As Upping the Anti 16 goes to press, we find many of the uprisings and struggles that once inspired new hopes have now been bated. The Arab Spring resulted in regime changes and a reconfiguration of imperial dynamics in most countries, while in Syria the war continues, with no clear trajectory of it ending. The indignados and Occupy Wall Street have changed the political landscape, but the Right has adapted, upping their anti against people of colour, immigrants, women, LGBTQ folks, and workers alike. The Right’s success in many governments continues to cement a neo-liberal agenda. Most recently, we see the beginning of the Trans Pacific Partnership but have yet to see a real opposition to it. While this may reveal instances of weakness, of course, we continue to resist. We continue to be inspired by the Chicago teachers’ strike and the Québec student strike, each of which effectively linked the struggles against oppression, capitalist exploitation, and imperialism. More recently, we have witnessed the fast food workers strike in the US go global, while Brazil erupts in protests triggered by the World Cup. However, the suppression of most uprisings and the limits of successful fights in the face of a strong, well-organized adversary should illuminate the magnitude of resistance work ahead. Such work needs to create a form of organization that will bring together those efforts and challenge capitalism and its forms of oppression.
We have recently lost a comrade in the struggle to challenge these systems. We open UTA 16 by honouring our friend and former UTA editor, Ali Mustafa, with an obituary written by Élise Thorburn and Irina Ceric. Ali’s life was extinguished with the explosion of a barrel bomb in Syria. His loss was felt all around the world.
At Upping the Anti, we believe that the organization capable of challenging capitalism, imperialism, and oppression will necessarily come out of the intersection of different struggles. This issue includes several pieces that seek to forge such intersections. We have included several pieces that deal with healthcare, a hotly contested space in which many of our multifaceted struggles are waged. We have also included pieces that deal with struggles focused on climate change, feminism, migration, and access to education.
In our first article, Martha Roberts connects healthcare – and midwifery practice in particular – to revolutionary challenges to systems of oppression in “Liberatory Midwifery Practice.” Then, Paul Messersmith-Glavin discusses the challenges of connecting anti-capitalist struggles to environmental organizing in Portland, Oregon in his piece entitled “Organizing Against Climate Catastrophe.” Our last article, “Students Not Investors” by Martin Roberts, points to some of the most insidious aspects of capitalism that became apparent during the Québec student strike, which future organizing needs to address.
Our interviews section begins with Roshan A. Jahangeer’s discussion with Délice Igicari Mugabo, a feminist organizer working in Québec, about the Québec Charter of Values and her involvement in the Federation of Women of Québec, as well as the importance of an intersectional approach to feminist organizing. We also include recent interviews by Kieran Aarons and Lulu with refugees in Germany at Oranienplatz and in residential centres outside of Berlin, who discuss the struggles and tactics that have shaped their resistance to unjust immigration laws and regulations.
Following the trajectory of these struggles, our roundtable section opens with a moderated discussion by Tom Warren, a health organizer in Vancouver, between Baijayanta Mukhopadhyay, Martha Roberts, and Aiyanas Ormond, organizers working around radical health initiatives. They reflect on their work and experiences in the health sector and its connection to broader social justice issues. We then bring to you a roundtable with Karin Baqi, Shireen Soofi, Khaoula Bengezi, Josee Oliphant, Amy Darwish, and Rosalind Wong, organizers for migrant justice in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Hamilton, who discuss Sanctuary/Solidarity City campaigns and the successes, changes, and challenges within this movement.
UTA 16’s book reviews section starts off with Patrick Dedauw’s analysis of Safe Space: Gay Neighbourhood History and the Politics of Violence by Christina Hanhardt, in which he assesses Hanhardt’s history of urban LGBTQ activist movements and applies some lessons from the book to current LGBTQ organizing in Montreal. Next, Jannie Wing-sea Leung delves into the anthology Comrades In Health: US Health Internationalists Abroad and at Home to examine its importance to the work of radical health practitioners. Finally, Usman Mushtaq, Leslie Muñoz, and Vino Shanmuganathan draw from Harsha Walia’s Undoing Border Imperialism principles for intersectional, accountable organizing between migrant justice activists and struggles against settler colonialism.
Following the publication of Upping the Anti Issue 15, our Editorial Committee has undergone some changes: Élise Thorburn has taken maternity leave, Robyn Letson has moved to Halifax and continues work with us as associate editor. Most recently, Matt Hayter stepped down in order to attend to his academic responsibilities. Four people joined the editorial committee at different moments: Amelia Spedaliere, Andrew Winchur, Lindsay Hart, and Manuel Marqués-Bonilla.
We are happy to have built back the capacity of the Editorial Committee, but getting there has taken time. This issue comes late and without an editorial. For the first time, we have decided not to include one in order to focus on production. This does not mean that we do not have an editorial direction or that we have lost the principles of non-sectarianism and connecting anti-oppression, anti-capitalism, and anti-imperialism. We anticipate that readers will note our political direction from the pieces we’ve chosen to publish this issue. We continue to have involved political discussions and will include the editorial absent this time around in the next issue.
We are grateful to the people who collaborated on different parts of this issue. Rita Kamacho has joined the Publishing Committee as our graphic designer. Geordie Dent has helped us with our finances and much needed fundraising. Judith Muster translated the French portion of the O-platz interviews. Lastly, we want to thank the people who helped us with copyediting and proofreading: Rita Camacho, Leslie Muñoz, Amy Saunders, Sarah Miller, Nate Prior, Elizabeth Farries, Tristan Sturm, Élise Thorburn, Nicole Leach, Jody Smith and Robyn Hartley.
As usual, we have pushed the authors, interviewees, and participants in roundtables to connect forms of oppression with capitalism and imperialism. We hope that the pieces they have produced will be useful in articulating larger demands and building the overarching and coordinating organizations that we lack and urgently need. We welcome criticism in this context, as well as your pitches for articles, roundtables, interviews, and book reviews for Issue 17 of Upping the Anti. You can send us your letters and pitches at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In struggle and solidarity,
Cara Fabre, Lindsay Hart, Matt Hayter, Sharmeen Khan, Manuel Marqués -Bonilla, Amelia Spedaliere, and Andrew Winchur
Toronto, June 2014