Hamilton Book Launch

Date: November 8
Time: 7pm
Location: Room 1010, Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning (MDCL), McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario

Join author and activist Scott Neigh for a talk and book signing as he launches two new books published by Fernwood Publishing: Gender and Sexuality: Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists and Resisting the State: Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists. Hear about some of the many struggles that have shaped the Canada of today, and talk about new ways of relating to the past as we struggle for a transformed tomorrow.

To learn more about the books and the project of which they are a part, and to read and hear excerpts from the interviews around which the books are organized, visit here. To find out about ways to purchase the books if you can’t make it to the launch, click here.

From the book jackets:

We usually learn our history from the perspective of our rulers — from the top down. In these books we learn about our history from the perspectives of ordinary people — from the bottom up. Whatever liberty and justice that communities, workplaces and individuals in Canada enjoy are due to the many struggles and social movements in our country’s history. Yet the stories and histories of those movements to overcome racism, sexism, and poverty, for example, remain largely untold, thanks to the single, simplistic national story taught to us in school. Deftly combining history with accounts from participants in social movements, Neigh introduces us to the untold histories of activists, histories that encourage all of us to engage in struggles that will shape our shared tomorrow.

Gender and Sexuality unearths a diverse spectrum of struggle through the accounts of longstanding social movement participants. From indigenous women working against colonization and Christian women trying to end sexism and homophobia in their churches, to gay men opposing sexual oppression and women fighting against hostile employers and violence, this book reveals the ways that oppressions based on gender and sexuality — and the struggles against them — have shaped our society.

In Resisting the State, Neigh details the histories of a broad range of social movements and provides readers with a richer understanding of the Canadian state and why so many people — including military draftees, welfare recipients, workers, indigenous people, psychiatric survivors, immigrants and refugees — have struggled, and continue to struggle, for equality and justice for all members of society.

What people are saying about Gender and Sexuality and Resisting the State:

“Never doubt that a few committed people can change Canada (and the world) for the better. Scott Neigh’s oral histories show not only the power of committed idealism, but also how the history of our whole country has been shaped by brave Canadians who refuse to accept the misery and injustice that surrounds us. Read these books to learn how the history of social change organizing is indeed the history of Canada — and then go out and start making your own history.” — Jim Stanford, union economist and peace activist

“This work is a treasure that provides a portal to Canadian history, bringing it alive and urgent through the voices and profound insights of veteran social justice activists, an indispensable guide for present and future generations to carry on these struggles.” — Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, veteran activist and author

And even more.

Scott Neigh is a writer, parent, and activist currently based in Sudbury, Ontario. He lived in Hamilton, Ontario, from 1993 until 2004, where he was active in student, anti-poverty, anti-racism, environmental, and other social justice organizing, including as a board member of OPIRG McMaster. He blogs regularly on political topics at A Canadian Lefty in Occupied Land. You can learn more about these books and the project of which they are a part at the Talking Radical site, and more about Scott here.

This event is sponsored by OPIRG McMaster, Bryan Prince Bookseller, and Fernwood Publishing.

Posted in Event | 1 Comment

Radio — Bringing money to the grassroots: The Groundswell Fund

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Anna Willats and Sean Lee-Popham talk about the Groundswell Community Justice Trust Fund, which is an attempt to address the lack of grassroots funding infrastructure for movement-related groups, projects, and organizations in Ontario.

As much as many of us would love it if robust social movements could be built solely from elbow grease and radical vision, there are inevitably moments when organizing cannot proceed without another kind of input: money. Though technology provides more options for grassroots fundraising than ever before, and the old tried and true methods can still be used, the truth is that movements in Canada have not been doing a very good job of figuring out how to get the resources that are out there in our extremely wealth society into the hands that need them to make it a more just and liberatory society. There are, however, experiments aimed at figuring out ways to do just that, and one of them is Groundswell, currently in its second year of raising money and distributing it to grassroots groups that are doing important work. Willats and Lee-Popham are long-time organizers with experience in a range of movements as well as board members at Groundswell. They talk about the vision that informs the fund, about how it works, and about their hopes for how it can grow and support movements in the future.

To learn more about the Groundswell Community Justice Trust Fund, including how to donate and how to apply for money, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.

You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show’s page on rabble.ca. To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show’s theme music, click here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Posted in Episode, Radio | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radio — Bringing red and green together: The Vancouver Ecosocialist Group

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Roger Annis talks about the Vancouver Ecosocialist Group and their commitment to the idea that thinking deeply about how capitalism works must be central to challenging the harm it does to workers and the harm it does to the planet.

The set of people who articulate fundamental objections to capitalism and the set of people who think it is important to protect the earth certainly overlap. It might even be fair to say that most people who think of their politics as anti-capitalist in North America today would identify as being pro-environment, though how central that green-ness is to how they actually act politically varies a great deal, and the inverse is definitely not the case. Yet if you look back a few decades, that kind of connection between commitment to a differently organized social world and to protecting the environment was not nearly so obvious, and even today for lots of us whose sympathies are oriented towards both, how exactly to unify thinking and acting in response both to the exploitation of workers and to the despoiling of the planet is not necessarily clear. There are lots of attempts to work this out in practice, but one strand of thinking and acting in the world that attempts to knit green and red together to create a more useful whole has come to identify itself as “ecosocialism.” Roger Annis has spent many years thinking, writing, and acting on the left, and he is a member of the Vancouver Ecosocialist Group, a relatively new formation. He talks with me about why the group formed, its actions so far, some of its key ideas, and how it wants to contribute to the broader ecological movement in the future.

To learn more about the Vancouver Ecosocialist Group, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.

You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show’s page on rabble.ca. To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show’s theme music, click here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Posted in Episode, Radio | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radio — An unusual local and an unusual lockout?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Saira Chhibber talks about Local 1281 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and about a long but recently ended lockout experienced by some of their members.

We are living in a time of generalized attacks on unions and workers, both in the context of specific workplaces and by right-wing and neoliberal political parties and governments. At the same time, every instance of struggle around these attacks happens in a specific context, to specific groups of workers, facing very specific challenges and opportunities. Local 1281 of CUPE is in some ways a little bit peculiar, as union locals go. It is a composite local that represents people in many small workplaces across southern Ontario, with a particular presence in not-for-profit and social justice-oriented workplaces. Between October 1 of last year and February 28 this year, the four CUPE 1281 members who are staff at the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson Univeristy (or CESAR) were locked out by their employer. The union and the workers remain somewhat mystified by why this lockout happened — it is quite unprecedented across the many workplaces in which members of the local work — and the fact that it did happen seems in part due to some fairly quriky decision-making by the employer. Despite that, though, the union has worked hard all along to make it clear that even given these very local and specific features to the lockout, it was also part of this larger pattern of attacks faced by many different unions and many different workers.

Chhibber is the president of CUPE 1281. We had originally hoped to include at least one of the CESAR workers in the conversation as well, but as it turned out, the same day that we had planned to do the interview ended up being the day that the oddly uncertain and protracted back-to-work process for the locked out workers finally came to a resolution. They got, at long last, to return to their jobs, so they weren’t available to talk to me. But Chhibber generously talked about both the local as a whole and about the long, difficult struggle of the CESAR workers.

For more information about CUPE Local 1281, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.

You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show’s page on rabble.ca. To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show’s theme music, click here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Posted in Episode, Radio | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radio — A victory for migrant justice: Hamilton as ‘sanctuary city’

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Caitlin Craven and Josee Oliphant talk about the organizing that went into winning a unanimous city council vote in Hamilton, Ontario, that declared it the second ‘sanctuary city’ in Canada.

Borders are not just lines on a map. They are tools and opportunities for the social relations of which they are part to sort people — helping some get access to resources and making it harder or impossible for others, bringing safety to some lives and violence and uncertainty to others. Notwithstanding the Canadian self-image as welcoming and open, the rules that have congealed around borders and immigration in this country are now more than ever about dividing, oppressing, and excluding, particularly poor and working-class people of colour from the global south. One way this plays out is that when people who are physically inside the country somehow fall outside of the arbitrary and oppressive rules, they get slotted into the dehumanizing category “illegal” — a condition more appropriately described as “undocumented” or, in some situations, as having “precarious status.” If the wrong authority discovers this fact, no matter the life they have built for themselves in Canada, they can be ripped from it and deported. This very real fear can keep people from accessing resources that they and their families need.

One growing strategy for challenging this fear, as an intermediate step in a larger vision of migrant justice, is getting municipal governments to declare that anyone, regardless of immigration status, can access services that they provide or fund, and that they will not ask to see people’s documents or report people’s status to federal authorities. These are “sanctuary cities” or “solidarity cities.” Perhaps not surprisingly, the first Canadian city to take this step was Toronto, in 2013. Just a few weeks ago, a second city jumped on board — Hamilton, a city of half a million people on the West end of Lake Ontario. Craven and Oliphant were both organizers in the campaign to make Hamilton a sanctuary city. They tell me about the what they and many others did to win this important victory, and about the hard work they still see ahead for migrant justice organizers in Hamilton and beyond.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.

You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show’s page on rabble.ca. To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show’s theme music, click here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Posted in Episode, Radio | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radio — Hungry for cliamte justice: Climatefast

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Lyn Adamson, Dewan Afzal, and Rita Bijons talk about Climatefast, a group that uses fasting as a form of witness to call people to action on climate change, with the vision of contributing to a broader movement.

Though climate change is only one aspect of the multifaceted ecological crisis that human activity has triggered on the planet, it is a crucial one. Even as it is necessary to constantly fend off the ridiculous rhetoric of those who willfully deny the evidence (whether because of political allegiances or because of the lavish and skillfully channelled funding from fossil fuel industries), there is also a lack of clear consensus among those who don’t deny this terrifying reality about how to mobilize to actually make the change that the world needs. One approach to responding emerged in 2012, when a group of people — many informed by their faith — decided to engage in what might be called an act of prophetic witness by fasting for the climate on Parliament Hill. It was in the months after the 2013 version of this event that such an approach to action attained global resonance. That year’s annual conference of the parties to the Kyoto climate protocolo started just one day after supertyphoon Hayan (also known as Yolanda) devastated the Philippines. In grief and solidarity with his home half a world away, and in recognition of the connection between the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and human-caused climate change, the Philippine representative at the conference, Yeb Saño, publically and boldly proclaimed his intent to fast at the conference, and many others joined him. With a new format and more links domestically and around the world, Climatefast here in Canada is committed to building on this example and continuing its witness as one element among many of building a mass movement for the climate. Adamson, Afzal, and Bijons talk with me about the origins of Climatefast, its actions so far, and where they plan to take their work in the year ahead.

To learn more about Climatefast, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.

You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show’s page on rabble.ca. To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show’s theme music, click here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Posted in Episode, Radio | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radio — Resistance at Elsipogtog Part 2: A case study in grassroots journalism

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio is the second of two based on an interview with Miles Howe. Howe is an editor and a journalist with the Halifax local of The Media Co-op, a co-operatively organized grassroots media network with locals and working groups in cities across the country. Over the last year, Howe has provided truly excellent coverage of the struggle against hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and against colonization in New Brunswick, which has been lead by people from the Elsipogtog First Nation and quite broadly supported in the area.

Last week, Howe talked about the context, background, and overview of the struggle in New Brunswick. This week’s episode features the portion of our conversation in which Howe stepped back a bit from that immediate struggle, which has occupied so much of his atteniton in the last year, and used that experience as a basis for reflecting on what it means to engage in grassroots journalism, how it differs from mainstream journalism, and what he hopes that such work can accomplish.

To learn more about Howe’s work, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.

You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show’s page on rabble.ca. To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show’s theme music, click here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Posted in Episode, Radio | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radio — Resistance at Elsipogtog Part 1: Context and Struggle

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

On both today’s episode of Talking Radical Radio and next week’s, I will be speaking with Miles Howe. Howe is an editor and a journalist with the Halifax local of The Media Co-op, a co-operatively organized grassroots media network with locals and working groups in cities across the country. Over the last year, Howe has provided truly excellent coverage of the struggle against hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and against colonization in New Brunswick, which has been lead by people from the Elsipogtog First Nation and quite broadly supported in the area.

In this week’s episode, Howe talks about some of the historical background, about the lead-up and events that initiated the current phase of struggle in New Brunswick, and about some of the key moments of conflict and crisis that he observed and participated in, as community members and allies attempted to prevent a surveying company from engaging in seismic testing as a prelude to fracking. Though our conversation about the role of grassroots journalism in relation to social movements or communities-in-struggle will be the focus of next week’s show, his account this week is in stark contrast to the way that the struggle at Elsipogtog has been portrayed in the mainstream and it at least suggests certain things about the role and relevance of grassroots journalism and grassroots media more generally.

To learn more about Howe’s work, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.

You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show’s page on Rabble.ca. To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show’s theme music, click here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Posted in Episode, Radio | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment