Art, Culture & Anarchy... LIVE IN SURREY

3 New books launching...

3 New Books Launch

7PM * Sunday, November 29th
at the TNT Tattoo Cafe

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with authors Ron Sakolsky, James Gifford, Jakub Burkowicz, Kathy Dunster & Jeff Shantz, along with readings & discussion from their new books...

BREAKING LOOSE: Mutual Acquiescence or Mutual Aid? by Ron Sakolsky


New Developments in Anarchist Studies -- a collection of papers from the North American Anarchist Studies Network 5th Annual Conference in Surrey in 2014:


Personal Modernisms: Anarchist Networks & the Later Avant-Gardes by James Gifford

7PM * Sunday, November 29th

at the TNT TATTOO & Sports CAFE
7999 King George Blvd. (#107) See the map here.

All welcome. All ages. (Kid Friendly!)
Wheelchair accessible.

* NOTE: Surrey is situated on unceded Coast Salish territories, lands of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen, Sto:lo & Musqueam nations

[Please find a PDF of our poster attached below.]


BREAKING LOOSE: Mutual Acquiescence or Mutual Aid? by Ron Sakolsky

​We're so glad to welcome Ron here to Surrey as he sets out on a tour with this new book. Of this question, he writes:

"I did not create the term mutual acquiescence as part of a doom and gloom scenario of despair in which misery rules our lives, but as a way of understanding why and how people become immersed in the dead end of believing that misery is the only reality. The latter "realistic" state of mind is what surrealists call miserabilism. I see the relevance of the concept of mutual acquiescence here as bringing the historical connection between surrealism and anarchy into the present moment. For my part, the operative idea was that if we could understand the contemporary phenomenon of mutual acquiescence, we could begin to figure out how to transform its socially ingrained relationships of subservience into vibrant ones of mutual aid. I had no illusions that accomplishing such a task would be an easy one in practice, but assumed that the crossroads of mutual acquiescence and mutual aid would offer us a place to start in that journey toward anarchy."


Personal Modernisms: Anarchist Networks & the Later Avant-Gardes by James Gifford

​Gifford's invigorating work of metacriticism and literary history recovers the significance of the "lost generation" of writers of the 1930s and 1940s. He examines how the Personalism of anarcho-anti-authoritarian contemporaries such as Alex Comfort, Robert Duncan, Lawrence Durrell, J.F. Hendry, Henry Miller, Elizabeth Smart, Dylan Thomas, and Henry Treece forges a missing link between Late Modernist and postmodernist literature. He concludes by applying his recontextualization to four familiar texts by Miller, Durrell, Smart, and Duncan, and encourages readers to re-engage the lost generation using this new critical lens. Scholars and students of literary modernism, twentieth-century Canadian literature, and anarchism will find a productive vision of this neglected period within Personal Modernisms.


New Developments in Anarchist Studies -- a collection of papers from the North American Anarchist Studies Network 5th Annual Conference in Surrey in 2014:

​So many excellent presentations and papers came together at the NAASN5 conference we hosted at KPU last year that we wanted to publish a collection coming out of it. (See abstracts here.) This book is open access, so please download the book for free from our website { PDF | epub } , or come on out and buy a (low-cost) paperback (only $15 at the launch). (Published via THOUGHT|Crimes imprint of punctum books.) As editors, Jeff Shantz & PJ Lilley, we're hoping to be joined Sunday night by a few of the authors, including:

Jakub Burkowicz (SFU; Douglas College): In Defense of Counterposed Strategic Orientations- Anarchism and Antiracism

{...excerpt from the abstract...
"This paper examines Gramsci’s influence on antiracist theory, with a greater focus on Michael Omi and Howard Winant’s racial formation theory, before turning to case studies of two antiracist anarchist movements, antifascism and Anarchist People of Color. Contemporary antiracist anarchist movements show us alternatives to the alleged antiracist “crisis” as well as to the theory of hegemony. I demonstrate that in the absence of such Gramscian solutions like political unity and intellectual leadership, social movements continue to deal with questions of race and racism, and to mount significant opposition to racial hierarchies. In so doing they constitute not Taguieff’s fragile ship, but what I identify as a strategically flexible antiracism." }

Katherine Dunster (Urban Studies, KPU) : The Right to the City Begins on the Street [abstract]

David Harvey defines the “right to the city” as a “right to change ourselves by changing the city”.[1] Streets can be, and should be, vibrant public open spaces for engaging all kinds of ever-changing human interactions — whether a quiet conversation between a few, for street art, pickets, performances, or protests. As a public space for democratic engagement, streets are again spontaneously changing the city without planning, design, or permission

Streets have historically been designed by transportation engineers and planners to perform the function of efficiently moving people and things in vehicles through a landscape. The primary goal of such efficiency is to aid and abet commerce and capitalism. Open space is always planned — programming where, when, and how people should use their leisure time when in the public realm. Boundaries between public and private space blur in the trade off between the wants of new land and building development and the needs for public amenities. Politicians surrender; social space disappears.

In this presentation I will draw upon several years of front-line experiences in events that occurred primarily in Montreal and Vancouver between 2011 and 2013, to illustrate how streets are used in creative ways to individually and collectively express opinion about issues relevant to life on this planet. The presentation will also look at temporary autonomous zones[2] and their role in holding space on the street.

From Occupy to Idle No More with stops on the way for Earth Day, the Quebec Student protests, Überdrops, Defend Our Coast, and a peek at the Stanley Cup Riot — streets are an open and common space being reclaimed by people of all ages, in all kinds of weather, at all times of day and night for purposes never envisioned by planners and designers nor permitted by politicians. Whether eluding control as an anarchistic act, or asserting control by occupying the street, the street is again a common symbolic space[3] that facilitates confrontation as Mouffe argues, but more importantly, creativity.

James Gifford: Anarchist Surrealism and Canadian Apocalyptic Modernism

When we think of the thirties and war-time writing, the dominant notions are Late Modernism, the ascendancy of the Auden Generation, the “shrinking” of the British High Moderns, and bohemian anticipations of the Beats and Angry Young Men. There were no war poets, the avant-garde declined while Social Realism buoyed off progressive politics, and the conditions of postmodernity began to simmer in the birth of the Cold War. We would not expect an entire generation to go missing. We would not expect such a generation to espouse antiauthoritarian or anarchist politics. We would certainly not expect a vitally alive lost generation, internationally distributed, with a network of mutual support stretching from Shanghai, Cairo, and Athens to London, Paris, New York, and San Francisco. Yet, we should expect precisely this. Between the Auden Generation and the Angry Young Men and Beats, what I call the Personalist group was overshadowed by the war in which they served. Overshadowed by their predecessors who attained positions of editorial authority, and overshadowed by their progenitors who assumed the mantle of the 1960s avant-garde. Crucially, the Personalists were disregarded because of their anarchist politics. They were of a generation too young to advance and after the war too exhausted to rebel. Their broad networks of mutual aid rather than clearly defined schools or movements were not a Singular Modernism with a totalizing vision, aesthetic, or mode of understanding. My talk uses Elizabeth Smart’s Canadian novella By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, which is normally read without its political context, to recuperate a part of this network and demonstrate its submerged pervasiveness in the 1940s literary avant-garde.

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