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 — Learning for peace and justice: The Canadian School of Peacebuilding

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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, co-directors Valerie Smith and Jarem Sawatsky talk about the work of the Canadian School of Peacebuilding to support students, professional peace workers, and ordinary people in developing skills and knowledge for the work of making the world more peaceful and just. Based at the Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, they have drawn on their institution’s large and established academic program in peace and conflict studies, along with the long attention to questions of peace and justice in their faith tradition, to produce an annual summer program which draws people from a broad range of places and backgrounds — not only from Canada but from around the world; not only Mennonites but people from a wide range of faiths, philosophies, and worldviews — for intensive 5-day courses each June.

To learn more about the Canadian School of Peacebuilding, 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.

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Radio — The power of a committed few: Green radicals on Vancouver Island

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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Zoe Blunt talks about the multifaceted organizing work by the Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network (VIC FAN) against colonial, profit-driven development.

A key goal of a lot of movement-building is to find ways to allow ever-increasing numbers of people to combine their individual moments of resistance and refusal into expanding collective efforts to create change. Despite the importance of such a focus, however, it is also important not to forget that even a relatively small collective can accomplish far more together than as individuals — the miracle of human cooperation, you might say. Blunt is a member of VIC FAN, a group that is a powerful illustration of what a small collective can accomplish. They are a handful of radicals on the west coast who have used direct action, the courts, participation in government consultations, fundraising, and a range of other tactics to, as she puts it, “punch above [their] weight” in opposing ecologically destructive, profit-driven developments of various kinds, especially most recently pipeline projects, and most often in active solidarity with the indigenous nations whose unceded lands are colonially called “British Columbia.” I talk with Blunt about the history of the group, some of the key actions they’ve taken over the years, and their most active current campaign supporting the indigenous Unist’ot’en Camp that is currently blockading the route of a pipeline planned to go from the tar sands to the coast through Wet’suwet’en territory in northern BC.

To learn more about VIC FAN, 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.

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Radio — Being Chinese in Quebec

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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Parker Mah talks about Being Chinese in Quebec, a documentary film by Malcolm Guy and William Dere that explores “the younger generation of Sino-Quebecois and their struggles of identity, integration and building a life for themselves in this province,” and how the long history of people of Chinese origin navigating exclusion and racism in Canada and Quebec plays out in the lives of young Chinese Quebeckers today.

The film asks questions like, What do young Chinese people living in Quebec think about themselves, their community and their identities? How do they connect that to the histories of the racist Chinese Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act in Canada, and to the experiences and struggles of older generations? The film traces the journey of discovery of two young Chinese Quebecois, Bethany Or and Parker Mah, as they speak with a wide range of younger Chinese Quebeckers about these questions and also explore them for themselves. I speak with Mah about the origins of the project, about some of the histories of Chinese experience in Canada and Quebec, about experiences and strategies and struggles and about some of the key ideas explored in the film.

To learn more about the learn more about the film, check out its Facebook page or its page on the Production Multi-Monde site.

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.

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Radio — Defending affordable housing in co-operatives

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On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, Donald Altman talks about the work that he and other members of the grassroots Alliance for Affordable Co-operative Housing (AACH) have done to defend the ability of non-profit housing co-operatives (and other forms of not-for-profit housing) to offer rent-geared-to-income units and to try to prevent a significant erosion of Canada’s already vastly inadequate social housing stock. 

To learn more about the AACH, 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, 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, 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.

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Radio — Bringing money to the grassroots: The Groundswell Fund

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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.

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

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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.

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Radio — An unusual local and an unusual lockout?

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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.

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