Center (across from CEDA) – Room A

The termite collective we will be presenting a number of multi media skits that revolve around issues of 1) prep for parole, 2) the parole hearing, 3) the rules of living in a halfway house post parole, and 4)parole revocation testimonials followed by a group discussion. We will attempt to demonstrate through theatre the enormous  surveillance and heavy conditions that parolees are subjected to. We basically want people to get a sense of how difficult it is to get parole and to stay out of prison once you are on parole. All the stories are true- just the names and faces have been changed.

Presented by the termite collective- a prisoner initiated lifers group that was created in 1999.

Decolonizing our Solidarity (fr.)
3pm-4:45pm, Sunday May 22
Georges-Vanier Cultural Centre (across from CEDA) – Room B

Designed for activists involved in international solidarity initiatives, this workshop seeks to question the relations of power and privilege at play in “North-South” solidarity networks, from an anti-colonial feminist analysis. We want to share with other activists the contradictions and dilemmas that drive these forms of solidarity in order to better root them in an international anti-colonial movement, breaking with paternalist (humanitarianism, development) or “alternative” (exchanges, ethical consumption) approaches.

Presented by Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie (PASC), a group that works to create a network of direct solidarity with Colombian organizations and communities in resistance.