Sharing and Supporting Anarchist Ideas and Experiences

Category: Webinar

“Musical chairs as Commons”: An experiential game on collective management

To join the event, go here (Zoom) at the scheduled time!

We often find it difficult to explain – even within social movements – what the Commons stands for and what the process of Commoning is about. This talk presents a workshop that, based on non-formal education, hacks the rules of an old game in an attempt to talk about the basic concepts of Commoning and to apply experiential learning techniques for the benefit of social movements.

To introduce the Commons to a general audience, I propose the use of the musical chairs game. A Commons-oriented musical chairs game is the reverse of the classic capitalist musical chairs game (collaborative and community-driven vs competitive and individualistic). In the context of the former, when chairs are removed, the community is challenged to find inclusive solutions, instead of shoving players out of the game. While in the dominant form of the game, each round has fewer chairs, and participants are kicked out from the game, Commoning is a vibrant activity for the deployment of a new type of game that treats “chairs” as a common good and participants as commoners. So, in the “musical chairs as Commoning” game, every time the music stops, a chair is removed and the community has to find ways to share the chairs that are left and do not exclude any of its members. Can we launch a radical transformation to our imaginaries by going back and hack the games of our childhood? Can we hack our capitalistic imaginaries towards the Commons in a joyful way? Can we have fewer chairs and a better community instead of fewer chairs and a community consecutively expelling its members?

This talk presents a workshop that has been successfully implemented in festivals, projects, conferences, and lessons related to the Commons, and shows how such an educational scenario could be performed; We will also practice through reflective observation of the participants the basic notions of Commoning and we will try to criticize and reflect on this game.

About the Presenter

Alekos Pantazis (he/him) is a core member of the P2P Lab research collective and a research fellow at the Tallinn University of Technology. He is a researcher on educational commons and open source technologies. Moreover, he curries a long experience as an activist in social movements focusing on degrowth and commons. Can be found on Twitter: @Alekos_Pantazis, more info here: Orcid

manifest(o): for the advancement of extra-institutional improvised learning(s)

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Are institutionalized pedagogies preparing us for becoming the critical, capable, and active individuals the present state of the world requires us to be? Are the orthodox learning objectives of our curricula in synch with the current needs of our society and our immediate communities? How do immediacy and improvisation contribute to critically reconsidering these orthodoxies and opening up our pedagogical methods towards viable extra-institutional ideas and practices? You are hereby invited to join me in a radical reflection and discussion on the past present and future possibilities of our collective pedagogical imagination.

About the Presenter:

An enthusiast of music cultures, a supporter of socially and politically involved arts, and a veteran fan of free improvised music and punk, Judit has been involved with various alternative associations across Europe over the years. Among them is a long association with Mediawave Festival in Hungary, where she served in various functions; program curator, international network representative, and festival coordinator. Another example is the Doek collective in Holland, where Judit was involved in starting a collective community calendar for the local creative music scene. She was also a part of the independent record label Barefoot Records in Denmark as a label and project manager. Judit is now working on a research project investigating the changing political horizons of free improvised music scenes in Europe as a Ph.D. student at the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation.

The Colorful Flyers: Using Didactic Tools

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I will be presenting four colored flyers as didactic (not ideological) tools to be used by people to communicate and understand common theories, concepts, and strategies. I will do a 40-minute presentation about the specific flyers and how they can be used, but I will also touch on the importance of learning tools in general and why they are integral in revolutionary practices.

Broadsides that may be included:

Introduction to: Especifismo - a current of social anarchism - developed in a Latin American context - advocating for libertarian socialism - aiming to bring about a social revolution - promoting popular movements in order to transform society - using a specific anarchist organization to foster revolutionary politics Notice: ESPECIFISMO OPPOSES ALL FORMS OF OPPRESSION AND EXPLOITATION! --- OPPOSING IDEOLOGIES: capitalism, statism, authoritarianism, dogmatism, sexism, racism, nationalism, colonialism, individualism, vanguardism, focalism, and electoralism --- What is a specific anarchist organization? 1. It is a political group that militantly supports popular movements. 2. It is made up of militants with a shared theory and ideology. 3. It is an active minority commited to a common strategy. 4. It is a tool to help create and maintain revolutionary movements. --- IMPORTANT: THE POLITICAL LEVEL IS NOT THE SOCIAL LEVEL Mass movements are the only force capable of bringing about revolutionary transformation in society. The social level is influenced by a variety of political forces. Especifismo is about unifying anarchist militants into a collective political organization. The specific anarchist organization is a method of collaborating with others to defend a political line, on the social level. REMEMBER: SOCIAL REVOLUTION WILL REQUIRE THE LIBERATING POLITICS OF UNIFIED MILITANTS. Introduction to: Libertarian Socialism WHAT IS IT? A. Socialism without the State - An egalitarian society of self-managers - Eliminating the privileges of the upper classes B. Collectivized Property - Workers and consumers making decisions themselves - Meeting everyone's needs - Ending capitalist exploitation --- WHY IS IT SO ABSTRACT AND THEORETICAL? We have to imagine the future we want because capitalistm can't be allowed to have a monopoly on the imaginary! Remember: Our longest-term objectives inform our most immediate actions. --- WHAT ABOUT MODERN TECHNOLOGY? - Must be used to improve society, the environment, and the quality of life - Should benefit workers, consumers, and those in need - Can reduce the number of hours people have to work without compromising society's production and distribution needs --- KEY POINTS 1. Libertarian Socialism is democratic and anti-authoritarian. 2. It is not utopian or idealistic. 3. It is the end of capitalism, but it is not the harmonious end of all conflict and domination. 4. It is a long-term objective for the construction of a future society.
Strategy for Political Militants Methods of Struggle 1. Inside (elections, lobbying, etc.) 2. With (negotiations, convincing, reform, etc.) 3. Against (confrontation, sabotage, etc.) 4. Outside (experimentation, creativity, prefiguration, etc.) Objectives of Struggle A. For (more) control of power B. For a (bigger) piece of power C. For a reduction in power D. For an alternative power. Duration of Struggle i. Short-term (immediate) ii. Medium-term (intermediate) iii. Long-term (future) Engaging in the Struggle - Allied Support - Struggling inside and with the system and those in power, for short-term or medium-term gains; not struggling for alternative power in the future, requires coalitions with bureaucrats and political parties - Solidarity - Struggling against power and the system, for short-term gains determined by necessity; struggling for either immediate control of power or an intermediate reduction in power; requires a lot of effort, commitment, and energy - Militancy - Struggling outside of the system, for an alternative power, particularly in the future; struggling for long-term change in society; not struggling for the most immediate needss; not struggling for medium-term benefits; no compromising --- Conclusions: - Democrats confused the methods of struggle and their limitations. - Individualists are either against power in general or have unethical objectives of struggle. - Political parties mistakenly assume that a short-tem victory will develop into a long-term transformation. - Revolutionaries must develop theory that allows them to dynamically manage all of these components, while not being distracted by less strategic tactics. Radical Political Critiques TACTICAL "I don't agree with this action and how it is being carried out." - not enough unity - not a clear objective - insufficient instructions - insufficient support - authoritative leadership - individualistic participants --- STRATEGIC "I don't agree with the direction this is going." - no common goal - isolated actions - insufficient time for reflection and discussion - too dependent on the vision of leaders - not considering consequences --- REVOLUTIONARY "I don't agree that this will help to bring about revolution." - no threat to power - no power building - no long-term vision - only superficial change - insufficiently committed participation - unengaged populace/community --- IDEOLOGICAL "I don't agree with the principles behind what is happening." - not egalitarian - oppressive, abusive, exploitative, or dominating - authoritarian (against freedom) - representative (faux democracy) - in favor of capital and/or the State --- THEORETICAL "I don't agree with the connections that are being made between the different parts." - ignoring a dominated class - overlooking a dominating class - forgetting the present situation - omitting certain goals, values, plans, etc. - drawing dubious conclusions - discounting the whole - oversimplifying

Commons and libertarian pedagogies

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This talk examines and utilizes the experience of Commons-based communities for the benefit of educational commons and anarchist pedagogies. The commons is a triad consisting of a resource, a community, and the management rules that the community forms in order to co-create and co-manage this resource (Bollier, 2014). Commons can be seen as peer to peer horizontal human relational dynamics and as a process of political struggle against enclosures (e.g. statized or corporatized enclosures in education) on the vision of collective self-determination and autonomy.

Over the last decades, numerous open-source initiatives and hackers communities have created processes, tools and artifacts in a collective, commons-based way that differ heavily from (and sometimes outperform) their dominant authoritative equivalents. For example, what can we learn from the practical experience and the organizational characteristics of thousands of people that are experimenting in horizontal, peer to peer collaboration via the internet creating initiatives like the encyclopedia Wikipedia, the WordPress web page creator, the Linux operating system and myriads of other smaller initiatives? What similarities can these commons-based initiatives have with deschooling that Ivan Illich envisioned back in the ‘70s? Can “holoptism”, “equipotentiality”, “heterarchy” or other patterns that have been observed in commons-based peer to peer initiatives be useful for liberartian pedagogies and if yes, how?

About the Presenter

Alekos Pantazis (he/him) is a core member of the P2P Lab research collective and a research fellow at the Tallinn University of Technology. He is a researcher on educational commons and open source technologies. Moreover, he curries a long experience as an activist in social movements focusing on degrowth and commons. Can be found on Twitter: @Alekos_Pantazis, more info here: Orcid

Budding Roses Summer Camp: A story of applied anarchist pedagogy

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Budding Roses Summer Camp was founded as a project of Black Rose Anarchist Federation in 2016 by a collective of educators and artists with the goal of providing radical engagement opportunities to youth in East Portland. Our evolving pedagogy borrows from thinkers such as Paolo Freire, Jacques Rancière, and bell hooks; our programs have been influenced by projects such as the Black Panthers Free Breakfast Program and the Paideia Free School. We believe in empowerment through education, while also understanding that mainstream education often reproduces structural oppression and disempowers youth, particularly low income and youth of color. Each year Budding Roses adult organizers strive to evolve our camp philosophy towards an anarchist education model that de-centers adult ways of knowing and experiences. In this webinar we will tell the story of an anarchist summer camp, including the challenges, revelations, and goals for the future. Most importantly, we will share art, ideas, and workshops created by the radical youth thinkers from Budding Roses.

About Budding Roses:

Budding Roses was founded in 2017 as a project of Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Foundation, inspired by global examples of mutual aid and popular education projects like the Paideia Free School in Spain and the Black Panther’s Free Breakfast Programs, and Paolo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

We organize our two week summer camp as a democratic educational space, where campers identify topics they are interested in learning about, set community ground rules, use restorative justice to resolve conflicts, and lead their own workshops to teach their peers.

We believe empowering youth to become critically engaged with social justice issues lays the groundwork for transformational social change tomorrow and today. We see returning campers taking on leadership roles at camp, getting involved in their communities, holding banners at marches, and initiating discussions about social issues with their parents. Budding Roses activates young leaders to see themselves as agents of change in their world.

Instagram: @budding_roses_pdx