Anarchist Pedagogies Collective

Sharing and Supporting Anarchist Ideas and Experiences

Where We Go Next:
A Collective Reflection

Not long ago, we concluded our second annual School Revolt festival, and with it being summer in the northern hemisphere, we decided to take a moment to reflect on what it is that we want to do along with the strategies that we want to engage with. We wanted to take our time to reflect upon the following: What have we done to further our collective work in creating anarchist communities that are based on radical and alternative educational processes? What has and hasn’t worked about what we’ve been doing? 

And what can we do from this point forward?

As we reflected on these questions and our own experiences, we noticed a trend that emerged in how activities play out within this collective and definitely among other spaces that we’re active in. This trend is something that we think is important to acknowledge, responding to it as productively as we can. This trend is something that we can call extractivism. In saying this, we mean that many of our activities—such as podcasts, texts, and events—are viewed more as products to be consumed while people extract information rather than using them as calls to build community spaces and grow potential solidarity actions. We recognise that people view our role primarily as producers of content that they can passively consume if they happen to be interested in anarchist pedagogies, and we understand that this is common behaviour throughout many spaces simply because this is how we’ve been taught to interact with the world around us. After all, when it comes to ‘online’ spaces, we’re not really looking at them as extensions of our world and communities.

However, that’s a far cry from what we ever intended, and it’s also quite far from our ethical and pedagogical commitment as anarchists. You see, the members of the organising group have always seen ourselves as a collective who was trying to open up space for others to join so that they could create, experiment, ask questions, practise mutual aid or share their experiences in order to build stronger movements together. We wanted to provide a space for solidarity that would support us in creating a variety of healthy environments that could promote so many possible educational strategies and tools.

For example, this is why we started Joyful Resistance. It was meant as a space where everyone involved in educational processes could find kindred spirits, seek support, or offer mutual aid and care. It was meant to be an active space where anyone who wanted to do so could schedule a meeting whenever they desired, enabling them to build solidarity across regions and hold support meetings with others whenever they felt was needed. Even though anyone is able to lead a conversation, we noticed that the overwhelming majority of people merely waited for us to schedule every single meeting and provide the topics. These meetings, when they did occur, often felt less like the conversations, support, and idea-sharing that were intended and more like expected presentations where everyone else had to remain in silence.

Prior to this past School Revolt, we had already recognised that more needed to be done to encourage others to join us, and this was something that we tried to do. We developed podcasts, wrote texts, and organised workshops and webinars to help further this goal, though we never wanted for those to be the only activities that we ever did. Our goals have never been to passively teach but to show that there is a possibility to do something together, that there can be space in which we all are able to create something meaningful that follows anarchist principles surrounding direct action. We have been careful to constantly use whatever platform we have to remind people that they have the opportunity to join us in any way that they felt they could.

We even thought that a more participatory event, like story writing, would boost interaction among people and help build connections between people within and across regions. But that didn’t seem to happen, and many of the open invitations we continue to extend have rarely been acted upon.

While these efforts have created some unique learning opportunities and have—we hope—been meaningful to everyone, we recognise that we continue to struggle with developing the kinds of connections and behaviours that we would all love to build upon within this collective. The Anarchist Pedagogies Collective was—and still is—meant to be a space where everyone is able to create whatever it is that they need together. Instead, in our past two years, we have felt as if some have treated this space as a place for late-stage capitalist consumption, where we are expected to act as experts who create content for others to simply consume, where we are expected to provide answers to questions that are entirely context dependent, and where nothing other than behaviours related to consumption actually seem to happen.

And we want to make it very clear: We have no intent or desire to support the maintenance of any capitalist structures, and our overall goal is to dismantle them alongside the development of anarchist pedagogies.

Make no mistake! If we’ve done something that has helped you, nourished you, inspired you, or given you ideas for your contexts and spaces, that’s amazing and we’re truly happy to have been there for you! But we want to make it known that we don’t merely want to create a platform for passive consumption and that we want to do whatever we can to encourage active participation. We want it to be more than obvious that we have no desire to continue encouraging the many neocapitalist behaviours we see elsewhere and have experienced in our own past. As anarchists, we can do far more than continue to recreate the exact same structures we have been indoctrinated to believe are the only ones that mark ‘real learning’.

Importantly, we believe that it is necessary for everyone to recognise that this is not how anyone will ever bring about the liberation of everyone on this planet.

Revolutions cannot happen if we don’t work on it together. Change will never appear if we don’t do what we can to create it for ourselves through a wide range of actions. The world will never change if we sit around and wait for others to strive for it without our involvement. We can’t wait for others to do this work for us. We all must do the work now, and we very much need to band together.

No gods, no masters, but most certainly no leaders.

And so, with this, we’d like to outline how the APC will continue to operate. We’re planning to scale down our activities to things that those of us in the organising group can and want to do. We will continue to write, and we will continue to produce podcasts and videos that can help support and share whatever work we’re able to share across the regions we’re in. Perhaps, we might even throw in a live event or two when the feeling hits us or something interesting comes along. We’ll focus on doing the things that we believe we can do well and that bring us joy! If you like those things, feel free to engage with them however you want. 

On its own, this doesn’t seem like much of a change, right?

Well, here’s the major difference: We want to foster an environment where people work towards undoing the propaganda in their heads, particularly with regard to schools and academia. We want to support a space that will enable people to engage with a wider range of learning strategies. We want to build a space where people can experiment with developing those strategies.

If you contact us and express interest in any topic, doing any activity, or sharing an initiative, we will always respond in the same way: Do it. Just go ahead and do it. Tell us how we can help and what support you need, and we will do everything in our capabilities to help you. That is what we’ve always wanted to do because our core principles are mutual aid, mutual care, and mutual support through direct action.

Not sure how to go about doing the project or event you want to do? That’s fine! Let’s talk about it and maybe we can figure out how to get it done. We are here to support you in whatever ways we possibly can, and we always have been. We always will be. But everyone needs to also take responsibility to pull things together. If you want to see something done within this space, you will have our support to do it, but we expect that you will take initiative and be responsible for whatever it is that you want to do.

We’ll always have your back, we’ll always support you with whatever we have, but we will never do it for you. 

The coordinating group at the APC are excited about what people may come up with. We want to see more of you because we know that there are people out there doing amazing things, and we want to hear from more of you about whatever you’re doing! Seriously, feel free to share it with us!

We’re not experts, and we don’t seek to be experts with all that it entails. Nor do we expect for you to be experts, either. We are all here to learn and create together because that’s all we really can do as we build what we need to support the changes we seek.

You are always invited to join us and collaborate with us because this space is meant to be for every one of us. But that means doing things with us, rather than waiting for others to do anything for you.

(de)School Revolt 2023: Storytelling, Abolition, and Prefiguration

This year’s School Revolt was a bit more difficult than the last, as it presented people with the opportunity to tell their own stories. This is something that can be quite time-consuming and harder to organise. There’s a lot of work that goes into creating new worlds, even fictional ones. So we appreciate everyone who made an effort to build and create one!

We would like to present everyone with one of the submissions. It is a short story titled ‘And we could grow together‘ by Sonia Muñoz Llort.

We’d also like to share the other submissions that can help guide us in our creativity, giving us things to think about as we develop these new worlds in fiction, which are available on both YouTube or on PeerTube.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to do another storytelling event because there is such a need for it.

Smash the Class, Episode 6: Discussing the Contradictions within the School

In our sixth episode, Sonia and Nicole expand upon ideas that they had written in their article “The Revolutionary Power of Asking Questions.” They discuss the ways that the school systems—regardless of their positions as public, private, or anything in between— are inherently colonial and imperialist structures that maintain specific hierarchies.

It is imperative that we explore the ways that these structures operate and how they ensure that change doesn’t happen, even as they make the claims that they are spaces of change and learning. We need to better understand the ways that people who grow within them learn their ‘place’ in society, and we need to recognise the ways in which they coerce people to assimilate into society’s desires. We believe that there needs to be more open discussion about the ways that all people, particularly marginalised people, are done a disservice by schools while also understanding that reforming them will never be enough.

In exploring this, we outline the ways in which traditional structures within the school maintain the status quo and teach children the supposed ‘correct’ way of behaving. We also outline the contradictions that are inherent in what we, as a society, believe schools are for and what they are actually designed to do.

Enjoy! And if you’d like to help us explore other topics of anarchist education, please feel free to reach out to us on our email or any of the social media listed here.

Regarding Recent Events in Atlanta, GA: Stop Cop City and Defend Weelaunee Forest

The following post is taken directly from the call for solidarity with the movement in South Atlanta, Georgia. We are reposting it in full and stand in support with all the activists who are working towards stopping the development of Cop City and have been defending the forest in whatever ways they can. You can share and endorse the statement here.

Other updates have been submitted to and posted by the Atlanta Community Press Collective, including the statement about the loss of Tortuguita. Our hearts are with you all.

In solidarity with the movement to Stop Cop City and Defend Weelaunee Forest

We call on all people of good conscience to stand in solidarity with the movement to stop Cop City and defend the Weelaunee Forest in Atlanta.

On January 18, in the course of their latest militarized raid on the forest, police in Atlanta shot and killed a person. This is only the most recent of a series of violent police retaliations against the movement. The official narrative is that Cop City is necessary to make Atlanta “safe,” but this brutal killing reveals what they mean when they use that word.

Forests are the lungs of planet Earth. The destruction of forests affects all of us. So do the gentrification and police violence that the bulldozing of Weelaunee Forest would facilitate. What is happening in Atlanta is not a local issue.

Politicians who support Cop City have attempted to discredit forest defenders as “outside agitators.” This smear has a disgraceful history in the South, where authorities have used it against abolitionists, labor organizers, and the Civil Rights Movement, among others. The goal of those who spread this narrative is to discourage solidarity and isolate communities from each other while offering a pretext to bring in state and federal forces, who are the actual “outside agitators.” The consequence of that strategy is on full display in the tragedy of January 18.

Replacing a forest with a police training center will only create a more violently policed society, in which taxpayer resources enrich police and weapons companies rather than addressing social needs. Mass incarceration and police militarization have failed to bring down crime or improve conditions for poor and working-class communities.

In Atlanta and across the US, investment in police budgets comes at the expense of access to food, education, childcare, and healthcare, of affordable and stable housing, of parks and public spaces, of transit and the free movement of people, of economic stability for the many. Concentrating resources in the hands of police serves to defend the extreme accumulation of wealth and power by corporations and the very rich.

What do cops do with their increased budgets and their carte blanche from politicians? They kill people, every single day. They incarcerate and traumatize schoolchildren, parents, loved ones who are simply struggling to survive. We must not settle for a society organized recklessly upon the values of violence, racism, greed, and careless indifference to life.

The struggle that is playing out in Atlanta is a contest for the future. As the catastrophic effects of climate change hammer our communities with hurricanes, heat waves, and forest fires, the stakes of this contest are clearer than ever. It will determine whether those who come after us inherit an inhabitable Earth or a police state nightmare. It is up to us to create a peaceful society that does not treat human life as expendable.

The forest defenders are trying to create a better world for all of us. We owe it to the people of Atlanta and to future generations everywhere to support them.

Here are some ways to support the defense of the forest in Atlanta:

  • Donate to the Atlanta Solidarity Fund to support legal costs for arrested protestors and ongoing legal action.
  • Organize political solidarity bail funds, forest defense funds, and forest defense committees where you live.
  • Participate in or organize local solidarity actions.

Smash the Class, Episode 5: Discussing the Intersections Between Pedagogy and Therapy

In the fifth episode of Smash the Class, we were joined by Renya of Come Together Counseling. They’re an anarchist in Pennsylvania who conducts practice as a therapist and often talks about how their work in therapy intersects with anarchism.

During the time that we were talking with Renya, we discussed a whole range of topics. We originally wanted to do something together because we kept noticing a lot of the overlaps between therapy  and pedagogy. As a result, much of this conversation surrounds the intersections between the two, their relationship to anarchism, and how our learning spaces need to incorporate both. We also discuss our passive acceptance of authority figures, how we can work to overcome bureaucracy and its obstacles, and how our spaces can respond to the needs of the people in them.

Two videos that were the impetus for this were Renya’s videos on Internal vs External Motivation and Embodying Anarchist Principles as a Therapist. We also referenced a piece titled “How Can We Prefigure Society When We Only Seem to React.

Hope you enjoy it!

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