Anarchism

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

We are now in the midst of an epoch of death and mass extinction. Conventional approaches are failing. Social and ecological regeneration must be rooted in communities of liberation and solidarity. The new book, Between Earth and Empire: From the Necrocene to the Beloved Community, by celebrated philosopher and educator John P. Clark explores significant recent progress in this direction, including indigenous movements of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Democratic Autonomy Movement in Rojava, in West Papua, and many more. Longtime human rights activist, educator, organizer Matt Meyer joins this conversation with his own work on international and intersectional organizing. This is a call to arms for the rebirth of a libertarian and communitarian social imaginary, and the flourishing of a free cooperative community globally. Join us!

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From white nationalists to male tribalists, and from Christian theocrats to Patriot movement activists, the U.S. far right has made dangerous gains in recent years. These “insurgent supremacists” bolster established systems of oppression but also challenge the existing political order in real ways. Antifascist researcher Matthew N. Lyons will outline the major far right currents, their ideologies and goals, their interconnections and tensions with the Trump administration, and some key lessons for antifascist work.

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Scores of political commentators have been recently suggesting, humorously but also earnestly, that we are currently living through a second "Gilded Age," an era in U.S. history when, as now, public concerns included rampant technological shifts, "massive wealth inequalities, hyperpartisanship, virulent anti-immigrant sentiment and growing concern about money in politics." (Edward T. O'Donnell, "Are We Living in the Gilded Age 2.0?" www.history.com/news/second-gilded-age-income-inequality )  The pushback against the first Gilded Age, of course, included what we now sometimes call the Progressive Era. Taking this idea as a starting point, our Roundtable will ask: What can current grassroots activists learn from 20th century organizing experiences about building a viable Left Alliance? Panelists will foment a broad-ranging discussion on subjects that may include the imbalance of wealth and power, migration and immigration law, environmental justice, reparations for slavery, interference in Latin American countries by U.S. moneyed elites, and current fights for gender and class equity of all kinds.

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Writers from several left publishers will be reading selections works intended to present a glimpse into what is emerging under the heading "acid communism."

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In his 1973 essay, "Anatomy of the Micro-Sect," Hal Draper gives a definition of a party as opposed to a ‘movement’ or the ‘sects’ that seemed to dominate the Left of his time: “A sect presents itself as the embodiment of the socialist movement, though it is a membership organization whose boundary is set more or less rigidly by the points in its political program rather than by its relation to the social struggle. In contrast, a working-class party is not simply an electoral organization but rather, whether electorally engaged or not, an organization which really is the political arm of decisive sectors of the working class, which politically reflects (or refracts) the working class in motion as it is. A “socialist movement” sums up the mass manifestations of a socialist working class in various fields, not only the political, usually around a mass socialist party.” Against both the “sect” and merely building a “movement,” Draper argues for the formation of a “political center,” which would be different from a unification of sects, as a first step towards the goal of building a socialist party. How is our present moment similar to or different from that of Draper? What is a socialist party and what are the greatest obstacles today to its realization and how can those obstacles be met? Hal Draper was deeply influenced by his study of Marx and Marxism when he wrote this essay. What can we learn from Hal Draper’s Marxism today?

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Book launch: Presentation followed by discussion. The book being presented is Occult Features of Anarchism - With Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples: In the nineteenth century anarchists were accused of conspiracy by governments afraid of revolution, but in the current century various “conspiracy theories” suggest that anarchists are controlled by government itself. The Illuminati were a network of intellectuals who argued for self-government and against private property, yet the public is now often told that they were (and are) the very group that controls governments and defends private property around the world. Intervening in such misinformation, Lagalisse works with primary and secondary sources in multiple languages to set straight the history of the Left and illustrate the actual relationship between revolutionism, pantheistic occult philosophy, and the clandestine fraternity. Exploring hidden correspondences between anarchism, Renaissance magic, and New Age movements, Lagalisse also advances critical scholarship regarding leftist attachments to secular politics. Inspired by anthropological fieldwork within today’s anarchist movements, her essay challenges anarchist atheism insofar as it poses practical challenges for coalition politics in today’s world. Studying anarchism as a historical object, Occult Features of Anarchism also shows how the development of leftist theory and practice within clandestine masculine public spheres continues to inform contemporary anarchist understandings of the “political,” in which men’s oppression by the state becomes the prototype for power in general. Readers behold how gender and religion become privatized in radical counterculture, a historical process intimately linked to the privatization of gender and religion by the modern nation-state.

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This panel will discuss the renewed Jewish Left, especially its focus on Diasporic Jewish renewal, action and materialism.