As 2011 closes out, we can’t help but think that the current moment is ripe with opportunities. Uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, anti-austerity protests in Europe, and opposition to homegrown austerity measures like Scott Walker’s anti-labour legislation in Wisconsin prove that – given the chance – most of us desire revolutionary change.
And while we don’t yet have the advantage, it’s hard not to be at least a little bit optimistic. As UTA 13 goes to press, tens of thousands are occupying financial districts across North America. And while the Occupy Together movement remains young and vulnerable, it also points toward a growing disdain for the ruling class and its plans for the remaining “ninety-nine percent” of us. In many cities, the radical Left remains suspicious of this development. However, if we are going to build on the opportunities presented to us, we must hone our collective capacity to analyze and respond to emergent situations.
This is where Upping the Anti fits in. Responding to the ongoing criminalization of dissent, this issue’s Editorial considers the relationship between activists and the law. How should we relate to legal proceedings? Is it better – politically speaking – to fight it out, or do we make a greater contribution by returning to our communities as quickly as possible?
Our Interviews section begins with Faraz Vahid Shahidi speaking with Jesse Rosenfeld about his experiences on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla II. Next, Sharmeen Khan interviews Copwatch LA organizer Joaquin Cienfuegos. David Hugill then interviews geographer Neil Smith about revolutionary ambition and the role of urbanization in class struggle. Finally, Lorenzo Fiorito assesses the recent Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ Strike with Edmonton-based union activist Mikhail Bjorge.
In our Articles section, Erica R. Meiners, Liam Michaud, Josh Pavan, and Bridget Simpson begin by making the case for queer opposition to sexual offender registries and carceral expansion. Next, Sunera Thobani assesses how the post-9/11 global consensus has made social movements in the West susceptible to Islamophobia. Finally, Nick Dyer-Witheford suggests how Marx’s formula for the circulation of capital might be extended to consider the revolutionary circulation of the common.
This issue’s Roundtable features four members of Toronto’s Queers Against Israeli Apartheid – Tim McCaskell, Richard Fung, Natalie Kouri Towe, and Corvin Russell – who discuss the challenges and opportunities confronted while doing queer anti-colonial solidarity work.
Our book reviews begin with Kate Klein’s take on The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities, edited by Ching-In Chen, Jai Dulani, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Next, Alex Khasnabish tackles AK Thompson’s Black Block, White Riot: Antiglobalization and the Genealogy of Dissent. Finally, Steve da Silva reviews Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson’s Defying the Tomb.
Although space restrictions have prevented us from printing all of the letters we received in response to content that appeared in UTA 12 in these pages, we’ve made a long letter we received from Derrick Jensen in response to John Sanbonmatsu’s article Blood and Soil – along with Sanbanmatsu’s reply – available online at uppingthanti.org. The debate is an interesting one, and we hope that it can continue to generate discussion.
On the administrative front, we’re very pleased to welcome Lorenzo Fiorito to the Editorial Committee. We’re also happy to welcome Kieran Aarons and Rob Nichols to the UTA Advisory Board. Finally, we would like to thank outgoing Advisory Board members Ernesto Aguilar and Erica Meiners for their contributions. We wish them well in their future endeavors.
Since its inception, Upping the Anti has been an important voice on the radical Left. Our commitment to relying solely upon donations, subscriptions, and sustainer contributions has kept us fiercely independent; however, it has also meant that our financial situation occasionally becomes precarious. To coincide with our thirteenth issue, we’re launching a new sustainer’s drive. We urge you to commit to making a monthly donation – even a little goes a long way. Please visit our website for information about becoming a UTA sustainer.
With your help, we can achieve the financial sustainability that will allow us to continue publishing the radical news and analysis you’ve come to expect.
If you’re interested in contributing to UTA 14 (scheduled for release in May 2012), please send your pitch to [email protected] no later than December 3, 2011. For more information, please visit us online at www.uppingtheanti.org.
Enjoy the issue! As always, we look forward to your letters, submissions, and support.
In solidarity and struggle,
Aidan Conway, Lorenzo Fiorito, Kelly Fritsch,
Tom Keefer, Sharmeen Khan, Robyn Letson,
Adrie Naylor, Clare O’Connor, AK Thompson,
Élise Thorburn, Simon Wallace