Afghanistan has been a primary focus of the so called War on Terror since the events of September 11th and as a result, the already fractured society has been pushed even deeper into chaos, destruction and violence
writes Kim C
Despite being held on a Friday night, a reasonable turnout showed up to listen to Japanese anarchist activists, Sabu Kohso and Go Hirasawa, here as part of a speaking tour, discuss the current political situation in Japan, with topics like anti-Japanese imperialism, article-9, Japanese free-trade agreements, as well as, organizational efforts around the upcoming G8 meeting near Lake Toya.
As that post-Seattle wave of protest fades into memory and piss poor re-enactments, one of it's lasting cultural hangovers is the activist flick. One only has to think of the cinematic vision entailed in The Corporation's systemic critique of the profit motive to see the activist flick genre done well, working as both a propagandizing tool for the politics of horizontal practice adopted by social movements in countries as diverse as Bolivia and India it also incubated utopian hopes for the west.
Perhaps one of the best known anarchists alive today, a household name even for many outside anarchist 'circles', Noam Chomsky has been described as, in an oft-quoted line from the New York Times, “arguably the most important intellectual alive.” On November 9, 2007, he spoke to a crowd of over 700 in the Burton Auditorium at York University in Toronto via live video transmission. He had originally planned to speak in person, but according to organizer, Harshal Dave, had to cancel because of his wife - Carol Shatz 's current medical condition. Chomsky lectured about various topics, including: biofuels as energy substitutes, genetic modification and civilian nuclear agreements. The talk was followed by a question and answer session.
In her racy and humbly excited nature Cindy invites the audience into her idea of a better world. As she talks, describing hers and other’s projects, one really does begin to imagine the possibilities. Ideas of a better, richer, more fulfilling life, dedicated to actively and simultaneously deconstructing the oppressive systems of he current world and replacing them with healthier, anarchistic ones.
“Education is about empowering people in a disempowering time”- Cindy Milstein
In a talk entitled “Education for Freedom”, part of the unSchooling Oppression conference, Cindy Milstein builds a model of anarchism through education and education through anarchism. Personally, a deep proponent and practitioner of both, she comes from a self-made community, operating without hierarchal structures and concentrating on continual learning and action.
Speaking about the impacts on societies and individuals of the forced schooling system, John Taylor Gatto propelled forward the momentum gained by the unSchooling Oppression conference.
Following in the lead of David F. Noble who opened the conference Monday night, Gatto too believes there are major problems within the educational system. Problems solvable only by deschooling the self. Unlike Noble though, Gatto does not believe in challenging and infiltrating the system but rather in taking it down. In the context of rule-breaking though, Gatto is quite similar to Noble, and like him, professes self-determination, autonomy, and the fight against authority. ‘You cannot replace one educational system with another system’ he says, explaining that education is always a custom-made job that starts at self-examination.
By Lia Tarachansky
Kicking off the unSchooling Oppression conference, David F. Noble filled the Ottawa Public Library's auditorium. Not a surprise from such a high caliber activist and speaker. With an academic career spanning over three decades, he has gained a wide range of experience with the higher education system.
Being let go from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), fired from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, and denied tenure at the Simon Fraser University, his defiance of University systems is deeply rooted. In spite, he is currently a tenured professor at York University and has a long record of publication.
Shortly describing his experiences in this talk he has built a colourful picture of a man bent on getting education and leaving schooling far behind. Told with a grain of salt from a tireless activist, his talk was never lacking in humor or insight.