Mutual Aid: Host an Anarchist Speaker

The Institute for Anarchist Studies is proud to make available the following dynamic, politically engaged speakers: Ashanti Alston, Kazembe Balagun, Alexis Bhagat, Andy Cornell, Glen Coulthard, Chris Dixon, Harjit Singh Gill, Harjap Grewal, Andrej Grubacic, Matt Hern, Mark Lance, Josh MacPhee, Andréa Maria, Todd May, Paul Messersmith-Glavin, Cindy Milstein, Shiri Pasternak, Maia Ramnath, Brian Redbeard, Harsha Walia, Kristian Williams, and Lesley Wood. Each speaker will support the good work that your political group is doing, and in turn, will use some or all of any honorarium that your collective, university, or organization provides to contribute to the IAS as a project.

Please look over the list of speakers below, many of whom are either current or past IAS board members, or have received an IAS grant. By hosting a speaker, you mutually aid both your own political work and the IAS. You not only create an exciting intellectual event in your community that can also underscore your own organizing efforts but you use your resources to support the work of the IAS and the radical scholars it supports. Your collective, college or university, or nonprofit organization is expected to provide all transportation costs, lodging or lodging costs (where applicable), and an honorarium. Each speaker will then donate from 50 to 100 percent of the honorarium to support the mission and projects of the IAS.

For more information and/or to schedule a speaker(s), please send a letter or an email to


ASHANTI ALSTON is a former member of the Black Panther Party and ex-political prisoner. Formerly an IAS board member, he publishes the Zine Anarchist Panther and has been a guest lecturer at the Institute for Social Ecology in Vermont, speaking on the Panthers and the history of Black nationalist movements. He has spent time in Chiapas, Mexico, studying the autonomous structure of Zapatista communities and working on his memoirs. Ashanti resides in New York, where he is presently the national co-chair of the Jericho Amnesty Movement, and an active member of Estacion Libre, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and Critical Resistance.

Topics: lessons from the Black Panther Party; the history of Black nationalist movements; Black and postmodernist anarchism; and the relevance of the Zapatistas.

KAZEMBE BALAGUN is a writer, educator, and theorist living in New York City. A former member of the Student Liberation Action Movement and a current member of Estacion Libre, his writings cover the cross-sections of Marxism, anarchism, Black liberation, queer theory, movement history, and popular culture. Kazembe was awarded an IAS grant for his work-in-progress Queering the X: James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and the Third World. Currently, he is the outreach coordinator for the Brecht Forum.

Topics: queer theory; African American cultural history; and Black liberation.

ALEXIS BHAGAT is a sound artist, curator, and writer based in New York and India. He is the coeditor (with Lize Mogel) of An Atlas of Radical Cartography (Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press, 2008), a collection of art-activist maps and critical texts; the coeditor (with Greg Gangemi) of Sound Generation (Autonomedia, forthcoming), a colloquy based on interviews with twenty-one sound artists and composers; and cocurator of the Audience sound art festival. Alexis is active in peace and justice movements, walking throughout the world with the Nipponzan Myohoji buddhist order. He was a longtime board member of the IAS and a member of the Perspectives editorial committee.

Topics: anarchist perspectives on theory and history of art and architecture; buddhism and anarchism; connecting the peace movement to prison abolition and local autonomy; language and authority.

ANDY CORNELL is an educator, organizer, and historian living in Brooklyn, New York. He has worked as a labor and student organizer, and has contributed to global justice, antiwar, radical media, and other efforts. Andy is the author of Oppose and Propose! Lessons from Movement for a New Society (IAS/AK Press, forthcoming), and is completing a longer project on the history of U.S. anarchism in the twentieth century. He has written for Left Turn, Clamor, LiP, MRzine, Punk Planet, and other periodicals as well as the book Letters from Young Activists (Nation Books, 2005).

Topics: twentieth-century anarchist history; subcultures and social movements; social theory for activists; labor history and contemporary labor movements; student organizing.

GLEN COULTHARD is an indigenous (Yellownives Dene) scholar and activist who teaches in the First Nations Studies Program and the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Glen has written and published numerous articles and chapters that traverse the intersections of contemporary political theory, indigenous thought and politics, and radical social and political thought (indigenism, Marxism, anarchism, and feminism). He currently resides on unceded Coast Salish territory with his partner and two children.

Topics: indigenous anticolonialism in theory and practice; anarcha-indigenism; autonomous Marxism and indigenous struggles; and indigenous nationalism and self-determination in Canada.

CHRIS DIXON is a longtime anarchist organizer, writer, and educator originally from Alaska. Over the last twenty years, he has participated in organizing work around student power, anticapitalism, racial justice, labor solidarity, men against sexism, antimilitarism, environmental defense, international solidarity, and migrant justice. In 1999, he helped launch the Direct Action Network and was deeply involved in organizing for the protests against the Seattle WTO ministerial. Chris’s writing has appeared in periodicals such as Clamor, Left Turn, and Upping the Anti, and book collections such as Letters from Young Activists (Nation Books), Toward a New Socialism (Lexington Books), Men Speak Out (Routledge), The Battle of the Story for the Battle of Seattle (AK Press), and We Are Many (AK Press). He is currently completing a book, tentatively titled Against and Beyond, based on interviews with antiauthoritarian organizers across the United States and Canada involved in broader-based movements. He serves on the IAS board and the advisory board for Upping the Anti, and lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Algonquin Territory, where he is involved with indigenous solidarity organizing.

Topics: contemporary forms of antiauthoritarian organizing; developing strategy for social transformation; challenges and possibilities of prefigurative politics; learning from U.S. social movement histories; the relevance of women of color feminism to anarchism; models and practices of antiauthoritarian leadership; movement-based research methods; and the backstory of the North American global justice movement.

HARJIT SINGH GILL is a South Asian American activist, board member of the IAS, and longtime participant in Bay Area social justice movements. He is a cofounder of the Bay Area Mutual Aid Society, a group of radical service providers. Harjit’s political research interests include rethinking national liberation struggles, social anarchism, the history/theory of anarchists of color, counseling/social work as liberatory practice, health care models and alternatives, and the interplay between sports and society. His work is informed by a commitment to anti-imperialist, antiracist, feminist, and queer-positive perspectives toward collective liberation. Harjit is a Unitarian Universalist, and maintains a vegan and straight-edge lifestyle. He spends as much time as possible in the company of his comrades and watching his beloved Giants play baseball.

Topics: anti-imperialist legacies and national liberation struggles from an anarchist perspective; liberatory social services work; introduction to social anarchism; moving punk beyond a subculture into a movement for social change, sports, and radical politics.

HARJAP GREWAL is an antiauthoritarian organizer/activist based in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories, working with the No One Is Illegal collective and various local campaigns. His work focuses primarily on migrant, trade, and environmental justice rooted in an anticapitalist and anticolonial analysis. He organizes within the local South Asian community, with communities of color, and in solidarity with indigenous sovereignty struggles. Harjap’s environmental activism has been primarily in support of indigenous communities, and against the Alberta Tar Sands development and infrastructure. In recent years, he has done workshops and presentations on the economic crisis, the new era of trade agreements, the ecological limits of economic growth, community alternatives, and the commons. In 2010, Harjap was involved in organizing the mobilizations against the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Topics: migrant justice, displacement, and the nation-state; fighting the next generation of free trade agreements; from colonization to globalization in India; environmental justice and decolonization; organizing and protest tactics; and popular resonance of antiauthoritarian thought.

ANDREJ GRUBACIC is an anarchist theorist, sociologist, and activist with a Yugoslav background who has written on anarchism, anarchist sociology, and the history of the Balkans. An advocate of an anarchist approach to writing history, Grubačić is one of the protagonists of “new anarchism,” and a member of the antiauthoritarian, direct action wing of the global justice movement. A partner with Peoples’ Global Action and other Zapatista-influenced direct action movements, Grubačić’s primary political investment is in Balkan struggles. He is a cofounder of the Global Balkans network of Balkan anticapitalists in diaspora. His affinity toward anarchism arose as a result of his experiences as a member of the Belgrade Libertarian Group, which derives from the Yugoslav Praxis experiment. He is author, coauthor, and editor of following books in the English language: Globalization of Refusal, Wobblies and Zapatistas, Don’t Mourn Balkanize, and The Staughton Lynd Reader.

Topics: anarchism for the twenty-first century; libertarian socialism; anarchist sociology; anarchist pedagogy; Wobblies and Zapatistas; history of interethnic mutual aid and solidarity in the United States; anarchist world-systems analysis; war and breakup of Yugoslavia; humanitarian “interventionism”; history of the Balkans and Eastern Europe; and hidden history of U.S. democracy.

MATT HERN lives and works in East Vancouver with his partner and daughters where he directs the Purple Thistle Centre and co-founded Car-Free Vancouver Day. His writing has been published on all six continents and translated into many languages, and he continues to lecture widely. He holds a PhD in urban studies and teaches at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. His most recent book is Everywhere All the Time (AK Press), and others include Watch Yourself: Why Safer Isn’t Always Better and Field Day: Getting Society Out of School. Hıs new book Back Home (fall 2009) is an examination of Vancouver’s development and design.

Topics: radically democratic urbanism; deschooling, alternative schools, critical pedagogy (and critiques of); safety/security/risk discourses; social ecology and counterinstitutions; and ecological urban design.

MARK LANCE is a professor of philosophy, and professor in the program on justice and peace at Georgetown University. He is widely published on philosophy of language, logic, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy. Mark has recently completed a book with Rebecca Kukla, called “Yo!” and “Lo!”: The Pragmatic Topography of the Space of Reasons (Harvard University Press, 2009). At Georgetown, he teaches a yearly course on anarchism. He is an IAS board member, has been an activist on a wide range of issues for over twenty years, and publishes in a number of activist journals. Currently, he is writing a book on “constructive anarchism.”

Topics: Palestine; U.S. foreign policy; democratic theory; nonviolence; constructive anarchism; introduction to anarchism; and a wide range of issues in philosophy.

JOSH MacPHEE is an artist, curator, and activist currently living in New York. His work often revolves around themes of history, political engagement, and public space. He has authored and edited a half dozen books, including the recently released Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures, 1960s to Now (AK Press, coedited with Dara Greenwald) and Celebrate People's History: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution (Feminist Press). He also coedits Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics and Culture, and is a member of Justseeds Artists' Cooperative.

Topics: celebrating people's history through posters; the art and culture of social movements; stencil pirates: a history of the street stencil; taking control of your visual landscape; and printing against the grain: activist printmaking from the 1960s to now.

ANDRÉA MARIA is a journalist, researcher, and translator. She has organized for migration justice and against gentrification, and reported from occupied Iraq and Haiti. Andréa has been involved in local anti-poverty and Palestine solidarity efforts in Toronto, and was a board member of the IAS and co-organizer of the Renewing the Anarchist Tradition conference. She currently helps make television.

Topics: anti-imperialism inside fortress North America; international solidarity; new media and tactical resistance to capitalism; current international affairs from an anti-authoritarian perspective.

TODD MAY is a professor of philosophy at Clemson University. He teaches and writes in recent French thought, particularly poststructuralism. Todd is the author of The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism, and has written and spoken extensively on the relationship between poststructuralism and anarchism. In addition to his academic work, he has been involved in liberation struggles from gay rights to anti-apartheid work to the Palestinian rights struggle. While living in Pittsburgh, Todd was the co-coordinator of campaigns against aid to the Contras and the anti-Gulf War (I) campaign. He also served as national codirector of the Palestine Solidarity Committee and was a member of the IAS board.

Topics: the intersection of philosophy and anarchism; poststructuralism; anarchist theory; political theory; and Palestine.

PAUL MESSERSMITH-GLAVIN has been active in social movements for over two decades. He was a member of the Love and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation, a founder of the Youth Greens (a revolutionary ecological organization most famous for initiating the Earth Day Wall Street Action), and the Free Society Journal Collective, composed of members of AWOL, an anarchist political collective active in Minneapolis in the early 1990s. Paul has served on the IAS board since its inception in 1996, and is a member of the Perspectives on Anarchist Theory journal editorial collective. He is a Wobbly living in Portland, Oregon, where he is a part of Parasol, a climate change study and action collective, and also practices community acupuncture and rides his bike everywhere. Recently, he spent a year living and working in China.

Topics: capitalism and ecology; politics of climate change; importance of theory to social movements; and role of study groups in social transformation.

CINDY MILSTEIN, a longtime IAS board member focusing of late on the Anarchist Interventions books and the Lexicon pamphlet series, is also a collective member with Interference Archive in Brooklyn. She has long been involved in grassroots organizing, social movements, popular education, and anarchist spaces/projects, including Occupy Philly and (as a participant-observer for four months) the Quebec student strike, the New World from Below convergence at the U.S. Social Forum, the “Hope from People not Presidents” and “Don’t Just (Not) Vote” efforts, Black Sheep Books and Free Society collectives in Vermont, and Station 40 in San Francisco. Cindy also taught at the anarchist summer school known as the Institute for Social Ecology, and has organized both the Renewing the Anarchist Tradition conference and various anarchist theory tracks at other conferences. She is the author of Anarchism and Its Aspirations (IAS/AK Press, 2010), and a collection of picture-essays with Erik Ruin, Paths toward Utopia: Graphic Explorations of Everyday Anarchism (PM Press, 2012; foreword and design by Josh MacPhee). Her written work also appears in anthologies such as the recent We Are Many (AK Press) as well as Realizing the Impossible: Art against Authority (AK Press), Globalize Liberation (City Lights Books), and Confronting Capitalism (Soft Skull Press).

Topics: anarchism, direct democracy, prefigurative politics, and self-organization; contemporary anticapitalist and horizontalist movement(s), especially Occupy and the Quebec student strike/social movement; contemporary capitalism and statecraft; Murray Bookchin’s legacy; paths toward utopia; popular and free education; and various current issues from an anarchist perspective.

SHIRI PASTERNAK is a Toronto-based writer, researcher, and organizer. She is the coordinator of Barriere Lake Solidarity Toronto--a solidarity group for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake--and for Abandonment Issues, a broad coalition of community groups in Toronto that are pushing for a Use-It-or-Lose-It bylaw to expropriate abandoned buildings and wasted infrastructure to turn into low-income housing. She has contributed chapters to Gene Traders: Biotechnology, World Trade, and the Globalization of Hunger (Toward Freedom Press), Gene Taboos (SUNY Press, forthcoming), and to many journals and magazines, such as zmag, Critical Planning, Progressive Planning, and the Centre for Bioethics. Shiri is currently a board member of the IAS.

Topics: the commons and the co-optation of the commons; colonial history of property rights regimes; intellectual property; security and the terror of mobile capital.

MAIA RAMNATH is a writer, teacher, dancer, aerialist, and activist. She is a member of the IAS board, Perspectives on Anarchist Theory editorial collective, Historians against War steering committee, Adalah-NY, and the NYC Anarchist Book Fair collective. Currently, she teaches global histories at New York University's Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Thought master's program. Her writing and research focus on transnational South Asian anticolonial radical movements. Maia has been active in the global economic justice, antiwar, and Palestine solidarity movements through many campaigns and projects.

Topics: anarchist intellectual history and contemporary thought; anarchism, anticolonial struggles and postcolonial theory; Anarchist People of Color (APOC) politics; antiauthoritarian perspectives on South Asian politics and history; globalization, (anti-)imperialism, and (anti)capitalism.

BRIAN REDBEARD is a developer, hacker, and technical writer in the areas of open-source development and systems administration. His time spent in both defensive and offensive computing have combined with his readings of classical anarchism to present new ideas in organizational hierarchies for software development. He has been featured on Al Jazeera as an expert in the field of computer security, and has been seen and heard on Bloomberg Television and National Public Radio taking on individuals in the upper echelons of military computing. Additionally, Redbeard has worked as a staff member on some of the most prominent computer security conferences in the world, such as DEFCON, Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE), and Shmoocon. He currently resides in Washington, DC, and can be found working with community-based organizations such as HacDC.

Topics: open source; anarchism and computing; hacktivism; history of computers and activism; and the importance of secure computing.

HARSHA WALIA is a South Asian community organizer, facilitator, popular educator, and writer currently based in Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Indigenous Territories in Western Canada. Over the past decade, she has been active in grassroots movements including migrant justice, indigenous solidarity, Palestinian liberation, antiracism and feminist collectives, and anti-imperialist and anticapitalist struggles. She has also been involved in No One Is Illegal, Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign, Radical Desis, South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy, Vancouver Status of Women, Fire Women, and Trans of Colour collective, South Asian Women’s Community Centre, Olympic Resistance Network, STATUS Anti-Imperialist Coalition, Anti-Authoritarian People of Colour, and more. Her writings have appeared in alternative and mainstream publications, magazines, journals, and newspapers.

Topics: antioppression in movement building; strategy and vision; no borders and migrant justice; alliances between anticolonial and anticapitalist struggles; third world liberation; antiauthoritarian people of color organizing; and anarchism in practice.

KRISTIAN WILLIAMS is the author of American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination and Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America. In 2009, he received an Institute for Anarchist Studies grant for work on his essay “‘A Criminal with a Noble Face’: Oscar Wilde’s Encounters with the Victorian Gaol.” Kristian lives in Portland, Oregon, where he is a member of Rose City Copwatch.

Topics: police; prisons; torture; counterinsurgency theory; and Oscar Wilde’s anarchism.

LESLEY WOOD, an activist/scholar who lives in Toronto, has been active in immigrant rights, antipoverty, anarchist, global justice, and environmental justice movements. She is a member of the Ontario Coalition against Poverty as well as the Blackfly Sustainable Living and Education Cooperative, is a regional editor for Interface, and is on the advisory board for Upping the Ante. Her work has been published in various journals, and she has edited collections on transnational social movements, repression, and coalition building. Lesley is currently researching police-protester dynamics, social movement organizational dynamics, and the way that activists use storytelling. She is also a parent and an associate professor of sociology at York University.

Topics: community organizing; direct democracy; direct action; social movement theory; strategy; repression; sustainability in organizing; and collective process.

Again, to contact us about booking these speaker(s), please send a letter or an email to

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