Articles

Holograms, or, Learning from 70 Years of Resistance in Myanmar

Nisha Toomey

“Oppose those relying on external elements, acting as stooges, holding negative views. Oppose those jeopardizing stability of the State and progress of the nation. Oppose foreign nations interfering in international affairs of the State. Crush all internal and external elements as the common…

From UTA Number Twenty

History Never Ended: The Far-Right Revival, Trump, and the Anti-fascist Renaissance

Shane Burley

“We’re in a revolution. Now the question is, who’s going to win it?”
John DeBonis1

In the summer of 2017, Rebel Media, a Canadian crowd-funded website politically positioned to the right of Breitbart, posted the article, “Eight-Year Old Drag Queen the Product of Antifa Parenting?”2…

From UTA Number Twenty

Political Policing and the Surveillance Matrix: Reflections for Organizers

Mariful Alam & Matt Cicero

On May 18, 2010, a group calling themselves the fffc1 claimed responsibility for the firebombing of a Royal Bank of Canada (rbc) branch in the Glebe, an upper-middle class neighbourhood in Ottawa. The incident occurred three months after the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and a month prior to the…

From UTA Number Twenty

Astrology for the Movement

Shaunga Tagore

In writing these horoscopes, I was thinking about this podcast I’ve been listening to, “How to Survive the End of the World” by adrienne maree brown and Autumn Brown (writers/artists, sisters, and brilliant, badass, Black babes).1 They speak about grounding our movements in the desire and…

From UTA Number Twenty

Fallout from the June 2009 Protests in Iran: Political Inconsistencies and Pressing Questions

Niloofar Golkar & Shourideh Molavi

The fraudulent election results of June 2009 have now become a social fact in Iran. Fueled by a series of violent clampdowns by the security forces of the Iranian state, the convergence of dissenting elements within the Iranian population led to the development of a national opposition, popularly…

From UTA Number Twelve

Protection Without Police: North American Community Responses to Violence in the 1970s and Today

Victoria Law

After successfully stopping an intruder from raping his sister, Antoine Dodson appeared on the local news warning the community, “obviously we have a rapist in Lincoln Park… hide your kids, hide your wife, hide your husband.” Addressing the assailant, Antoine warned, “we’re looking for you…

From UTA Number Twelve

Blood and Soil: Notes on Lierre Keith, Locavores, and Death Fetishism

John Sanbonmatsu

I

Until recently, the terms of what we might call human species right – our perceived, autogenous R echt to appropriate, exploit, torment, and kill other sentient beings for any and all human purposes, forever – were seen as natural and immutable, and so went unquestioned. In the late…

From UTA Number Twelve

Care as Colonialism: Immigrant Health Workers at Canada’s Frontiers

Baijayanta Mukhopadhyay

A tiny street in the northeastern reaches of Montréal is named for Denis Jamet. His role in Canada’s history is central, although the inconvenience of this truth has now relegated him to an obscure crescent in the city’s suburban periphery. In 1615, he was plucked from the upper echelons of…

From UTA Number Nineteen

Dalit Liberation and the Shadow Cast(e) by Class

Shreya Ghimire

India’s caste system is often incorrectly viewed as a relic of the past. When confronted with evidence of discrimination, harassment, inequality, and violence caused by casteism, both outside observers and upper-caste Indian citizens brush it off as a “backward” practice, subscribed to only…

From UTA Number Nineteen

Fighting Form: Beyond the Party in Kurdistan

Daniel Gutiérrez, Antje Dieterich, Victor Hertzfeld

The monsters that have risen to define the post-crisis epoch are the formidable new authors of unimaginable dread. The current state of politics almost everywhere is defined by the rise of Trumps, Le Pens, and Erdo?ans. Yet since the fissures and fault lines of neoliberalism became visible in the…

From UTA Number Nineteen

Spoiled Opportunities: Insights from the 2015 Strikes at York University and the University of Toronto

Thomas Chiasson-LeBel and Christian Pépin

Employers are clever. They use the fact that public services are increasingly financed through regressive user fees instead of progressive taxation to divide us­—we are either taxpayers wanting more services for every dollar we pay, or workers defending undue corporatist privileges causing…

From UTA Number Nineteen

Autonomist Marxism and Workplace Organizing in Canada in the 1970s

John Huot

Autonomist Marxism, from its headwaters in the early 1960s workers’ struggles and Marxist circles in Italy to multiple, diverse social movement/Marxist/feminist spaces in many countries, has developed into a significant current in the global anti-capitalist, anti-oppression project for social…

From UTA Number Eighteen (published Aug 2016)

The Interpersonal is Political: Lessons from Indigenous Solidarity Organizing: Reflections on Union Activism and Indigenous Solidarity Work

Annelies Cooper

I’m in the Home Hardware in Sioux Lookout, nearly 1,750km from my Toronto home, arguing over a pickaxe. I’m overcome with worry as I stare in disbelief at its price tag and mentally calculate what my group has spent so far in the trip and what is left. While I anxiously negotiate our budgeting,…

From UTA Number Eighteen (published Aug 2016)

Gaza, Lynchings, and the Genocidal Logics of Settler Colonialism

Linda Tabar

How do we make sense of the Israeli massacres in Gaza during the summer of 2014? The searing images of the destruction of Palestinian life and the scenes of an incremental colonial genocide still pulsate, assault, and force one into silence. Words cannot fully describe the aggression that began on…

From UTA Number Seventeen

Energizing the Climate Movement

Sedge Ruiz and Alexander Reid Ross

The news is in, and it’s good (sort of). Although the world is in dire circumstances, an increasing number of mainstream and progressive people are making statements that would have shocked radical environmentalists and anti-capitalists 20 years ago. The UN is calling for a mass transition away…

From UTA Number Seventeen

Students Not Investors: The Human Capital We Don’t Want to Become

Martin Robert

In 2012, Québec’s Liberal government, led by Jean Charest, defended a raise in tuition fees of $1625 over five years as a historic student strike roared across the province. Their arguments were simple: given that higher education almost inevitably leads to better job prospects and higher…

From UTA Number 16

Organizing Against Climate Catastrophe

Paul Messersmith-Glavin

The forces responsible for changing the climate and endangering the future of humanity have names, names including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Saudi Aramco, and Petróleos de Venezuela. They are the predominant names responsible for playing havoc with our collective future. In fact, two-thirds of…

From UTA Number 16

Liberatory Midwifery: Towards People-Powered Health Care

Martha Roberts

Despite a history embedded in social movements, Registered Midwifery is now situated in petty bourgeois professionalism and biomedical practice. Following the medically-unattended home birth of my daughter in 1997, I became involved in the struggle for legalized and publicly-funded midwifery. I…

From UTA Number 16

Commons Against and Beyond Capitalism

George Caffentzis and Silvia Federici

In our view, we cannot simply say “no commons without community.” We must also say “No commons without economy,” in the sense of oikonomia, i.e., the reproduction of human beings within the social and natural household. Hence, reinventing the commons is linked to the reinvention of the…

From UTA Number Fifteen

Reporting From the Inside: Interview with Ali Mustafa

Stefan Christoff

Today, Syria is on the verge of collapse. What began as a grassroots protest movement, inspired by revolutionary action in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere in the Middle East, is now a bloody civil war. As media headlines focus on the armed aspects of the battle against the dictatorship of Bashar…

From UTA Number Fifteen

Take it Back and Keep it: Strikes, Autonomy, and Legacy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico

Andalusia Knoll

For those of us who identify as anti-globalization movement alumni, 1999 was a pivotal year. Following an enormous Reclaim the Streets solidarity action in New York City, I walked into my university cafeteria elated at headlines announcing that over 50,000 people had shut down the WTO summit in…

From UTA Number Fourteen

Networked Leninism?: The Circulation of Capital, Crisis, Struggle, and the Common

Nick Dyer-Witheford

The current moment is one in which both crisis and struggle are beginning to converge in heretofore unforeseen ways across the globe from the Euro-Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East to our very own backyard. New insurgencies spring up, circulate, illuminate, and inspire, but have not…

From UTA Number Thirteen

Breaking Consensus: The War on Terror, Islamophobia, and Social Justice Movements

Sunera Thobani

I

In 2001, less than a month after the September 11 attacks in the United States, I gave a talk opposing the nascent “War on Terror.” In this speech, which I presented at the National ?Conference on Violence Against Women in Ottawa, I argued that the US response of launching ‘America’s new…

From UTA Number Thirteen

The way UTA handles its online content is changing...

Upping the Anti is in the process of making all of our back issues free online. Soon all of our past articles, interviews, reviews and roundtables will be freely available on this website. We will withhold the content from the most recent issue until the next one is out. To read our most recent…

On Defending Raw Nerve Books: Or, The Stuff of Good Feeling

Stacy Douglas

In September 2009, Raw Nerve Books announced that the edited collection Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/Raciality(2008) was out of print. Edited by Adi Kunstman and Esperanza Miyake, the book was one of the first anthologies on queerness and raciality in Britain. The…

From UTA Number Eleven

Organizing in Crisis: Ten Years After the OCAP March on Queen’s Park

John Clarke

On July 21 of this year, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) rallied outside the Ministry of Community and Social Services in Toronto. We were challenging the Ontario government’s brutal elimination of the Special Diet for those who are forced to survive on sub-poverty welfare and…

From UTA Number Eleven

Bringing Together the Grassroots: A Strategy and a Story from Toronto's G20 Protests

Lesley Wood

When the location of the 2010 G8summit was announced, many grassroots organizers in Toronto were wary. Some were concerned that such protests would weaken local organizing and lead to serious repression against the communities of poor people and immigrants we work with. As a member of the Ontario…

From UTA Number Eleven

After December: Spatial Legacies of the 2008 Athens Uprising

Antonis Vradis and Dimitris Dalakoglou

The cold-blooded police killing of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in the Athens neighbourhood of Exarcheia on December 6, 2008 sparked an unprecedented wave of protests and rioting. These protests quickly spread not only throughout Athens and the majority of Greek cities but also beyond the…

From UTA Number Ten

Marxism, Indigenous Struggles, and the Tragedy of “Stagism”

Tom Keefer

The 2008 publication of Frances Widdowson and Albert Howard’s Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation ignited a firestorm of controversy. The Globe and Mail, the National Post, and the Ottawa Citizen all published glowing reviews of the book, while…

From UTA Number Ten

Co-opting Capitalism: Avatar and the Thing Itself

AK Thompson

“Our motto must be: reform of consciousness not through dogmas, but by analyzing the
mystical consciousness that is unintelligible to itself… It will then become
evident that the world has long dreamed of possessing something of which it has
only to be conscious in order to possess it in…

From UTA Number Ten

We are the Student Movement?: Remembering the Rise and Fall of the Canadian Union of Students, 1965-1969

Chris Hurl and Kevin Walby

In Canada today, the terms “student government” and “student movement” are considered synonymous. At least this is how the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) promotes itself. “We are the student movement,” their slogan goes. Yet glossy stock photos of the same old CFS staffers…

From UTA Number Nine

"Where is John Wayne when you need him?": Anti-Native Organizing and the “Caledonia Crisis”

Kate Milley

The Six Nations people of the Grand River Territory have been faced with a steadily increasing level of anti-Native organizing since they began the reclamation of the Douglas Creek Estates housing development in Caledonia in February 2006. This situation returned to the media spotlight in June…

From UTA Number Nine

Shalom-Salaam?: Campus Israel advocacy and the politics of “dialogue”

Ben Saifer

The full PDF version of this article is freely available by clicking here.

In the early months of 2006, Israel advocacy groups at the University of Toronto had a problem on their hands. The previous year, the Arab Students’ Collective had organized a series of educational events under the banner…

From UTA Number Nine

The Three Way Fight Debate

For over a generation, the decline of anti-colonial liberation struggles inspired by socialism has coincided with the rise of new forms of anti-imperialist mobilization in Western Asia. Beginning in 1979 with the Iranian revolution, and continuing in the present with national liberation struggles…

From UTA Number Five

Into a Black Hole: Tar Sands and Oil Production in Western Canada

Macdonald Stainsby

When I moved from British Columbia to Alberta recently, I discovered that the political realities of one province are largely unknown to those living in the other. In BC, oil is seen as a scheme hatched by mad cowboys that has little effect on the mountainous peace of the West coast. Similarly,…

From UTA Number Five

Confronting Apartheid: The BDS Movement in Canada

Kole Kilibarda

Since Palestinian civil society groups launched a call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS)1 against Israel in July 2005, growing networks of grassroots activists in Canada have mobilized behind the campaign. The recent surge in Palestine solidarity work comes at a time when official…

From UTA Number Seven

Declaring the Exception: Direct Action, Six Nations, and the Struggle in Brantford

Tom Keefer

In September of 2008 three distinct political moments highlighted the perils and possibilities of the ongoing struggle of the Six Nations (Haudenosaunee) people in southern Ontario. On the morning of Labour Day, Brantford police moved in to make three arrests at a building site where Six Nations…

From UTA Number Seven

“Bring on the bulldozers and let’s plant trees”: The Story of Labour Zionism

Nava EtShalom and Matthew N. Lyons

In Philadelphia on May 18, 2008, the Jewish Federation hosted its annual Israel Day Parade. Thousands of youth and adults carried banners and sang songs to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. A small contingent of anti-Zionist Jews dressed in black confronted the…

From UTA Number Seven

They’re Clear Cutting Our Way of Life: Algonquins Defend the Forest

Shiri Pasternak

One of the most dangerous First Nations in Canada is a small community of around 250 Algonquins living in rural Québec. The threat they pose is so grave that the Canadian government has repeatedly intervened in their customary governance laws to put minority community factions in power. The…

From UTA Number Eight

Knowing the Terrain: BDS in the Wake of the Gaza Onslaught

Shourideh Molavi

In a cartoon by Brazillian artist Carlos Latuff an Israeli Apache helicopter fires a rocket directly at a Palestinian child. Wearing a kaffaiyah and holding a teddy bear, the child stands alone, the word “Gaza” narrowing at his bare feet. A concrete wall with watchtowers marks the horizon, and…

From UTA Number Eight

Going For Broke: OCAP and the Economic Crisis

John Clarke

For nearly two decades, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) has been working to mobilize resistance in some of Toronto’s poorest communities. These years have been marked by a concerted drive by capitalist governments at every level to cut social programs and to transfer wealth from the…

From UTA Number Eight

The Green Scare is Everywhere: The Importance of Cross-Movement Solidarity

Jeff Monaghan and Kevin Walby

The burgeoning “War on Terror” is facilitating the re-emergence of “terrorism” as a legal and discursive framework for classifying and suppressing political radicalism. Despite the jingoism, xenophobia, and racism of the “War on Terror,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation has…

From UTA Number Six

Accounting for the Student Movement in Canada: A response to Caelie Frampton

Eric Newstadt

Although we should be wary of idealizing the past and ignoring the extent to which the modern university has always been linked to corporate interests, the current state of North American campuses is alarming and calls for monumental change. We are witnessing a near total erosion of the spaces that…

From UTA Number Six

Giving Form to a Stampede: The First Two Years of the New Students for a Democratic Society

Joshua Kahn Russell and Brian Kelly

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” – Sun Tzu

Recently, at a party, one of us was introduced as an organizer involved in launching the “new” Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The person raised her eyebrows. “I don’t know anything about the new SDS,” she said,…

From UTA Number Six

The Politics of Solidarity: Six Nations, Leadership, and the Settler Left

Tom Keefer

This article will address some issues which have arisen in the context of non-native activists doing solidarity work with the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) people of the Grand River Territory who recently reclaimed land near Caledonia, Ontario.1 I will begin by discussing the problems with how many…

From UTA Number Four

Possible Worlds: Dispatches from the World Social Forum

Carmelle Wolfson & Lesley Wood

Since its founding in 2001, the World Social Forum (WSF) has gained international prominence as a space for various activists and NGOs to converge, meet, discuss, and strategize against globalization and imperialism. Organized to counter the annual World Economic Forum, the WSF has grown both in…

From UTA Number Four

Walking Away from Failure: A Response to AK Thompson (and Others)

Richard JF Day

When one writes a book, one hopes that it will be read. And when a book is read, one hopes that it will be read well - heartily, carefully, honestly, provocatively. I can say that I’m quite happy that Gramsci Is Dead (Between the Lines, 2006) has been read, and that it has generally been read…

From UTA Number Four

How To Keep On Keeping On: Sustaining Ourselves in Community Organizing and Social Justice Struggles

Jen Plyler

In the context of everyday injustices like poverty, racism, heterosexism, colonialism and ableism, community organizing is often carried out with a strong sense of urgency. While this urgency is understandable given the intense struggle for basic survival on the part of those living on the streets,…

From UTA Number Three

Enter the Intergalactic: The Zapatistas’ Sixth Declaration in the US and the World

RJ Maccani

The Zapatistas, an army of indigenous Mayans and their support communities in Mexico’s southernmost state of Chiapas, have had a profound influence on people’s movements around the world. From their armed uprising on New Year’s Day in 1994 to their hasty transition less than two weeks later…

From UTA Number Three

Adventures in Colonialism: Canadian Complicity in the Occupation of Haiti

Isabel MacDonald

Last December, I visited Annette “So Ann” Auguste, a popular Haitian folksinger, Lavalas activist, grandmother, adult educator – and, since her violent May 2004 arrest at the hands of US Marines1 – one of Haiti’s most high-profile political prisoners. Even in the overcrowded prison where…

From UTA Number Three

Making Friends with Failure: A Critical Response to Richard Day’s Gramsci Is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements

AK Thompson

It’s nice to have a victory every once in a while. As someone who lived through the rise and fall of militant action on this continent during the last dozen years, I should know. These days, there’s something demoralizing and vaguely absurd about our habits. We issue urgent call-outs for…

From UTA Number Three

Warrior Societies in Contemporary Indigenous Communities

by Taiaiake Alfred and Lana Lowe

To explore the history and impacts of indigenous revolutionary organizing in Canada, we are pleased to publish excerpts from Taiaiake Alfred and Lana Lowe’s paper “Warrior Societies in Contemporary Indigenous Communities”.  The excerpts we have chosen discuss history and spiritual aspects of…

From UTA Number Two

Marxism, Anarchism, & the Genealogy of “Socialism From Below”

by Tom Keefer

It is Marxism itself, in what was the best and most revolutionary in it, namely its pitiless denunciations of hollow phrases and ideologies and its insistence on permanent self-criticism, which compels us to take stock of what Marxism has become in real life.

-Cornelius Castoriadis, The Fate of…

From UTA Number Two

Sex, Race and Class

Selma James

Selma James is an organizer with the Crossroads Women’s Centre in London, England. Her activism reaches back to the 1950s when she participated in the Johnson-Forest Tendency, (along with CLR James, Raya Dunayevskaya, Marty Glaberman and Grace Lee Boggs. She is well known for critiquing the…

From UTA Number One

Anti-Globalization and “Diversity of Tactics”

Chris Hurl

Introduction

The recent wave of protests that have swept across the world under the banner of “anti-globalization” have recaptured the left’s imagination, shattering the illusions of inevitability cast by neo-liberal magicians. The images and slogans from Seattle, Québec City, Prague, and…

From UTA Number One

The Politics of Revolution: Learning from Autonomist Marxism

Gary Kinsman

Introduction: Not All Power to Capital

Autonomist Marxism can be seen as a form of Marxism that focuses on developing working class autonomy and power in a capitalist society that is constituted by and through class struggle. One of the strengths of autonomist Marxism is its critique of political…

From UTA Number One