“We Must Defend Our Universities”: Statement by George Ciccariello-Maher

By George Ciccariello-Maher (December 28, 2017)

After December 31st, 2017, I will no longer work at Drexel University. This is not a decision I take lightly; however, after nearly a year of harassment by right-wing, white supremacist media outlets and internet mobs, after death threats and threats of violence directed against me and my family, my situation has become unsustainable. Staying at Drexel in the eye of this storm has become detrimental to my own writing, speaking, and organizing.

In 1956, Frantz Fanon resigned his psychiatric post at a French clinic in colonial Algeria with the observation that, “there comes a moment when tenacity becomes morbid perseverance.” This rings true for me in the present moment: certain morbidity has set in, and the same racist social structures that Fanon confronted impose their reality on us with a fury that increases by the day. I look forward to deepening my research, my writing, and my political organizing in the service of those movements most capable of confronting the urgent tasks of the present.

We are at war, and academia is a crucial front in that war. This is why the Right is targeting campuses with thinly veiled provocations disguised as free speech. My case and many others show just how cynical such appeals are, and how little the Right cares about academic freedom. They will continue to attack me and many others, but from these attacks new unities spring dialectically forth: an upsurge in new AAUP chapters and the establishment of the Campus Antifascist Network (CAN), among others.

To faculty: tenure is a crucial buffer against those who would use money to dictate the content of higher education. But in a neoliberal academy, such protections are far from absolute. We are all a single outrage campaign away from having no rights at all, as my case and many others make clear. The difference between tenure-track faculty and the untenured adjunct majority—which has far more to do with luck than merit—is a difference in degree not in kind.

Tenured faculty need to defend the rights of all faculty, at all levels, from attacks by the Right and white supremacists. Only then can we build campus solidarities that transcend such artificial boundaries among faculty—and beyond, to campus workers and students as well—solidarities that will be the last line of defense in what is today a losing battle for universities. We need to fight to defend our place in academia against assault from the racist Right, but we urgently need to realize that the struggle for academia is part of a far broader fight.

In the past year, the forces of resurgent white supremacy have tasted blood and are howling for more. Given the pressure they will continue to apply, university communities must form a common front against the most reprehensible forces in society and refuse to bow to their pressure, intimidation, and threats. Only then will universities stand any chance of survival.

To my students: you have earned my admiration and the admiration of many by standing up for your rights. I hope and believe that you have learned by putting into practice—by marching and by protesting—lessons in power that too often remain within the classroom. And I hope and believe that you will take these lessons to whatever is next—and something will be next. I look forward to continuing to support and work with you informally, whether in reading groups, in the streets, or both.

In the face of aggression from the racist Right and impending global catastrophe, we must defend our universities, our students, and ourselves by defending the most vulnerable among us and by making our campuses unsafe spaces for white supremacists.


Lessons on the Acquittal of the J20?

By Teka Lark and Arun Gupta (December 22, 2017)


Teka Lark:

We are celebrating people being acquitted of being charged with a crime for exercising their First Amendment rights against Trump?! We are celebrating that?! I am pissed! They should not have been charged in the first place.

If anyone on the left think this is a win for us, I hope to god you aren’t leading anything.

This is what it has come to please let me protest, please allow me sleep on the street, please let me work 20 hours a day with no health insurance….

Get off your damn knees and stop begging for your humanity, it is embarrassing.



Arun Gupta:

The first six defendants in the Trumped-up inauguration mass arrests have been found not guilty of all charges. This is a great relief, but at best it’s a highly qualified victory, and until the Left learns some basic lessons it will never progress beyond its impotent isolation.

This case was a blatant instance of not just prosecutorial overreach, but naked state repression.
For a year, about 200 defendants have been charged with bogus crimes that would put them in jail for 70 years. It was highly unlikely they would ever be found guilty because the arrestees were kettled and the state admitted there was no evidence they participated in the window smashing and limousine burning. But it was that level of property destruction enabled the prosecutors to file the felony riot charges.

In other words, it was the nihilistic smashy-smashy brigade that gave the state the hammer to use against the left. If there was no property destruction, those charges could not have been filed.

If you’ve never faced criminal charges, even false ones, you don’t know what it’s like to live under that fear and anxiety. Activists say this show trial has undermined organizing in the Washington-Baltimore region, where many of the arrestees live. In New Orleans, one young man charged with felonies related to J20 actions there committed suicide earlier this year.

These trials suck up resources. They require enormous fundraising and support networks

All of this is vital and necessary. But for the Left it’s a no-win situation. If convicted, people’s lives are destroyed. Even if everyone is found innocent, the state still wins because all that energy that could have gone into organizing is instead redirected into a purely reactive, defensive struggle. And for those who are acquitted, it doesn’t matter how much money they may get. This type of experience stays with you for the rest of your life, and colors all your future political activity. For the state, any settlement is just the cost of doing business.

The worst part is this didn’t have to happen.

Talking with other journalists and longtime organizers, there is evidence this may have been a state set-up from the beginning. I am not ready to name names, but given statements that were made before the protest by some involved, alarm bells should have ringing that J20 might be entrapment. (Please don’t speculate openly as to who or what I am referring to.)

Remember that J20 is the same demonstration where so many leftists were giddy that Richard Spencer got punched in the face. I hope half as much attention is paid to learning organizing lessons and how to confront state power in these dangerous times as was given to chuckling over Nazi-punching memes.



A Message to Young People on Confronting Unexpected Hardships in the Trump Era

By Mark Naison (December 20, 2017)

During the course of my long life, I have had to cope with three completely unexpected tragedies- the Vietnam War, the burning of the Bronx, and the crack epidemic. In each of these instances, immense suffering ensued that required years, if not decades to recover from, while millions of people suffered injuries from which no recovery was possible

I put the Trump Presidency in the same category. Two years ago, no one could have predicted that someone with his character traits or background could have ascended to the Presidency. But he is here and here to stay and the damage to our social fabric he is inflicting is deep and lasting.

If is a very difficult thing to realize that the kind of tragedy that you have only read about in history books has entered your life and experience. You may have to do things you never dreamed of doing. But those who aren’t crushed by the experience do ultimately adapt, and try to either live around the destruction or minimize the damage.

For better or worse, you are going to have to play the hand you’re dealt. And try to survive with some semblance of self respect, along with compassion for those going through this with you.

I have done this three times. And am busy working on a fourth.
You can do it once.


Democrats Fold on the Dreamers: Where Does This Leave the Left?

By Arun Gupta (December 13, 2017)

It is a great relief that Roy Moore lost. If he had won that would have emboldened Bannon and Trump even more: “Hey, if they elected a child molester, who cares about a rapist president?”


Meanwhile, the opportunism of Kirsten Gillibrand is helping channel the energy from the Pussy March and #Metoo movement into the 2018 elections.That is what the “Resistance” amounts to: Ground troops to elect more power-hungry Democrats.


Those same Democrats are now maneuvering to throw Dreamers under the bus. Either there will be no deal or a shitty deal that gives Trump new powers and resources to hunt, imprison, and deport immigrants, destroying thousands of lives.
Trump’s war on immigrants is just one among many reasons why he and his proto-fascist forces are so dangerous and must be stopped.


The only way to do that is through the electoral process. While the left should expose the Democrats’ shitty politics, most anti-Trump forces will ignore that message.


Anyone who equates the Democrats with Republicans, saying it doesn’t matter who wins, as many did last year, won’t just be ignored, they will be ridiculed and completely isolated.


Meanwhile, the movements that were making strides in 2016 — Black Lives Matter, Climate Justice and pipeline blockades, low-wage workers, and immigrant-rights activists — are all on the defensive.


This is the dilemma the left is in.



This is No Victory for Black People

By Teka Lark (December 13, 2017)

I am happy that sexist and racist Moore went down, barely, but I’m not happy that the Democratic Party felt that the Black community wasn’t worth a dime or any effort.

The Black vote is treated like absolute trash by the Democratic Party. This last hour campaigning with no money. This expectation that Black owned media doesn’t deserve any ad dollars, this going to the church and getting people to work for free while white consultants are paid enough to live in the tonier part of Washington DC and fly in to save the day. This pathologizing narrative that finds a way in every analysis of us even when Black people have consistently helped the Democratic Party over and over again. Black women saved you, we’re not your fucking mammy. All of this is just disgusting.

This is no victory for Black people. I doubt Jones will do anything to make life better for some of the most economically oppressed Black people in the United States, just like the Democratic Party has never done a damn thing exclusively for the poorest of Black people.

Black people regardless of who we vote for will still be paid less, be more likely to be unemployed, be more likely to be killed in urban cities by the police, be more likely to be hypersegregated, be more likely to die by crash crossing the street, be more likely to live in a community with polluted air and trashy and unhealthful fastfood restaurants, and to be more likely to die giving birth to a child.

But like white liberals keep going to the well of white racists for support, Black people continue to organize and work for free for the Democratic party that I can see clearly when I walk up the streets of Compton, Oakland, and Brooklyn, all cities with Democratic Governors and Senators, don’t care about us.

The Black community is used for street cred, it is used for grants, it is used for votes, but when it comes down to what we think and who we are as a people the neoliberal Democratic machine doesn’t care. We’re just objects to use, paths to get to where they are going, we aren’t people to them.

I’m not happy for Black people, because us helping in Alabama has just cemented in the Democratic Party’s mind that they don’t have to do anything for us.

If they weren’t racist they wouldn’t think that, they would think, “Wow this is awesome, how they came out. We need to put more resources into this demographic.” But they are are racists, so instead they will think they can invite us to the party at the last minute after the food is already eaten and the drinks are all gone and we’ll still dress up and be pleasant.

If voting is the way out Black people don’t need the machine of the Democratic Party to get out of this oppression, because they surely aren’t giving us the money and time they spend on everyone else.

If we have to work for free or on the cheap, if we have to organize ourselves then why can’t we build a better anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, and anti-war party without these racist people?

The Democratic Party is dedicated to racism, they show that in their strategies, one of which is spend no money on Black people and another of which is to not offend white racists.

Black people, we can’t keep giving our vote to the Democratic Party and asking and expecting nothing in return for it.


Opening Space for the Radical Imagination Conference (April 6-8, 2018)

UPDATED:  Anarres Project, along with various labor and social justice groups in Corvallis, Oregon, is proud to host a conference next spring (April 6-8, 2018) on the possibilities for the radical imagination.  We hope you will join us!  Deadline for submissions is January 31, 2018.

Call for Participation

This conference explores formats to address, fabricate and discuss social transformation that challenge the standard model of an academic conference. It invites participants to create a common space for radical imagination and social justice that goes beyond a skill-share for radical organizers. Radical Imagination invites us to engage in a profound critique of what seems obvious (radical = that goes to the roots of something) and to explore alternative ways of living together – producing, loving, shaping spaces and time, inhabiting the land, working, using, struggling. It is an appeal to decolonize social relations and the dominant imaginaries that justify oppression and injustice. Radical Imagination is not just about dreaming alternative futures. It lures us into embodying alternatives in practices, actions, and thinking.

We are a group of professors, students, and community organizers from Oregon State University and the community of Corvallis, OR, who are dedicated to creating, facilitating, and protecting spaces that nurture the power of imagining alternatives. We imagine this conference to be an opportunity for people to begin lasting relationships with one another. To enable this, we will be making food together, dancing, singing, and hosting fun activities throughout the weekend while also holding workshops, presentations, and discussions on using our radical imagination for organizing toward social justice.

Presentation panels, workshops, art interventions, and group discussions may touch on but are not limited to the following topics and actions:

  • Networking techniques

  • Theories, strategies, and ideologies behind social movements

  • Connecting theory and practice

  • Direct Action (thoughts and workshops) (theory and practice?)

  • Practical Skills

  • Anti-Imperialism/Anti-War

  • Autonomous Communities

  • Class

  • Anti-Racism

  • Immigrant Rights

  • Indigenous Rights

  • Globalization and Neoliberalism

  • Gentrification and Housing

  • Labor Movements

  • Art and Visual Culture

  • Radicalism in Academia

  • Religion

  • Radical History

  • The analysis of past movements

  • Use of technology in social movements

  • Anarchist Processes and Models

  • Queer Theory

  • Feminism

  • Wellness and self-care

  • Anti-colonialism/post-colonial theory

  • Radical/social justice education

  • Student and Youth Movements

  • Deep/social ecology

  • Anti-Consumerism/Freeganism

  • Food sovereignty

  • Artivism

  • Poetry

  • Collective living

  • Relational organizing

  • Short Film Walk

  • Alternative transportation

Tabling: During the whole conference, we will have a Mercado of Alternatives. Sign up using the submission form below.

Please submit your proposal for any of the categories by January 31, 2018 using the following form.

For mobile users, please follow this link to the registration form:


The People Aren’t Ignorant, They’re Uninspired by the Left

By Teka Lark (December 4, 2017)

We can no longer worry about the poor GOP or the dedicated racists in the GOP.

They are gone.

Trump won by expanding the right wing base and by getting people involved who had long ago checked out of the process.

That is why in the polls prior to the election he didn’t appear to have a chance of hell in winning, because he got white voters who had essentially stopped voting.

What the left needs to focus on is bringing in the 40% plus of those who have checked out and give them a reason to vote. (And fight like hell to reverse & prevent voter suppression.)

Being polite to white racists, so that you can win over white racists is a bad strategy, just like the strategy to focus exclusively on white women to bring Hillary to the White House was a bad strategy.

The Democratic Party spent a laughably small amount of money and time on non-white communities AND in white midwestern and southern communities they WON in 2008 and 2012 in getting out their vote.

They placed all their bets (that is where the money went) on metropolitan white women in large liberal cities. That seemed to be the strategy.

Racism trumps quite a lot in the US, so we need to inspire those who aren’t so invested in racism that they’ll actively vote to destroy themselves.

Unless Trump is in jail, he’s going to win again.

The right are shutting down all the media, they are going to shut down the Internet, the left is going to lose if we continue pretending like this is normal.


Of course I’m going to share this in a larger forum, but I’m simply horrified and confused at the not understanding behavior, history, and strategy by a party that has oodles of money and time and staff…..I would truly like to have a Kumbaya moment, but Trump is a fascist. You have to use the strategy that works when getting rid of fascists. This is more than an ideological difference. Maybe I’m not getting it. Maybe the reasonable people in the Democratic Party are actually undercover fascists.

How did compromising with Hitler work, Mussolini….I hate being that person, but you know in this case, it’s real. It’s really happening.

I am actually preparing to leave this country in 2020, this is how serious this is.

The coasts and liberal enclaves are truly underestimating the power of hate and, more importantly, they are underestimating a HUGE useful swath of the US public.

The people aren’t ignorant, they are uninspired; for god sakes inspire people before we all end up in reeducation camps.

I’ve reached out to the Democratic Party several times in my career and each time I have been rebuffed for people who are better at picking out pantsuits, but you know at least listen to a different opinion and maybe try a different strategy.


So the Right Wing is Afraid of Everything

By Alexander Reid Ross (December 1, 2017)

So the right wing is afraid… constantly… about everything.

Take that away, and they feel way more open.

This is not a revelation so much as another explanation as to why the marketing of a “security state” in tandem with the hyping of “terrorism” has always been a vicious scheme. At the same time, it is why “terrorism” as a political strategy is ultimately reactionary regardless of ideological persuasion—the desire to shock and to instill fear in the public, a la ISIS, always serves the reactionary motive of dividing people and re-enforcing isolating tendencies.

Erich Fromm was correct—where fascist causes us to fear our own freedom, we must respond in solidarity by promoting love and mutual aid.