Friday, June 09, 2006

Montreal Anarchist Bookfair, Sojourner Truth Organization, and a work crunch...

As a note of explanation: a work crunch.

Several projects are nearing completion, and that means lots and lots of work with little time left for blogging. It’s a productive phenomenon, but i still do hope that i’ll have a chance to spend a few hours writing and updating you all on things soon.

In the meantime – one thing i had meant to write about if not for the lack of time was the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair a few weeks ago. It was a great event – i had more fun at it than i have at previous bookfairs for years – and i was happy to attend three great workshops, one on Anti-Authoritarian Approaches to Dealing with Sexual Assault (put on by Philly’s Pissed and Philly Stands Up – my only complaint about this workshop is that it was so promising and god but really could have been a day long presentation/discussion, rather than a rushed 1 or 2 hours first thing in the morning), one by Dan Berger on Anarchist and Anti-Imperialist Lessons of the Weather Underground and…

a truly worthwhile workshop by Mike Staudemeier about the Sojourner Truth Organization and its influence on modern day anarchism (the STO was a Marxist-Leninist organization that existed from 1969 to 1983).

Mike’s workshop was fascinating on a bunch of levels – for one i really appreciated hearing the exchange he had with members of NEFAC about trade unions and workplace organizing, and for two i found the way in which this discussion dovetailed with questions of anti-fascist organizing to be very promising. (In fact, i am really hoping that it is a discussion that will be continued.)

I was struck by just how promising – and relevant – these questions were when over the next days racist violence erupted in Caledonia, but also as i got to spend a very enjoyable evening with some comrades from the Maritimes, who recounted the joys of being the only anarchists to come from their small white dirt poor town where publicly calling yourself an anti-racist can be a dangerous thing to do.

Not the first time i’ve heard either kind of story, but it says something about Mike’s presentation (and also the political level of discussion that NEFAC comrades were engaging in) that within 48 hours of the workshop i kept on stumbling over so many relevant connections to what had been discussed. And this was a workshop about a small group which had ceased to exist over twenty years ago!

So i am happy to be able to point you all to the actual text of Mike’s presentation. Missing is the great discussion afterwards, but i think it easily retains its value… and there is a specific invitation on his blog to both partisans of what he dubs the “Chris Crass line” and the “NEFAC line” to take up the debate.

I certainly hope that they do!

Links of interest:

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