Category Archives: Anarchist Bookfair

Talking with Kristian Williams about Hurt in 2012, now readable in 2018!

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(The first version of this interview appeared in print in the 4th Humboldt Grassroots paper that came out in early 2012. It wasn’t well edited at the time, most of the editorial collective was missing for good reason it was early 2012…)

Hurt, Kristian Williams most recent book, is a collection of articles on the what, where, why and how of torture, and how it must be stopped. Hurt argues convincingly why stricter laws and more human rights observers can’t end torture. Human rights observers are deceived and not given access is not provided full access to necessary information by governments. Thus, tons of torture goes unreported. So to end the practice of torture, we must dismantle the institutions and systems that benefit from inflicting maximum pain and suffering. That means creating a real democracy the prison abolition movement and the feminist movement collaboration described in Critical Resistance 10 conference. How do we dismantle the prison and the police state while keeping people accountable and safe? That conversation needs to be had to find and share solutions to replace systems of oppressions rely on torture with community power that relies on real democracy.

Torture and democracy don’t mix the whole concept of torture is the subjugation and dehumanization of another runs as the complete opposite to the practice of justice, equality, solidarity and the universal freedom of all humanity.

I asked some questions of Kristian Williams.

Also, I have a few questions about a few topics discussed in Hurt:

How has the use of torture terror and physical subjugation you describe in
hurt, played out in your view in the repression against the Occupy Wall Street Protests across the country?

I haven’t really done a thorough study of Occupy and the state’s response.
There are a couple of notorious instances of the cops using pepper spray to
force compliance (UC Davis) or as a kind of gratuitous punishment (NY).
By my reckoning that instrumentalization of pain counts as torture. And I
think it’s telling that those were probably the incidents that proved most
discrediting to the cops. I mean, it really backfired for them and
generated lots of sympathy for the protesters. Of course, the fact that
there was video was crucial to have that political effect.

> I wanted to know more about your work with Critical resistance and
> incite, what your assessment of the current prison abolition movement is,
> where you think it is going, and the political change for real
> democracy(anarchism)needs to go

I haven’t myself done any work with Critical Resistance or Incite
directly, aside from attending the CR10 conference and contributing an
article to the CR newsletter. But the organization I’m part of, Rose City
Copwatch has taken a lot of inspiration from the joint statement by CR/Incite about the need to address community violence without relying on
police and prisons. Part of our work over the past many years has been
advancing the notion that there are and can be alternatives to the
official criminal justice system. We put out a pamphlet a few years ago
profiling quite a number of those existing alternatives. (It’s on our
website, rosecitycopwatch.org.) And that, of course, has a natural overlap
with my intellectual work, especially the afterword to Our Enemies in
Blue.

I think the prison abolition movement has made impressive strides in the
past 15 or so years. It’s really managed to establish itself as a
legitimate position on the political spectrum — to such a degree that the
state is beginning to co-opt some of the ideas about restorative justice
and the like. And the advances of the prison abolition movement have also
had the effect of completely changing the left’s agenda around policing as
well. It used to be that anti-cop organizing was almost entirely under
the sign of police accountability, but in the past dozen or so years
there’s been a shift more and more in the direction of abolition.

As for next steps: I think we’ve done a pretty good job in pushing the
notion that there could be ways to resolve disputes and respond to
violence that the community controls directly and that doesn’t rely on locking people in cages. But so far we have not done nearly enough regarding actually creating and sustaining those alternatives. I hope
we’ll see more experiments in that area in the years to come.

> What are your suggestions? Do we need to create better anarchist media? Should radicals put more of an emphasis on organizing in their neighborhoods than into protest camps? Do you suggest we protest specific police practices and policies?

Yes. We need all of that. I’m always reluctant to try to tell people
what to do, though, because political strategy needs to be tailored to a
specific context. What makes sense in Portland right now may make no sense in Humboldt — and may not make sense in Portland in six months,
either.

> I know you described how torture is hidden in plain sight in your book,
> but what impact does that tacit knowledge tend to have on people?
> How is a regular person who hasn’t been arrested affected by torture in our society?

Torture has effects far beyond its immediate victims. It also traumatizes
their families and loved ones, it’s disruptive to their communities, it
intimidates those who even just her about it, and it indeed casts a shadow
Over the entire society. It’s a kind of terrorism, and I don’t use the
word hyperbolically.

People are afraid of prison, for example, in large part, I think because
they’re so scared of what happens to people in prison. That fear is itself a
system of control, every bit as real and the walls and the razor wire.
And of course, living in a society stratified by race and class, certain
types of people are vastly more likely to be sent to prison than others.
In particular, Black men are more likely to be incarcerated than any other
group. The effect of that imprisonment, and of some of the things that
happen to them while they’re there, has been pretty devastating to the
Black community.

take care,
Kristian

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Little Blast From The Past Circa 2015

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  • Our keynote speaker will be Michael with Tatort Kurdistan from Berlin, Germany. He is a co-author of the books Democratic Autonomy in Northern Kurdistan and Revolution in Rojava. He will be discussing democratic autonomy as it is being developed in the Kurdish movement, including models for gender equality and autonomous democracy. Michael is doing his Ph.D. work on the revolution in Rojava in depth us about that.

    Edit 2018
    That couldn’t happen because of the then quieter travel ban on anyone who has visited Syria (ever practically) that isn’t a US citizen. The US government canceled Michael’s trip after we had bought his ticket. Luckily the refund was relatively quick. We considered video chatting him in, we just couldn’t work it out at that time. We may do it in the future. In the mean time go read the book! http://new-compass.net/publications/democratic-autonomy-north-kurdistan
    Borders really get in the way of social progress! Just another reason these states and borders have to go! They are in the way of the work that needs to be done to heal this world and make it better!

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Rhizome info-shop library coming to the web

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The curated radical and anarchist multi-media platform of our dreams that will be the Rhizome Infp-shop is taking shape. It will be a place to browse our physical  library and email us to borrow books, find out books to get yourself and get access to all the best anarchist  media that we can find. Podcasts, news outlets, videos, online reading, books, zines pamphlets, art music…We hope to have it launched and ready to go by Spring 2018.  Also there are classes being taught monthly, more about that later…

We now have a way to catalog that has been dogging us for a while. We lost a number of books in the most recent move but we are restocking our collection day by day, with friends and publishers contributing to the Rhizome Info-shop.

This collection will be very accessible, not in an upstairs loft or any particular location, we will meet you where you are at and work with your needs. That is the hope to get the right book to the right person as often as we can.

The most destructive force on earth is ignorance, we hope this new iteration of the info-shop will kick ignorance in its teeth.

to contact the folks working on the rhizome info-shop

email: rhizome [dash] infoshop [at] riseup [dot] net

If you are not a robot you’ll know how to read that.

 

More to come!

Thanks to The Ink People and J-Birds Treasure Nook in Eureka for their support!

 

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9th Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair April 29th, 2017

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Humboldt Grassroots has been hosting the Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair for 9 years now! This year’s theme is The Reading Rainbow of Resistance, to reflect the need for solidarity amongst diverse groups, as well as solid education through reading and taking in a variety of perspectives so that we can resist the increasing oppression that is upon us.

Here is our exciting and diverse line-up for this Saturday, April 29th, with the descriptions we have so far:

10:00

Room A

Title: Why Feminism Is Necessary For Liberating Life with the Eureka Assembly Feminist Reading Groups

Description: Join folks from the Eureka Assembly Feminist Reading Groups as we share some of the ideas we’ve discovered while exploring feminist readings together. Discover why feminism is necessary for the liberation of ALL life. Come help make this a lively discussion!

11:00

Room A

Title: Global Grassroots Movements for Sex Education and Reproductive Rights with Corinna Rosella

Description: As a continuation of our discussion on feminism, hear about grassroots movements that are happening all over the world for sex education and reproductive rights.

12:00

Room A

Title: Safe Consumption Sites are Social Justice with Humboldt Area Center For Harm Reduction

Description: We will discuss why Safe Consumption Sites are necessary, their history and where we are at currently in our own community with implementing this life saving approach.  We will also have an exhibit of a safe consumption site for this event.

Room B

Title: From The Frontlines Of Forest Defense In So-called ‘Humboldt’ County with Earth First!

Description: A spotted owl hoots echo deep in the woods of the Mattole watershed, pleaing for the last bits of old-growth douglas fir, madrone, and tan oak to be preserved. The pacific fisher’s screeches carry through the redwood forest, dissipating in the clearcuts, longing for the home it once knew.

Multinational corporations have turned this land into treefarms and are
determined to lay waste to anything that’s left from the old days. In the face of conflict, we say enough is enough. Lock-downs, road blockades, tree-sits, and everything else. For the wild!

1:00 —

Room A

Title: Fighting the Alt-Right and White Nationalism with 21st Century Anti-Fascism with James Anderson

Description: In the last two years, we have seen a growth of far-Right forces hit the streets in reaction to Black Lives Matter, in support of the
Confederate flag, backing up ‘Blue Lives Matter,’ and acting as an
auxiliary force to the Trump campaign. This new generation of white
supremacists are keen to take the streets and use violence to further
their fascist cause. This workshop will discuss who the Alt-Right is
and how people have been organizing against them across the US and
beyond. Moreover, we discuss the current Alt-Right and white
nationalist groups and individuals in the bay area and push people to
mobilize against Milo Yiannopoulos, one of the biggest mainstreamers
of the Alt-Right, who is scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley

Room B

Title: No LNG Pipeline! with Erik Rydberg

Description: Come hear about the details of the Jordan Cove LNG Project, including how you can go to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Website and summit comments opposing the
pipeline and fracked gas export station. This was the excuse Energy
Transfer Partners used in approving the Dakota Access Pipeline. We are not going to give them that opportunity with LNG. Also we will share the Klamath River Keepers petition to block the pipeline from being drilled under the Klamath River. There will be a Q&A after the presentation.

2:00 —

Room A

Title: Trump vs. the Environment: What is to be Done? with Jeffrey St. Clair

Description: For the first time in decades, the federal government is under the complete control of the political right. At the top of their agenda is the complete dismantling of 50 years of environmental protection laws and regulations. The traditional avenues of environmental action–lobbying and litigation–will likely prove fruitless with hostile politicians and indifferent courts. So how do we respond? How do we build a mass movement to confront the coming assault on environmental laws, agencies and our wildlife, public lands and rivers? What are the lessons that can be learned from the anti-nuclear movement of the 1970s and 1980s, the Redwood Summer protests, the mass civil disobedience that seized the streets of Seattle during the WTO ministerial, the campaigns that hounded McDonalds, Chevron and Monsanto? How, in other words, can Trump be Trumped?

Jeffrey St. Clair is co-editor of CounterPunch. His books include: A Guide to Environmental Bad Guys, Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature, Born Under a Bad Sky and Heatstroke: Earth on the Brink (with Joshua Frank). He lives in Oregon.

Room B

Portland Assembly

3:00 —

Room A

Title: Taking Away the Power of Criminal Charges: Combating State Repression to Strengthen Our Movement with Tilted Scales
Synopsis: The Tilted Scales Collective will present ideas from their book, A Tilted Guide to Being a Defendant, which can help people facing criminal charges not only figure out how to handle their legal cases, but also how to think about their cases. This book offers a way of thinking about criminal charges that is based on defendants’ goals: personal, political, and legal. And these goals are framed with this question in mind: “How is my case part of revolutionary struggle?”

Description: The government has historically used criminal charges to disrupt and destroy radical political movements and to repress targeted communities (e.g., people of color, poor people, houseless people, queer/trans/gender nonconforming, etc.). Criminal charges are designed to keep communities under control and they are successful in a variety of ways, from putting millions of people behind bars or on probation to targeting prominent radicals to punish them while scaring others away from organizing. In political struggles, criminal charges often disrupt organizing by diverting people’s time, energy, and resources into legal battles and prisoner support. While criminal convictions and jail/prison sentences are an inevitable part of fighting for liberation, we do not have to allow this tool of state repression to be so destructive.

In this presentation, the Tilted Scales Collective will present ideas from their book, A Tilted Guide to Being a Defendant, that are aimed at taking away the power of criminal charges while strengthening our struggles for liberation. This book is meant to help people facing criminal charges not only figure out how to handle their legal cases, but also how to think about their cases. Rather than being a how-to guide, this book offers a way of thinking about criminal charges that is based on defendants’ goals: personal, political, and legal. And these goals are framed with this question in mind: “How is my case part of revolutionary struggle?”

A Tilted Guide to Being a Defendant was written by dedicated, long-term legal support activists and draws on the wisdom of dozens of people who have weathered the challenges of trials and incarceration, including many former and current political prisoners/prisoners of war.

Room B

Society For Poetic Action

4:00 —

Room A

Title: Burning Down the American Plantation: Call for a Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement with The Base

Description: The ascendency of Donald Trump to the presidency has polarized society and exposed the fragility of the political institutions in the US. With very little effort Trump and his administration have managed to erode the thin veneer of legitimacy that liberal democracy still retained. The foundation of the political conflict today does not begin with Trump, but is situated in the context of the US Civil War – a war that was never actually resolved. Slavery has never ended in the United States. Instead it was reinstituted after the war, expanded through mass incarceration, and normalized through the deputization of civil society against black people. The expansion and acceptance of terror in American society has now turned against many other segments of the population culminating in the conflict we have today.

Anarchists from The Base, a political center in Brooklyn, will look at how we can orient our struggle towards the abolitionist movement, and the black freedom struggle. Following the lineage of the black struggle, from Nat Turner to the Black Liberation Army, we can learn from the most revolutionary traditions of our society. We will talk about our projects and how we are trying to build 21st century underground railroad coupled with a militant strategy. Could the formation of these new political projects catapult us out of the cycle of protests and help us create revolutionary organization? For insights we’ll analyze the Rojava Revolution, the most advanced anti-state struggle in the world, as we chart out an insurgent direction for anarchist organizing today.

Room B

Title: We the People: Stories from the Community Rights Movement in the United States with Anneke Campbell

Description: Anneke Campbell will share specific inspirational stories from her book, *We the People: Stories from the Community Rights Movement in the United States*. She will describe how folks organized in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, to protect themselves from toxic waste dumping and passed into law the first rights of nature ordinance in the USA. How in Barnstead, New Hampshire, residents wrote an ordinance which successfully protected their local water from corporate water withdrawal. And how in Broadview Heights, Ohio, people are protecting themselves from fracking by passing into law by local referendum a community Bill of Rights.

Then Anneke will explore the underlying legal issues — how the Supreme Court has eroded community control by giving corporations ever more rights which are protected by state and federal law. Thus democracy at the local level barely exists and sustainability is virtually illegal. She will show how passing community laws stripping corporate rights are a form of legal civil disobedience, akin to women going to vote before they got the legal right to do so. And she will trace the exciting development of rights for nature and a sustainable climate happening here and abroad as well as the beginnings of indigenous communities getting in on the Community Legal Environmental action.

 

 

We invite you to share your ideas for presentations and send tabling requests to: Humboldt grassroots [nospaces] at rise up dot net and  https://www.facebook.com/humboldt.grassroots , twitter @humboldtgrassr1

Also, if you’re interested in volunteering for the Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair, please be on the look-out for our volunteer meetings, which will be posted on our FB page, or private message us here or at humboldtgrassroots at riseup dot net. We are in need of musicians/bands/artists and venues to help with fundraising. We are in need of poster puter-uppers. And for the day of, we need people to join the kitchen crew, the security crew, and the clean-up crew. Thanks in advance!!

 

Download the 8 1/2 x 11,  black and white poster here:9thposter

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8th Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair January 23rd 2016

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Poster 8.5x11 2016

The year 2015  was one of inspiring resistance and revolution. Let’s carry that same ferocity into the new year! We are glad to be starting 2016 off with the 8th Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair.

The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair plays a part in strengthening connections and solidarity for building a new world.

We are excited, as many of you are, about the Rojava revolution, along with the uprisings across the U.S. There is a lot happening; lots to talk about!

The 8th Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair is bringing it January 23rd, 2016!

This is a FREE, all-day, radical event! Join us in the main hall at 10am to nourish your body with some of the FREE FOOD cooked up by Food Not Bombs and friends (which they’ll be serving up the whole day), browse the tables of radical publishers and community groups, mingle with some good, free-thinking folk, listen to a little comedy from Robo and poetry from Gork and Jovannah. This is a family-friendly event with the Kid’s Corner featuring FREE CHILD CARE and activities, hosted this year by The YES House. The kid’s can hang out there while you move between the two meeting rooms to catch inspiring presentations from authors and activists and share your own ideas and experiences during interactive discussions, beginning at 11am.

Here is the line-up so far:

11am:
Room A:
Black Rose Anarchist Federation:
Black Rose is a nation-wide, anarchist federation in the U.S. that formed in 2013 and has been involved in struggles from Ferguson to Rojava. Hear about this ambitious and exciting project from Francisco, a member of Black Rose LA.

 
Room B:
Earth First!
Tales of frontline forest defense in so-called “Humboldt County.” With the last bits of old-growth forests remaining and the system’s failure to protect them, we must do it ourselves. From road blockades to tree-sits, defeats to victories. Hear the wolves howling and the owls hooting. For the wild!

12pm:
Room A:
Addressing Our Needs Through Direct Action and Cooperation:
Come join us for an open discussion led by Ryan Ayala, a recent graduate from HSU in Psychology. Looking at the Queer community, he will discuss the challenges of bureaucracy in making social change and ways in which such topics as harm reduction can be approached in substance abuse.

Room B:
Workers Power Panel:
The Industrial Workers of the World will once again be present at the Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair. Providing a glimpse into the Wobblie’s secrets of on-the-job organizing and spells to rid workers of bosses and other demons set against the working class by the atrocities of Capitalism. Whether you toil away your days taking orders from moms and pops for minuscule pay at restaurants and boutiques or you work at low paying, part-time jobs with no benefits at chain stores, you may benefit from a few devices to wrangle profits from the profiteers. Learn about and discuss successful job actions like slow-downs, sick-outs, safety meetings, and such. Discuss how to organize the aforementioned. Stay on the job earning meagre wages (which pay the rent) while you stick it to the boss. Remember you are a member of the working class, with a union card in your pocket. Whether you ride the rails, study in the library or toss pizzas, the IWW is here every day and we don’t contribute to slick politicians that promise one thing and do another. If you work, organize to improve working conditions. If you don’t work for a boss, carry your union card wherever you go. Meet Steve and Bruce, longtime Wobbly organizers and twenty-year members of the IWW. Steve is currently a ferry boat deckhand on San Francisco Bay. Bruce is a former truck and bus driver among other jobs.

1pm:
Room A:
Lessons for Rural and Small Town Anarchists:
Doug Gilbert discusses strategies and lessons learned from his involvement in the group Modesto Anarcho, based out of Modesto, California located in the Central Valley. Modesto Anarcho published a magazine of the same name, ran a social space, Firehouse 51, and was involved in a variety of struggles including organizing with families of those killed by police, gentrification, foreclosures, and housing, and much more. More than just a history, Gilbert will discuss how anarchists in small and rural towns face special challenges, especially in areas that do not have established anarchist groups and spaces.

Room B:
Crimethinc: Democracy or Freedom?
CrimethInc. ex-Workers’ Collective:
What’s the difference between democracy and anarchy?
Democracy is the most popular buzzword in politics. From the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the most radical social movements, nearly everyone claims to be democratic. In this provocative presentation, we will discuss what ties all these different understandings of democracy together and what sets anarchism apart. Reviewing how recent social movements have experimented with democratic rhetoric and practices, we will conclude by exploring other ways to understand what we are doing together when we make decisions.

2pm:

Room A:

The Governmentality of Immigration:

Human migration has created great challenges for both host societies and migrating communities, which have elicited dramatic responses from both populations. My academic and community work has examined the ways communities in Humboldt County have responded to changing social realities through the lens of governmentality (or the art and techniques of governance).  What I have attempted to do is to rigorously interrogate the various arts and techniques of governmentality. The investigation into this research topic is particularly timely because of the various legislative polices that are being advocated for on a local, state, and national level which has created an opportunity to further immigration advocacy work. Understanding that this is part of the work we must do because of the hardships the immigrant communities live under, it is not the end goal, which is to go beyond advocacy to dignity. My work uses the September 2008 raid on the Sun Valley Flower Farm as a starting point to explore the related social, political, economic, and cultural forces at play before, during, and after the raid. From there I continue the analysis to the current organizing efforts for immigrant policy reform in Humboldt County and beyond. Using militant research as a theoretical framework for the organizing work. I contend that the outcomes of this research can have local implications as it could inform local organizing efforts and unpack interlocking systems of oppression in operation in Humboldt County.

 
Room B:
Student Unions and Combative Syndicalism:
Fannie from Montreal will be Skyping in to talk about their experience in the largest and most successful student strike, which helped bring about the largest general strike in Canadian history. They will discuss the ideas, methods, and organization that made it all possible. There may also be organizers from HSU to present some of their organizing work.
http://freeeducationmontreal.org/confrontational-combative-syndicalism/

3pm:
Room A:
Anarchist Organizations In Social Movements Panel:
Members from Humboldt Grassroots, Black Rose Anarchist Federation LA, and Crimethinc will discuss how their organizations contribute to a wide variety of social movements and why it’s important to bring anarchist voices to these movements.

 
4pm:
Room A:
Slam Poetry Workshop:
Gork Burns and Jovannah Hoboo

Room B:
The Rojava Revolution:
Our keynote speaker will be Paul Z. Simmons, journalist, and author recently back from the Rojava Revolution. Writing under the pen name, El Errante, he is the author of a series of recent dispatches from the liberated territories of Rojava in Northern Syria. Simons has just returned from a region besieged by war yet is also in the midst of one of the most far-reaching social experiments of the 21st Century: the ‘Rojava Revolution.’ The liberated territories of Rojava are a thriving example in new forms of democratic practice and of a people who are overturning traditional, coercive institutions in favor of direct democracy and the empowerment and enfranchisement of women. Simons talks about his experiences including crossing international boundaries under false pretenses, attending commune meetings in Kobane, high-velocity detours around ISIS sympathetic villages, and the camaraderie of the YPG militias. Simons had full access to the various revolutionary organizations and militias and will discuss their mandates and implementation issues associated with realizing a new society. Paul Z. Simons’ report is a part adventure, part journalism, and part political analysis, of the Rojava Revolution.

We are sad to report that Michael Knapp, from TATORT Kurdistan, who was going to be visiting us from Berlin, Germany to discuss his own experience with the Rojava Revolution, has been denied entry by the U.S. government due to a recent policy which allows them to turn away without cause or explanation anyone who has even visited Northern Syria. How convenient during this refugee crisis. FUCK BORDERS!

5pm:
Room A:
Radical/ Independent Media Panel:
Greenfuse, Humboldt Free Radio Alliance, Slingshot, and 5th Estate.

You’re SO in, right?! Worried about how you’re gonna get there? We thought of that too! The Manila Community Center is one of the stops on the Redwood Transit Line that travels between Eureka and Arcata with stops in Manila. Get on the bus for us!

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