Every community, every workplace, and every individual life in Canada owes some of their current shape to long histories of struggle. Talking Radical is a multifaceted project devoted to exploring those histories and current realities through starting from the voices of people involved in struggle.

Much of the work to date has been historical in focus and can be seen in two recently published books, Gender and Sexuality: Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists and Resisting the State: Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists (Fernwood Publishing, 2012 — see here to learn how to order them), which start from the words of long-time participants in a broad range of social movements as a way to introduce readers to important pieces of the past that get excluded from the dominant narrative of this country. An exciting new addition to the project is Talking Radical Radio, a broadcasting/podcasting initiative focused on the voices of contemporary participants in a broad range of social change work.

Gender and Sexuality and Resisting the State bring to life the earlier struggles of labour, native people, women, pacifists, and immigrant groups. Each chapter is based on prominent activists and organizers and integrate both interviews and the voices of these pioneers with discussion of context and wider issues. The combination makes for lively reading both personal and political. The perspectives are diverse with a common commitment to justice and social change. There are very few books that present these histories, even fewer that do it with passion and highlight lives and struggles. This book is essential for organizers, activists and students who see themselves as part of the on-going fight for economic and social justice in Canada. — Eric Shragge, School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University, author of Activism and Social Change and Fight Back: Workplace Justice for Immigrants

In the books, the focus on the words of participants themselves provides an entry into history that is accessible and engaging, while generous use of historical context and challenging ideas allow readers to see these single lives as parts of larger patterns. Inquiring minds trying to understand the world and active people trying to change it will be able to use these books to catch glimpses of the struggles that shaped the Canada of today and to inform their choices as we all make the Canada of tomorrow. These books are also ideal for use in classrooms focused on social movements, on the struggles of oppressed and marginalized groups, and on critical understandings of the Canadian nation and state — check out the supplementary audio material associated with each chapter that can be used in classroom settings, and the additional written excerpts from material not used in the books.

The new radio and podcasting initiative is a weekly half-hour show organized around a single in-depth interview with someone involved in social change work in the Canadian context. It gives organizers a chance to talk not about current events but to take a longer view of what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. Talking Radical Radio will launched on February 27, 2013 as a podcast on Rabble.ca and as a radio show on 96.7 FM CKLU in Sudbury, Ontario, and we hope it will be picked up by other campus/community stations as it moves forward. If you know of a group, organization, project, or initiative doing interesting social change work that you think should be featured on the show, send an email to scottneigh(at)talkingradical.ca and let me know!

Play a Random Selection from a Talking Radical Interview:
Read a Random Selection of Talking Radical Interview Material.

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