Notes and Critiques from the Philly Anarchist uhh…Network? Meeting? Caucus? Jawn?


Hello everybody,
First of all, we want to reiterate our total surprise and pleasure at both the attendance of the last meeting and the way conversation went: the fact that so many different folks and tendencies could all hang out in that room together and talk strategy and desire was completely rad. For those who didn’t attend, hopefully the notes attached here will help!
We are currently setting up a listserv through Riseup, but, as anyone knows who has gone through Riseup before, it takes a little while, so thanks for bearing with. You should receive an email from that group by the end of this week.
For now, we wanted to send out the notes and, with a week’s hindsight, solicit critiques, questions, or suggestions that could be brought to the next…meeting? convergence?…to sharpen our knives and focus the…network? gaggle? rhizome?…on what folks really need.
Some prompt questions:
What did you take away from the meeting?  What did you think could have worked better?  What would you want to be different from meetings going forward? How could a network like this actually help you to achieve your desires?
Please let us know what you’re thinking! We crave your critique. And also, remember that this is meant to be a…forum? caucus? council?…that anyone can call for upcoming actions they think are important, so please get in touch if you think it’s time we had another, and we will discuss with you and help plan out the logistics for the next meeting.
More soon!
Philly Anarchy Jawn
[Notes Document]

Liaisons presents: In the Name of the People

from Facebook

Please join us for a discussion and presentation with Liaisons on their recent book “In the Name of the People”. Authors from Japan, Mexico, Montreal, and New York will be present to discuss the global populist surge.

The upheaval and polarizations caused by populist movements around the world indicates above all the urgency to develop global revolutionary perspectives, and to make the necessary connections to understand and act in the present. Liaisons is a collective of authors from America, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Quebec, Russia, and Spain.

More than a collective, less than a world, Liaisons is an inclination, a tangent, a crossroads of confrontations, links, and encounters. Liaisons does not study the movement of others as an external object (movement history), nor does it project principles of revolution in the context of pure theory (intellectual history). Instead, Liaisons assembles analyses and theorizations directly from the ongoing struggles of affiliated groups, based in different parts of the planet and seeking a common ground. Liaisons has formed through long-term friendships and, in ensemble, its discourses shed light on a horizon of living-in-struggle. The works of Liaisons are not embodiments of a shared doctrine, but rather research on the interconnectivity among singular problems and aspirations, to facilitate a planetary reverberation of militant autonomy. The works are to expand along with the permeation of the collective, and metamorphose amidst the fluctuating situation of the world.

[March 7 from 7:00PM to 9:00PM at Wooden Shoe Books 704 South St]

Trouble at Anarchy Afternoons

from Facebook

We will be screening the new episode of Trouble during Anarchy Afternoons. Anarchy Afternoons have been happening for several weeks offering coffee, tea, snacks, and discussion. It basically serves as open hours for A-space.

This week we will watch this short video put out by Submedia to help direct our discussion. The video is 30 minutes and is also available freely on the internet if you are interested.

Anarchy Afternoons runs from 1-6. The video will be shown around 3pm.

Here is description of this episode:

Cops are the front-line of the state, tasked with defending and reinforcing all illegitimate hierarchies of power. They are the armed enforcers of white supremacy who catch paid vacations for murdering Black children in the streets. They are the knock on the door to evict you from your home. They are the no-knock SWAT Team raid that shoots your dog. They are the corrupt overseers of the ghetto, the barrio, the favela. They are the unmarked cruiser that slows down to harass a sex worker. They are the vicious interrogators of rape survivors. They are the protectors of bulldozers and pipelines. They are the batons, flash bangs and rubber bullets used to break up our demonstrations, and put down our riots. They are the guardians of capital. They are the oppressor. And without exception… they’re all bastards.
As the overlapping and reinforcing internal crises of capitalism continue to pose an existential threat to the very foundations of state power, governments around the world are doubling-down on their internal security. In many cases, this has come in the form of intense militarization and counterinsurgency training… a process that blurs the traditional between domestic policing and military forces. But further equipping the police does nothing to address the root causes of oppression, exploitation and ecological destruction fuelling social revolt… if anything, it just ups the stakes.


[March 1 A-Space Anarchist Community Center 4722 Baltimore Ave]

Anarchy Afternoons

from Facebook

A-space has been an anarchist social center on West Philly’s Baltimore avenue for decades. This weekly event will prioritize the social center by holding regular open hours. Friday afternoons, A-space will be open for people to come in, hang out, and discuss anarchist topics.

At its most basic, Anarchy Afternoons will provide coffee/tea, wifi access, and space for people to read, write, and talk. Anyone is welcome to stop by for a drink and learn more about anarchism and its history. People with flyers for related events or anarchist literature are encouraged to come by to distribute material.*

As Anarchy Afternoons develops, there will be more intentional discussions based on short presentations, readings, and videos.
*pls note: Anarchy Afternoons is an informal social space. It does not aim to form an organization or serve to increase membership in existing ones—groups are encouraged to promote events, but this is not a recruiting center. Anarchy Afternoons hopes to open up discussion space for connecting with each other without the pressure to join a group.

[Fridays 1-6pm at A-space Anarchist Community Center 4722 Baltimore Ave]

Reportback from Yiddish Anarchism conference

from Anarchist News


As one of a pair of Philadelphia anarchists who traveled up to this event together last weekend, I admit that I did not know much about Yiddish anarchism as such before registering us both for this academic conference (subtitled “New Scholarship on a Forgotten Tradition”). I’m also not an academic (at least not officially). What I found there- especially as the day went on- didn’t seem too very anarchist overall.

I kept telling myself that it was the time period’s historically significant preoccupation with work, work relations and wars that was being focused on (the late 1800s through the 1950s, mostly) and asking myself if it’s possible that there just isn’t that much information available that could be considered fairly to be illuminating on Yiddish anarchism in and of itself (though a robust list of materials at the host facility/archive/museum was offered, which I’ve attached). At one point I found myself fidgeting in my chair when questions about left unity were brought up from the audience.

There was a strong start, though. Spencer Sunshine, the conference organizer, made a few salient points. One was that most situations ask how to keep anarchists and radicals out of them. This, instead, was staging a conference in which he thought 70 people would show and there were 1300 responses of interest on Facebook (which is of course an excellent barometer for actual attendance, but sure). On the actual topic, he promised exploration of Yiddish anarchism appropriate for the historically-minded- both for Jewish interest and for New York interest- for the Yiddishist crowd who can read primary sources, for what he called radical rejecting-of-Zionism Jews and for anarchists, who would ask what specifically Jewish anarchy would look like. He endeavored to look for more positives, in his words, citing exhaustion with the default anti-Zionist Jewish identity.

Assertion after assertion after assertion after assertion followed for hours, punctuated with a handful of interesting historical nuggets and a few funny/poignant slides. It was indeed an academic conference. The indeed well-over-capacity crowd seemed to cover a lot of ground, though- there were lots of younger college-age folks, and someone posted on Twitter about saving seats with an Antifascist Action flag draped over them (though I did not see that). We were told in the welcome address that there was an enormous collection of Yiddish pornography in the museum’s archives, which made everyone laugh. Several elders were present, many of whom were attending along with younger people. This is promising, especially if it was more a manifestation of shared interest in anarchism, which clearly has a legacy problem. The median age of attendees seemed to be about 40 or so.

To circle back to Spencer Sunshine, he did also briefly mention the phenomenon of anti-semitism on the left, which in my avowedly not-a-leftist-at-all view is enormous and also poorly addressed. I thought on it more than he talked about it in his introduction, and so I’ll take a swing at it here. A gaping hole in the wonderful world of identity politics and the stifling, stilted, caricature-generating, frankly authoritarian practice of living and organizing by them is the persistent assumption that Jewish people are white and/or white-passing. I would say that I deal with that every day but I avoid, avoid, avoid people who think and act like this and I have for a very long time, preferring to think about whiteness as actively choosing to be on the side of power rather than being committed to interrogating, confronting and unwinding it wherever it may manifest itself, even in polite- and/or polite activist- society. It would have been amazing to see more about of how the milieu, especially on the Lower East Side, in which Yiddish anarchism is said to have been situated for the most part, made this commitment to being free happen in its heyday and since. Forgotten tradition, perhaps; I personally suspect it is alive and well in more places than a less careful and attentive eye may tend to look around. We need much more than war stories, anecdotes and tales of friends of friends to make- and keep- this real.

The programming- which consisted of unrelated 15 to 20 minute presentations by individual, active, paid academic writers and educators glommed into awkward panels that each in turn fielded questions, including an early one about why bother asserting anarchist identity at all if the world we dream of will never come to be. There was also the aforementioned inquiry into the importance of left unity both here and there (meaning in 1920s Russia, the domain of another presenter who made a valiant effort to delineate the revolution she spoke of as being anarchist, not socialist and made a single-line mention of individualist anarchism as a tendency in Russia). The program had a few objectively interesting topics but there didn’t seem to be much of a method to it overall. It seemed like the roster of presenters was drawn from who responded to express interest, and of those, who was available to be there. We were reassured that someone came from Croatia to attend, though. In a frankly concerning exchange, a presenter who teaches in Budapest told us that “people who get caught intentionally got caught,” because “you can just say you’re not an anarchist.” He can take that right back over there, for my part. A biographer and historian of Johann Most, New York-based publisher, atheist firebrand (he wrote “Die Gottespest”- translated as “The God Pestilence”) and frenemy of Emma Goldman- sounds like Most was fun at parties- presented and promoted his book about organizing in beer halls. I didn’t stay to find out what postvernacular meant, because I read it in the conference guide under the subtitle “the politics of flagging with Yiddish.”

It wasn’t clear through the whole day that what was promised- an exploration of what makes things distinctly Yiddish anarchism, as the conference organizer said was division by language, not identity and not Jewish but Yiddish speaking- would be shown to us aside from the work of one presenter who is a historian of Rudolf Rocker and the London East End. Local favorite Voltairine de Cleyre was mentioned as a contributor to working-class organizing that skewed heavily Jewish and/or Yiddish speaking (a theme, this and/or!), and a lot of similar content followed. We were taught that Rose Pesotta, who was a garment workers’ union organizer in New York, traveled to Lodz in the wake of the devastation of war across Europe to find people who asked only for moral support, literature, a printing press and a linotype machine in Polish. Their desire, according to the presenter, was to keep learning by virtue of their not having asked Rose Pesotta for visas or help for themselves. Okay.

Meeting a Yiddishist for the first time was good, though. Anna Elena Torres, whose field of expertise is working-class poetry in Yiddish and history/biography of its writers, including Peretz Markish (1895-1952). She told the story of his life’s work, The Man Of Forty, which was smuggled out of his native land in a potato sack by his wife once he was caught up by the state under suspicion of being its enemy. She gracefully fielded a question about backlash against use of the Yiddish language in publishing, confronting the notion that it was used to get around censorship rather than a manifestation of pride in who one is and how one wishes to express oneself. She also told us she talked to Audrey Goodfriend once, which made me (and I am sure some others there) smile, thinking of the people who knew and loved her. Professor Torres said she asked her why she still engaged with Yiddish in the context of anarchism after long-running newspaper Freie Arbeiter Stimme ended in 1977 and a half (in her words). “What are you, an academic?” she said Audrey Goodfriend responded. “Fortunately,” she told the audience, remembering, “at that time, I was not.”

Legacy: A Martyr’s Ball

from Philly ABC

Inspired by anarchist balls of the beginning of the 20th century, Philly Anarchist Black Cross will be hosting the first annual “Legacy: A Martyr’s Ball.”

Join us for a night of music and fun as we honor freedom fighters of the past while raising funds for ABC’s work to support those imprisoned in liberatory struggles today.

In the first two decades of the 1900s, Russian immigrants organized parties in New York and Chicago to raise funds for comrades in Russian prisons. Hundreds attended these “Prisoner’s Balls,” which sometimes lasted upwards of ten hours. They included games, dancing and costumes, with attendees dressing as prisoners in a show of solidarity, or in satirical costumes of authority figures. Costumes encouraged– there will be a photo booth!

7pm- 11pm

@ Glitter Galaxy (49th and Locust)

~Come for bands~

~and DJs~
Yung Nila
BB Basura

Take a swing at the Rizzo pinata between sets! Limited-edition screenprinted posters will be for sale, along with handcrafted herbal cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks!

$5-10 suggested donation; no one turned away for lack of funds

Anarchy Afternoons: Open Hours at the A-Space

from Instagram

Open hours at the A-Space will be a regular thing Fridays 1pm to 6pm. Go follow them on twitter at or go drop in on a Friday. We’ll pass them some of our zines so you can pick up something to read while you’re there.

[4722 Baltimore Ave

GDC Benefit Show

from Instagram

GDC is hosting a benefit show at the Pharmacy in South Philly next Wednesday (1/23). Come join us for good bands and a good cause. #ForeverAntifascist

[@The Pharmacy

Forum on Organizing & Anti-fascism in Philadelphia

from Philly IWW

An Injury to One is an Injury to All: A Community Forum on Organizing in Philadelphia

Join us for a panel, discussion, and community forum on organizing in Philadelphia.  The national rise of fascism takes its fuel from the same sources of many of the problems facing the Philadelphia community.  Come out to hear from organizers active in Philadelphia and to talk about the issues you see!

Saturday, January 19th
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
1700 South Broad St.
Hosted by: The IWW General Defense Committee (Philadelphia local) and other community organizations
Childcare provided!

J20 Really Really Free Market and Potluck!

from Facebook

Spend J20 in solidarity with your comrades while browsing through stuff and eating food!

Please bring maximum 2 boxes of stuff so we’re not overwhelmed at the end with leftovers to donate

Bring whatever stuff you think someone else might like, food, clothes, movies, weird books, cool cool cool

Vegan and gluten free food will be available (at least in the beginning) It’s a potluck, please bring food to share if you can. Let’s just keep it a dry space please and thank you

There will be an donation bucket at the space to contribute towards Liberation Project’s Emergency Fund for comrades facing state repression after events. If you feel inclined to throw a couple of bucks their way that would be great!

***If you’re part of a group/collective that is interested in tabling the RRFM message us! If anyone wants to play music or perform or something also message us!***

♥ Liberation Project

Silvia Federici book launch & discussion

from Facebook

Join us for a book launch and discussion on Silvia Federici’s two new books Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women & Re-enchanting the World

Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women is feminist call to arms providing new ways of understanding the methods in which women resist victimization and offers a reminder that reconstructing the memory of the past is crucial for the struggles of the present.

Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons centers on women and reproductive work as crucial to both economic survival and the construction of a world free from the hierarchies and divisions of capital.

Silvia Federici is a feminist writer, teacher, and militant. In 1972 she was cofounder of the International Feminist Collective that launched the Wages for Housework campaign internationally. Her previous books include Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation and Revolution at Point Zero. She is a professor emerita at Hofstra University, where she was a social science professor. She worked as a teacher in Nigeria for many years and was also the cofounder of the Committee for Academic Freedom for Africa. Her newest books are Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women and Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons, both published by PM Press in 2018.

[December 12 from 7PM to 9PM at Wooden Shoe Books and Records 704 South St]

New Year’s Card Party: Monday Dec. 3rd 6:30pm

from Philly ABC

The December letter-writing event will be a New Year’s card-writing party for all US-held political prisoners. Rather than focusing on a specific set of prisoners, we will send a card to each of the nearly 60 US-held political prisoners sending them season’s greetings. This is a time we set aside annually to send short messages of solidarity to everyone recognized as being held in prison for their political beliefs or actions. This enables us to drop a line each year to prisoners that we have either already featured more in depth at letter-writing events throughout the year or those we will be doing events for in the future. We will also send birthday greetings to those with birthdays in December: Muhammad Burton (the 15th), Connor Stevens (the 17th) and Casey Brezik (the 30th).

While the circumstances of our comrades’ incarceration and the current political climate leave a lot to be desired, much good has also come out of 2018 including the freedom of Debbie and Mike Africa. Long-term prisoners Herman Bell and Seth Hayes were also release on parole this year to return to their families bringing the US-held political prisoner count to below 60. This event is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to free the remainder, stay strong and stay in the struggle.

Light refreshments will be provided. Please come join in the festivities!

[LAVA 4134 Lancaster Ave]

Anarchism and its Aspirations

from Incite Seminars

Anarchism and its Aspirations.pngIn the best spirit of anarchism, this seminar will strive to create a space of learning together, drawing from our shared understandings and experiences. It will explore anarchism as an ethical compass, which points simultaneously to an overarching critique of all forms of hierarchy and an expansive social vision of what it could mean to be free people in a free society. It will look at how anarchism can offer a way of thinking —a critical or dialectical theory—to find “cracks in the wall.” And from there, crucially, it will dig into anarchism as a living, breathing, prefigurative politics, utilizing illustrations from messy-beautiful experiments in the here and now that at once gesture toward a liberatory, loving world. At its heart, this seminar will revolve around what it means to aspire toward and practice an “everyday anarchism,” where notions such as self-organization and self-governance, mutual aid and solidarity, autonomy and collectivity, dignity and care, to name a few, become commonsensical second nature as well as the basis for new social relations and social organization.

Facilitator: Cindy Milstein. Cindy has long engaged in anarchistic organizing, contemporary social movements, and collective spaces, and is author of Anarchism and Its Aspirations, coauthor of Paths toward Utopia: Graphic Explorations of Everyday Anarchism, and editor of the anthology Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of LiberalismOver the past couple years, they have focused on doing support for the J20 defendants and others facing state repression, co-organizing the Institute for Advanced Troublemaking’s Anarchist Summer School in Worcester, MA, and getting up to all sorts of “friendly anarchist” mischief as a collective member of Solidarity & Defense, Huron Valley in so-called Michigan. Cindy has also toured extensively this past year with their latest edited anthology, Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief, speaking about the intimate connection between structural losses, grief, and resistance while holding space for similar stories, and is honored, called on, to do death doula and grief care. Cindy blogs at Outside the Circle.

Date: Saturday, November 10, 9am-1pm

Cost: Sliding scale: $80/$60/$40 (please scroll down to “Registration”). Please pay what you can afford. (We have expenses to cover.) If you would like to attend but cannot afford it right now, you may request to do so at no cost. Please email us at with your request and a brief explanation of your need.

Reading: We will use the first two essays in Cindy’s Anarchism and its Aspirations as the basis for our discussion. Please purchase the book at Wooden Shoe Books, 704 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, 215-413-0999.

(Click image below for podcast discussion with Cindy)


Monday, Sept 10th: Letter-writing for the Vaughn 17

from Philly ABC

Our monthly letter-writing event is this coming Monday due to the holiday and local actions in support of the 2018 Nationwide Prison Strike. Philly ABC stands in solidarity with all of those striking to demand humane living conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform and the end of modern day slavery. Join us at 6:30pm at LAVA where we will be writing letters to the Vaughn 17, the individuals charged with involvement in the February 2017 uprising at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Delaware.

For more information on the Vaughn 17, check out Live from the Trenches: Letters from the Vaughn 17. Contact information for the Vaughn 17 is found at the end of the pamphlet. We will also be sending birthday greetings to political prisoners with birthdays in September: Brian Vaillancourt (the 5th), Leonard Peltier (the 12th), Abdul Maumin Khabir (the 15th).

[LAVA 4134 Lancaster Ave]

Black August Letter Writing

from Facebook

Philly ABC is doing a Black August Letter writing event on a bit of a different schedule than normal. This letter writing is the last monday of the month instead of the first.

This month we will be writing letters to Black Liberation Army members Sundiata Acoli and Dr. Mutulu Shakur.

A New York Black Panther, Sundiata Acoli endured two years of prison awaiting trial for the Panther 21 Conspiracy Case. He and his comrades were eventually acquitted on all the bogus charges. The case was historic and a classic example of police and government attempting to neutralize organizations by incarcerating their leadership. As a result of this political attack and because of the immense pressure and surveillance from the FBI and local police Sundiata, like many other Panther leaders went “underground.” On May 2, 1973, Sundiata Acoli, Assata Shakur and Zayd Shakur were ambushed and attacked by state troopers on the New Jersey Turnpike. Assata was wounded and Zayd was killed. During the gun battle a state trooper was shot and killed in self defense. Sundiata was tried in an environment of mass hysteria and convicted, although there was no credible evidence that he killed the trooper or had been involved in the shooting. He was sentenced to thirty years. Sundiata was ordered released on parole by a state appeals court in New Jersey in September 2014 when the court ruled the parole board had “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” when it previously denied him parole. The State of New Jersey has appealed the decision. More information:

In 1987 Dr. Mutulu Shakur was sentenced to 60 years imprisonment for his role in the Black Liberation Movement. In March 1982, Dr. Shakur and 10 others were indicted by a federal grand jury under a set of U.S. conspiracy laws called Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) laws. These conspiracy laws were ostensibly developed to aid the government in its prosecution of organized crime figures; however, they have been used with varying degrees of success against revolutionary organizations. Dr. Shakur was charged with conspiracy and participation in the Black Liberation Army, a group that carried out actual and attempted expropriations from several banks. Eight incidents were alleged to have occurred between December 1976 to October 1981. In addition, he was charged with participation in the 1979 prison escape of Assata Shakur, who is now in exile in Cuba. After five years underground, Dr. Shakur was arrested on February 12, 1986. While he was on the street, Dr. Shakur challenged the use of methadone as a tool of recovery for addicts. He believed in natural remedies instead and, based on those beliefs, founded the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America. Many people credit Shakur with saving their lives. Dr. Shakur has worked to free political prisoners and to expose government abuses against political organizers. While in prison, he has struggled to create peace between rival gangs. More information:

we look forward to seeing you there!