Introduction

Editorial Committee

Dear readers, family, fans, and critics,

Welcome to Issue 19 of Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action! With the election of Donald Trump in the US, the extension of Erdoğan’s presidential powers in Turkey, the persecution of Chechnyan queers, and the election of Rebel Media’s darling Andrew Scheer as Conservative Party leader in Canada, alongside a rising tide of open and active bigotry against ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities, it appears there has been a global resurgence of fascism.

In light of these events, Issue 19 begins with an editorial on what antifa and Left movements can do to generate meaningful, long-term resistance. While much time has been spent debating whether the current events constitute the rise of fascism, there is still a poor understanding on how to develop a comprehensive response, one that brings together and integrates militant anti-fascist and radical Left movements. In response to these shortcomings, this editorial investigates the apprehensiveness of many progressives to tackle fascism head on, on the streets, with physical forms of resistance, as well as the need to build broader oppositional power that challenges the right-wing’s “common sense” ideological hold on working classes.

Discussing strategies and tactics against fascism is imperative. However, it is equally vital to acknowledge that fascism is merely a symptom of a larger struggle against an interlinked matrix of oppression and domination. The fight against white supremacy, settler colonialism, misogyny, heteronormative hegemony, among other systems of domination, is dispersed and takes place in a multitude of forms. As always, we strive to bring insightful yet challenging perspectives from political organizers across the world that not only capture our readers’ interest, but also inspire critical reflection and debates. Issue 19 is no exception.

We begin our interviews section in discussion with Dene scholar Glen Coulthard. In “From Recognition to Decolonization,” Coulthard challenges the limits of liberal settler colonialism, calling instead for the radical resurgence of anti-capitalist and anti-colonial Indigenous nationhood. Next, in “Relationships with Resistance,” Yavar Hameed, an Ottawa-based lawyer specializing in immigration, citizenship, and security laws, speaks of the difficulties but importance of collaborating with migrant justice activists, and of coupling legal and extra-legal modes of resistance. Lastly, in “Spectrum: Autists and Activism” we interview Joe Biel, a founder of Microcosm Publishing. Biel challenges us to consider neurotypical privilege and biases in our movements and the ways autists and neurodivergent people are excluded from organizing spaces.

The article section features four fascinating essays. In “Spoiled Opportunities: Insights from the 2015 Strikes at York University and the University of Toronto,” Thomas Chiasson-LeBel and Christian Pépin assess the institutional limitations of university-based labour unions as a means to develop broader forms of resistance against the growing commodification of post-secondary education. Next, “Fighting Form: Beyond the Party in Kurdistan,” by Daniel Gutiérrez, Antje Dieterich, and Victor Hertzfeld, examines the way feminist and anti-capitalist approaches are incorporated into social and political organizing through the centring of women and popular councils as well as what lessons we can draw from these processes. In our third article, “Dalit Liberation and the Shadow Cast(e) by Class,” Shreya Ghimire offers an analysis of caste and class in India. Ghimire highlights key moments in the movement for Dalit liberation, linking it to other burgeoning grassroots struggles in the region and globally. Finally, in “Care as Colonialism: Immigrant Workers at Canada’s Frontiers,” Baijayanta Mukhopadhyay grapples with the contradictions and opportunities of healthcare providers working with Indigenous communities. Providing a critical history of healthcare as an aspect of colonization, Mukhopadhyay questions his own role as a racialized migrant doctor in contemporary state efforts to colonize Northern Canada.

We also present two captivating roundtables on prison abolition organizing and food justice. In “Seed, Skill, and Soil: Organizing for Food Justice,” Gita Rao Madan, Leticia Boahen, Rachelle Sauve, Vanessa Ling Yu, and Gabriel Allahdua discuss the importance of grounding organizing in a food justice framework to better address the lack of transformative and intersectional politics in our food movements today. Then, in “Abolitionist Practices, Reformist Moments,” Rachel Herzing, Erica Meiners, and nuri nusrat engage with the changing landscape of abolition and reform in the US, and offer a discussion on how activists are organizing in a political moment that is caught between reformist tendencies and abolitionist futures.

Last but not least, we have our reviews section. To commemorate her legacy, Salmaan Khan reviews Grace Lee Boggs’ Living for Change: An Autobiography. Having passed away less than two years ago at the age of 100, Boggs leaves us with a wealth of knowledge and lessons regarding her long life as a revolutionary, an author, and an activist. Finally, Steve D’Arcy reviews Keywords for Radicals, an edited volume by Kelly Fritsch, Clare O’Connor, and A.K. Thompson. This book traces the roots, interconnections, and the multiple and shifting meanings of concepts and terms that frame our current political understandings. 

We would also like to invite readers to watch the footage from two public panels that we organized over the course of publishing this issue. The first panel, entitled “The US Election and the Rise of Fascism,” brought together scholars and activists David McNally, Himani Bannerji, Chris Dixon, and Kristen Stewart to discuss the current status of far-right organizing in the US and Canada, and what lessons could be drawn from previous antifa organizing to stop it. The second panel, entitled “Prospects for Syria: Revolution and Counter-Revolution,” co-hosted with No One is Illegal-Toronto and the Syria Solidarity Collective, featured Joseph Daher, Kinana Issa, and Mostafa Henaway. Participants discussed Syrian peoples’ struggles and the obstacles they face to bring about justice. The links can be found on the Upping the Anti YouTube channel, through our website uppingtheanti.org, or Facebook.com/UppingTheAnti.

We also want to let you know about a collaborative book project we’re publishing with the Radical Imagination Project and Fernwood Publishers (we’re up to so much these days!). Entitled What Moves Us? The Lives and Times of the Radical Imagination, this book grapples with the process of politicization and hosts a series of articles and interviews with long-time radical organizers and theorists including: Silvia Federici, Glen Coulthard, Gary Kinsman, The Halifax Motherhood Collective, Chris Dixon, Sherry Pictou and many more.

We hope you appreciate and enjoy the contents of Issue 19. We thank all our contributors, sustainers, editors, and advisors. A special thank you to Shelagh Pizey-Allen, our dedicated outreach coordinator who we were able to hire with the help of the Media Action Research Group. Shelagh provided much needed support for our editorial collective and helped make our many events this past year happen. Without her hard work and great ideas, our recent fundraising efforts to produce a newer, more accessible website would not have been possible. We are also grateful to those who donated to our campaign for our upcoming website. We are excited to provide you all of our back issues online in a more accessible manner. Stay tuned for the website launch in the next few months. We would also like to thank Reeju Ray, Julia Gruson-Wood, Nate Prier, and our wonderful Advisory Board. Thank you Rosina Kazi and the folks at Unit 2 for letting us host an amazing anti-Valentine’s Day party. Thanks also to Amelia Spedaliere, Kieran Hart, Annelies Cooper, Stacey Berquist, Andrew Peters, and Regine Schmid for their help proofing. Lastly, we are sad to say goodbye to Salmaan Khan who has left the editorial collective, but we also welcome Mariful Alam and T.H. Vega, who both bring excellent experience and knowledge to the project.

If you are interested in submitting a pitch for an article, book review, roundtable, or interview for our next issue, you can do so through our website where you will find submission guidelines and material from previous issues. Given all the time, commitment, and hard work voluntarily taken on by all those involved with the production of Upping the Anti, please consider donating, endorsing, and/or advertising with us. If you’d like to join the Editorial Collective, Advisory Board, or help out in any way, please email us at uppingtheanti@gmail.com.

In struggle and solidarity,
Jasmine, Mariful Alam, Devin Clancy, Karl Gardner, Niloofar Golkar, Sharmeen Khan, Élise Thorburn, and T.H. Vega