Elite Capture, Identity Politics, and Solidarity with Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò

from Making Worlds Books

A book launch and discussion on Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò’s Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else)

Cosponsored by the Paul Robeson House & Museum

“Identity politics” is everywhere, polarizing discourse from the campaign trail to the classroom and amplifying antagonisms in the media, both online and off. But the compulsively referenced phrase bears little resemblance to the concept as first introduced by the radical Black feminist Combahee River Collective. While the Collective articulated a political viewpoint grounded in their own position as Black lesbians with the explicit aim of building solidarity across lines of difference, identity politics is now frequently weaponized as a means of closing ranks around ever-narrower conceptions of group interests.

But the trouble, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò deftly argues, is not with identity politics itself. Through a substantive engagement with the global Black radical tradition and a critical understanding of racial capitalism, Táíwò identifies the process by which a radical concept can be stripped of its political substance and liberatory potential by becoming the victim of elite capture—deployed by political, social, and economic elites in the service of their own interests.

Táíwò’s crucial intervention both elucidates this complex process and helps us move beyond a binary of “class” vs. “race.” By rejecting elitist identity politics in favor of a constructive politics of radical solidarity, he advances the possibility of organizing across our differences in the urgent struggle for a better world.

Advanced registration required, click here.

Friday, June 17, 2022
4:00 PM 5:30 PM
Making Worlds Bookstore & Social Center 210 South 45th Street Philadelphia, PA, 19104 United States (map)

What it means to dismantle and abolish the War on Terror: A dialogue

from Making Worlds Books

It’s been two decades since the 9/11 attacks and the onset of the War on Terror. Addressing its catastrophic impact, Dr. Maha Hilal will share her insights on the last twenty years of the War on Terror including the role of official narrative in justifying the creation of a sprawling apparatus of state violence rooted in Islamophobia and in addition to outlining just how vast the War on Terror’s apparatus is and has become. Centering the War on Terror’s impact on Muslims and Muslim Americans, Dr. Hilal will also shed light on how some have internalized oppression, perpetuated collective responsibility, and how the lived experiences of Muslim Americans reflect what it means to live as part of a “suspect” community.

In dialogue together, Maha Hilal and Nazia Kazi will reflect on what it means to dismantle and abolish the War on Terror.

Dr. Maha Hilal is a researcher and writer on institutionalized Islamophobia and author of the book Innocent Until Proven Muslim: Islamophobia, the War on Terror, and the Muslim Experience Since 9/11. Her writings have appeared in Vox, Al Jazeera, Middle East Eye, Newsweek, Business Insider, Truthout, and Vox among others. She is Co-founder of Justice for Muslims Collective and was previously the inaugural Michael Ratner Middle East Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hilal is also an organizer with Witness Against Torture and a Council member of the School of the Americas Watch. She earned her doctorate in May 2014 from the Department of Justice, Law and Society at American University in Washington, D.C. She received her Master’s Degree in Counseling and her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Nazia Kazi is an anthropologist and author of Islamophobia, Race, and Global Politics, out now in an expanded second edition. The book is required reading in a number of undergraduate classes across the US. Her work considers the connections between American racism, Islamophobia, and the War on Terror. She is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stockton University, where she is also an officer in the union, SFT2275. Her work has appeared on The Nib, Al Jazeera, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She has also been a guest on Chris Hedges’ program On Contact and on The Socialist Program with Brian Becker.

Cosponsored by the Philly Muslim Bail Fund.

Advance registration is requested.

[May 12 6:00 PM 7:30 PM 210 South 45th Street]

Settler Memory: The Disavowal of Indigeneity and the Politics of Race

from Making World Books

Faint traces of Indigenous people and their histories abound in American media, memory, and myths. Indigeneity often remains absent or invisible, however, especially in contemporary political and intellectual discourse about white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and racism in general. In this ambitious new book, Kevin Bruyneel confronts the chronic displacement of Indigeneity in the politics and discourse around race in American political theory and culture, arguing that the ongoing influence of settler-colonialism has undermined efforts to understand Indigenous politics while also hindering conversation around race itself.

By reexamining major episodes, texts, writers, and memories of the political past from the seventeenth century to the present, Bruyneel reveals the power of settler memory at work in the persistent disavowal of Indigeneity. He also shows how Indigenous and Black intellectuals have understood ties between racism and white settler memory, even as the settler dimensions of whiteness are frequently erased in our discourse about race, whether in conflicts over Indian mascotry or the white nationalist underpinnings of Trumpism.

Envisioning a new political future, Bruyneel challenges readers to refuse settler memory and consider a third reconstruction that can meaningfully link antiracism and anticolonialism.

After a short lecture, Kevin Bruyneel will be in conversation with Chenjerai Kumanyika and Jaskiran Dhillon.

Advance registration is requested.

[May 7 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM 210 South 45th Street]

Diaries of a Terrorist: Poetry and Abolition with Christopher Soto and others

from Making World Books

A luminous poetry reading demanding the abolition of police & prisons—with Christopher Soto, Airea D Mathews, and Denice Frohman.

This debut poetry collection demands the abolition of policing and human caging. In Diaries of a Terrorist, Christopher Soto uses the “we” pronoun to emphasize that police violence happens not only to individuals, but to whole communities. His poetics open the imagination towards possibilities of existence beyond the status quo. Soto asks, “Who do we call terrorist—and why”? These political surrealist poems shift between gut-wrenching vulnerability, laugh-aloud humor, and unapologetic queer punk raunchiness. Diaries of a Terrorist is groundbreaking in its ability to speak—from a local to a global scale—about one of the most important issues of our time.

Christopher Soto will be joined for a reading by Airea D Matthews, and Denice Frohman for the launch of their debut poetry collection, which demands the abolition of policing and human caging.

Cohosted by our friends at Scalawag Magazine.

Advance registration is requested.

[May  5 6:00 PM 7:30 PM 210 South 45th Street]

Fight Like Hell with Kim Kelly

from Making Worlds Books

Join Kim Kelly in the launch of Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor

In FIGHT LIKE HELL, Kim Kelly tells a definitive history of the labor movement and the people who risked everything to win fair wages, better working conditions, disability protections, and an eight-hour workday. That history is a 1972 clothing company strike that saw 4,000 Chicana laborers start a boycott that swept the nation. It is Ida Mae Stull’s 1934 demand for the right to work in an Ohio coal mine alongside the men, and the enslaved Black women before her who weren’t given a choice. It’s Dorothy Lee Bolden’s 1960s rise from domestic workers’ union founder to White House anti-segregationist. It’s Mother Jones on the picket lines, and her militant battles against the ravages of capitalism. It’s the flight attendants’ that pushed to root out sexual assault in the skies. It’s the incarcerated workers organizing prison strikes for basic rights, and the sex workers building collective power outside the law. And it is Bayard Rustin, a queer civil rights pioneer who helped organize Dr. King’s March on Washington and help align the two movements.

Stops here include the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (immigrant, women laborers); Mississippi’s first successful unionization effort, the Washerwomen of Jackson, MS (post-war freedwomen); Latinx and Asian-American victories like the Delano Grape Strike; the influence of the United Auto Workers’ Arab Workers Caucus in the 1970s, up through queer and trans rights protections earned through labor action. FIGHT LIKE HELL concludes in Bessemer, AL where Kelly has been stationed to report on the ongoing efforts to unionize an Amazon warehouse for the very first time.

As America grapples with the unfinished business of emancipation, the New Deal, and Johnson’s Great Society, FIGHT LIKE HELL offers a transportive look at the forgotten heroes who’ve sacrificed to make good on the nation’s promises. Kim Kelly’s publishing debut is both an inspiring read and a vital contribution to American history.

Advance registration required so we can gather safely amidst the ongoing COVID pandemic.

[April 29, 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM Making Worlds Bookstore & Social Center 210 South 45th Street]

Practicing Cooperation: Mutual Aid Beyond Capitalism

from Making Worlds Books

Providing a new conceptual framework for cooperation as a form of social practice, Practicing Cooperation describes and critiques three U.S.-based cooperatives: a pair of co-op grocers in Philadelphia, each adjusting to recent growth and renewal; a federation of two hundred low-cost community acupuncture clinics throughout the United States, banded together as a cooperative of practitioners and patients; and a collectively managed Philadelphia experimental dance company, founded in the early 1990s and still going strong.

Andrew Zitcer will be in conversation with Esteban Kelly to illuminate the range of activities that make contemporary cooperatives successful: dedicated practitioners, a commitment to inclusion, and ongoing critical reflection. The conversation will highlight how economic and social cooperation can be examined, critiqued, and implemented on multiple scales in order to combat the pervasiveness of competitive individualism.

“From the crises of racial inequity and capitalism that inspired the Black Lives Matter movement and the Green New Deal to the coronavirus pandemic, stories of mutual aid have shown that, though cooperation is variegated and ever changing, it is also a form of economic solidarity that can help weather contemporary social and economic crises. Addressing this theme, Practicing Cooperation delivers a trenchant and timely argument that the way to a more just and equitable society lies in the widespread adoption of cooperative practices. But what renders cooperation ethical, effective, and sustainable?

Providing a new conceptual framework for cooperation as a form of social practice, Practicing Cooperation describes and critiques three U.S.-based cooperatives: a pair of co-op grocers in Philadelphia, each adjusting to recent growth and renewal; a federation of two hundred low-cost community acupuncture clinics throughout the United States, banded together as a cooperative of practitioners and patients; and a collectively managed Philadelphia experimental dance company, founded in the early 1990s and still going strong. Through these case studies, Andrew Zitcer illuminates the range of activities that make contemporary cooperatives successful: dedicated practitioners, a commitment to inclusion, and ongoing critical reflection. He asserts that economic and social cooperation must be examined, critiqued, and implemented on multiple scales if it is to combat the pervasiveness of competitive individualism.

Practicing Cooperation is grounded in the voices of practitioners, and the result is a clear-eyed look at the lived experience of cooperators from different parts of the economy and a guidebook for people on the potential of this way of life for the pursuit of justice and fairness.”

[April 23 5pm – 6:30pm at Making Worlds Books 410 South 45th Street]

International Exchange on Housing Justice: Learning from LA PAH (Spain)

from Making World Books

How should we welcome people at assemblies? How should an assembly-based, decentralized movement be organized? How can we carry out non-violent direct action? How should we negotiate with others? How can we change narratives and perceptions? How can we harness the power of the streets? Many move­ments answer these questions over time through trial and error, but PAH aims to contribute to the debate by reflecting on its own experiences and presenting them in this manual. We take a step back and analyze the practices that have allowed our movement to overcome a series of obstacles and have a far-reaching impact on Spanish society, both materially and ideologically.

The Plataforma de Afectadas por la Hipoteca (PAH) (the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages) in particular has instigated a paradigm shift in terms of viewing housing as an inalienable human right and demonstrated the strength of collective action in the pursuit of greater social justice. It has shown that there are ways of making the personal political and transforming struggles based initially on personal dramas into large, organized movements that challenge the authorities and wider society.

Members of the PAH will be here to exchange critical lessons with housing activists based on the recently produced La PAH: A Handbook.This manual describes the essence of PAH and pays tribute to the platform’s history and efforts to obtain decent housing for all, targeting an international audi­ence that views its achievements as a ray of hope.

[April 16 3:00 PM 4:30 PM Making Worlds Bookstore & Social Center 210 South 45th Street]

Assata Taught Me—Book launch with Donna Murch

from Making Worlds Books

Join us for a book launch and discussion of Assata Taught Me with author Donna Murch, Koren Martin, and Christina Jackson. Black Panther and Cuban exile Assata Shakur has inspired generations of radical protest, including the contemporary movement for Black lives. Drawing its title from one of America’s foremost revolutionaries, this collection of thought-provoking essays by award-winning Panther scholar Donna Murch explores how social protest is challenging our current system of state violence and mass incarceration.

Murch exposes the devastating consequences of overlapping punishment campaigns against gangs, drugs, and crime on poor and working-class populations of color. Through largely hidden channels, these punishment campaigns generate enormous revenues for the state. Under such conditions, organized resistance to the advancing tide of state violence and mass incarceration has proven difficult.

This timely and urgent book shows how a youth-led political movement has emerged in recent years to challenge the bipartisan consensus on punishment and looks to the future through a redistributive, queer, and feminist lens. Murch frames the contemporary movement in relation to earlier struggles for Black Liberation, while excavating the origins of mass incarceration and the political economy that drives it.

Donna will be in conversation with Koren Martin and Christina Jackson.

[April 9 2022, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM at Making Worlds Bookstore & Social Center 210 South 45th Street]

Community Seminar: Thinking through and against Microfascism

from Making Worlds Books

How do we develop antifascist praxis when the enemy does not appear in organized, recognizable forms?

How deeply rooted in Western culture and subjectivity is fascism? How has gender been both recognized and diminished in analyses of contemporary fascist resurgences?

This seminar begins to answer these questions and others through a collective reading group facilitated by the author of On Microfascism: Gender, War, Death. Over the course of four Fridays, we will meet and work through the analytic and cultural underpinnings of “recent” fascism.

Taking a concept scattered across the writings of Felix Guattari, On Microfascism traces the long history of the cultural production of fascist subjectivity as well as its most contemporary forms. Before fully formed fascism is possible (as a political party, state form, even social movement), its emergent qualities are patterned in culture. From the Book of Genesis to contemporary gamer squads, microfascism appears in initiation rites old and new, via Proud Boys and Boogaloo Boys as updated archaic warrior societies, and in necropolitical anti-masking protestors.The objective of the seminar is to help us perceive tendencies that can illuminate emergent fascist moments as well as the state-centered attempts to understand them, in the hopes of preventing both of these wars of restoration.

Starting with the concept of “microfascism” we will elaborate the archaic and hypercontemporary dimensions of fascist selfhood. Each week will take up a chapter or two along with some key background readings that helped form the ideas in that chapter. If schedules permit, we will also invite authors to appear virtually for conversation.

In Week 1, we will cover some basics in defining fascism, the importance of culture, and the centrality of gender. We will explore the key concept of “microfascism” in this light.

In Week 2: Sovereignty and Gender, we will explore a foundational concept of selfhood in Western thought and culture, focusing on a process of self-created selfhood, or “autogenetic sovereignty.” We then move to mapping some important work on 21st century misogyny (especially online) as well as a longer view of patriarchy as a gendered social order based on this autogenesis.

In Week 3: War and Death, we combine two chapters to explore how the gendered sovereign emerges from war (specifically a war on women), on initiation rites, and on patriarchal pacts as war bands (Mannerbund). Next we take up the concept of necropolitics from Achille Mbembe by situating it a long history of patriarchy as well as in contemporary events like mass shooters and homi-suicidal tendencies.

After three weeks of mapping out the variety of forms of fascism today, the final Week 4: Micro-Antifascism meeting lays out what it might mean to think of being anti-microfascist or developing a type of micro-antifascism. While reading about theories and practical cases will open this session, participants are especially encouraged to bring in experiences and examples of what such anti-microfascist praxis could look like.

*

Important Information:

Seminars meet on Fridays from 4pm to 6pm, March 25, April 1, April 8, and April 15. The community seminar is free and open to all levels. There is limited capacity of 15 participants and advance registration is required. We prefer that participants attend all four sessions. Registrants will need a copy of On Microfascism, which will be available on special discount. Other reading materials will be provided for free.

Among the topics covered:

  • fascism beyond nationalism

  • defining fascism outside of state or organizational thought.

  • understanding of fascist cultural theory (traditionalism when it comes to war and masculinity)

  • the central role of gender, specifically the formation of masculinity through a war on women

  • patriarchy as pacts, packs and squads.

  • an intimate relation to death, even a love for it.

  • necropolitics in the gendered register

  • the role of digital culture, both forms (networked) and content (images, humor, memes).

  • recent developments in antifascist thinking and action

  • abolition versus eliminationism

Week 1: Intro | This week we will cover some basics in defining fascism, the importance of culture, and the centrality of gender. We will explore the key concept of “microfascism” in this light.

Week 2: Sovereignty and Gender | This week we will explore a foundational concept of selfhood in Western thought and culture, focusing on a process of self-created selfhood, or “autogenetic sovereignty.” We then move to mapping some important work on 21st century misogyny (especially online) as well as a longer view of patriarchy as a gendered social order based on this autogenesis.

Week 3: War and Death | This week we combine two chapters to explore how the gendered sovereign emerges from war (specifically a war on women), on initiation rites, and on patriarchal pacts as war bands (Mannerbund). Next we take up the concept of necropolitics from Achille Mbembe by situating it a long history of patriarchy as well as in contemporary events like mass shooters and homi-suicidal tendencies.

Week 4: Micro-Antifascism | After three weeks of mapping out the variety of forms of fascism today, this final meeting lays out what it might mean to think of being anti-microfascist or developing a type of micro-antifascism. While reading about theories and practical cases will open this session, participants are especially encouraged to bring in experiences and examples of what such anti-microfascist praxis could look like.

ABOUT THE SEMINAR LEADER

Jack Z. Bratich is professor of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University. He has written dozens of articles, book chapters, and essays about the intersection of popular culture and political culture. He has been a zine librarian at ABC No Rio in New York City and now sits as a member of its advisory board member. He previously co-organized and cotaught (with Stevphen Shukaitis) two seminars at Bluestockings Bookstore: “Strategies of Refusal: Explorations in Autonomist Marxism” and “Affective Politics and the Imagination of Everyday Resistance”

Making Worlds Community Teach-in and Discussion: The Farmers Protests and Peoples Movements in India

from Making Worlds Books

Advance registration required. Please sign up here.

Please join us for a discussion of the Indian farmers’ protest, a movement that has created a worldwide audience and rekindled the hope for mass mobilization t to bring about progressive change in the agrarian sector in India. Farmers hailed victorious in December of 2020 after protesting at the borders of the national capital for more than a year, resisting three farm laws passed by the Indian government. The aesthetic and strategy this movement displayed was unique and captured the attention of media both nationally and globally. Mobile trolley homes, free medical camps, 24-hour langars (a Sikh tradition to provide free meals to everyone), libraries at every kilometer, film screenings, musical evenings, open discussion sessions were all part of the movement. People across caste, class, gender, region and religion boundaries participated in this resistance effort and the Indian diaspora played an important role in making this movement global.

The recent Indian farmers protest has been hailed as the largest peoples movement in the history of the country. After the right-wing BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government passed three pro-corporate farm laws, many farmers of Punjab camped out at the borders of the national capital for more than a year in protest. In solidarity with trade unions and workers, the farmers articulated various demands and successfully forced the government to rescind the laws in December 2021. This historic protest created a worldwide audience and rekindled the hope for mass movements to bring about meaningful change in the Indian agrarian sector. The protests have shined a light on the intersections between corporate agriculture in India and global capitalism. Crucially, women were at the forefront of the movement. Their involvement expanded the scope of the movement and brought questions of gender, patriarchy, and the caste system to the fore.

Navkiran Natt joined this movement from day one, witnessing and participating in all of the movement up-close. In this talk, she will share the story of this historic movement. Navkiran Natt is a student-youth activist and film/media researcher who works between Punjab and Delhi, India. She is trained as a dentist and later completed her Masters in Film Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi. She works on transnational Panjabi migration and its reflections in Punjabi popular culture and media. Her primary areas of interest are media and politics, visual culture of new media, transnational migration, popular culture, caste and gender. She did a podcast series on the Green Revolution’s health implications in Punjab with the Goethe Institute, New Delhi. Currently, she is co-editor of Trolley Times, a newsletter that started from India’s ongoing farmers’ movement.

Event cosponsored by Philly Socialists and Philly DSA.

[March 18 7pm – 8:30pm at Making Worlds Books 410 South 45th Street]

Making Worlds Book Launch and Discussion: Against Microfascism

from Instagram

We are excited to host a lively presentation of “On Microfascism,” a book that inspires dialogue on antifascist and abolitionist perspectives on the antifascist culture we’re creating for a dignified and safe world for all—and the cultural dimensions of patriarchy, white supremacy, and nationalism that makes fascism part of every fight we have to confront in order to live. With Jack Z. Bratich in conversation with Victoria Law.
Jack Z. Bratich is professor in the Journalism and Media Studies Department at Rutgers University. In addition to On Microfascism, he is also author of Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture and coeditor of Foucault, Cultural Studies, and Governmentality.
Victoria Law is a freelance journalist who focuses on the intersections of incarceration, gender and resistance. She is the author of Prisons Make Us Safer: And 20 Other Myths about Mass Incarceration and regularly covers prison issues for Truthout and other outlets. Her latest book, Prison By Any Other Name, cowritten with Maya Schenwar, critically examines proposed “alternatives” to incarceration and explores creative and far-reaching solutions to truly end mass incarceration.
Advanced Registration Required: https://bit.ly/3KvNEdO
[March 19, 6pm at 410 South 45th Street]

Making Worlds Seminar: Abolitionist Alternatives to Police and Prisons By Any Other Name

from Instagram

Please join us on Friday, March 18th at Making Worlds for a community seminar on abolitionist alternatives to police and prison, and how we can shift narratives beyond reforms, with author and activist Victoria Law. We will explore histories and examples of police and prison narratives that use reforms to extend their powers to punish, and to subject more and more people to their control.

Victoria is author and co-author of two recent books that we will be using as the basis of our seminar, Prisons Make Us Safer: And 20 Other Myths about Mass Incarceration and Prison By Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms.

Advance registration required at: https://bit.ly/3MBKmY1

[March 18 4-6pm at 410 South 45th Street]