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Workshops Announcement for the 8th Annual BASTARD Conference
by BASTARD conference ( conference [at] sfbay-anarchists.org )
Friday Mar 14th, 2008 10:38 AM
We look forward to welcoming all of our friends and interested parties to the eight annual BASTARD Conference to be held on the UCB Campus at Dwinelle Hall from 10 am to 6 pm on March 23rd. We look forward to our presentations, panel discussions and this year, for the first time, Open Space Thread conversations about (anti) Religion and Anarchy.
We look forward to welcoming all of our friends and interested parties to the eight annual BASTARD Conference to be held on the UCB Campus at Dwinelle Hall from 10 am to 6 pm on March 23rd. We look forward to our presentations, panel discussions and this year, for the first time, Open Space Thread conversations about (anti) Religion and Anarchy.

Here are the list of workshops for this year!

Anarchism and the Priesthoods of Knowledge

Does Kropotkin's legacy of scientific anarchism have anything to offer in an epoch of secular, not to mention religious, dogmatism under conditions of spectacle.

Iain Boal is an Irish social historian of science and technics.

Anarchy & BDSM
What is BDSM? Is it just what Marquis De Sade and Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch described it as? As a sexual practice & lifestyle BDSM is very controversial. Within BDSM practice individuals consent to tying up, beating, discipline, sadism, and masochism. BDSM play has roles that include someone in charge and someone who submits. Anarchists desire a world without masters and without a coercive state. This panel and interactive workshop is going to explore all differ- ent types of power dynamics and the notion that one’s sexuality should look like one’s politics, i.e. egalitarian, non-hierarchical, etc.
Presenter: Sabrina & more

Atheism vs Rationalism
Atheism is generally considered a rationalist stance, but the fiercest atheistic thinkers were not rationalists (though they knew how to use reason). More significantly, rationalism, with its belief in an inherently rational universe and its elevation of reason from an intellectual tool to the ultimate source of knowledge, is itself a religious faith that, in the modern west, grew out of christian thought. In this workshop, I will touch on the religious nature of rationalism, the conflict between a consistent atheism and rationalism, and why bringing reason back down to the human level, as a mere intellectual tool to be used alongside others, makes it a far better weapon in the fight against religion and the concept of god.
Presenter: Wolfi Landstreicher

Beyond the Anarchist Scene and Connecting to Place
The goal for this space is to briefly outline my thoughts along these two ideas and quickly open up to participatory discussion. I will give no speeches or lectures. While the subjects may seem unrelated, I feel there is much overlap. For me, it was not until I put some distance between myself and the anarchist scene, the endless circular debates, the perpetual dead-end, knee-jerk, chore-like, and lifeless projects, and what I would term “anarcho-activism” and the “anarcho-careerists”, that I was able to open up to place; to no longer prioritize abstract anarchist social and theoretical relationships, but to attempt to understand and connect to relationships where i was and those i was with more deeply, and hopefully in a more anarchistic way. My intent is certainly not to discourage us from being anarchists, but instead to broaden how this is relevant to our lives. To make it our lives, not in some projecting way, but to live it. To move beyond the anarchist scene models prevalent in recent years. To breath life back into the stagnant corpse of anarchy, at least for myself and those with similar direction. To connect directly to our world, to our sustenance, and to our desires, rather then continually depend on the alienating and mediating structures of civilization that keep us enslaved to it, even when they are veiled as alternative or radical.
Presenter: RotN

Dialectics, The Situationist International And The Revolutionary Power of The Imagination
Synopsis: How does dialectics let us to see history as our fight for a new world? How can we stop being spectators in the world of the integrated spectacle? Why must revolutionaries today call for all power to the imagination or be nothing? Be ready to seriously challenge your preconceived notions!
Presenter: Red Hughs

Desire and ego, and/or anarchy
Synopsis: Along with most spiritual and ”wisdom” traditions, Buddhism teaches that all suffering springs from desire and ego-attachment; it conceives of egoless, compassionate awareness as an end to suffering. Many anarchists, especially those steeped in the beat tradition, have also been Buddhists or have subscribed to similar modes of awareness. Other anarchists, however, promote the ego and/or the concept of ”desire armed” as core values for anarchy. What is the compatibility of these respective viewpoints with a condition of anarchy (and their relationship with the broad range of anarchist traditions)? Is anarchy about the liberation of desire, or does it imply liberation from desire? Is it about losing the ego, or empowering and promoting it? Do these divergent vocabularies imply very different (perhaps even opposite) goals (and modes of identifying and dealing with adversaries) -- or do they obscure some underlying compatibility? What are the implications for our attitudes, our activities (political and otherwise), and our approaches to life in this world?
Presenter: Mitchell Halberstadt

The Dogma of Anti-Snitching
Synopsis: Most anarchists who have expressed an opinion on this subject take the dogmatic line of rejecting any hint of snitching. But what is ”snitching”? How do anarchists respond to this highly emotional slur/allegation? This workshop will delve into the murky world of contacts between antiauthoritarians and agents of the state (both voluntary and involuntary). In this workshop participants will develop a calm theoretical definition of snitching, and the responses we have had to other anarchists involving the state (or not) in disputes. Historical examples will cover the shootings of Malatesta and De Cleyre, up to and including the various actions of the Green Scare defendants.
Presenter: Lawrence

Rebel Tales: Reflections on religion and anarchism
This panel represents a distinctly diverse set of perspectives on the relationship of religion to anarchy, and vice versa. From a culturally Jewish, vigorous atheist to a pagan Gnostic priest and points in between, these panelists differ widely on the appropriate place of god, spirit, belief in our anarchist lives.
Presenters: Audrey Goodfriend, Lew, Carrie, John B
Moderated by Lawrence

Religion as Reification
Synopsis: An exploration of religion and spirituality (and most atheism) as forms of the reification of experience. How can we encourage a radically open and receptive approach to the world that is also at the same time thoroughly (self-) critical and intolerant towards every form of alienation or enslavement?
Presenter: Jason McQuinn

Anarchist Outdoor Theatre presents:
Tyl Ulenspiegl at the Easter of the Sap: A play in one act.
Synopsis: How did the lumpen-loser Ulenspiegl (a.k.a. OwlGlass) transform himself
from thief and conman to Insurgent against Church and State (in this case, the Span-
ish Empire and Inqisition)? A rebel without a clue, he seeks the aid of Lucifer...
Presenter: lew

Open Space Thread
The BASTARD conference has always been a place that attempts to take anarchist ideas seriously. As a result we spend one day a year talking about these ideas and engaging with each other about them. One idea that we have often been confronted with but never challenged directly is the idea that the model of a workshop (with a person presenting to a mostly passive audience) limits our discussions. This year we are going to experiment with a parallel track of workshops that are not directly led by a presenter; instead these will be semi-open discussions on the specific facets of the conference topic with a few people per session providing framing and inspiration. The Open Space Thread aims to challenge the one-to-many problem of workshops while keeping the constraint of the conference’s theme. We look forward to your feedback on this method.

Under what circumstances should the religious be seen as allies
If the current state of radical politics can be described as barely marginal then radicals should be interested in movements that have thrived over the past three decades. Religion, particularly fundamentalist, born-again Christianity, fits that description. In many ways these people represent natural allies to anarchists; economically impoverished, politically disenfranchised, and hopeful about a future that is in no way certain. Obviously as many if not most anarchists come from a background that is hostile to this movement -- so hard questions bear asking. If anarchist ideas are ever going to be relevent what needs to change? Anarchists or the religious? Under what circumstances would anarchists be willing to compromise their (aesthetic?) values on behalf of working relationships with religious people?

Religion, Dogma, & Health
It can be argued that the counter-culture has become society’s mechanism to cure itself of its own excesses regarding religious zealotry. Within counter culture are countless victims of monotheistic torture. Anarchists have consistently put themselves on the front lines of healing the kind of injuries that dogma inflicts on people. However, once healed of trauma many (if not most) people leave CC and radical politics behind and rejoin the society that hurt them. What is the relationship between the process of healing and the struggle with the actual causes of our trauma? (A struggle we seem to be avoiding.) Do we have to kill god to regain meaningful health?

What do we have to learn?
Anarchists need to learn to recognize that our isolation from each other and from non-anarchists is hurting our effective capacity. Religious communities do not seem to have this problem. A deep sense of belonging keeps people connected to churches. Shared rituals, cultural events, and food speak to an infrastructure and modality that do not exist within anarchist circles, which remain young and transient. Can we learn from these structures or are they wed to the dogmatic hierarchy of religion?

Whither religion?
The rise of fundamentalist leadership in the USA seems in stark contrast to the technocratic rise of secular society but both are occuring simultaneously. We are no longer faced with the question of what replaces the collapse of religion in society, as religion and other dogmas (like Science-ism) have shown that they are more than capable of filling the void. If we end religion will we have to replace it? With what?