2016 Program

2016 Sessions and Presenters

Click here for a PDF of the 2016 Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair Session Schedule and Statement of Mutual Accountability

What Would It Look Like if We Won? Fiction, Prophecy and Strategy

How can we create the new world—that non-hierarchical, socially just, ecologically balanced and beautifully diverse world we long for—unless we can first imagine it? Speculative fiction allows us to envision that world in detail, to anticipate its workings and challenges, and bring it alive in our collective imagination. And fiction can serve as an extended thought-experiment to explore strategies for getting there. Starhawk draws from her futuristic novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing, and its sequel, her new book City of Refuge, to spark discussion on how to shift cynicism and despair into empowerment and engagement.

Session Panelist:

  • Starhawk is the author or coauthor of thirteen books on earth-based spirituality and activism, including the classics The Spiral Dance, The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups, her visionary novel The Fifth Sacred Thing and its long-awaited sequel, City of Refuge. Starhawk directs Earth Activist Trainings, teaching permaculture design grounded in spirit and with a focus on organizing and activism. She travels internationally, lecturing and teaching on earth-based spirituality, the tools of ritual, and the skills of activism. Her website is http://starhawk.org/.

Kurdistan: From Autonomy to Self-Defense

The Kurdish freedom movement has manifested itself on multiple fronts in multiple forms in recent years. From the formidable YPG and YPJ in Rojava (Northern Syria) fighting ISIS to the YDG-H youth in Bakur (Eastern and Southeastern Turkey), self-defense has been an integral part of their struggle. These formations are in defense of a stubborn insistence on Autonomy, whose structures continue to be implemented day by day. In this workshop, drawing on their own experiences and observations the presenters will sketch the history of the Kurdish Freedom Movement as well as the present situation on the ground across Kurdistan.

Anarchists, Race, Police Brutality, and the Rise of the Right

This discussion is premised on the acknowledgement of North American anarchists being mostly white, and non-black participants. Facilitators will lead an audience discussion based on a set of questions exploring themes similar to the following:

What does anarchist anti-racism look like? African Americans disproportionately fall under the gun of the police, what does anarchist solidarity look like? It also seems like there is an awareness of a polarization that is happening in this country and ideologically anarchists are on one side, but fail to act in accordance with these principles. How do anarchists better align themselves in a position that promotes freedom autonomy and dignity?

Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines

Join Revolutionary Mothering co-editor China Martens and local contributors Vivian Fumiko Chin, Malkia A. Cyril, Lola Mondragón, and Anita Wills for a panel discussion of movement shifting committed to birthing new worlds. Inspired by the legacy of radical and queer Black feminists of the 1970s and ’80s, Revolutionary Mothering places marginalized mothers of color at the center of a world of necessary transformation. The challenges we face as movements working for racial, economic, reproductive, gender, and food justice, as well as anti-violence, anti-imperialist, and queer liberation are the same challenges that many mothers face every day. Marginalized mothers create a generous space for life in the face of life-threatening limits, activate a powerful vision of the future while navigating tangible concerns in the present, move beyond individual narratives of choice toward collective solutions, live for more than ourselves, and remain accountable to a future that we cannot always see.

Session Panelists:

  • China Martens is an empty-nest single mother from Baltimore, Maryland. She is the author of The Future Generation: The Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends and Others, coeditor of Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities, and co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines. China was a cofounder of Kidz City, a radical childcare collective in Baltimore (2009–2013) and is connected to a national circle of radical childcare collectives established at the 2010 US Social Forum in Detroit.
  • Vivian Fumiko Chin was born, grew up, & now lives and works in the East Bay. Chin strives to *not* contribute to suffering in the world, to spread the word: respect, and to practice unconditional positive regard.
  • Malkia A. Cyril is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Media Justice in Oakland, CA., a national media strategy and action center building a powerful grassroots movement for racial and economic justice through media change; and home of the Media Action Grassroots Network. As a queer, working class African-Am/Caribbean born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Malkia’s belief in cultural change as a core strategy for social justice is based in her experience as the daughter of a black panther mom. “I watched how news coverage helped destroy a movement, and I believe in the power of strategic stories, art, and organizing to help raise it again.” Malkia is married to Alana Devich and lives in the SF Bay Area.
  • Lola Mondragón is a Chickasaw Chicana veteran. She is a student of indigenous healing, militarism, and WOC scholarship both in and outside the classroom. She is currently at UC Santa Barbara finishing her studies towards her PhD. Lola’s most important identities/bio is of being the mother of two military children and the grandmother of Lolito.
  • Author Anita Wills was born in Pennsylvania, and is a resident of Northern California. She is the Author of Pieces of the Quilt: The Mosaic of An African American Family, and Notes and Documents of Free Persons of Color, including Revised Edition, and Black Minqua The Life and Times of Henry Green. Her latest book, A Nation of Flaws JustUs in the Homeland, is the history of Law Enforcement from this Countries inception. America has chosen to ignore the History that goes along with the Demonstrations and Formation of Groups like Black Lives Matters. The work also includes the stories of many of those whose murders did not receive the publicity of Mike Brown or Eric Garner. One of those Murders is the Authors 19-year-old Grandson, who was shot and killed in East Oakland California on January 16, 2011. The Author gives a clear case of Police involvement in the Murder of her Grandson. She connects his murder to the Wrongful imprisonment of her son and the father of her murdered Grandson.

We are All of Our Identities All of the Time: Women of Color on Punk, Parenting, and the Beautiful Struggle for Social Justice in the Face of White Anxiety

Having grown accustomed to navigating multiple identities, radical women of color are now faced with a growing, or re-emerging, white anxiety. Author of “The White Anxiety Crisis,” Gregory Rodriguez wrote in 2010 that a “sense of white proprietorship— ‘this is our country and our culture’ — still has not been completely eradicated.” Inflamed by current presidential campaign rhetoric and white supremacist movements, the panelists will discuss this re-emerging “white proprietorship” and its profound effect on women of color who still must protect their children, continue to push for equality, express pride in their multiple identities, and make art.

Session Presenters:

  • Margaret Elysia Garcia, originally from Los Angeles, is a writer and mother living in the northern Sierra Nevadas raising two Mexican-American children in a rural predominantly white region of California. She’s also a DJ with Plumas Community Radio (www.kqny919.org) and hosts the alternative women’s music show Milkshake & Honey. She’s the author of the short story collection Sad Girls & Other Stories about two Chicanas growing up and out of eastern LA county as well as a second collection due out in 2016 titled Mary of the Chance Encounters. She’s also a playwright. Her play The Adventures of SadGirl: The Superheroine, which debuted last year, covered social justice struggles faced by women and ethnic minorities. She also writes the zine SadGirl with her children who illustrate and co-write.
  • Soma Mei Sheng Frazier’s debut fiction collection, Collateral Damage: A Triptyc, earned praise from Nikki Giovanni, Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snicket), and others – and won the RopeWalk Press Editor’s Fiction Chapbook Prize. You can find her work online at Eclectica Magazine, Carve Magazine, Eleven Eleven and Kore Press. New work is forthcoming in Salve, a second prose chapbook to be published in March by Nomadic Press, as well as in Glimmer Train and ZYZZYVA. Soma is Chair and Assistant Professor of English and the Humanities at Cogswell Polytechnical College. She has also taught at the Sarah Lawrence College Summer High School Writers Program, Holy Names University, Gavilan College, Oakland School for the Arts and Valhalla Women’s Correctional Facility.
  • Tomas Moniz, Rad Dad editor, and author of Bellies and Buffalos, writes about parenting, makes zines of short fiction, performs randy poetry, organizes and hosts events, teaches community college, and loves to mingle.
  • Nicole Thomas is an Oakland-based drummer, cooking teacher, writer, and mother. She was active in the Washington, D.C. punk scene and played drums in Fire Party during the ’80s, Mavis Piggott in Seattle during the ’90s, and currently plays in Hard Left in Oakland. She has taught cooking to children at The Edible Schoolyard and Camp510. She also holds a dusty but occasionally useful law degree from Berkeley School of Law. She is currently working on a memoir about food, family and traveling with her punk band in the ’80s.

Arte Sin Miedo; Female Street Artists in Latin America Resisting the Status Quo

Street art offers a direct opposition to the capitalist ammunition of advertising. Our public space is bought and sold without our consent and we are forced to look at images that often prey upon on our insecurities for the capital gain of corporations. A tag, a bomb, a piece of art placed on the street without permission fractures aesthetic control and places power into the individual’s hands. The artist creates a direct line of communication with any passer by and their message remains uncensored and powerful.

In our session we look at the ways in which women street artists in Latin America are challenging the status quo to make art that impacts their community and how this aligns with anarcha-feminist aims. We will also look at images of recent anti-police-brutality street art and anti-eviction street art. We will open a discussion about further ways street artists can continue to disrupt the status quo and further anarchist aims.

Session Presenters:

  • Lauren Gucik and Rachel Cassandra recently published a book on female street artists in Latin America in efforts to diversify media made about street art and graffiti. We wanted to showcase the stories of strong women who often take great risks to share their ideas of change. We spent 8 months interviewing and photographing women street artists across Latin America, at times even painting with them, as we ourselves are street artists in the Bay Area. We believe street art is a powerful tool for resisting the social soporific effects that keep people marching circularly head down one after the next.

We Are the Crisis of Capital, And Proud of It!

This panel will focus on what anticapitalist revolution can mean today—after the historic failure of the idea that the conquest of state power was the key to radical change. The central challenge is the idea that “We Are the Crisis of Capital” (and proud of it). This runs counter to many leftist assumptions that the capitalists are to blame for the crisis, or that crisis is simply the expression of the bankruptcy of the system. The only way to see crisis as the possible threshold to a better world is to understand the failure of capitalism as the face of the push of our creative force. From here, the panelists will discuss three challenges: the meaning of “We,” the understanding of capital as a system of social cohesion that systematically frustrates our creative force, and the proposal that we are the crisis of this system of cohesion.

Session Presenters:

  • Andrej Grubacic directs the Anthropology & Social Change program at the California Institute for Integral Studies. He is the editor of Kairos series with PM Press. His latest book is Living at the Edges of Capitalism: Adventures in Exile and Mutual Aid (University of California Press, 2016).
  • Chris Carlsson, co-director of the “history from below” project Shaping San Francisco (historical archive at foundsf.org), is a writer, publisher, editor, and frequent public speaker. He has written two books (After the Deluge, Nowtopia) edited six books, (Reclaiming San Francisco; The Political Edge; Bad Attitude; Critical Mass: Bicycling’s Defiant Celebration; Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco, 1968-78; and Shift Happens: Critical Mass at 20). He redesigned and co-authored an expanded Vanished Waters: A History of San Francisco’s Mission Bay. His writings have appeared in BOOM: The Journal of California, Antipode, MAS Context, and many other journals. He has also had several of his books translated and published in Italy and Brazil. He has produced weekly public talks since January 2006. He also conducts award-winning bicycle and walking history tours. He has given hundreds of public presentations based on Shaping San Francisco, Critical Mass, Nowtopia, Vanished Waters, and his “Reclaiming San Francisco” history anthologies since the late 1990s, and has appeared dozens of times in radio, television and on the internet.

From the Streets to the Sheets – Radical Feminist Storytelling

Radical feminist narratives are too often invisible or pushed to the margins – by corporate media, academic historians, and the left (including the anarchist left). Diana Block and Kate Raphael, two long time Bay Area activist/authors, have each recently published novels that center radical feminist protagonists – working, living and loving from the Bay Area to Palestine. The workshop will explore how lived experience can be translated into fiction, and how storytelling can unlock visions of the world we want to create. Block and Raphael will read short pieces from their work to open up a discussion of the role and uses of fiction in radical praxis, and whether it’s a vehicle that can draw new people into social movements.

Session Presenters:

  • Diana Block is a founding member of San Francisco Women Against Rape and the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. She is also the author of Clandestine Occupations – An Imaginary History (PM Press, 2015) and the memoir Arm the Spirit – A Woman’s Journey Underground and Back(AK Press 2009).
  • Kate Raphael is a longtime feminist and queer liberation activist, a radio producer, a founding member of Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism and one of the editors of the radical queer newspaper UltraViolet. She was deported by the Israeli government after spending 18 months doing solidarity work in Palestine, which provided the raw material for her debut mystery, Murder Under the Bridge.

Uprooting Patriarchy in Paganism, Heathenism, Polytheism, and Goddess Spirituality

For those of us who are Anarchist and Pagan, Heathen, or Polytheist, how does our spirituality interface with our political views? And more to the point, how do we confront and uproot both blatant and creeping patriarchy within contemporary Paganism, Pantheism, Heathenism, and Goddess spirituality?

There are many ways in which our spiritual and religious observations reaffirm patriarchal values, beliefs, and assumptions. Starting with the patriarchal nature of the threefold (maiden, mother, and crone) model of the Goddess, we will enter into a discussion of how racism, sexism, ageism, hetrosexism, requirements and expectations of gender conformity and reinforcement of the gender binary, and issues of consent and sexual expression take place in our communities. We will examine the ways in which patriarchy forms and informs the fabric and foundation of our spiritual communities and traditions.

Then, we will discuss creative and powerful ways in which we may shift the nexus of our spiritual process, content, and outcomes to come more into alignment with our authentic, radical spiritual beliefs and personal values. Through brainstorming, small group discussion, and collective problem solving we will cocreate a collection of tools, processes, and magicks that may be taken back to our communities so that we can create much-needed shifts.

In this, the liberation of the worlds.

Session Presenters: 

  • Lasara Firefox Allen, author of Jailbreaking the Goddess: A Radical Revisioning of Feminist Spirituality, and other Anarchist Pagans, Heathens, Pantheists, and Goddess worshippers