acer_genus (acer_genus) wrote in ualbany,

anti-oppression/ anti-power workshop w/ Nick Cooper: Saturday, noon

anti-oppression/ anti-power workshop w/ Nick Cooper
Nazis Vs. Zapatistas: The Struggle Against Cooptation
an Anti-Power History Workshop facilitated by Nick Cooper, Director of Soma

Saturday, March 31
noon to 3pm
Ironweed, 98 Grand Street, Albany

$5-10 suggested donation

Nick's Workshop Webpage

Lao-Tsu, the author of the Tao Te Ching and Subcomandante Marcos, one leader of the Zapatistas both talk about the power of water -- seemingly weaker, but ultimately stronger than the more familiar power of swords. To struggle against oppression in ways that don't create other oppressions, we will explore the anti-fascist non-hierarchical currents in history, philosophy, psychology, criticism, and organizing tactics.

Working with Indymedia, Food Not Bombs and other non-hierarchical groups, Nick Cooper became interested in horizontal structures for change, traveling to Brazil in 2003 and 2005 to study Soma Therapy, and to Chiapas, Mexico in 2004 to study Zapatismo. Also, wanting to study fascist and pre-fascist organizing directly, Nick has been attending conferences, meetings, presentations and fund-raisers of the far right, including:
The Ku Klux Klan, Focus on the Family / Lovewonout, Republican Party of Texas, Lyndon LaRouche, The Minutemen, and Tom DeLay. The workshop examines philosophies, structures and psychology, comparing authoritarian models to those that are consensual, communitarian or autonomous.

Informed by Zapatista principles, Wilhelm Reich's Mass Psychology of Fascism, and Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism, the workshop develops a skill set for identifying, challenging and defeating the authoritarian tool of cooptation. The workshop provides an alternative to the history we have learned since childhood, of conquerors, governments and great thinkers like Plato with "Philosopher King" pathologies.

We will discuss the story of those who withdrew from hierarchies, those who questioned assumptions and those who struggled and died in resistance of the abuses of power. But even more importantly, we will discuss a history not solely populated by individual heroes, but also by ideas, psychologies and groups.

70 years ago, authoritarianism's traditions and psychologies culminated in a pure form in Nazi Germany. Now, in the most powerful country in the world, it becomes essential to ask what has been learned about the nature of power, and how to avoid its pitfalls in forming an opposition to it.

Nick has conducted this workshop in...
Venezuela at the World Social Forum, Washington DC at the National Conference of Organized Resistance, Houston High Schools (Bellaire, Lamar, KIPP), São Paulo Brazil with the Ativismo ABC Collective, Bryan TX at the Revolution, Houston with The Politically Active Students Organization, Sedition Books, The Houston Social Forum, & the Art Car Klub, Fayetteville at the Five Squirrels, New Orleans at the Iron Rail bookstore, and at many, MANY other places.
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