Roundtable

“The Long Memory is the Most Radical Idea”

Reflections of Organizing from Anti-Globalization to the Climate Crisis

In addition to the centennial remembrances for the Winnipeg General Strike and the memorial for Rosa Luxemburg, many activists are gearing up for reflections of the 20th anniversary of the 1999 Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO). For those who began anti-capitalist organizing during that time, there are many questions around mass mobilizations, public education, and proving that “another world is possible.” What are the reflections and thoughts of activists who mobilized during that time to where we are right now?

Below is an edited transcription of a panel held at the 2019 Montréal Anarchist Bookfair, titled “From ‘Another World is Possible’ to the Possible End of the World: Anarchistic Reflections on 1999-2019.” What follows are the reflections of three longtime organizers on 20 years of organizing, fighting back, and their appraisal of the state of the Left today.

Cindy Milstein has long engaged in anarchist organizing, contemporary social movements, and collective spaces. Cindy is author of Anarchism and Its Aspirations, co-author of Paths Toward Utopia: Graphic Explorations of Everyday Anarchism, and editor of the anthologies Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism, Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief, and the forthcoming Deciding for Ourselves: The Promise of Direct Democracy. Over the past couple of years, they have focused on doing support for people facing state repression and co-organizing the Institute for Advanced Troublemaking’s Anarchist Summer School (more info found here: advancedtroublemaking.wordpress.com). Cindy is also honoured, when called on, to offer death doula, and grief care.

Aaron Lakoff is an award-winning independent journalist, media-maker, and community organizer based in Montréal, Canada. His work combines a passion for popular education, social justice, and artistic expression. He has filed radio and written reports from several countries, including Haïti, Palestine, Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and across North America. When he isn’t working, Aaron is often keeping himself busy as the producer of two of his podcasts: (changingonthefly.ca) and (rebelbeatradio.com).

Sharmeen Khan is a socialist-feminist organizer currently organizing with No One Is Illegal-Toronto. She is one of the founding editors of Upping the Anti and has contributed writing to publications such as Briarpatch Magazine, Shameless Magazine, and most recently a book of collected essays titled Settler City Limits. She is also a facilitator and currently coordinates Tools for Change, a Toronto-based collective that offers hard skills training in organizing and activism.

To read this article in full, purchase your copy of Upping the Anti here.