Introduction

Aidan Conway, Erin Gray, Tom Keefer and Sharmeen Khan

Welcome to the second issue of Upping the Anti. We would like to start by letting you know that we have made new additions to the editorial crew. Erin Gray of Toronto has joined our editorial collective, and Dave Mitchell of Regina has joined us in the capacity of reviews editor. We are excited to see our project grow and develop. In this issue we again provide you with a collection of writings and interviews addressing a wide variety of questions and debates confronting activists on the left in Canada. We begin this issue with responses from a number of readers to our first issue. We welcome this kind of feedback and encourage you to join in the discussions and respond to the contributions of others in the pages of Upping the Anti.

Our editorial, the space in which we try to develop a common political perspective for the journal, takes up the question of the politics of “anti-oppression” within the Canadian context, and outlines some of our thoughts on the historical development of this perspective. In our next two issues we will take up and examine the politics of “anti-capitalism” and “anti-imperialism” as part of our project of critiquing and developing our analysis of what we call the “three antis.”

In this issue we run three different sets of interviews with radical theorists and organizers. We talk about questions of class and power with Himani Bannerji, a Marxist and anti-racist feminist who has made important contributions to understanding and transforming the way we look at problems of oppression and domination. We also conclude our interview with Grace Lee Boggs, a Detroit community activist who offers her reflections on a lifetime of political organizing. Our third interview concerns one of the most important education sector struggles to have occurred over the past several years in North America – the two hundred thousand strong strike by college and university students in Québec in the spring of 2005. We speak to Nicolas Phebus, a member of the Northeastern Federation of Anarchist Communists, who shares his analysis of this important struggle in Québec.

The essay and article section begins with a piece by Tom Keefer in which he looks at the political genealogy of “socialism from below,” and questions its usefulness in contributing to the renewal of socialist politics today. Taiaiake Alfred and Lana Lowe provide an outline of the historical and contemporary nature and role of indigenous warrior societies in First Nations communities and struggles in the Canadian context. We continue with a series of roundtables that bring together various activists struggling in a number of important campaigns. Mordecai Briemberg, Paul Burrows, Rafeef Ziadah, Adam Hanieh and Samer Elatrash explore the problems and opportunities confronting Palestinian solidarity activism today; Chris Arsenault, Mike DesRoches, Derrick O’Keefe, Andrea Schmidt, George ‘Mick’ Sweetman, Honor Brabazon & Jessie X discuss their experiences of the Canadian antiwar movement; and Sarita Ahooja, Sima Zerehi and Harsha Walia talk about the state of immigrant and refugee solidarity activism.

The final section of the journal consists of a series of reviews put together by our book reviews editor Dave Mitchell. Adrian Harewood assesses A View for Freedom: Alfie Roberts Speaks, an interview with the late Alfie Roberts, a remarkable activist and organizer in the Montréal area. Kirat Kaur reviews Judy Rebick’s latest book Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of Rebick’s understanding of the Canadian feminist movement. Karl Kersplebedeb writes on Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici which provides a historical account of the connection between patriarchy, dispossession and the development of capitalism. Finally, Tyler McCreary reviews J. Sakai’s classic Settlers: the Myth of the White Proletariat and kicks off what we hope will be an ongoing debate on the relevance of Sakai’s analysis to understanding the relationship of race and class in North America today.

Finally, we can’t finish talking about this issue of the journal without thanking our advisory board members and all the other people that made the first issue of Upping the Anti a success, and who have ensured the continuing viability of this project. To date we have registered over 10,000 hits on our website for the first issue and have sold over 700 hard copies, recouping our initial publishing and mailing costs. Our many distributors ensured that hard copies of Upping the Anti were available in every province and in over 30 different Canadian cities as well as reaching countries as far away as Australia, Argentina, Cuba, England, France, Germany, India, Kenya, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Venezuela. Copies of the journal were also distributed to several US-based political prisoners and prisoners of war, and we also take this opportunity to extend our greetings of solidarity to them.

With evidence in hand that a project such as ours can be financially sustainable and politically relevant, we are reprinting 1000 copies of our first issue and publishing this second issue in a perfect bound format with a print run of 2000 copies. As we prepare the third issue of the journal for publication in the spring of 2006 we welcome further assistance in helping to distribute the second issue of the journal even more widely than the first. To this end, we have put up a web page with an up to date list of local distributors from whom you can get hard copies of the journal. If you are interested in joining this list of distributors please e-mail us at uta_distro@yahoo.ca to make arrangements and to receive discounted bulk copies of the journal. We are also open to running exchange advertisements with other radical publications and catalogs. If you have a project that you would like to promote in Upping the Anti, or if you would like to publicize our journal please get in touch with us.

Copies of the first issue of the journal remain available for download and distribution, and if you are using the PDF file of our first or second issue for distribution, we would appreciate a note from you letting us know where you are from and how you will be using the journal. The deadline for articles and letters for the third issue of the journal is March 15, 2006.

In solidarity and struggle,
Aidan Conway, Erin Gray, Tom Keefer and Sharmeen Khan,
Toronto, January 1, 2005.