Courses about how to win gains in society, or a new society...

An eight week course that will present an overview of a decades long history of organizing resistance in poor communities in Ontario to the mounting agenda of austerity.  It will deal with the history of the organization and look at some of its key struggles and campaigns but it will seek to do so in way the examines the factors driving the mounting attack on the poor in society. It will also explore, based on concrete examples, how poor people can organize to develop and assert political power in the difficult context of social abandonment.

Finally, the war on the poor and resistance in the face of it will be linked to the development of the intensifying, post-2008 agenda of hyper austerity and prospects for developing and expanding resistance in poor communities will be considered from the standpoint of how they can merge with and strengthen a broader movement of social resistance incorporating wider sections of the working class population.

We will discuss the thirteen-year global war on terror, counter recruiting, building the anti-war movement, conscientious objectors, what it means to thank and support our troops, the growth of the military industrial complex and the national security state. 

From colonial origins through the current neoliberal New Gilded Age, American life, politics, and policy has been significantly shaped by grassroots social movements that have made history “from the bottom up.” This class will survey some of the most significant and inspiring of these movements colonial origins through the present. Topics include the early U.S. labor movement(s), the anti-slavery abolitionist movement, the early women’s rights movement, the great “slave General Strike” (W.E.B. DuBois) of 1863-1865, the agrarian Populist movement, the early women’s movement, the radical syndicalist Industrial Workers of the World, the industrial workers movement (CIO) of the 1930s, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, antiwar movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the Black Power movement, the Chicano and farmworker movement, the American Indian Movement, the feminist movement of the 1970s, the environmentalist movement, the Gay Rights movement, the contemporary immigrant rights movement, the Wisconsin public worker rebellion of early 2011, the Occupy movement of late 2011, and the Fight for Fifteen and the Black Lives Matter movement today.
We will examine past and contemporary social movements with an eye (among other things) to the social and historical circumstances that led to their rise, the strategies, tactics, and world views that influenced both their successes and their failures, the responses of elites and dominant institutional and power structures (including repression, accommodation, co-optation and other methods of control), and the overall and long-term consequences of social movements in the (U.S. of) American experience. Critical questions include (but are not limited to) these: how and why social movements have succeeded and failed in American history? What obstacles to success and keys to popular and social movement failure are most clearly within the sphere of activists’ influence? What can we learn (as current or future activists) from the record that will help us to spark, nurture, and expand militant grassroots social movements in the U.S. today?  The instructor makes no pretense of being a “detached,” “neutral,” and “objective,” Mandarin-like observer of the history examined in this class. He is an open proponent of rank-and-file social movement-building and citizen action to confront and overthrow organized wealth and power. Students will be encouraged not only to deepen their understanding of the lessons of American social movement history but to apply those lessons directly in active social movement participation during this class. Activists ready and willing to share their own recent and real-time lessons are encouraged to join.   

A course addressing thinking about and evaluating strategies for social change, including strategy in general, diverse tactics, strategic controversies, program, paths and basically reasoning about what to do an how to do it. Though the course fits in sequence with three others on participatory society, participatory economics, and concepts for understanding society and history, it does not have a prerequisite.

In this course, we will cover some of the basic skills needed when organizing for a participatory society, while learning from the experiences of other groups and movements that have sought to build momentum for a new society.

Some of the skills we will cover include: facilitating skills; and creating safe spaces for engagement for collective liberation.

Some of the current or previous groups and movements we will seek to learn lessons from include; Food Not Bombs, Occupy movement, Anarchist Federation of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (FARJ); Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM); Organization for a Free Society; City Life/Vida Urbana.

We will also rely on the experiences you have had in community or movement organizing.

A study of the rise and formation of SYRIZA including its multi-tendency  makeup, and its vision and prospects for transforming Greek society.  From a brief overview history of the Greek Left and Greek popular struggles, we proceed to evaluate how events of the past shaped the Greek left in general and SYRIZA in particular with attention to Greek Communism, Eurocommunism, Social Democracy, Populism, Libertarian Marxism and Anarchism.  We will explore SYRIZA's socialism and the future society it wants and study the relationship of SYRIZA and Greek social movements as well as the possible links between a SYRIZA lead Greece and  Left Governments of Latin America.  We will together develop ideas for building an International Solidarity Network for SYRIZA and the Greek social struggle and evaluate the impact and importance of such a Network for leftists around the world.

After Edward Snowden's revelations about universal surveillance, after the punishments that have been meted out to whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, and from what we know about surveillance targeted at activists and journalists, this course teaches people who need to communicate to do their work how to use the tools that have so far been proven to be robust against surveillance. You will install GPG email encryption, make keys, and exchange encrypted emails. You will install and browse the web using TOR. You will install and use the TAILS live operating system. You will chat with one another using the Off-The-Record (OTR) chat protocol. We will look at upcoming tools like LEAP and existing activist collectives committed to these values like On the other side, we will look at free software values and norms, creative commons and other cultural licenses, and learn to evaluate software in terms of these values.
This course will be organized around the two defining moments in anarchist history: the first anarchist moment (1860/70-1917), and the second anarchist moment (1989 to present). Students will learn about the most prescient debates in the so classical anarchism, product of mass migration of the long 19th century, as well as about the more recent developments in anarchist practice. The course will address the long history of anarchist, and anarchist-influenced, ideas, practices, organizations, translations, and networks, from French anarcho-syndicalism and anarchist education in the United States, to contemporary global assembly movements and Rojava communalism in Western Kurdistan.
Students will learn a set of skills required to conduct political journalism, including how to produce valuable primary sources and how to use secondary sources to accommodate the specific purposes of political journalism. The course will perceive the field of political journalism as an efficacious form of political activity and encourages participants to incorporate their own interests. It then assists them in developing blueprints and quality analysis for a broad public.

Bruno Jäntti is an investigative journalist specializing in international affairs, the political processes of the Middle East in particular. He is a contributor to Al Jazeera, teleSUR English, Le Monde Diplomatique English Edition, Truthout and a number of Finnish media outlets.

This course is based on authors forthcoming book Living at the Edges of Capitalism: Studies in Mutual Aid and Exile. We will read about people who have decided to live outside of the structures of state and capital. Students will read about the organization of hill tribes in Zomia, Atlantic and Mediteranean Pirate ships, Cossack stanitsas, Maroon communities, and Zapatista villages.