Son of the white settler middle class in southern Ontario, Canada; spiced with early intervals in Scotland; raised in an apolitical liberal (puritan) home in a conservative small town. Has lived in industrial cities in Ontario most of his adult life, barring eight months in Ottawa and fifteen months in Los Angeles. Earned a piece of paper from a university saying he knows a little bit about biochemistry and worked in a few research labs. Turned to activism and writing in the midst of all of that, and hasn’t looked back.
As a politicizing student, quickly arrived at an instinctive, book-based anarchism, though has always been ambivalent about the label itself. Has been on a journey — to unlearn the faux-objective, overly intellectualized, and disembodied place from which he saw social change at the start; to undo the deep training to ignore the political nature and relevance of his own everyday/everynight; to escape the false certainty and begin to heal the stunted humanity that come with privilege; to learn to see that his self exists in particular ways that were created by the social relations into which he was born and through which he travels; and to fully internalize that it is from there that all politics must start. Is an autodidact — that is, almost none of his political learning has been in institutional settings with pieces of paper at the end, but it has still been very much social, through formal and informal listening, reading texts penned by other people on other journeys, participating in struggles for change, screwing up, and participating some more. He shies away from political labels, but is informed by diverse streams of anti-capitalism and anti-authoritarianism, opposition to the colonial past and present of the canadian state, and a commitment to lifelong exploration of anti-oppression politics. His earliest involvement had an environmental focus, and over the years has been involved in social movement spaces that were responding to student issues, right-wing governments, poverty, homelessness, racism, war, occupation, colonization, media issues, and more. After returning to Hamilton in 2015, he was involved for a number of years in climate justice work in the city, and he is currently a volunteer editor and board member with The Media Co-op and a member of the advisory board of the radical political journal Upping The Anti.
Has been paid to pump gas, to enter data, to lift textbooks, to sell magazines, to wash dishes, to write articles, to write research reports, to develop community, and to teach. Has organized, facilitated, leafleted, written, researched, interviewed, spoken, listened, outreached, accompanied, broadcast, trained, occupied, blockaded, supported, copied, processed, recorded, picketed. Hosted local political spoken-word radio for a few years. Has published over a hundred magazine-style news articles, a couple of poems, some op-ed pieces, a bunch of book reviews, a number of community-based research reports, and various and sundry other things. And tons of blog posts. Became his son’s stay-at-home parent starting at age nine months.
In September 2012, Fernwood Publishing released his first two books, Gender and Sexuality: Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists and Resisting the State: Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists. Between 2013 and 2023, he produced and hosted a broadcasting/podcasting project, Talking Radical Radio, which could be heard on community radio stations across Canada, on venerable lefty news sites like Rabble.ca (2013-2020) and The Media Co-op (2020-2023), and via other online platforms. Each show featured an in-depth interview with one or more activists/organizers from across so-called Canada, and gave them a chance to reflect on the what, how, and why of their grassroots political work.
Since moving on from the show in February 2023, he has been putting more energy into a longstanding book project — more on that soon! — and is in the early stages of exploring a range of new work.