Workshop Descriptions

Accounting For Ourselves: Breaking the Impasse Around Assault and Abuse in Radical Scenes

Sexual assault and abuse continue to plague North American radical and anarchist scenes. In response, we’ve developed processes to hold each other accountable outside of the state. But why can’t we seem to get them right? Drawing on analysis developed through many years of survivor support and assaulter intervention across numerous accountability processes, this workshop examines the context in which these models emerged and analyzes the problems we’ve encountered in trying to apply them. Beginning with an exploration of restorative and transformative justice frameworks, we will trace the cultural shifts in radical scenes towards discourses of consent and sexual assault awareness and the current state of our accountability practices. Ten pitfalls commonly encountered in these processes will be identified and discussed, including vague or unrealistic goals, lack of key skills, the weakness of our “community” bonds, the residue of adversarial justice mindsets, and overextension of specific tools beyond their relevant context.

Moving beyond the impasse around sexual violence within our scenes will require taking our resistance sexual and gendered oppression in new directions. We will discuss the strengths and shortcomings of several alternative approaches to our current practices of accountability, including extending survivor-led vigilantism, pursuing anti-sexist men’s groups and gender-based organizing to undermine rape culture, and broadening our focus on conflict resolution and mediation. The presentation concludes with an interrogation of our problematic notions of “community,” suggesting ways to concretely redefine our relationships of affinity to each other. Ultimately, participants will gain a broad array of tools for diagnosing and addressing the limitations of community-based accountability processes, along with new conceptual frameworks and concrete skills for envisioning worlds free from patriarchy and sexual violence.

Nikita Riotfag brings over ten years of experience with organizing in radical communities against sexual violence. Nikita works as a crisis counselor and support group facilitator at a rape crisis center, has participated in an anti-sexist men’s collective and helped to organize others, and has facilitated many community accountability processes, including survivor support and assaulter intervention. In 2009 Nikita participated in the development of the first full-scale sexual assault response infrastructure at a North American mass mobilization during the anti-G20 protests. Nikita’s writings on consent, sexuality, and accountability have appeared in numerous zines and anthologies; the essay “Accounting For Ourselves” is available at

Against the Butchest Insurrection: The Gendering of Queer and Anarchist Militancy and the Politics of Sissyhood

“Bash Back!” proclaimed the eponymous queer anarchist project of 2007-2011 and innumerable radical texts and communiques since. Inspired by critiques of pacifism, assimilation, and the state, trans and queer radicals have valorized physical confrontation and self-defense, property destruction, and riots as particularly queer tactics. Texts such as “Queer Ultraviolence” and “Towards the Queerest Insurrection” articulated a distinctly queer trajectory of insurrectionary anarchist praxis, focusing on the redemptive power of violence against state, capital, rapists, and queer-bashers. But does reclaiming these tactics as “queer” or reorienting their precise targets meaningfully interrupt the masculine cultural codes on which they draw for their power and resonance? And where does that leave the rest of us, whether women, queer men or others, whose “effeminate” feelings and practices mark us as outside of these discourses?

Rejecting both the shallow and frankly sexist truism that “violence is masculinist” as well as a disingenuous gender-neutralization of the fetish of militant violence, this workshop explores the nuanced relationship between gender and the discourses and practices of militancy among radical queers and trans people in North America. Provocatively reassessing the meaning of the Stonewall rebellion in New York – the pivotal moment when gays at last became men – the analysis forces us to take an uncomfortable look at how our notions of militant trans and queer resistance may reproduce some of the patriarchal discourses they intend to subvert.

Building off of texts such as “Terror Incognita: W(h)ither Queer?” and “Against the Butchest Insurrection,” we’ll ask difficult questions about whether tactics have a gender, about the black bloc (and the pink bloc) as forms of drag, and the contradictions of queer anti-identity politics. Participants will use role-plays, somatic awareness exercises, small group discussions, and dress-up parties to delve into the personal and embodied implications of these critiques. Ultimately, we will explore what the figure of the “sissy”, the bearer of that abject effeminacy that haunts mainstream gender roles as well as both straight and queer militant discourse, can teach us about forging a politics of fierce resistance that truly refuses the allure of both hetero- and homo-masculine militancy.

Nikita Riotfag is a queer sissy who does floral arranging and delivery, crisis counseling, writing, and anarchist organizing in a small town in the southern US.  Nikita organized the Sweaty Southern Radical Queer and Trans Convergence in 2006 and rolled with queer blocs and affinity groups at numerous mass mobilizations. Nikita’s writings have appeared in a wide variety of zines and anthologies, including RFD Magazine, Learning Good Consent, Towards a Less Fucked Up World, Sober Living for the Revolution, and numerous others.

Beyond Self Care: Towards Collective Struggle – Plant Allies for Emotional Well-Being

This workshop is divided into two parts. The first portion will be a discussion about self-care and expanding this concept into how we view ourselves in relation to struggle against systems of domination. How does our relationship with ourselves determine how we relate with the world and how we treat each other? What are the obstacles to our health? Self-care is a necessary element in a collective of strong-willed individuals struggling for liberation.

The second portion of the workshop will explore a few plants that are used to help support us in changing unhealthy emotional and mental patterns like depression, anxiety, anger, etc. We’ll look at about six herbs and their identification, harvesting, specific therapeutic indications, personality, contraindications, drug interactions including hormone replacement, affects on reproductive systems, and dosage.

Let’s counter the narrative of self care where it exists as an exclusive form of struggle.  Self care can be a reclamation of our bodies and minds – we cannot be liberated only by being healthy, and we cannot be healthy in the world as it is. Our struggle for well-being is intricately intertwined on a daily basis with our outward struggles against exploitation/domination/the state/capitalism/etc. Collective struggle as a collection of strong-willed individuals.

Emily Brownout has been active in anarchist struggles for ten years and studying plant medicine for six years. Projects include community health, prisoner support, and land defense. Emily attended Herbalism school in Ontario for two years and is currently completing a program in Clinical Herbalism at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism. She has facilitated many workshops on wild medicinal plants, herbs for female reproductive health, and medicine-making. She recognizes community based holistic health as a tangible step towards collective liberation within struggles against capitalism, colonization, and all systems of domination.

Broken Teapot

‘The Broken Teapot’ is a critical analysis of accountability models within anarchist circles. It asks that we examine essentialist categories and question the overly judicial approach to rape, assault, abuse and intimate violence that is currently being utilized. It is not a prescriptive zine but a plea for more contextual understandings. Discussion will focus on the theoretical and functional problems with the current model and the hard lessons learned from the last decade of debate and struggle over these issues.

The presentation will addresses how we have become state-like in our adjudication, essentialist categories of survivor and perpetrator and how they hurt us, the devil in the details: differentiating between physical and emotional abuse, contextual ways to deal with intimate violence, accepting the gray areas, holding onto personal acrimony without ruining someone’s life and other zen-like “all life is suffering” approaches to terrible relationships. With a subsection on- “that piece of shit is beyond redemption”- when drawing blood is appropriate.

The take away being that consent is empowering as an active tool, but right now it functions as an imperfect safety net. We have to stop approaching it as a static obligation. The question we should be asking is not “Did they say no?” But rather “Did I say yes?” If we can redefine consent and expectations around it, as well as take non-essentialist and contextual approaches to intimate violence, we may have a chance to deal with, and actually heal from, trauma.

This presentation will be done by one of the editors of the zine ‘The Broken Teapot”.  Anonymous is a byline frequently used in anarchist circles to allow for an open exchange of ideas without fear of personal or political reprisal. Functionally it usually keeps one from meeting those who agree with your analysis and most people in your life figure it out eventually anyway. 

Creating Communities of Care: A Discussion-Based Approach

Care comes in many forms and is necessary for the participation and functionality of our communities. Many activist communities are composed of white, middle-class, able-bodied, young folks who are not parents, and some of this lack of representation in organizing stems from a lack of ability to offer appropriate care in the forms of access, child-care, support, and so on.

We believe that discussion and dialogue, rather than information giving, will be the way that people are able to discover workable solutions in their own communities on creating real communities of true care and support. Share success stories, ideas, failures and dreams in an environment that invites new solutions.

Laura McDonald is an activist, editor, theatre producer, and member of the WPIRG board of directors who is striving for community/ies built on a foundation of understanding, support, and mutual aid.

Amelia Meister (Meme) is a mother, activist, therapeutic yoga teacher and writer. As a single, working-class, queer mother she has experienced first-hand the lack of access to care in communities and the exclusion that comes with being a single parent in organizing communities. In her healing work she has witnessed, especially in poor/queer/disabled communities, the intense burden of isolation, lack of access and systemic oppression that she believes can be resolved by creating communities of care that address the needs, and accept the gifts, of all community members.

Exploring Contradictions within Feminist Currents

In our discussion and presentation based workshop we will interactively explore and isolate different conflicting/contradictory tendencies within movements self identifying as anti-capitalist and feminist, based in the Imperialist West, and facilitate a discussion on the importance of building a theoretically cohesive feminism that is explicitly antagonistic to capitalism and imperialism, and which is not dominated by a focus on ‘reclaiming’ culture and combating micro-aggressions of power.

We will discuss (and critique) contemporary feminist trends such as sex positivity, demands for representation and reclamation, anti-oppression, and cultural (as opposed to structural) decolonization. Rather than flatly demonizing these trends, we want to discuss the legitimate origins of their emergence in terms of a response to the failures of previous (e.g. Radical 70s) feminisms, but also their limitations as such. We will also discuss how capitalism has affected these contemporary movements and created contradictions that limit their revolutionary potential.

We will isolate and collectively discuss and problematize the notions of ‘agency’ and ‘consent’ as they are frequently used in feminist spaces and sharpen the distinction between individual/self defined empowerment and structural empowerment. Though both have their place, we find that they are often conflated.

Interactive exercises will be used to demonstrate the vast plethora of different ideas and practices within the feminist left and then to draw out possible internal contradictions.

Alison, having recently broken up with identity politics which she had spent a year entrenched in, is currently ‘in between’ political organizations, but volunteers as a crisis counsellor for the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre.

Kerri is an organizer with the Revolutionary Students Movement of the Proletarian Revolutionary Action Committee and former identity politician.

Feminist Revolution in Text

Feminist cultural production has always been integral to a variety of women’s movements. Ranging from seminal theoretical texts which have revolutionalized notions of gender, sexuality and liberation to zines, blogs and praxis-oriented movement publications, feminist print production provides a crucial forum for critique, debate and growth.

This workshop will explore the possibilities of feminist writing as a practice of resistance. With the participation of several feminist writers from a variety of publications, this workshop will explore how writing, publishing and other forms of text-based cultural production are integral to feminist organizing and movement-building. In particular, we will examine how feminist activists can engage in cultural production that is empowering and engaging while providing a space for the evolution of feminist praxis. The panelists will also speak of the limitations and barriers they have experienced, personally or on an organizational level.

Participants will be asked to read some samples of their work and everyone is  invited to bring samples and share their writing – whether they are zines, magazines, blogs, etc.

Invited participants include:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite is a graduate student in the Ryerson-York Joint Programme in Communication and Culture, and has a B.A. in History from McGill University. In addition to her academic work on media representation and advertising history, Manisha contributes to Snap!, a Montreal arts magazine, and Shameless, a feminist publication for girls and trans youth. She writes about the ways in which pop culture relates to everyday life, and holds the belief that no cultural product is exempt from critical analysis.

Aleisha Cuff is a radical queer trans woman who has been part of radical trans movements for well over a decade. She writes the blog (“gudbuytjane” pronounced “Goodbye to Jane”), has been a guest writer at sites such as Feministe and Questioning Transphobia, and her work has been covered by Bitch Magazine and GLAAD. In addition to covering the intersection of pop culture and trans women, she has focused on bringing forward the discussion of systemic privilege and marginalization in queer and poly communities through a series of popular essays on the topic, “Dating From The Margins.” In addition to trans activism, Aleisha’s political work and activist history is rooted in anti-poverty, anti-capitalist, and radical disability rights movements.

Ellie Gordon-Moershel is primarily a radio and sound person but finds that writing and the act of listening and reading are very much intertwined. You can find her writing on The F Word Media Collective blog, and Left Hook: A Critical Review of Sports and Society.

Nora Loreto is a writer, activist and musician based in Québec City. While she spends most time maintaining her personal political blog, Nora is currently working on a book about the struggles facing Canada’s labour movement. Nora writes music, poetry and short-fiction, the latter two which are rarely shared publicly. Nora is an editor with the Canadian Association of Labour Media and is involved in Québec solidaire. Nora has a degree in journalism and public administration from Ryerson University and is nearly finished a masters in education from the University of Saskatchewan. As a feminist writer, Nora considers all her writing to be feminist, though not necessarily about feminism itself, except for this:

Tara-Michelle Ziniuk is the author of Emergency Contact (McGilligan 2006) and Somewhere to Run From (Tightrope, 2009), an editor on The Media Co-op/Dominion editorial collective and a copy editing nerd. T-M is a freelance writer for The Grid, Broken Pencil, Herizons and various other publications. She writes about books and their authors, and other things as well. As an activist she’s been involved with prisoner justice work, sex worker rights activism, anti-globalization movements and anti-poverty/housing/anti-gentrification work. She has a long-standing love affair with campus-community radio;  recently collaborated on a zine with illustrator Sarah Mangle, and has a hilarious toddler who you can find hanging out in the childcare room.

Most recent book:
Twitter: @thereealrealtmz

Moderators: Sharmeen Khan and Robyn Letson are editorial members of Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action

Sharmeen Khan began organizing as a feminist writer in Regina, Saskatchewan. She began writing in Briarpatch Magazine and PrairieDog Magazine in the prairies and continued when she moved to BC. She has written for Thirdspace and Desilicious: A South-Asian Anthology of Erotic Writing. In 2005, she helped found Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action where she continues to volunteer as an editorial committee member. As a long time broadcaster in community radio, she has also facilitated anti-oppressive media trainings.

Fiercely Femme: Finding my Femme-Footing in Militant Anarchist Communities

Creating ritual as a method of sharing, learning, and discussion in this space we will collaborate. Sharing her own experience working in anarchist communities as a white, queer, crip, femme, Leah will discuss the seen and unseen femme organizing strategies that she uses.

Touching on femme-phobia, patriarchy and racism, we will look at ways that sexism, patriarchy and heteronormativity contributed to infiltration of anarchist communities in the lead up to the G20. We will also explore how the strengths of femme organizing contributed to the support and survival of activists in southern ontario post-G20. Working with the elements, song, light and reflection, this space is meant to be a place to look at the unique challenges and opportunities of femme organizing strategies in militant anarchist communities. —

Kitchen-witch, facilitator, popular educator, and community organizer Leah Henderson is based on the stolen Mississauga New Credit and Haudenosne territory called Toronto. She has spent the last 15 years involved in struggles for justice within apartheid canada.

Fostering an Anti-Racist, Trans-Feminist Community 

This workshop aims to rethink strategies to foster trans communities through anti-racist perspectives.  Much of our community is very divided and disconnected from each other; trans women are especially not included in trans spaces, including organizing, activism, political narrative, social spaces and community events.

POC communities have had to develop anti-racist strategies while surviving and living under a system of white domination.  Our communities can benefit by learning from anti-racist principles and strategies.

Some of the challenges to be addressed are the exclusion of homeless trans people from community, trans women from political organizing, co-optation and deradicalization by the non-profit-industrial-complex, the influence and control exerted by academics and social workers on our communities, targetting by police, homelessness, mental health, addictions, transmisogyny and systemic exclusion.

Anti-racist strategies can benefit our communities by helping us understand how to process internal conflicts, create politicized supportive environments, engage with each other in ways that strengthens our understanding of each other by examining our histories, and create social structures that can resist and fight back against external dominating pressures, while we develop our own internal subcultures.

Abuzar is a homeless trans woman of pakistani origin currently living in an abandoned building in Toronto.  These days she’s spending a lot of time thinking and learning about kink and other sexy endeavors (Abuzadora on fetlife), as well as conflict within trans community, social service spaces for homeless trans people, targetting by police, social workers, co-optation by folks with external political agendas, etc.

Haudenosaunee Bloc Up! Warriors for Total Liberation

A multi-media performance/narrative, incorporating story telling through image and dialogue. this piece comes from a place of survival, healing and resistance, and touches on “haudenosaunee feminism”, war, genocide, decolonization and the way of the warrior.

karolyn givogue is an anarcha-Indigenous community organizer, identifying as a cis, two-spirited, mixed race kononkwe (Kenein’keha:ka/ Mohawk woman), of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy,  okwaho ni’wakenaronton (wolf clan), from Tsikaná:taien (Cornwall). Karolyn has been living in Nogojiwanong (Peterborough) since 2003, where she’s been organizing in anti-poverty, anti-racist, decolonizing, anti-violence, feminist, anarchist and trans liberation movements.

al is an anarchaqueer onkwehonwe cis-woman. she belongs to the turtle clan and is an onondowaga haudenosaunee with a fighting spirit striving towards total liberation, working towards dismantling all systems of oppression and their social, cultural and material infrastructure. she spends her time strategizing revolutions, combating ecocide, hating the police, and harvesting medicines. al is currently based in nogojiwanong but will be headed to six in the fall to decolonize her mouth and blow the english language out.

Political on Purpose! Transitioning from Women’s Centres to Centres for Gender Justice

Recently, there has been a significant number of women’s centres who have undergone a name change and/or rebranding of their image and missions to better represent gender inclusivity. What does this transition and rebranding mean for the non-cisgendered feminists who are suddenly being invited to participate in on-going/pre-existing discussions? This transition marks a critical moment in feminist strategizing and empowerment, but it is not without its problems. As we move towards a broader understanding of gender justice we cannot ignore the challenges of cissexism and transphobia within existing and cross-generational feminist struggles. We also can’t deny that many feminist methodologies are out-dated and redundant, and rather than re-creating the same events year after year, we need to return to activism with a new resolve.

Jude Ashburn is the Outreach Coordinator of the South House Sexual and Gender Resource centre at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS. They have recently re-located to Halifax after spending many years organizing in Montreal, Saskatoon, and Toronto. Jude has a particular love of queer gender theory, anti-fascist herstory, zine and DIY cultures, and mental health as resistance. They can usually be found reading, supporting the local music scene, or hanging out with their dog, Cedar.

Laura Shepherd- is the Outreach Coordinator for NSPIRG. She has been actively involved in social justice, social change and legislative lobby in Nova Scotia in areas of health, disability, environmental and social justice, including trans justice. Laura is a parent, musician, writer and photographer. She recently relocated to Halifax after 15 years in rural Nova Scotia, where she worked to help a local women’s centre become trans inclusive.

Queering Anarchism

What does it mean to “queer” the world around us? How does the radical refusal of the mainstream codification of LGBT identity as a new gender norm come into focus in the context of anarchist theory and practice? How do our notions of orientation inform our politics—and vice versa? C.B. Daring will discuss the editorial process of Queering Anarchism, and an overview of many of the topics covered in the book including: intersectionality, gay marriage, creating new normals, sex work, BDSM and many others.

C.B. Daring in an editor of ‘Queering Anarchism: Addressing and Undressing Power and Desire’.  They are an intersectional, anarchist-communist, queer sex worker. They have spent many years organizing within radical queer, sex worker rights, anarchist, and labor movements nationally and regionally. They have been published in various magazines, newspapers and blogs. They are a member of the Workers Solidarity Alliance, a collective member at Red Emma’s Bookstore and Coffeehouse and a popular education facilitator. C.B. heartily believes that practice makes progress. 

Queerness and Ableism

This workshop is aimed at understanding how “queer” and “disabled” are identities or labels defined against the dominant narrative of the social order, how notions of “other,” of normalcy and stability, are taught and enforced. This workshop will identify how folks are punished and marginalized for nonconforming bodies and sexualities, and how we can cohesively criticize the alienation and domination of disabled, queer, trans, racialized and indigenous people.

Considering the barriers we face, how have marginalized people resisted the neoliberal capitalism agenda and what lies ahead? We will consider ableism in public and private spaces, and examine where accessibility approaches lack.   We will discuss local issues tied to access to services, policing of bodies, surveillance, and the ongoing resistance to able-bodied hetero-normative patriarchy.

eli is a queer community organizer and personal support worker/attendant service provider, working to support clients through transitions and change while advocating for an ethic of care in both organizing and support work. She facilitates conversations around sexuality and access and works to expose the role of capitalism and the state in repressing queer and disabled bodies.

Radical Child Care

In recognition that there is no truly revolutionary endeavor without the inclusion of parents and children we would like to facilitate a community driven exploration of radical child care. This exploration will include a theory-based discussion of how conventional neo-liberal and unfortunately many activist approaches to child care reinforce gender based oppression, and the alienation of children thereby reifying patriarchy. Participants will be asked to illuminate what meaningful and supportive child care looks like for them as well as what barriers they have encountered to establishing or experiencing meaningful child care. The facilitators will work with the community to find creative and tangible solutions to the barriers they have encountered. Culminating in the creation of realistic and practical strategies for a re-visioned child-care action plan, grounded in theories of social justice. This workshop will include a mixed methods facilitation approach of arts-based imaginings, group analysis of theory, discussion of case examples and strategic role-playing.

Children are encouraged to participate – alternative activities will be available for the portions of the workshop that are less child-centric (although they are more than welcome to participate throughout).

Amy Filsinger is a KW activist with rich child-care experience. She has been involved in child-care all her life, both as a recipient and provider. She has been providing child-care for roughly ten years, working both within a activist settings and in conventional community care spaces. Her academic background includes both global and women’s studies. Not incidentially, she approaches child-care with an intersecting feminist lens. She is very excited at the prospect of hearing the voices of her community as we work together to re-envision child-care.

Holli-Lynne Elash is a community research and capacity facilitator. She recently moved to KW from London, ON in September 2012. She has become increasingly aware of the disconnect that she has witnessed between the expressed and acted upon approaches to child-care in the southern Ontario activist community. Recognizing that there are very real barriers to putting our theories to practice she is hopeful that we can collectively come together and create a child-care model that is responsive to the needs of all and is free of patriarchy.

Radicalizing Feminism: Knowledge, Analysis, Action

We likely have a good working knowledge of some feminist issues. How do we expand this knowledge to engage with a wider range of issues from the local to the global, developing a more radical analysis? How do we translate this knowledge and analysis into action? For example, No One Is Illegal takes action on refugee, immigrant and migrant worker issues, with a strong analysis of global feminism as it relates to other issues such as capitalism, global labour, migration, legal frameworks, sexuality, police brutality, anti-racism, and neoliberalism. This participatory workshop will help us to think through some of the complexities of radical feminism as it relates to or intersects with some of these other modes of oppression, considering strategies for action.

Sandra Jeppesen is an anarchist-feminist activist, educator and writer.

Resisting Gendered Norms Through Transgender Voices

Learn about the experience of gender variant/trans identified people in this art’s based performance piece.  Hear trans voices express their deepest pains, fears, joys, excitements and experiences related to their gender diversity.  Learn how they have actively resisted societal gendered oppression through activism, education and by living an authentic life of their own diverse gender expression(s). Please note that this performance includes nudity.

Douglas Morton is a Genderqueer, Gendermorphic, Androgyne Transwoman who has been active in the arts community for over 15 years and active in the LGBTQ community since realizing and coming out as trans over 5 years ago. She is the Executive Producer of KW Little Theatre and member of the Arts And Culture Advisory Committee for the City of Kitchener. She is co-facilitator of the Waterloo Wellington Gender Variant Working Group and has spoken and taught about transgender and LGBTQ issues in many local GSAs, youth groups, an anti-homophobia rally, the Guelph Sexuality Conference, Waterloo Region’s Dialogue on Diversity, The Human Library for the City of Kitchener and the ‘Take 40’ talk for the Grand River Unitarian Congregation. She also volunteers with the Spectrum LGBTQ community space and is currently working on a film about transgender experience and establishing partnerships to create a local Queer Theatre entity.

Scarcity is a Lie!  Building Capacity for Transformative Justice in activist communities

Over the past decade, transformative justice has emerged as an alternative justice methodology that has roots in the struggle to abolish prisons as well as to dismantle colonial institutions and logics that perpetuate white supremacist/patriarchal /homophobic violence.  Coined and popularized by the Atlanta and Bay Area-based group Generation 5, transformative justice is viewed as a liberatory approach to confronting violence; a long-term vision in which activist communities are made accountable for developing literacy on and shifting the conditions that allow for abuse to take place.  In this workshop, we will discuss this perspective and use it as a frame to analyze and share current strategies used for survivor support and community accountability work, following themes such as:

-Deconstructing the logic of abuse in community accountability/ transformative justice work: How are cycles of violence are (re) created or interrupted in the pursuit of accountability, justice, healing and safety?

-The role of guilt and perfectionism as a critical piece of white culture/white identity:  How does this relate to what is considered as “militant allyship,” as well as to histories of colonization & paternalistic logic to justify genocide, slavery and war?

-Applying community accountability models in non-activist & non-radical communities:  Ideas, resources, strategies

-Strategy & capacity building for creating accountability as a survivor of abuse:  Ideas and resources for when you don’t have many allies and are taking on the work yourself

-Building the capacity for community accountability/transformative justice work:  What does it look like to lay the groundwork and build the infrastructure, to be pro-active instead of reactive?

Anne Yukie Watanabe is a Japanese-American anarchist and feminist who has been working around issues of survivor support, challenging rape culture, and perpetrator/abuser accountability for 4 years. She co-founded Students Against Sexual Assault at Smith College and emphasized a survivor-centric and community education-oriented organizing model. Anne’s academic studies have focused primarily on the intersections of race, gender, and nation in US history, and her essay, “Feminist Anti-Violence Movements: Creative and Covert Resistance to Cooptation and Historical Erasure, 1970-1994” analyzed the de-radicalization of feminist anti-violence movement, its relationship to the expansion of the carceral state, and the implications of this history for an analysis of sexual and gender-based violence that centers the experiences and organizing of women of color. Anne is currently working on and thinking through how to apply transformative justice and community accountability models in BDSM and kink communities.

Kristin Herbeck is white and an anarcha-feminist dyke with 6 years of experience in doing survivor support and abuser accountability work in both radical and non-radical communities.  She co-founded the Sexual Violence Resistance Network in Ithaca, NY; a decentralized group that organized direct support work for survivors, community survivor support structures, workshops, community meetings, and direct action campaigns.  In 2009, she co-organized a robust survivor support infrastructure and co-authoredG20RP Sexual Consent Guidelines: No Perpetrators Welcome! for the mobilization against the G20 in Pittsburgh, which was adopted at multiple subsequent protest summits and anarchist bookfairs across North America.  She’s currently working on a writing project with Anne Yukie Watanabe on building the capacity for transformative justice as a site of struggle to further anti colonial solidarity with both Indigenous self-determination struggles and prison abolition on stolen land.

Symbolic agitation or revolutionary legacy: Implications for Canada’s mainstream women’s movement

Women in Canada currently face an increasingly globalized world and are struggling to define the roles they occupy within it. For feminists, many in search of these answers turn to historical achievements: reproductive rights, government/legislative rights, same-sex marriage, rights to post-secondary education, labour rights, and many more. However, uncritical readings of history have resulted in a severe romanticization of mainstream-women’s activism. The basic tenants of historical mainstream women’s movement have been defined in relation to a liberal, imperial agenda: the right to vote, to participate in government, and to work outside of the home, for instance, have been borne on the backs of controversial immigration reform, eugenics, and the exploitation of migrant work respectively. Accordingly, the women’s effort in Canada can be understood as struggle to secure certain women’s positions within an imperial, colonial society – from proponents of eugenics, like Emily Murphy, to the implementation of residential schools, internment camps, and environmental degradation – this paper seeks to ask the fundamental question: what has the mainstream women’s movement achieved in revolutionizing Canada and Canadian politics?

Meghan Mills is a Master’s candidate in the Interdisciplinary program at York University.  Her academic disciplines include Political Science; Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies, and Indigenous Studies. Her research interests are currently decolonization and social justice movements in Canada.

Towards A Technique of Collective Responsibility for Interpersonal Violence

This session will begin from the proposition that rape culture is a symptom of a collective trauma caused by our experience of power under capitalism, but that this symptom takes different forms as conditioned by the structural position of the person manifesting them.  Further, it will propose that as a traumatic symptom, the iteration of rape culture within communities of resistance precisely a reproduction of this hydraulics of power – it is caused by a compulsion to repeat.

This recognition that rape culture is a suite of the symptoms of a collective trauma is informed by existing anarchist theory. The concept of collective responsibility is derived from understanding that liberal notions of individual agency are an ideological function of bourgeois capitalism, mystifying the nature of power precisely by attributing life-course events to the effects of personal actions outside of their material or historical context. Hence a poor person is a poor person because they are morally inept; similarly, a rapist is a rapist because they are intrinsically sick, a predator, and thus all that is required is that either be removed from “normal” society.

In the wake of recent excellent work on rape culture within anarchist communities – most particularly here, I am thinking of “Betrayal: A Critical Analysis of Rape Culture in Anarchist Subcultures” – this workshop takes part in the discussion of how to develop models for dealing with interpersonal violence that do not involve recourse to state-controlled institutions. This method, most notably, includes the imprisonment system, which clearly provides neither the survivor nor the perpetrator with an opportunity to heal from the mutual, albeit asymmetrical, traumatic experience of interpersonal violence. In addition to the generally recognized understanding that prison provides no place to stage an interruption of the traumatic rehearsal of violent dominance on the part of the perpetrator, it will highlight an equally salient critique: Revolutionary and radical survivors who refuse to invoke state power to fulfill their demand for justice currently have no collectively legitimated process through which their injuries can be redressed.

Mary Eileen Wennekers is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at Western University. She began organizing anarchist spaces in 1997 when her teenaged apartment was designated a feminist safe space and community tutoring hub. Since that time she has continued to be actively committed to anarchist, feminist, and anti-capitalist projects, and while still rather proud of the time she employed public urination as a means of inciting a wildcat strike, is now most engaged in developing radical research and pedagogy projects, which, objectively, require a different sort of creativity. 

Women’s Centres, Trans Inclusion and De-centering Dominance –a learning circle discussion

The Centre for Gender and Social Justice (CGSJ) is both a new and old organization in the sense that that in our current incarnation as the CGSJ we have existed for almost five years but our work now is still bound up in redressing the Trent Women’s Centre’s 20 years of institutionalized whiteness, cis-sexism, and accompanying affects. The CGSJ works to create safer space for people who experience gendered oppression. Our central goal is to challenge the oppressive ideas, actions, institutions and systems that impose limited understandings of sex and gender, and reproduce sexism, cis-privilege and transphobia. We use a social justice model that is informed by a holistic understanding of anti-oppression and feminist politics that recognizes the ways in which ideas and experiences of gender are shaped by racism, colonialism, classism, ableism, militarism, heteronormativity and all other forms of oppression.

Ki is a glamarchist, trans-masculine girly-boy, working against racist gendered oppression and towards decolonization as a public educator, advocate, resource developer, poet and revolutionary strategist. ki’s name is a great pronoun substitute for them! ki is currently the Community Engagement Coordinator at the Centre for Gender and Social Justice (CGSJ) and has worked with the organization in various capacities over the span of the last 5 years.