People Will Die As Long as We Teach Kids There are Always Losers and Winners

By Teka Lark (August 7, 2019)

Your worldview is shaped by your community, family, media, education system, and essentially all the people, things, and actions that you interact with and provides you with information.

Your view on the world starts from the minute you hit earth. Fairytales, TV, the Internet, video games, books, what your education system decides to teach you in school, and what they decide to leave out, it all shapes who you are.

In the United States, when you begin school, and maybe even before you start school, if your family has been in the US two or more generations, you are told that some people must lose.

That idea is drilled into your head. As adults people sneer, “This everyone gets a trophy nonsense, kids needs to understand that someone has to lose! ”

But what is losing? What are we preparing young children for when we tell them that some people must lose?

It seems like we’re saying some people must be homeless, some people must be poor, and some people must die— at least to me.

The United States encourages cruelty and violence, from dodgeball, to our media, to how we share about injustices.

Do we really need a video of someone being shot in the head, to know that you shouldn’t shoot people in the head? Apparently in the US you do, because that is part of the fun of being an “American,” being outraged, yet slightly entertained by the suffering of someone else who you are under the idea that you have more privilege than, at least for now….

In our media what do the troublemakers look like? Who are our villains in fiction?

Good triumphs over evil is the story every kid in the US has been told from birth. This theme even goes in our history books,In the United States the good people won the game.

A game that we all agreed to play, so no one needs to tell anyone sorry for hitting someone in the face with the figurative ball over and over and over again, because this was a game, and if you had tried harder and had better morals– you would have won –and any deviation from the game results in being taken out of the game by capture, fire, gunshots, or lynching.

The reason you can’t get federal gun policies passed in the United States, is because the point of guns in the United States is to protect “everyone” from Black (African) and Brown (Mexican/Indigenous) people. In the North they do it by making rent so high you can’t live next door, in the West they won’t allow you to work, and in the South –they have their guns.

Unless something is done to change the average person in the United States’ worldview–a culture that encourages punitive cruelty, racism, nationalism and sexism–we’re going to continue to have people dying in violent ways.


The Liberation of Creativity: Making a Better World at the Corvallis Solidarity Fair

By Joseph Orosco (July 2, 2019)

This year marked the 8th anniversary of the Solidarity Fair in Corvallis, Oregon. Started as a project by members of the Corvallis Industrial Workers of the World and Occupy Corvallis, the Solidarity Fair is a once a year event that brings together groups and individuals from the Willamette Valley that are interested in grassroots social transformation through social, economic, and environmental justice struggles.


One of the hallmarks of the Fair have been what is called ‘movement conversations’: facilitated discussions dealing with issues such as community organizing, labor struggles, envisioning more just futures, etc. This year, the Fair sponsored two discussions for Fair-goers: Stop Making Capitalism and Make a Better World.

Stop Making Capitalism was a particularly well-attended conversation focused around some of the following questions:


  • How do we resist power-over dynamics by building power-with each other?
  • In our workplaces, neighborhoods, communities, schools: What are examples of resistance right now? (i.e. walkouts, strikes)
  • What leverage do we already have and what leverage can we create?
  • How can we encourage the conversation to go beyond the local to broader connections?

solidarity 2

As co-directors of the Anarres Project, Tony Vogt and I were tasked as being the facilitators for the second discussion about imagining a better world. We met beforehand and drew up a few questions to help structure the dialogue. Our conversations was built around these ideas:


  • Are there examples of people coming together to form a better world in your community, region, union, movement, neighborhood? (Examples of not just resistance but alternative building)


  • In building a better world, what sort of continuity with the current world would you want to keep and build on, improve, reform? Does a better world have to be built by rejecting the status quo or can it be built within the shell of the old?


  • Who are the allies in building the better world you imagine and why are they allies?


Our conversation was a bit smaller than Stop Making Capitalism: there were about 10 individuals, ranging from Boomers to Generation Z (many of them members of Democratic Socialists of America).


Examples of Alternative Building

Someone started by bringing up the example here of the movement in Oregon to legislate universal health care. The idea behind this struggle, it was explained, was to create social programs that would take care of residents, freeing up money from other programs devoted to incarceration, for instance. A result of this would be to renew trust in the state as an institution that works for the people.


Other individuals immediately questioned whether building trust in the state was something to spend time and energy on. They offered examples of creating worker and housing cooperatives, instead.


When we asked the group to think of any projects in existence that inspired them in alternative building the Rojava Revolution immediately came to the mind of several. It seems clear that this example is to younger folk what the Zapatistas were to previous generations. Several mentioned they were inspired by the idea of municipal democracy and working at local city levels (Bookchin libertarian muncipalism ideals filtered through the news of Rojava)


Continuity with the Old

When asked whether building a better world had to be premised on the idea of something like a slate cleaning revolution that would wipe away all vestiges of the old world, or on reform that would improve on the deficiencies of the old world, the discussion participants turned right away to the question of the market. How would a new and better world distribute goods and services?


Most seemed to agree that an economy driven by profit had to be eliminated, but were not sure that a market economy had to be profit motivated. Was it possible to have a social welfare capitalism as a goal for a better world?


Participants quickly realized that any projects for envisioning a better world had to deal with the limit of ecological crisis. No economy was going to work that did not factor in resource depletion and climate change. The conversation quickly changed to the realization that there were going to be many lifestyle sacrifices—there was long discussion about what it was going to be like to not be able to get certain produce and food items any longer.


Privatization of creativity

I noted that it seemed like the question of lifestyle sacrifice always seemed to haunt leftist discussions about building alternatives.  I suggested that this was a turn we should think about avoiding because it seems demobilizing and creates a politics of fear or desperation. Instead, I said we should think about what we might gain by building alternative worlds.


Participants agreed that thinking about what luxuries we might lose in leaving behind the status quo was a deception. Someone pointed out that the idea of a luxury in today’s world is usually something valuable or pleasurable that we want because of the hollowness that capitalism produces in our lives. People started to imagine that in a world without capitalism we might have more free time to spend with family and friends. Tony reminded everyone that a central feature of the US labor movement had been taking control over leisure time—the eight hour work day and the weekend. We pondered what kind of abilities and capacities might be unleashed if people did not have to work so much just in order to survive. One young person pointed out that there is a widespread view that someone capitalism is the economic system that drives innovation and progress, “What it really does is privatize creativity into the minds of a few”.

We wrapped up our 45 minute conversation on that point and left everyone to ponder what sorts of allies were out there for the kind of struggle we imagined.






Bourdain was Right: Food is About the Human Connection

By Arun Gupta (June 14, 2018)

After immersing myself in Bourdain’s work for days — his books, interviews, hundreds of articles, a dozen shows — I did some cooking with my mom.
Bourdain is right that the best food is to be found within the home. The most elaborate, artistic, and expensive, is in restaurants, but the food there is more an exercise in the purity of science, commerce, and aesthetics than human connection.
When I make food with my mom, every ingredient, technique, and dish comes with a detailed back story: where the food was grown, the types of markets and shops they purchased the ingredients from, how her mother taught her to make them, how they were prepared in the home, and the rituals as to how they were eaten and food was shared, many decades ago.

None of that is present with restaurant food, no matter how sublime. It is a commodity severed from the social relations that make us human.
The simplest of foods can connect us to where we came from and who we are. When shared, the food allows others to experience a different culture sensually and it is the gateway to conversations about everything that makes that culture distinct and what we share in common.

One dish I recently learned to make is bhalla, which is almost exactly the same as vada in South India.
First we made a batter of split urad dal that had been soaked in water until it was soft (about 6 hours) and then ground into a thick batter.I whipped air into it. Then wetting my hand, I made small balls.

That’s the master chef at work deep frying the balls.


We ate it two different ways. One is with sambar, the South Indian spicy dal and vegetable stew. In South India, the batter has psices added to it and is made into a donut shape before being fried.

The second way is to eat it in yogurt. To prepare, the cooled, fried bhalla are soaked in warm water for 30 minutes. They are gently squeezed and flattened, which removes much of the oil. Homemade yogurt that has been whipped with salt is spooned over the balls. It is finished with imli (tamarind) chutney and garam masala. All homemade, of course.

We don’t live in a society that gives people the time, the means, the social stability to learn and transmit knowledge. Neither is ours a society which respects communal ways of living or culture expression outside the market.
In a world where we are nothing but commodities — our labor, ideas, and bodies exist for profit — then the same is true of how we reproduce ourselves. Everything we need in our daily lives exists as a product to be brought and sold, not as an expression of our humanity.

Having a culturally rich, diverse, and healthy food system has little to do with individual choice for most people.
It is the conditions that determine what’s on our plates. It’s not what’s on our plates that determine our conditions.


(Photos by Arun Gupta)

The Grassroots Have the Real Power: Tips on How to Go Forward from Here

By David DeHart (January 25, 2017)

It’s hard to say for sure what to do in times like these… but here are some thoughts on what I hope to do going forward. I hope these tidbits will help inspire ideas of your own!

Take every opportunity you can to contribute to resistance against the oppression and destruction that we are seeing, and encourage others to do the same! This can mean a multitude of things…


  • Hit the streets and protest against deportations, police killings, defunding of social and health services, etc. Marches are usually just symbolic, but they can have an important role in changing a narrative. What if every time somebody was deported the streets were flooded with protestors? That by itself probably wouldn’t change the policies but imagine how the political landscape would shift, what the new possibilities could be, and what other actions would be inspired by so many people standing together for what they believe in.


  • Or hold fundraisers for organizations that are resisting these things (resources drive for Standing Rock?) or providing important services.


  • If you’re really ready to dig in…direct action gets the goods! So basically anything that takes the power into your own hands and doesn’t rely on somebody else (politicians, lawyers) to make change on your behalf. This could mean anything from locking down to pipeline equipment to going on strike to organizing people to take their money out of banks tied to DAPL to providing free food to those who need it (Food Not Bombs, woo! I can pretty much guarantee they have a group in your area).


  • Also, don’t forget the importance of simply spreading the message! This could mean just speaking out to your friends and family about what is going on in the world and ask them to consider how they are situated within those happenings. Or do this on a collective scale! Organizing a group to paint a mural in a public place that humanizes people’s struggles or imagines a more egalitarian and cooperative society communicates on another level entirely! Art is powerful. Or just make some informative flyers and put them around town.


  • Organize!!! Build community! You don’t want to do these things by yourself. Find like-minded people. Start or join a group, start or join a political community center. Build a community that will accompany you in resisting intolerable actions by those in power while building and imagining a better world in the process.


  • On a related note, build alternative institutions. We are all very intertwined with and dependent on a global economic system and a national political system. There is something very powerful in changing the ways we go about our lives in our community so that they are not mediated by the powerful. Local food webs could be an example of this! Eating food grown by local farmers, or even better, joining a community garden and helping it to expand. What better way to build equality and cooperation in your community than helping to feed the community together, from seeds to the table? Another alternative institution people form in their communities is community alternatives to police. Rather than relying on an institution that gets its power from its ability to physically harm people or send them to a legal system that will take money and years of life from people, organizations like Cure Violence set up patrols to de-escalate violent situations in a nonviolent way. We can create embryonic institutions today to build and envision a new world while also divesting our lives from institutions tied up in violence, deprivation, and destruction.


  • Solidarity is the name of the game! Educate yourself about things that involve not only yourself, but others too. Seek to understand the lives and points of view of people who aren’t like you, and let your broadening understandings guide your words and actions. “An injury to one is an injury to all”


  • And another thing to do that is occasionally lost in these discussions, build yourself up! If you want to take part in change, you need to take care of yourself and grow as an individual along with your community. Take care of your own health, physical, mental, and emotional. You can’t do the work well if you aren’t well yourself. And if you are imagining and building a new world, part of that is breaking away from the parts of yourself that tie you to the constraints of society as it is. Get to know people who are different from you. Take time to do things that aren’t focused on money whenever you can. Invest time in fostering your own creativity. Or experiencing the world around you in ways you hadn’t before. Go on a new hike or something! And don’t be afraid to be different. Be more open and honest with yourself, and with others. Be who you want to be, do what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to have fun and be unique, those are some of the most beautiful parts of the human experience. Avoid patterns that restrict you from flourishing as a full individual, and work on becoming a more full person every day. When you are more genuinely yourself and more open to the world around you, not only will you be happier, you will have even more to share with those around you. Possibly the best thing for oppressors and exploiters is a populace full of people that are afraid of standing out and being unabashedly themselves. Never stop learning, experiencing, and growing


So in short, what I hope for is to be part of a politicized community of people who are committed to resisting the oppression and destruction that exists in our world while simultaneously imagining, embodying, and building a new world from the ground up, starting wherever we happen to be. /react-text


And as difficult as this is in times like these (for me included, of course), try not to despair. Too much energy into despair is paralyzing. Understand what is happening in the world and allow the feelings that accompany those things, but let these feelings fuel determination to build something better.


And don’t let the powerful (or apathetic peers either, for that matter) get you down! Businesses, politicians, etc. will keep doing what they tend to do, and they will say that they are doing the best they can and anything else is impossible. But this isn’t true. Don’t let your imagination be stamped out. The people are the ones with the true power. Collective action can shift the political landscape in ways that politicians never could. Grassroots movements are the ones capable of changing the possibilities for our world. They have before and they will again. A world beyond slavery was unimaginable for most before the abolitionist movement. FDR’s new deal could never have happened if it weren’t for a widespread labor movement organizing for better working conditions (and in many cases an end to capitalism). Don’t be fooled, the people at the grassroots have the real power, there just needs to be a collective effort. So don’t lose hope, and keep on fighting for what’s right! These are just some thoughts that have been kind of bouncing around in my head for a while. I hope they help inspire you to imagine new possibilities for our communities and our world

Interview: Christina Allaback and Trek Theatre


Christina Allaback is the Artistic Director for Trek Theatre, a new theater company out of Eugene, Oregon that seeks to bring Star Trek:  The Next Generation episodes to live public performances. Continue reading “Interview: Christina Allaback and Trek Theatre”

Fantasy Might Make Another World Possible


By Alexander Riccio

In Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology David Graeber dedicates some time to the historical development of current anarchistic societies within Madagascar, which he explains happened as an insurrectionary response to the unsuspecting Malagasy government. Continue reading “Fantasy Might Make Another World Possible”

Resilient Neighborhoods


By Vernon Huffman

The best hope for long term human survival appears to lie in the development of resilient communities. By applying local resources at a sustainable rate to meet genuine local needs, resilient neighborhoods fit into the natural order, rather than attempting continuous growth based on exploitation. Continue reading “Resilient Neighborhoods”

Is the Oregon Country Fair Radical?


By Joseph Orosco

A few weeks ago, Anarres Project co-founder Tony Vogt and I were interviewed by a reporter for a local alternative newsweekly.  Toward the end of our conversation, she asked us if there was something about Oregon, or Corvallis in particular, that is hospitable to a project such as Anarres Continue reading “Is the Oregon Country Fair Radical?”

Fiddling While Rome Burns


By Maite Pepper

Yesterday, after the triumph of Argentina over the Netherlands, the horns for celebration rang out throughout Buenos Aires.  How ironic: the people of a certain place in the Middle East were hearing a similar noise.

Continue reading “Fiddling While Rome Burns”

Manifesto for Mothers

Manifesto for Mothers Oppressed by Sexism, Male Domination, Racism, Ageism, Classism, Their Own Darling Children & (of course) Other Mothers

By Nadia Martinez Chantry

To begin:

I am so oppressed I can no longer even dream Continue reading “Manifesto for Mothers”

William James and Social Justice Science Fiction


By Joseph Orosco


By now, it’s well known that William James was the inspiration behind Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.”  But he seems to have made a big impact on another writer of social justice science fiction:  Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins. Continue reading “William James and Social Justice Science Fiction”