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Mar 19, 18

Announcing the Institute for Advanced Troublemaking’s Anarchist Summer School, Year 2

The following is a call to take part in the second annual and week long, Institute for Advanced Troublemaking summer school, happening in July, in Worcester, MA.

The second annual Institute for Advanced Troublemaking (IAT), a weeklong anarchist theory and action summer school for adults of all ages, kicks off July 21 to 29, 2018, in Worcester, MA.

The IAT emphasizes a prefigurative politics that explores forms of freedom as a counter to and, hopefully, increasingly replacement for forms of domination and hierarchy. We aspire to bring that sensibility to the summer school, doing our best to cultivate transformative social relations as we co-learn and create a temporary, do-it-ourselves community.

Our long-term goal for the IAT is to create a lasting anarchist education hub in the Northeast that can train new and old organizers alike beyond the basics in anarchist theory and practice, critical thinking, and collective self-organization and liberatory infrastructure. We have seen the need for our struggles and organizing to develop deeper forms of mutual aid and solidarity for the days ahead — building innovative new strategies that can present a revolutionary challenge to the state, capitalism, and other forms of systemic violence.

For this summer, our intention is to cultivate a stronger understanding and praxis of anarchist organizing among people who have been active in anarchistic spaces and movements – but are looking to deepen their organizing strategies, learn theory, and skills. Our hope is that the anarchist summer school provides generative ground for imagining another world — and sticking with such visions for the long haul.

Below you’ll find the majority of the courses/workshops and talks (listed in alphabetical order) that will fill the week during this year’s Anarchist Summer School. We’ll likely be adding one or two more talks. The schedule will also include time for opening/closing/morning circles along with shared meals, DIY skills shares, a night walk, swimming, campfires, and other socializing and fun.

Applications are due before or on our favorite anarchist holiday, May Day. For the online application, see:

(poster design by Landon Sheely)

Anarcha-Feminism, Prefigurative Politics, and Communities of Care (2 sessions)
Hillary Lazar

What is anarcha-feminism, and how does it relate to creating more caring communities and transformative, loving, solidarity-based relationships? While there is no single theory or approach to anarcha-feminism, for many it’s about challenging patriarchy and domination in all its form, which means understanding the connection between heterosexism, white supremacy, colonialism, ableism, and of course capitalism. It’s also about adopting daily liberatory practices that help to cultivate more empathetic ways of relating to one another based on understanding these struggles as interrelated. In effect, it’s a way to approach the creation of communities of care that are based on loving solidarity and a desire to see full liberation for everyone. This workshop will explore the meaning of anarcha-feminism through this lens, and how we can better incorporate it throughout own lives, relationships, projects, and communities.

Hillary has been involved with anarchist and radical education projects since the 1990s. She is currently part of the efforts to organize graduate student workers, a collective member of the Big Idea Bookstore in Pittsburgh, and a content editor for Agency: An Anarchist PR Project. She is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches about social movements, gender, power, and resistance.

Art and/as Activism (2 Sessions)
Kevin Yuen-Kit Lo and Zola

This course will be split into two sessions. The first one will open 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, 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 second session will be a hands-on skill share to use the space and tools available at a makerspace in Worcester. This course hopes to challenge the separation between “art” and “activism,” revealing and deconstructing the ideological frameworks that structure all artistic practice.

Kevin is a graphic designer, educator, and community organizer based in Montreal (Tiotià:ke). He runs the design studio LOKI, working at the intersection of graphic design and social change. The studio’s practice focuses on collaboration and community building, cultural production, activist research, and political mobilization. He is a member of the Howl! Arts Collective, organizing artistic events and actions in support of social justice struggles, and Artivistic, an all-POC art collective working on friendship (in the largest possible sense of the word).

is a street artist and community organizer. She was involved in the Quebec student movement for ten years, and has evolved between the Francophone and Anglophone realms of anticapitalist and antioppressive politics of Montreal since then. In the past years, she has focused her time mainly on popular education around settler colonialism and indigenous solidarity through direct action and art.

Decolonizing Anarchism (3 sessions)
Maia Ramnath

This workshop will explore the history, structure, function, and ideologies of colonialism, anticolonialism, and decolonization from an anarchist perspective. It will be organized in three parts. The first one, anarchism in anticolonial action, will offer a historical overview of colonialism and its various manifestations over the past five hundred years. This requires understanding and confronting the interconnections of empire, capitalism, race, and resource extraction. Part two will focus on how anarchists (in both colonizing and colonized positions) have related to anticolonial struggles, including those identified as national liberation struggles. It will consider various specifically located traditions of resistance and liberation philosophy/praxis that have affinity or share some key concepts with anarchism. Finally, part three will center on anarchism and decolonization today, concentrating on some contemporary hot spots of empire and settler colonialism, and touching on both 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, 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

Direct Action Praxis (5 sessions)
Anne, Jack, Koala, Shane, Sherrie!

The direct action track for the IAT will start by grounding participants in various direct action techniques. Instead of asking permission or appealing to people in power, direct action is a political tactic that harnesses our collective capacity to make the world we want to see, or directly intervene in worlds that harm us, by using our bodies and smarts to shut things down, open things up, or make our demands impossible to ignore. This track will draw inspiration from the rich history of groups such as Earth First! and Convergence des Luttes Anti-Capitalistes (Anticapitalist Convergence) in North America, say, or Zone to Defend (ZAD) in France; from people who engage in forest defense or water protection in rural areas, to those who engage in convergences, mass demonstrations, and building occupations under a “diversity of tactics” frame that includes a “respect for all life. The sessions will work with folks to build a larger perspective and ability to plan actions that move beyond planned arrests. It will focus primarily on scouting and blockades via simulations and hands-on skill building as well as discussions of theory and strategy.

The direct action track is put on by folks from across the East Coast(ish) who have 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! Jack is a super scoutlord. Koala is a marsupial. Sherrie, Anne, and Shane are part of the FANG Collective, which takes an intersectional approach to stopping the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the Northeast and doing solidarity with liberation movements.

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 Coqui, Lily, 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.

Reframing Animal Liberation as an Exercise in Antiracism (1 session)
Syl Ko

One of the primary aims in antiracist scholarship, art, literature, and so on, is to highlight and dismantle the projection of Western modes of whiteness as the universal representation of “the human.” As is well known, the racialization of “the human” subordinates humans existing outside that mode to “subhuman” or “animal/nonhuman” status. This talk will explore how these racialized notions of “human” and “animal” shape and inform mainstream ethical attitudes and judgments toward nonhuman animals as well. On this view, the logic central to upholding “human = white” is implicit in our routine ab/use of nonhuman animals as food, entertainment, objects of scientific inquiry, and so forth. If this is true, then an adequate commitment to antiracism must also include an interrogation concerning our obligations to nonhuman animals.

Syl is an independent researcher based in Portland, Maine, and is half of the activist duo Aphro-ism. She studied philosophy at San Francisco State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Syl is coauthor of Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism (2017). Her current work focuses on examining antiracism as a novel ground for an animal ethic.

Scamp School (1 session)
Scamp Collective

During the summer, every Friday starting at 8 p.m., Elm Park’s playground in Worcester is taken over by youths looking to create a better world for themselves—a world away from adult supremacy and disempowerment. The Anarchist Summer School will be joining Scamp for a night of yelling, climbing, sneaking, snacking, learning, running, biting, stenciling, pushing, coloring, shoe throwing, and a whole lot of milk crates. It’s a world that we create together, by everyone for everyone.

The Scamp School is a youth organizing collective made up of artists, activists, and troublemakers who are dedicated to making alternative education and direct action more accessible for young people. Through a combination of radical play, art, and education, Scamp creates intergenerational space for all people to be heard, practice direct action, and build community. Scamp wants everyone to self-organize to challenge authority, take risks and learn, while still having fun too.

Social Anarchism and Radical Ecology (2 sessions)
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 and concerns while avoiding the pitfalls of reformism and cultural appropriation? Drawing from social anarchism, social ecology, and traditional indigenous knowledge, and informed by decolonization, feminist, and queer theory and movements, we will critically examine our assumptions and practices while exploring tools and strategies that emphasize social as well as ecological integration and liberation.

Solidarity Societies: The Case of Greece (1 session)
Pavlos Stavropoulos

Solidarity: A guiding ethic, a social value, an organizing principle, an everyday practice;
an antidote to neoliberalism; a pathway to autonomy and liberation. This talk will take a critical look at the emergence of popular assemblies and solidarity projects in Greece as a response to the austerity and refugee crises of the last eight years. It will examine the promise and pitfalls of these efforts as a possible reference point in our ongoing struggle toward social liberation.

Pavlos is a longtime activist and organizer involved in numerous local, national, and international ecological, indigenous, liberatory, and anarchist struggles, including solidarity projects around austerity and refugee issues in his native Greece. He is a founder of Woodbine Ecology Center, which focuses on the confluence of sustainability, social and environmental justice, indigenous knowledge, and decolonization struggles, and a certified permaculture designer and instructor, water and sustainability educator, street medic, and father.

Try Anarchism for Life! (3 sessions)
Cindy Milstein

In the best spirit of anarchism, this three-part 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 from there, 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, and is the author of Anarchism and Its Aspirations, coauthor of Paths toward Utopia: Graphic Explorations of Everyday Anarchism, and editor of two anthologies, Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism, and Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief. For over a year, Cindy has been doing support for the J20 defendants, and is currently focusing on popular education, antifascism, and “care not cops,” among other mischief, as part of the Solidarity & Defense, Huron Valley collective in so-called Michigan. Cindy is honored to do death doula and grief care too.

Understanding Repression and Building Resilience (2 sessions)
Michael Loadenthal

What does repression look like in 2018? 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 hosted over the course of two sessions. The first session will explore how repression operates generally, and how to understand these state strategies. That will involve investigating 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. The second session will build on this knowledge to collectively 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 for the past two decades, and regularly writes and speaks about state repression and political violence. He works as a precariously employed professor of sociology and social justice studies, and the director of the Peace and Justice Studies Association. He posts all his work for free at Michael also has the distinct displeasure of being one of the remaining fifty-nine J20 defendants facing sixty-plus years in federal prison for participation in counterinaugural activities.

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