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Panels, Roundtables & Workshops

>>  Schedule   |   >>  Presenters & Participants


Market Fundamentalism: Responding to 500 Years of Economic Crisis – The global financial crisis may be five centuries old, but the latest financial debacle and the subsequent rounds of austerity are indicative of a deep systemic crisis. What does today’s spreading economic crisis mean for communities that have been in struggle long before 2008? How are communities and movements around the world responding? What does the nature of this response mean for the kind of world that will emerge?   >> Presenters: Dave Bleakney, Arthur Manuel and Harsha Walia.

A Global Tradition: History of the Commons – Rediscovering and reclaiming historical and existing commons practices is vital to a project of re-claiming the commons. What can we learn from commoning practices of the past?  What commons continue to exist today that can inspire our movements?  The panel will help us to think about how traditions of mutual aid, autonomy, cooperation and resistance to violence are connected to a global history of the commons.   >> Presenters: Glen Coulthard, Silvia Federici and Farah M Shroff.

Radical Squares: Reflections on the Global Indignant Moment – The spreading scope of systemic crisis (economic, ecological, social) has been met with an intensifying circulation of struggles around the world. How can we analyze the public eruption of recent struggles beginning in the Middle East and spreading across the globe? What does this moment mean? What are people indignant about? Is this a moment of both cultural transformation as well political upheaval?   >> Presenters: Nefertiti Altán, George Caffentzis and Ian Caplette.

Plunder of the Planet: the Ecological Crisis –Land and watersheds everywhere are being exploited by industry and market forces, routinely making them unusable for the communities who have long depended on them for their basic needs. What are the decision-making models that support this exploitation? And what kinds of alternative models exist or must we develop to prevent the plunder?   >> Presenters: Claudia Medina, Cease Wyss and Steve Collis.


Beyond “Public” Ownership & Services – People around the world continue to mount inspiring campaigns to demand that state governments provide secure housing, income for the unemployed and community resources like health and water services. By losing the means to provide for themselves communities are forced to rely government programs. But how can we move beyond making demands to develop self-rule and independence? Can communities meet their own basic needs?   >> Participating: George Caffentzis, Bharat Chandramouli, Ivan Drury & Rachel Tutte 

Autonomous Labour Organizing – Organized labour is in crisis. The number of workers protected by union contracts are dwindling fast and unions seem to be unable to effectively respond to the increasingly precarious conditions of work in a profit-based economy. Should we organize outside as well as inside traditional union structures, drawing on the global tradition of worker direct action, migrant worker organizing and worker collectives? What models of organizing will help us move beyond bargaining for wages and labour conditions while continuing to support those struggles?   >> Participating: Dave Bleakney, Susan Lee, Jeff Shantz & Sara Sahulka

Food Sovereignty & Healthy Communities – People are becoming increasingly dependent on food and health delivery models that are commodified and industrialized. Health is vital to any practical politics of the commons. How does food and health activism link common struggles that are often understood to be separate? How can we re-imagine providing our collective food and health needs in a manner that frees us from institutions that are entwined with the food and health industries?   >> Participating: Herb Barbolet, Laurel Irons, Setareh Mohammadi, Dawn Morrison & Mary Williams

Indigenous Self Determination & Solidarity – Indigenous peoples have been at the forefront of the struggle for self-determination in the face of ever-intensifying efforts to commodify and exploit the land. What forms of solidarity offer the most useful support for decolonization struggles? How can solidarity with indigenous communities extend beyond mutual opposition to extractive industries in order prioritize support for indigenous self-determination?   >> Participating: Ian Caplette, Glen Coulthard, Cheyenne La Vallee, Russell Myers, Billie Pierre & Mary Williams

Defending Neighbourhoods – In this workshop, we’ll hear about neighbourhoods – past and present – that have successfully fought gentrification, oppression and displacement. Neighbourhoods are more than just places people live and work, they can be seen as vital collective spaces in which social bonds are built over generations. How do actions taken to defend neighbourhoods contribute to people’s ability to reclaim local power?   >> Participating: Wayde Compton, Harold Lavender, PJ Lilley & Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group

Collective Creativity & Writing –  Hosted by the Press Release Collective

Sex-Gender Liberation – From Vancouver’s downtown eastside to Tahrir Square, struggles for sexual emancipation and gender liberation have innumerable expressions around the world today. Yet from Afghanistan to Alberta’s tar sands we find governments and corporations attempting to harness this political energy to legitimize the concentration profit and power. In what ways does violence and subjection of people based on sexual orientation and gender result from the dominant political and social systems? How does it exist in our collectives spaces? How does sex-gender liberation connect with broader movements for self-determination and survival?   >> Participating: Silvia Federici, Anastasia Gaisenok, Alex Mah, Dana Mohammed Olwan, Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group

Barriers to Collective Spaces – This will be a facilitated workshop-style session oriented to sharing strategies for building collective spaces that are both sustainable and accountable. Some of the challenges of building such democratic spaces were heightened during the “occupy” movements, but they are central to any collective organizing effort. What would safer and more inclusive collective spaces look like, and how can we create them together? How do we ensure safety in mass movements and their spaces of social action?   >> Workshop will be facilitated by Cecily Nicholson

Our Safety & Their Policing – An intensification of policing and militarization has come to define the prevailing definition of safety and security. Yet a string of recent events – from the Vancouver missing and murdered women’s inquiry, to the mass arrests at the G20 in Toronto and on-going incidents of police violence – highlights the extent to which policing is geared towards the protection of property and privilege. Marginalized communities often need protection from the police themselves. What kinds of strategies are communities coming up with to ensure both our own safety and that of the commons?   >> Participating: Dave Bleakney, Mike Ma, Kat Norris & Harsha Walia 

The Media Commons – Today, media and communication projects are erupting in every corner of the world as communities attempt to circumvent top-down control of the circulation of news and ideas. The digital revolution gives rise to new possibilities for global connections even while it raises the possibility of new regimes of exclusion and exploitation. What is the role of communication and media in the struggle to reclaim the global commons? How can these tools be developed so they are collective and accountable?   >> Participating: Dorothy Kidd, Riel Manywounds, Claudia Medina & Isaac Komalathukizhakkathil Oommen

Defending Land, Water & Future Generations – Whether it is coltan mining in the Congo or gold and gas exploration in BC, much of the wealth being extracted to feed today’s growth dependent economy is directly linked to ecological devastation.  Supporting indigenous sovereignty and ecological governance are integral to the struggle against increasingly destructive resource extraction practices supported by the dominant political system. What are our responsibilities to the land, the water and the generations of people who will follow us?  What decision-making models can best help communities protect ecosystems?   >> Participating: Leila Darwish, Ben West, Rita Wong & Stop the Pave

Crossing National Borders in Our Communities – Corporations and governments, through war and occupation, gain control of land, water and resources around the world. In turn, displaced populations are routinely treated as commodities to be bought and sold on a global market for exploitable labour.  How do we create meaningful solidarity between the  international and local struggles against occupation and displacement?  How can the displaced seek just and dignified lives? What is the relationship and responsibility of migrants to the self-determining communities on the territories where they live?   >> Participating: Gil Aguilar, Mike Krebs, Sozan Savehilaghi & Rita Wong

Reclaiming Knowledge – Corporations are increasingly setting their sights on the control of knowledge. Plants, seeds, cures, traditional medicine, digital code, language, ideas and knowledge about the natural and social world accumulated over generations are being pulled into the logic of marketization. But a close look at this history of theft over the last five centuries reveals that it has been met with fierce resistance at every stage. What is happening to the knowledge commons in an economic system built upon steady growth? What kinds of struggles are taking place today to resist the new efforts to commodify knowledge?   >> Participating: David Chariandy, Pat Howard & Heather Morrison 

Creating Spaces for Our Movements – Any project for the commons needs space in which to flourish and connect with other commons projects. Yet we find free and accessible spaces are increasingly difficult to create, especially in places where gentrification has become the dominant model of uneven and highly exclusionary economic growth. What role do community spaces play in supporting social movements? How can we make those spaces both ethical and sustainable?   >> Participating: Kirpa Kaur, Lisa Moore, Imtiaz Popat & the Purple Thistle 

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