The TrekWars@OSU collective (Dr. Randall Milstein, Dr. Joseph Orosco, and Dr. Jason Scully) gathered together again to discuss the best science fictions stories of 2021. We chose to talk about those sci-fi narratives that most impacted us in some way, either by engaging in innovative storytelling or by engaging us in thinking about future possibilities in new ways.
Our choices for best science fiction for 2021 were:
We all agreed that the science fiction product that most underwhelmed us was : Dune 2021.
Along the way, we noticed that the theme of rendering care to young people was a growing theme in a lot of science fiction stories this year. We also discussed whether science fiction in the last thirty years has been hemmed in by a cyber punk aesthetic (blended with a neoliberal capitalist reality) that makes it very difficult to imagine, in Jason Scully’s words, a future of “exuberance”.
Let us know what you think. Did we miss something you think helps us grow a radical imagination (quite frankly–there was a lot)? (You can also watch our Best of Sci-Fi 2020 here.)
In this episode of our podcast, Conversations on Anarres, we sat down with dancer and filmmaker Shane Scopatz to talk about his new work “Steps and Strikes”. Shane is a recent graduate of the Master’s Program in Environmental Humanities at Oregon State University. His film hopes to address the provocative question: Why did the environmental movement fail to protect us from ecological crisis?
We sat down with Shane to discuss his answer to this question We talk about the way in which global capitalism has dispossessed billions of people and created the conditions for climate catastrophe. But we also talk about the ways in which people resist–using the labor movement to build organized people power against corporate control of the environment. The big issue today is: How do we bridge the labor movement and the environmental movement?
An answer to this involves the way Shane has chosen to resist: that involves dance. Invoking the legacy of a radical dance movement from the 1930s, the Worker’s Dance League, Shane has decided to explore how dance can be a way to expand the radical imagination and get us to think about the ways to build connection between social movements. Art in general, but dance in particular can help to develop emotions like joy and ecstasy and sustain a guiding vision toward a more collective, just, ecologically attuned future.
During the Occpy Wall Street, groups of activists organized a spaced called the people’s library. Thousands of books and magazine were organized to be available for free to whomever wanted to come to the encampment and find literature and radical scholarship that could help them make sense of Occupy or the issues behind the movement. The People’s Liberary inspired dozens of other projects in across the country where local activists tried to make books and other media available as part of collctive liberation efforts When the encampment in Zucotti park was finally demolished by the police, most of those books were confiscated and ended up in the landfill.
We recently sat down to talk to someone who is working in Albuquerque New Mexico to build a project with similar goals and aspirations. Fiadh is an activist who has created the The People’s Library of ABQ. She has been an anarchist organizer in many different spaces for a while now, but within the last year decided to create a lending library of radical books and zines. The People’s Library ABQ describes itself as “a community project of leftist theory anarchist history and radial education. We have books about queer, feminist, antiracist theory, indigenous resistance, transformative justice, philosophy and revolutionary thought”
We sat down with Fiah to discuss her inspirations for the project and to learn how it works, and how she would like it to grow in order to offer works that inspire the radical imagination to a broader audience.
You can watch the full interview at our YouTube channel:
Elle Stanger recently spoke at the Opening Spaces for Radical Imagination Conference at Oregon State and mentioned federal legislation targeting sex trafficking that would, in effect, place sex workers into more dangerous working conditions. Upon the signing of this legislation by President Trump on April 12, 2018, Stanger prepared several short videos calling for its repeal and asked that they be shared.
Video: Fosta/Sesta does not distinguish between sex trafficking and consensual sex work
Video_1: Why the removal of online sites will push sex workers into trafficking and more dangerous situations.
Video_2 Why Fosta/Sesta will make the lives of LGBT sex workers and people of color even more dangerous. It will also erode privacy rights for the general public.
Walidah Imarisha was one of the keynote speakers at the first Opening Space for the Radical Imagination Conference at Oregon State from April 6-8, 2018. Walidah Imarisha is co-editor of the Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) book, co-published with AK Press, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements and author of IAS/AK Press book Angels with Dirty Faces: Three Stories of Crime, Prison, and Redemption.
Her talk was entitled: Dreaming New Futures: Science Fiction and Social Change.
Silvia Federici is a leading Marxist-feminist scholar. Her work exposes how capitalism maintains itself by refusing to pay for the cost of its own reproduction (such as the emotional and care work that goes into producing human beings). This talk was co sponsored by the Coalition of Graduate Employees, Anarres Project, and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at OSU.
In March 2017, author Alexander Reid Ross visited the Anarres Project for Alternative Futures to describe the way in which fascism as intellectual movement draws on a variety of traditions, both from the right and left. In that way, it can infiltrate many different social movements from within. His latest book is Against the Fascist Creep from AK Press (2017)
As part of the Anarres Project series, Revolution: Past-Present-Future, we hosted author Kevin Van Meter in a community conversation about his new book Guerrillas of Desire: Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible.
Behind the smiling faces of cashiers, wait staff, and workers of all sorts, a war is going on, usually without the knowledge of official political and labor organizations. Guerrillas of Desire begins with a provocation: The Left is wrong. It’s historical and current strategies are too-often based on the assumption that working and poor people are unorganized, acquiescent to systems of domination, or simply uninterested in building a new world. The fact is, as C.L.R. James has noted, they “are rebelling every day in ways of their own invention”: pilfering, sabotaging, faking illnesses, squatting, fleeing, and counter-strategizing. Kevin Van Meter maps these undercurrents, documenting the history of everyday resistance under slavery, in peasant life, and throughout modern capitalism, while showing that it remains an important factor in revolution and something radicals of all stripes must understand.
As part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the Anarres Project presented Dr. Randall Milstein (OSU Honors College and College of Science) discussing the cultural and technological impact the series has had on society and everday life. He discussed the ways in which Star Trek prefigured contemporary technology, as well as the way in which the series maintains a hopeful attitude toward the role of technology in building a future post scarcity utopia. (October 2016)
A multi-media journey about arts, media, and land defense in South America. With original photographs, maps, and short films accompanied by live narration, this presentation shares a glimpse into the communities defending their territories in the face of resource extraction industries.
Presented by the Beehive Design Collective, Movimiento Rios Vivos, Allied Students for Another Politics (ASAP!), the Anarres Project for Alternative Futures, and the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University.
The views expressed in this and all of our videos are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the views of OSU or its administration, faculty or staff. The goal of this, and all of our public events, is to serve as a catalyst for debate of a variety of viewpoints on important themes.
On November 13th, we were proud to host two presentations from the Beehive Design Collective at Oregon State University. The first presentation was an analysis of their massive two-part graphic entitled Mesoamérica Resiste.
9 years in the making, this double-sided, folding poster illustrates stories of resistance, resilience, and solidarity from Mexico to Colombia. A map drawn in old colonial style depicts the modern invasion of megaprojects planned for the region… and opens to reveal the view from below, where communities are organizing locally and across borders to defend land and traditions, protect cultural and ecological diversity, and build alternative economies.
The stories in the graphic come from current struggles, but are also rooted in the legacies of over 500 years of colonialism in the Americas. A banner across the top reads, “Every time history repeats itself, the price goes up” – reminding us that we are in an era of extreme loss of cultural and ecological diversity and rapid climate change. Through the lens of Mesoamerica, the graphic tells the big picture story of what’s at stake across the globe with the neoliberal model of “development,” and what we’ve already lost.
The Beehive Design Collective is a wildly motivated, all-volunteer, activist arts collective dedicated to “cross-pollinating the grassroots” by creating collaborative, anti-copyright images for use as educational and organizing tools. They work as word-to-image translators of complex global stories, shared with them initially through conversations with affected communities. You can learn more about their work at: http://beehivecollective.org
This event was co-sponsored by:
Corvallis Rising Tide, the Anarres Project for Alternative Future [http://anarresproject.org/], Allied Students for Another Politics (ASAP!) [http://asap.moonfruit.com/], the School of History, Philosophy, & Religion at Oregon State University. http://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/shpr
Economic growth has turned into the sole goal to guarantee social stability and quality of life in our societies. While ongoing economic growth increases the pressure on the environment and is the main driver of anthropogenic climate change, climate change has turned into a limitation to further growth.
Are we faced with new limits to growth 40 years after the famous report to the Club of Rome? The age of easy growth is over – holding onto it at any costs exacerbates global environmental conflicts and shifts the burdens on marginalized social groups and the Global South.
This is not the whole story: worldwide social movements are experimenting alternative paths for a social ecological transformation beyond economic growth and within the planetary boundaries. Environmental Philosopher Prof. Barbara Muraca introduces the us to the growing worldwide degrowth movement.
The Radical Visions for Another Politics Lecture Series is co-sponsored by:
the Anarres Project for Alternative Future
Allied Students for Another Politics (ASAP!)
& the School of History, Philosophy, & Religion at Oregon State. http://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/shpr
As part of the Allied Students for Another Politics! Radical teach in series, Dr. Robert Thompson and OSU graduate students, Zandro Lerma, and Amber Moody discuss the connections between capitalism, racism, and the prison-industrial-complex. Co-sponsored by the Anarres Project for Alternatives Futures.
As part of the Allied Students for Another Politics!’s Fall Radical Teach In series, a panel that explores the reasons for hikes in tuition, the explosion of student debt, and how we can collectively lead the fight to abolish student debt and create a tuition-free university.
Co-sponsored by the Anarres Project for Alternative Futures.
The first event in the “Radical Visions towards Another Politics” Series was a discussion on Revolutionary Unions and the Abolition of Wage Slavery hosted by the Corvallis Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.).
We will examine the distinctions between revolutionary unions as opposes to bureaucratic unions, the meanings and value of work, self-ownership, tactics to transform society, and existing forms of revolutionary resistance.
Lara and Paul Messersmith-Glavin discuss the lessons from a recent grassroots organizing effort in North Portland that canvased a neighborhood to determine people’s understanding of their own power to do something about climate change.
In discussing and thinking together, residents began to realize that the climate change crisis offers the opportunity to build a different kind of society.
Lara and Paul are board members of the Institute for Anarchist Studies, editors of the journal Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, and community organizers in Portland, Oregon.
Co-sponsored by the Anarres Project for Alternative Futures, Corvallis 350.org, Center for Civic Engagement, the Student Sustainability Initiative, and the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University.
As part of OSU’s Constitution Day 2015 celebration, Anarres Project co-director Joseph Orosco discusses the significance of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution according to W.E.B. Du Bois. For Du Bois, the promise of these Reconstruction amendments was the possibility of building a richer more deliberative and participatory democracy in the United States. Du Bois thought that the moral insights of African Americans would lead this movement to transform America.
Is sex work a legitimate form of employment or is it inherently a form of oppression? What is involved in extending human rights protection to sex workers? What is the difference between decriminalization and legalization?
This panel discussion examines sex work through the lens of social justice and discuss the intersection of feminist critique with the growing global sex worker’s rights movement.
The panelists for this discussion included: Phoenix Calida, Sabrina Morgan, and Nicole Von Germeten.
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.
This unique collection of interviews features five dozen leaders and grassroots activists from fifteen countries presenting their work and debating pressing questions of power, organizational forms, and relations with the state. They have mobilized on a wide range of issues: fighting against mines and agribusiness and for living space, rural and urban; for social space won through recognition of language, culture, and equal participation; for community and environmental survival. The book is organized in chapters by country with each chapter introduced by a solidarity activist, writer, or academic with deep knowledge of the place. This indispensable compilation of primary source material gives participants, students, and observers of social movements a chance to learn from their experience.
Contributors include ACOGUATE, Luis Ballesteros, Marc Becker, Margi Clarke, Benjamin Dangl, Mar Daza, Mickey Ellinger, Michael Fox, J. Heyward, Raphael Hoetmer, Hilary Klein, Diego Benegas Loyo, Courtney Martinez, Chuck Morse, Mario A. Murillo, Phil Neff, Fabíola Ortiz dos Santos, Hernán Ouviña, Margot Pepper, Adrienne Pine, Marcy Rein, Christy Rodgers, Clifton Ross, Susan Spronk, Marie Trigona, Jeffery R. Webber, and Raúl Zibechi.
To learn more about the book and/or the editors, please visit:
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”.
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.
Nathan Schneider has written about religion and resistance for publications including Harper’s, The Nation, the New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education and elsewhere. He is an editor of the online literary magazine Killing the Buddha and Waging Nonviolence, a daily source for people-powered news and analysis from around the world. He is the author of “God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet” (http://www.therowboat.com/books/god-in-proof/) and “Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse” (http://www.therowboat.com/books/thank-you-anarchy/), both published by University of California Press in 2013.
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.
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin was born in 1929 in Berkeley, and lives in Portland, Oregon. As of 2013, she has published 21 novels, 11 volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, 12 books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many honors and awards including Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, and PEN-Malamud. Her most recent publications are Finding My Elegy and The Unreal and the Real. http://www.ursulakleguin.com
Kim Stanley Robinson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. Themes in his writing often explore environmentalism, science, and humanism. He is the author of the bestselling MarsTrilogy and many novels, including Fifty Degrees Below, Forty Signs of Rain, The Years of Rice and Salt, and Antarctica–for which he was sent to the Antarctic by the U.S. National Science Foundation as part of their Antarctic Artists and Writers’ Program. http://www.kimstanleyrobinson.info
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. (www.poder-texas.org)
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. http://ourenvironment.berkeley.edu/people_profiles/carolyn-finney/