Science Fiction, Social Justice, and the Radical Imagination

Walidah Imarisha and Gabriel Teodros, with a special video discussion from Mumia Abu Jamal, examine the ways in which visionary science and fantasy fiction can inspire the radical imagination to envision the features of a socially just world.  Check out their work in the new anthology:  Octavias’ Brood:  Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements (AK Press: 2015)

Until the Ruler’s Obey (with Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein)

Activists and editors Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein discussed their latest work, Until the Rulers Obey, at Oregon State University on Tuesday, March 4th.

Until the Rulers Obey brings together voices from the movements behind the wave of change that swept Latin America at the turn of the twenty-first century. These movements have galvanized long-silent—or silenced—sectors of society: indigenous people, campesinos, students, the LGBT community, the unemployed, and all those left out of the promised utopia of a globalized economy. They have deployed a wide range of strategies and actions, sometimes building schools or clinics, sometimes occupying factories or fields, sometimes building and occupying political parties to take the reins of the state, and sometimes resisting government policies in order to protect their newfound power in community.

Continue reading “Until the Ruler’s Obey (with Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein)”

Blood Avocados, Drug Cartels, and the Crisis of Democracy in Mexico

The majority of avocados in the US come from one single state in Mexico:  Michoacan.  In recent years, drug cartels have started to terrorize the avocado producers there, murdering them, stealing farms, and exacting protection money from the ones that remain. Many farmers have now formed armed vigilante groups, called autodefensas, that have begun to fight back against the cartels.  Last month, the Mexican government sent in the military to avoid an all out civil war.

Professor Joseph Orosco reviews the history and evolution of the current situation followed by Professor Victor Vargas, professor of international relations, and vice president of Academic Affairs, at the Universidad Latin de America in Morelia, Michoacan.  Vargas discusses what this situation means for democracy in Mexico and the impact that it has on the US, including American consumers and the legacy of the “War on Drugs”.

Continue reading “Blood Avocados, Drug Cartels, and the Crisis of Democracy in Mexico”

Anarchism and the Occupy Movement with Nathan Schneider

In his talk at Oregon State University on February 24th, 2014, Nathan Schneider – author of Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse, based on his reporting for Harper’s, The Nation, and other publications – discussed the origins and development of Occupy Wall Street,  a social movement that remains as significant as it is misunderstood.

He also explored the movement’s strategy and spirit, including its little-recognized religious dimensions, both explicit and implicit.   He also shed some excellent light on why Occupy chose to not issue broad demands and what the ‘on-the-ground’ concerns were.

Continue reading “Anarchism and the Occupy Movement with Nathan Schneider”

Transformation without Apocalypse – Episode #11: Ursula K. Le Guin and Kim Stanley Robinson

On February 14th and 15th, the Spring Creek Project sponsored a symposium entitled “Transformation Without Apocalypse:  How to Live Well on an Altered Planet”

The final event focused on the power of stories and featured award winning writers Ursula K. Le Guin and Kim Stanley Robinson, in their first ever joint appearance, reading from their own and from each others work.

Continue reading “Transformation without Apocalypse – Episode #11: Ursula K. Le Guin and Kim Stanley Robinson”

Transformation without Apocalypse – Episode #2: Susana Almanza

On February 14th and 15th, the Spring Creek Project sponsored a symposium entitled “Transformation Without Apocalypse:  How to Live Well on an Altered Planet.”  The second keynote presentation was given by Susana Almanza.

Susana Almanza is the Co-Director of People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources (PODER), and is one of three co-chairs for the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice. She has served on numerous committees including the EPA’s Title VI Implementation Advisory Committee and the City of Austin Environmental Board, and she is a former Planning Commissioner for the City of Austin. She resides in East Austin, Texas.   (

Continue reading “Transformation without Apocalypse – Episode #2: Susana Almanza”

Transformation without Apocalypse – Episode #3: Carolyn Finney

On February 14th and 15th, the Spring Creek Project sponsored a symposium entitled “Transformation Without Apocalypse:  How to Live Well on an Altered Planet”   The third keynote presentation was given by Carolyn Finney.

Carloyn Finney is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where her work explores how difference, identity, representation, and power play a significant role in determining how people negotiate their daily lives in relation to the environment. Finney serves on a number of national boards and committees including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Orion Magazine, and the Center for Whole Communities.

Continue reading “Transformation without Apocalypse – Episode #3: Carolyn Finney”

Corvallis Martin Luthur King Essay Contest Award Presentation

In January 2014, the City of Corvallis sponsored an essay contest for students at the high school level and received many amazing entries. In an event, co-sponsored by the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion, OSU Peace Studies, and the Anarres Project for Alternative Futures, hosted at the historic Majestic Theater on January 22, excerpts from each winners essay were read by Mayor Julie Manning who subsequently presented each student with their awards.

Guerilla to Grandmother

On October 31st, Katherine Ann Power spoke to a standing room only audience at Oregon State University about her evolution from student activist against the Vietnam War, to self-styled revolutionary guerrilla, to fugitive on FBI’s Most Wanted List, to her surrender and experiences as prisoner and penitent, to her deepening commitment to live as a “practical peace catalyst.”

Power was underground for 23 years, much of that time in the Corvallis area. She ultimately served six years in prison and 20 years of probation.

Her book “Surrender” is due to be released soon.

Higher Education in Mexico

Mtro. Enrique Fuentes Flores from the Universidad Latina de América presented a wonderful lecture at Oregon State University on October 30th 2013 that focused on the trends of higher education in Mexico, as well as its challenges.

In a nation with many social and political challenges, universities are attempting to provide Mexican society with professionals who can respond to current conditions in responsive, creative new ways.

But what does it mean to have access to higher education in Mexico? How do corruption and unemployment affect the outcome of the efforts made by universities and teachers?

Liberation Leadership

In a dynamic presentation on October 25th, American social justice activist and writer Chris Crass spoke at Oregon State University on the topic of social justice vision and leadership.

Chris Crass has written and spoken widely about anti-racist organizing, lessons from women of color feminism, strategies to build visionary movements, and leadership for liberation. His book Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy was published in 2013.