My Workshops at Bristol Anarchist Bookfair 2014

After my workshop last year was an all around stressful experience I thought it seemed sensible this year to do two!

The Bristol Anarchist Bookfair details can be found here. It also has Facebook and Twitter pages.

My first one kicks off the Bookfair at 12.20 in the main assembly room upstairs. I don’t like that room, its big and echoes and the seats get set out in rows with a table at the front so we face everyone like teachers. I think I may take the mic and go stand next to the seats… or maybe that will be worse?

Here’s the blurb from the program. Is Bart Simpson an Anarchist? – We felt some of Bart Simpson’s calculations on this year’s bookfair poster were at best debatable and at worst problematic. Does Work minus Bosses, or Money minus Bankers really equal anarchy? What do we mean by the term “Work” anyway? And can money really have a role in an Anarchist society?”

This one came out of some people not being too happy with the Bart Simpson poster for the bookfair and it sparked a bit of a debate so I decided to continue it at the bookfair. I’m completely winging this one and relying totally on other people speaking so I can just introduce the debate and take stack. We have been given an hour and a half but I hope to keep it to one hour as I’ve got a million other things to do on the day.

The second workshop is in “The Room with a View”. I assume the name is ironic as from what I remember the were not even any windows in it. Here’s the blurb: Why Men Against Patriarchy? An Introduction and Q&A with one of Bristol’s newest groups. What is patriarchy and why should men challenge it? What do we talk about? Do men have a role in feminism? Why have meetings for men only? How can we confront patriarchy? What are our future plans? All genders welcome.” 

I had this room last year for the workshop I did. It’s designed to hold 12-15 and I had over 25 in there. I had to turn people away. I’ve already spoken to a number of people who want to come, so it may well be another full one. I would have liked a bigger room but the organisers have to judge what would be popular and give spaces accordingly. The Trinity is a great venue in some ways but suffers with having small spaces for meetings.

Calling it a Q&A gives the wrong impression. I’m hoping people will pose questions about men’s role in challenging patriarchy, but I’m hoping where possible all attendees will be able to answer the questions as a group. I’m also bringing paper and pens along so people can suggest ideas for our meeting and events and if we have time maybe explore some of them. In the last couple of days I’ve met some men who have had conflicting views about men’s role in feminism. It gave me a chance to see how my answers to those concerns go down. Someone else kindly informed me they were planning on coming to the meeting to shout stuff out and tell us what we are “doing it wrong and what you should be doing instead”. Well, I think she was probably just joking and I just took it seriously, hopefully people will put their hand up instead, rather than disturbing the meeting, or write their ideas down on the paper provided. I’m more than up for listening to all concerns (that’s why we hare having the workshop) and working on addressing them or incorporating the ideas into how the group functions.

One of the purposes of this workshop is to increase transparency and give an incite into how our meetings functions. Also we want to use the opportunity to get ideas for more public events and actions, as this is a direction we want to start to move the group more, along side our current meetings.  I’d encourage people to come along. We don’t have all the answers but we can try, and where we can’t answer we can explore the themes and issues around them. I hopefully will have a handout ready by then. If I do I will put one up here too. I like handouts!

Hope to see you all there.

Take Care.

X

 

Challenging Male Domination in Activist Meeting Spaces

I recently went to an interesting discussion on gender roles around work in the Men Confronting Patriarchy group I attend. (I hope to write my notes up about that at some point soon.) Also I jus read the zine “Gender Roles in Conversation” by Corrine Monet (1997), a summarised excerpt from her thesis.

At some points during reading the zine I felt a bit defensive, as Monet repeatedly asserts that men’s behaviour in mixed gender conversation is about domination and critiques others who present other – agreeably marginal – reasons for men’s conversational characteristics causing “glitches” in the theoretical conversational model. I felt like Monet’s text generalised that men not only dominate conversations (which I readily agree with) and that this is intentional (with which I mainly agree), but also that this is a conscious decision. Maybe this was just my defensive male reading of the text, so this is definitely an area I’d like to discuss more.

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Philippines: continuing autonomous disaster relief

tpoablogger:

Felt I had to share this inspiring story with you. Much love for the Mobile Anarchist School and comrade working hard in the Philippines.

Originally posted on disaccords:

MISSION 2 POSTER copy

Onsite Infoshop: Mobile Anarchist School volunteers and its immediate network have no time to rest; right after our first mission, we came back to Manila just to complete the requirements for “Climate Crises and Direct Action Forum” where we shared the details of our initiative in Leyte.

We able to gather resources enough to support six volunteers for 15 days action. We discussed the details of our second mission and carefully outlined our plan based on our experience.

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Statement on the SWP and its Rape Apologism

tpoablogger:

I’ve re-bloged this to state that the SWP will not be welcome at any event I jointly or partly organise. I would also support them being made to leave any even I was not directly involved with organising.

Originally posted on Bristol Anarchist Federation:

People may be aware of the allegations of a cover-up of sexual assault and rape within the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), and the subsequent repression of SWP members who questioned it. Anarchist Federation members and other comrades in Manchester and Glasgow were man-handled & attacked when they confronted SWP leaders over their rape apologism. The SWP has not spoken out against these assaults carried out by its supporters.
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Bristol Anarchist Federation has always had strong political, theoretical and tactical disagreements with the Socialist Workers Party, however we have sometimes worked alongside them on broader campaigns.

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An infestation of SWP leeches

Originally posted on Revolting Pleb:

Poxy SWP placards

On the first day (Thursday 5th December) when I turned up for the first of the series of Cops Off Campus protests starting outside of the University of London Union (ULU) on Malet Street, there were about two hundred students and sympathisers but no left paper sellers. On the second day (Friday 6th December) there was an SWP stall right out the front entrance to ULU – but no placards. On the third day (Wednesday 11th December), which was the Cops Off Campus national day of action, there were two SWP stalls flanking the top end of Malet Street by the bookshop and one right outside the front entrance of ULU – and there were loads of placards.

The SWP are like leeches latching on to any emerging student movement to move in, attempt to colonise it and suck up as many recruits as possible for their…

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On Getting Councelling

Yesterday I had by first councelling session. It’s been something some people have suggested I get before. Well no, my family suggest I “see a doctor” so maybe I could “get some tablets”. What is it with resorting to pills first? They tell me that I may have depression. Funny that, I don’t feel depressed, I just feel like everything is fucked, and I’m pretty sure it is! That’s not depression that’s disillusionment. And why are the only options normal or depressed or mentally ill? What if I’m none of those things? What if “normal” is nothing more than a social construct? Continue reading

Men Against Patriarchy (Pt1)

Last night I went to the newly re-formed Men Against Patriarchy discussion and support group in Bristol. I came away feeling very positive about how it went and feel like sharing some of the points that came out of it. Of course, everything said in the meeting is held in confidence within the group so hear I’m just going over the general themes and ideas that came out of that discussion.

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There is no anarchism without feminism

tpoablogger:

I feel this is worthy of a re-blog. As a side note, I had been invited to co-facilitate the consent workshop mentioned. I was not able to attend but was meant to send along an updated version of my workshop zine, unfortunately I never did. The zine has a list of guidlines including not blocking the way out. Wish I’d sent it now, but I guess not blocking the way out is obvious. I believe the intention was acctually to stop peole coming in (a problem I experinece in the workshop I facilitated) but I think a “No Entry” notice on the door would have done that rather than someone in the way of people wantying to leave. After I did my workshop I benefited form constructive criticism. I hope to speak to the facilitators of the London wokshop and use thier feedback and that of others who attended to improve on the structure and learn form mistakes so a better job can be done next time.

Originally posted on Left at the Lights:

I’d never been to bookfair before. I was very excited to be attending; had been looking forward to looking at books and collecting badges and I knew everyone I loved would be there. Not a lot of that happened though. I went home with two badges (the best two badges there in my opinion ‘my body is my business’ and ‘keep your rosaries of my ovaries’) and a stiff body and sore throat.

Within an hour of arriving we had to face the dreaded white man from down under. I’d heard there was some drama at last year’s bookfair but my memory isn’t the best so had forgotten the details apart from the fact that he was a misogynist and had upset some of our fem bloc. Well, it was clear to see and hear why this might have been. Stood on a bench he was spouting the usual Assange…

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Accounting for Ourselves – A Review and Interview

tpoablogger:

I found this and decided to reblog it. Recently I was involved in a discussion group where the subject was Crimethinc’s pamphlet “Accounting for ourselves – Breaking the impasse around assault and abuse in Anarchist scenes”. The discussion started out slow as it often does with sensitive subjects such as this. After a while we moved on to how we could practically address issues around accountability and safer spaces within our community. We decided to contiue to meet as a reading group with the end goal of producing a new accountability process and safer spaces policy for our local Anarchist social centre, Kebele, in Bristol.

We decided to split in to smaller groups and read texts relating to these subjects and use these to inform our progression towards our aim when we next met. The next texts we are reading are “As if they were human. – A different take on perpertrator accountability” and “The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Partner Abuse in Activist Communities”. There was some talk along with some sub-consious nods and winks about the (re)formation of a mens/ all gender anti-patriarchy/ pro feminist group, we will see where it goes.
Anybody is welcome to come along and get involved in the reading group. Here is a review of the Accounting For Ourselves pamphlet along with an interview with thye Crimethinc collective from May this year.

Originally posted on Aid & Abet:

6bAccounting for Ourselves – A Review and Interview

How do restorative and transformative justice processes work in practice?

In April, the anarchist collective CrimethInc published a new pamphlet critiquing accountability processes and suggesting ways forward. “Accounting for Ourselves” is not an introduction to accountability processes, nor to the concepts of restorative or transformative justice, but an attempt to evaluate the current implementation of these concepts in political subcultures.

My interest in this topic has come from participating and supporting friends and comrades in this work over the last ten or so years. Accountability processes attempt to put many of my values into practice—mutual aid, respect, direct action, a DIY ethic, an acknowledgement that “crime,” safety, harm, and support are complex. Accountability processes haven’t been a perfect solution, however, and many of the participants I know have left these processes frustrated. At the same time, a lot of the…

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“I Think You Hate Me”

Telling my partner that I thought she hated me was a really odd thing for me to have to do. It’s not the first time I’ve felt that someone I cared about didn’t like me, it seems like quite a regular occurrence. This is different to concerns that a partner is cheating or something, I find it quite funny, all these people who are constantly spying on their partners and getting upset if they are friends with anyone they might be attracted to. This is not something that ever worries me.

For me, it appears the more I care about someone the more time I spend convincing myself they hate me or they otherwise want to hurt me.

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