2018 Workshop Descriptions

Transformative Justice Approaches to Addressing Harm in Our Relationships, Communities and Movements (Room 1; 11am-12pm) With Shenaaz Janmohamed and Sara Kershnar.

Transformative Justice is an approach to addressing family, relationship, community and movement harm, abuse and violence that seeks to transform underlying issues of trauma, oppression and exploitation without relying on State violence and intervention. It is an approach that works through relationships and engages broader networks surrounding situations of violence in order to: 1) Protect and support those currently or historically experiencing abuse or harm; 2) Hold accountable those exercising abusive power, abusing or harming; 3) Increase the willingness of bystanders to intervene; and 4) Address incidences of harm in ways that shift overall conditions of racism, sexism, homo/transphobia, ableism, exploitation, abuse and violence. By effectively addressing harm and abuses of power within our relationships, families, communities and movements, we build our own well-being and power, can transform historic trauma and oppression, strengthen our relationships and therefore reduce opportunities for the State to use harm to further harm and break us.

Shenaaz Janmohamed (she/they), LCSW is a queer femme mama who is a licensed psychotherapist and healing practitioner of Muslim South Asian ascent based in Oakland CA. Her family of origin are people who faced both forced and chosen migration many times over leading to call Kachchh, Dar Es Salaam, Karachi and parts of SWANA, our homes.  Shenaaz’s work is deeply shaped by social justice commitments, queer liberation, and a Dharma practice. For 6.5 years she worked with young people of color supporting their emotional and spiritual health while serving as a high school Wellness Counselor.  Most recently, Shenaaz has birthed both a child and an organization supporting Queer and Trans Muslims, Queer Crescent Healing. She holds trauma, hurt and harm as causes and conditions of systems of oppression, and works with folks to move through and heal from – ancestral, interpersonal, familial, community, organizational, systemic and collective wounding.


Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right’s Challenge to State and Empire (Room 1; 2:00-3:30pm) A panel moderated by James Tracy, with Matthew N. Lyons, author of Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right’s Challenge to State and Empire(PM Press, 2018), Lisa Roth of the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee, & Delio Vásquez, PhD Candidate at UC Santa Cruz.

 In this panel, Matthew N. Lyons, author of Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right’s Challenge to State and Empire (PM Press, 2018), Lisa Roth of the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee, and Delio Vásquez, PhD Candidate at UC Santa Cruz, moderated by James Tracy, co-author of Hillbilly Nationalists, explore some of the history of leftist efforts to understand and combat fascist and far right forces. This includes from the Black Panther Party’s confrontations with state repression in the late sixties and early seventies, to the Nazification of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1980s, to the alt-right’s strategic but ambivalent relationship with Donald Trump today. The workshop offers a range of perspectives illustrating that rightist politics encompass different types of threats and call for different kinds of responses. Today’s far right has a contradictory relationship with the established order, bolstering social oppression and inequality while rejecting the legitimacy of the U.S. government and often claiming to be ant-imperialist and sometimes even anti-capitalist. In this context, fighting the far right and attacking institutionalized systems of power represent distinct but interconnected struggles.

Matthew N. Lyons has been writing about right-wing politics for over 25 years. His work focuses on the interplay between right-wing movements and systems of oppression, and responses to these movements by leftists, liberals, and the state. He writes regularly for Three Way Fight, a radical antifascist blog, and his work has also appeared in the Guardian, New Politics, Socialism and Democracy, teleSUR, Upping the Anti, and other publications. Lyons contributed the title essay to the book Ctrl-Alt-Delete: An Antifascist Report on the Alternative Right (Kersplebedeb Publishing, 2017). He is coauthor with Chip Berlet of Right-Wing Populism in America (Guilford Press, 2000) and author of Arier, Patriarchen, Übermenschen: die extreme Rechte in den USA (Aryans, Patriarchs, Supermen: The Far Right in the USA [Unrast Verlag, 2015]). Lyons is cotrustee of the Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust, which stewards the literary legacy of the late playwright and activist Lorraine Hansberry. His latest work is Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right’s Challenge to State and Empire (PM Press, 2018).

Lisa Roth is a long-time anti-racist activist. As a founding member of the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee, Roth worked on direct action against organized white supremacy in New York state prisons and from Meriden, CT to Gravesend, Brooklyn. After moving to San Francisco, she worked with JBAKC in their anti-racist skinhead campaigns and against police violence. She also worked with Prairie Fire, ACT-UP, and was a founder of the SF Dyke March.

Delio Vásquez is a PhD candidate in the History of Consciousness Department at UC Santa Cruz and works to theorize the political content and force of illegal contestation by the poor over resources.

James Tracy is a Bay Area native and a well-respected community organizer. He is co-founder of the San Francisco Community Land Trust (which uses public and private money to buy up housing stock and take it out of the real estate market), as well as a poet and co-author of Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power and Dispatches Against Displacement: Field Notes from San Francisco’s Housing Wars.


Building a Broad, United Front against Fascism (Room 1; 4:00-5:30pm) A roundtable with Jay Kim, Isaac Ontiveros, Isaac Lev, Sara Kershnar, Pablo & a member of Revolutionary Organizing against Racism.

History has shown the dangers of allowing fascists platforms to speak and the government to leverage and facilitate fascism for its own interests and power. Across anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist organizing and action, there is a shared concerned around the growing “permission” of fascists to publicly express themselves and find protection from the state when doing so. Furthermore, there is on-going recognition of increasingly emboldened moves towards fascism within federal and local government. While there is a lot of agreement on the problem, there is a lot of disagreement on the best strategy to address it and the most effective tactics to use in defeating it. The panel will raise questions about different and shared understandings of fascism, the nature of State and its relationship to “popular fascism” and about how to build unity despite tactical differences while struggling to build trust and solidarity and engage in principled struggle against a powerful enemy.


A mirror of politics of political books: Cartoneras as a decolonization of radical publishing (Room 2; 11am-12pm) With a representative from Pensare Cartonera, a publishing collective from Chiapas, Mexico.

Learn from comrades in Chiapas, Mexico about the history of Cartoneras as a social movement in order to broaden or expand how books are thought about. This workshop will be provided in both Spanish and English.


A Queer & Trans* take on Prison Abolition (Room 2; 12:30-2:00pm) With Beja Alisheva, of Flying Over Walls/SF Bay Area Black & Pink, a queer/trans prisoner solidarity organization.

How do we understand the prison industrial complex (PIC) as it relates to Queer/Trans* lives and through a Queer/Trans* analysis? In this workshop, we will assume that participants have a basic understanding of what the PIC is and focus in, through presentation, case studies, and discussion, on the ways LGBTQ+ people are specifically surveilled and policed, what we mean when we say abolition, and how we actually defend our communities without expanding the police and prison system. We strongly welcome folks who have been incarcerated as well as those who wish to work in solidarity. We will draw on materials from Critical Resistance, Black & Pink, and Captive Genders.


Race, Capitalism, and Resistance (Room 2; 4:00-5:30pm) With Ndindi Kitonga, PhD, Kenyan-American activist, revolutionary educator, and co-founder of Angeles Workshop School & Chris Gardner, of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization and the LA Tenants Union.

Today’s left is often polarized between anti-capitalist positions that diminish or erase the importance of race, and anti-racist ones that minimize or ignore capitalism.  How can one be anti-capitalist and anti-racist at the same time? We will explore today’s struggles over issues like police violence in Black communities and the housing crisis in light of this question, drawing also from past battles over colonialism and national liberation, and over race and class within the labor and anti-racist movements. How can these considerations move us forward in the quest to abolish both capitalism and the state?

Ndindi Kitonga, PhD is a Kenyan-American activist and revolutionary educator. She is the co-founder of Angeles Workshop School, a radical secondary school in Los Angeles with a focus on democratic learning and class consciousness. Ndindi is also a published scholar in the areas of critical pedagogy, postcolonial studies and democratic education. Ndindi spends her time studying Marxist-Humanism, and advocating for educational equity, homeless rights and racial equality. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Scott and his outrageous collection of Star Wars memorabilia.

Chris Gardner is a Los Angeles based organizer and activist at the International Marxist-Humanist Organization and the Los Angeles Tenants Union.