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.

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Radio — The policing of protest: From bad to worse

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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, anti-poverty organizer and sociologist Lesley Wood talks about her new book, Crisis and Control: The Militarization of Protest Policing from Between The Lines Books.

Wood has been involved in struggles against poverty and for global justice for many years, and her teaching and research at York University have largely focused on social movements. In her new book, she looks at how the policing of protest in North America has shifted in recent decades. She points out that even those of us in movements who do pay some critical attention to policing don’t often do a good job of understanding in grounded ways how the police work as an institution. And given that we are in an era in which unmet human needs are growing while the willingness of state institutions to respond to popular demands by actually meeting needs is shrinking, as well as an era of repressive police response to popular protest in settings as varied as Toronto at the G20 summit in 2010 and Ferguson, Missouri much more recently, research liks Wood’s may just be what movements need to get a better sense of what exactly we’re up against. Wood talks with me about her research, about how police forces work, about the kinds of oppressive things they do both in their everyday presence in communities and in the face of popular protest, about how that has shifted in recent years, and about ways that movements can respond.

To learn more about Crisis and Control: The Militarization of Protest Policing by Lesley Wood, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit its website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows 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.

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Radio — A vision of community-controlled, multi-media centres across the country

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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Cathy Edwards, the executive director of Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations (CACTUS), talks about the work her organization is doing to bring about a new era for community media in Canada.

The members of CACTUS have a vision. It is a vision of community-based and community-controlled media centres in big cities and small towns across the country. These centres would not only give ordinary people access to the airwaves. They would also be hubs for providing infrastucture and training to build capacity in communities around creating all manner of media, including text, audio, and video, and using the entire range of online platforms through which such things get published, circulated, and consumed in the Internet age. They are taking a multi-pronged approach: pushing for regulatory changes, making use of thus-far unused sections of existing regulations, and working to catalyze the development of such centres in the here and now. And they even have a plan for how such community-controlled media infrascture could be sustainably funded. Edwards talks with me about the origins of CACTUS, about the evolving community broadcast media landscape in Canada, and about their plans to ensure that a broad range of ordinary people have access to the means to make all sorts of grassroots media.

To learn more about CACTUS and their work, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit its website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows 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.

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Radio — Drug users mobilizing for social justice and harm reduction in Vancouver

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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Hugh Lampkin talks about efforts in Vancouver among users of illicit drugs to mobilize in the service of social justice and harm reduction.

People who use drugs that have been designated by the state as “illegal” do not, as a group, get much respect. The stigma is intense, from the blatant dehumanization from more reactionary sources, with the accompanying impulse to judge and punish, to the more liberal tendency to patronize and medicalize, and to frame drug users as at best passive recipients of services, objectified problems, and people whom you’d really do better to avoid. This is particularly true when it is compounded by other sorts of dehumanization and stigma, be that connected to experiences of poverty or racialization or sex work or what have you. Yet increasing numbers of drug users have been getting active to challenge this sort of dismissal, as part of participating in struggles around a broad spectrum of injustices.

Lampkin is the current president of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, or VANDU. VANDU is a grassroots, democratic membership organization of current and former users of illict drugs. It organizes around issues of harm reduction — that is, practices of meeting people where they are at in terms of addiction, and working with them to reduce negative health outcomes — and of social justice. The group is premised on a recognition of drug users as full human beings, as political agents who can and must mobilize together in collective struggles for better lives, better communities, and a better world. They have been active since the late 1990s in the downtown east side of Vanocuver around issues like housing, poverty, and health care, as well as fighting for expanded harm reduction services and against stigma and criminalization. I spoke with Lampkin about the organization, about harm reduction, and about social justice.

To learn more about the work of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit the recently revamped website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows 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.

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Radio — Exploring the radical imagination in Halifax

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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Alex Khasnabish and Max Haiven talk about their work in Halifax to understand the role of radical imagination in struggles for social justice, and to use that understanding to support movements in the city.

When most of us hear the word “imagination,” what comes to mind is often a very individual trait or activity that might variously be described as fantastical, ephemeral, frivolous, or disconnected from the concerns of the so-called “real” world. There’s increasing recognition, however, that for all the romantic ink that has been spilled regarding imagination as individual passion, it really makes more sense to recognize that imagination is not only always social — something that is sparked between and among us — but that it also has a great deal to do with social movements. After all, how could we ever act to create change without being able to imagine, in collective ways, a world that is in some sense otherwise than the one we now inhabit?

Khasnabish and Haiven are activists and academics based in Haliafx. For the last several years, they have been working together on a project that seeks not only to study such radical manifestations of imagination, but also to leverage the resources they have access to through their privileged location within the academy to support movements in the city. They talk with me about the radical imagination, about the challenges of relating to movements from within university contexts, and about their past, present, and future activities on the east coast doing what they describe as “convoking” such radical imagination in the service of transformative social change.

To learn more about their work as well as about their book, The Radical Imagination: Social Movement Research in the Age of Austerity, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit the recently revamped website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows 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.

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Radio — A new model of multi-issue social justice organizing in Oshawa

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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, organizers Tiffany Balducci and Jim Freeman talk about We Are Oshawa, a new organization working on multiple social justice issues in a small Ontario city.

Oshawa is a city of just over 150,000 people on the north shore of Lake Ontario, east of Toronto. A centre of auto manufacturing, it was also the birthplace of industrial unionism in this country, after a crucial strike in 1937. Though certainly not as hard hit as some manufacturing communities across North America, things like unemployment, poverty, and income inequality have a presence in the community today in a way that just wasn’t the case 40 years ago.

New times require new ways of struggling to create change. We Are Oshawa is a new-ish group, and when you hear it described — what it draws from past struggles, how it goes about its work, who it involves — it sounds just like common sense, like the sort of thing that’s probably already happening everywhere. Yet it’s not at all clear to me that that is the case — We Are Oshawa is actually, I think, quite an exciting experiment. It is multi-issue. It is quite pointedly not a coalition, but rather a horizontal, democratic membership organization whose political focus is determined by those members. It involves labour activists, students, community activists, environmentalists, retired people, youth, and more. It is campaign-based, it emphasizes creative actions, and it seems able to apply a healthy share of strategic thinking. It combines newer activist tools like social media with a major emphasis on older approaches that many groups today don’t do nearly as much as they should — things like face-to-face encounters, door-knocking, and canvassing. Balducci and Freeman talk with me about the group, its campaigns and actions so far, and its approach to mobilizing people.

To learn more about We Are Oshawa, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit the recently revamped website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows 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.

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Radio — Laying groundwork for resisting tar sands pipelines in Quebec

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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, climate justice organizers Aurore Fauret and Lily Schwarzbaum talk about “La marche des Peuples pour la Terre Mère,” a month-long walk across Quebec that connected urban radicals with activists in communities under threat from proposed tar sands pipelines.

As the resistance on the west coast intensifies to the various dangerous efforts to export the climate-destroying hydrocarbons from the Alberta tar sands, so various pathways to export them eastwards have grown in importance. And as a consequence, resistance is heating up in the east as well. Back in May and June, one of the first major mobilizations of both francophone and anglophone youth in Quebec against the tar sands took place. On one level, “La marche des Peuples pour la Terre Mère” was a powerfully symbolic action, as people walked for 34 days along proposed and actual pipeline routes stretching 700 kms across the province. More fundamentally, however, the walk was a crucial exercise in laying groundwork. Along every step of the way, relationships, consciousness, and skills were built — not just among the upwards of 350 people who marched for at least one of the 34 days, but with and among the many more who participated in events and activities in each of the many communities the march passed through. City-based climate justice organizers and people in front line communities shared stories and skills and got to know one another. Veterans of the massive 2012 student strike and those who live on the land through which bitumen might be piped began to talk, to learn from each other. As the pipeline process advances in Quebec and the need for climate justice resistance instensifies, this will likely be a potent combination. Fauret and Schwarzbaum are climate justice organizers who were heavily involved in the walk, and they tell me about how it came to be, what they did along the way, and what they forsee in the future.

To learn more the walk, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit the recently revamped website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows 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.

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Radio — The Peoples’ Social Forum: A pan-Canadian/Quebec/Indigenous movement convergence

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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, organizers Sakura Saunders and Greg Macdougall talk about the Peoples’ Social Forum. It will be the first pan-Canadian/Quebec/Indigenous convergence of movements and communities-in-struggle to draw people from across the northern half of Turtle Island, and it is happening in Ottawa from August 21 to 24.

The finishing touches are still being put on the plans for the event, but it looks impressive. The planning process has spanned three years. There will be more than 500 workshops, amazing keynote events, and lots of artistic and cultural activities, as well as what are being called “movement assemblies” — opportunities for focused strategizing among people involved in the same struggles in different places. Attendance is expected to number well into the thousands. The vision for the event depends heavily on self-organization by participants, so what comes out of it will depend on what those of us who show up put into it, but hopes are running high that it won’t just be a chance to meet and talk, but a chance to start things.

Saunders has a long history of working on mining justice issues as well as with alternative media, and she has been heavily involved in the central layer of organizing for the forum. Macdougall’s organizing background is in indigenous solidarity, education, and alternative media, and his role in prepping for the forum has mostly been as a central organizer in one of the fifteen movement assemblies that will be happening there — in his case, it’s the Alternative Media Movement Assembly. (Talking Radical, too, has been involved in supporting that piece of the work, though in a much more limited way than Macdougall.) I speak with them about the organizing that has been building towards the social forum, about what they expect from the event, and about the importance of the movement assemblies in general and the Alternative Media Movement Assembly in particular.

To learn more about the Peoples’ Social Forum, please click here. To learn more about the Alternative Media Movement Assembly, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit the recently revamped website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows 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.

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