Anarres Project: Year in Review 2019


This was an outstanding year for the Anarres Project. We brought together people in many different places for exciting and important discussions about the ways speculative arts can inspire our critical thinking and radical imaginations for just social change. Here is a round up of our events and presentations for the year:


March We held our first film and discussion event that touched on the ways anarchism and gender identity are dealt with in Ursula Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed. These discussions opened the way for honoring (along with the Spring Creek Project) filmmaker Arwin Curry. She came to bring us a viewing of her wonderful documentary, “The Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin.” It was jam packed at La Sells Stewart Auditorium for this award winning film in a community that loves Ursula.


April: This month saw the return of the Eugene based Trek Theatre to OSU with a performance of the classic Star Trek episode “Space Seed” which introduces the arch villain, Khan.


Anarres Project co-director Joseph Orosco gave a lecture a week before the performance on the ethics of genetic enhancement (Khan is a genetically enhanced super human who at one point tried to dominate all of earth) in order to give a philosophical background for the play.


This Trek Theatre performance took new directions with the character of Khan (originally portrayed by Ricardo Montalban): the actor for this version was a Black woman—race and gender swapping the character in a way that upends most historical accounts of genetic superiority.



At the end of the month, we also partnered with Veterans for Peace, and the Corvallis Latin American Solidarity Committee to have Cian Westmoreland, a former US Air Force drone technician, come to town to talk about human rights violations at the US/Mexico border.


May: We held the second installment of our popular series TrekWars@OSU that explores how the Star Trek and Star Wars universes handle a variety of social, cultural, and political issues. The theme this year was: Heroic Women. Our panel of fans examined what kind of female role models are held up in esteem by these two sci-fi franchises and the ways gender and trans discrimination are still perpetuated.




June: Anarres Project helped out with the Eighth Annual Solidarity Fair, a yearly gathering of labor, environmental, and social justice groups in downtown Corvallis, sponsored by the Mid Valley Industrial Workers of the World. We hosted the free book and literature booth. Following along the theme of the Fair—Stop Making Capitalism—we gave away donated books, many from PM and AK Presses.


September: Toward the end of summer, members of the TrekWars@OSU panel took their show on the road to Rose City Comic Con in Portland. In front of an audience of over fifty cosplayers and fans, the TrekWars crew talked about the annual event at OSU and gave them a sample by talking about the theme of heroic women.


November: We celebrated Indigenous People’s Month, by hosting another film and discussion event. We talked about how Native Americans are portrayed in mainstream science fiction and how Native artists are creating new vistas that blend traditional oral histories and sci-fi narratives. Our discussion spent a long time considering whether there are tensions between what we call “science” and traditional Native ways of knowledge. This was a great segue way to our highlight event of the year…

Staff Profile Headings_0

The Just Futures Symposium: We ended the year by bringing together a variety of scholars and activists to talk about how speculative fiction can inform our work on building just and equitable futures. The all day conference included talks on Star Trek, Star Wars, Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things, Dungeons and Dragons. Our two keynotes included Dr. Grace Dillon, one of the founders of the indigenous futurisms genre in speculative arts, and Alex Riccio, a long time collaborator of the Anarres Project and one of the creative geniuses behind the LaborWaves podcast.

We’re looking forward to a brand new year!  Let us know if there are ideas and issues you have that you would like us to explore.






Trump’s Executive Order on Anti-Semitism and Our Responsibility to Resist It

By Chris Crass (December 16, 2019)

Throughout history, anti-semitism has been used by ruling classes to culturally position Jews to be seen as “above” other oppressed and exploited people, to be seen as the ones really pulling the strings. For Jews as a concept and actual people, to then be targets of other working class and poor people’s anger and resentment.

Ruling classes have promoted and used anti-semitic conspiracy theories of power, to obscure who actually has power and how power operates systemically – systems can be resisted through popular movements, conspiracy theories fracture the energy that could be put into resistance, into a thousand mazes.

Trump and other white supremacists champion the state of Israel not out of solidarity or respect for Jewish people, but for what the military power of Israel can do to advance U.S. empire’s interests against Palestinian, Muslim and most Jewish people – all of whom are subhuman in the eyes of the white supremacists.

The executive order of Trump to equate Jews as a nationality and Israel their state, is not to protect a single Jewish life. Only ask “why are the right wing racist forces of Trump and others. more concerned about non-violent campus-based movements for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel’s apartheid system against Palestinians, then they are about white supremacist attacks on synagogues around the country by people in their own ranks?”

Trump does not love Jewish people. Trump does not oppose actual violent anti-semitism. Trump and other white supremacist want to practice the strategy of anti-semitism, by weaponizing Jewish identity to attack the Left, pit Jews against other oppressed and exploited people, and use Jewish lives as shields to cover their continued consolidation of power.

We must fight anti-semitism, be in solidarity with and look to leadership of Jewish people and organizations fighting this executive order – and remember that Israel does not equate to Jewish people, the international movement for Palestinian self-determination is a human rights effort, not anti-semitism.

We have a responsibility to remember the long history and current reality of Left Jewish leadership – from the anarchist and socialist labor movement to the Civil Rights and anti-war movements to going to jail today in mass civil disobedience against ICE concentration camps under the banner “Never Again”, to remember, as Trump and the white supremacists want to erase Jewish culture and history and equate being a Jew as being a defender of apartheid in Israel and therefore useful scapegoats and pawns that serve the racist rights agenda.

We grow more powerful, more powerful then we ever imagined, every moment and every day we refuse their divide and conquer strategy and embrace and build cultures of vibrant solidarity and work for collective liberation.


What Are the Lessons of the 2019 Conservative Win in the UK?

By Teka Lark and Christopher J.V. Loughlin (December 13, 2019)


Teka Lark

So, picking white nationalism over health care and common sense is global. In the English speaking world, I don’t want to hear your class reductionist arguments. The roots of the plant of oppression are fibrous, class does not trump white nationalism in the West, it works in conjunction. It is a lie that if you just speak to the economic needs of white people, the majority will come around. This idea was proven to be a lie again in the UK. The thought that POC might get a crumb is enough to inspire white people to cut off their noses in protest.



Christopher J.V. Loughlin

That was a brutal encounter, a brutal battle. There will be a dissection of what went wrong and what went right for Labour. But it seems clear a number of factors impacted the Labour vote at this stage: the Brexit policy hamstrung Labour; the print media waged a clear smear and disinformation campaign versus the left; it is unclear where the Tories electoral propaganda money for the election came from (watch out for more on that post-election).

Fundamentally, we lost this battle.

But losing a battle is not losing a war… the next months and years will see titanic struggles take place, on Brexit, the environment, the NHS, education, welfare, war, the national question.  And we will keep fighting in the unions, in society, for a better future, a brighter tomorrow. The fight continues. It isn’t victory that will test us the most, it is defeat. There are too many hopes burning right now for any of us to take too much time to mourn.

In fairness to Labour, as Bruce Lee said, “In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.” It is not much, but there is too much suffering, poverty and degradation in this world for us to be too demoralised. There is too much to do and too little time.

Notes From Conversations With White Men Committed to Anti-Racism and Feminism and Struggling to Love Themselves/Ourselves

By Chris Crass (December 12, 2019)

“I’m struggling to find my grounding, to feel grounded and good about who I am, while I’m learning about all of this history, learning about people who have looked like me in the past and look like me today – white and cisgender male – have been in positions of power and enacted such massive violence and oppression. I want to keep learning how to work effectively and holistically to end white supremacy, to end patriarchy, to work for socialism and collective liberation, and how to love myself and love other people who look like me too.”

We talked about the pain of learning histories of exploitation and oppression, of what has been, of learning about the violence and injustices of misogyny, of transphobia, of white supremacy today – learning about the violent acts of individual white men, of the collective patterns of violence of the culture of white racist patriarchy that raises men to be conscious and unconscious soldiers of supremacy systems.

We talked about the feels of shame, sadness, and dissociation that can arise for us as white men engaging in anti-racist, feminist, collective liberation work – with example after example of white men doing and saying terrible things.

And then we talked about the need for historical understanding and systemic analysis to situate ourselves in both the strategy of supremacy systems that positions us against so many, along with the history of liberation and justice values, visions and movements that have aligned us with so many.

That we see these brutal supremacy systems for what they are, including what they have done and continue to do to us – to socialize white men into this highly individualistic and competitive mindset in which self-worth is dependent on a vast web of domination and subjugation of the vast majority, that promotes violence, anxiety, social isolation and explosive depression – towards oneself and towards others.

That we see the ways supremacy systems want us as white men to reject liberatory values and visions, and the ways that we as white men need to rise up against supremacy systems both in solidarity with the vast majority and as an act of emancipatory love for ourselves and other white men who we do not want to see be used as tools for oppression.

That we understand that supremacy systems have long worked to get as many white men as possible to see themselves aligned with ruling classes, and that we, as white guy collective liberation organizers, need to be mindful that we don’t further entrench white men, making it seem that based on race and gender privilege, that class is irrelevant and that in fact white men are the ruling class – our goal is to awaken the heart of solidarity and dignity within white men, as we move them/ourselves to reject the supremacy systems of ruling classes and embrace – mind, body and soul – economic, racial and gender justice as efforts and movements to all get free.

We have to love each other, see each other, affirm and support each other, as we reclaim our hearts and minds from supremacy systems and work from the approach that supremacy systems are the enemy, and they can’t keep stealing the lives of white boys and white men to serve them.

Loving ourselves as white anti-racist, feminist men, for collective liberation – loving our bodies, loving our emotions, loving vulnerability, loving our tenderness, loving our strengths, learning about white men we can be inspired by, white men who we love and organize with – all of this is part of the journey to get free and become the leaders we need to become, especially among other white men. To get free and work, live, love and join with others, for collective liberation – from our personal relationships, to the governing values economically, politically and culturally.

We can do this, and we must bring as many white boys and white men with us, out of the death culture, the culture of emotional suffocation that leads to a hundred forms of violence, the structural inequality that deprives, exploits, divides and extracts our souls. We can do this, and can love and support other white men to be part of building up beloved community and the world our boys and kids of all genders deserve.

Chris Crass on collective liberation
Chris Crass on collective liberation

Radical Movements Have Shaped the Presidential Race for Democrats

By Chuck Morse (December 3, 2019)

Bloomberg apologizes for “stop and frisk;” Kamala Harris backs away from her record as a prosecutor; Cory Booker voices regret for heavy handed police tactics in Newark; Biden attempts to blabber his way out of accountability for his role in passing the “crime bill.”

It is a big deal that these candidates feel compelled to define themselves in relation to mass incarceration and police terror.

This is a huge victory for Black Lives Matter, the protestors who marched in city after city, and everyone who spoke out (and speaks out) against state terror. They forced the issue onto the agenda and the world is an immensely better place for it.

The faction of the left focused on punching nazis will miss this, but it is a gigantic affirmation of what radical movements and people of conscience can do.