"We’re building a civilized space here"

Finding Our Roots is seeking workshop proposals for its third conference at the end of April. The first theme was "Theory" and the second theme was "Organization," this third year's theme is different in that it seems to offer more opportunity for different types of proposals (beyond simply presentation/lecture) -- "Space."
Why and how is space important to anarchists, and so often central to our struggles? What do we mean when we talk about “anarchist space”? What different spaces have anarchists created and struggled to keep and maintain; how have these spaces functioned and thrived, or failed to do so? What kinds of anarchist spaces exist currently, and how are they serving anarchist community as well as contributing to larger struggles for liberation and against capitalism? Examples could include infoshops, multiuse spaces, housing collectives, squats, farms, gardens, parks, free schools, workers’ collectives, or any other space dedicated to radical purpose and used by anarchists as a focal point or staging ground of struggle.

How are anarchists involved in struggles around space, both within and beyond our community? What kinds of spaces exist (or attempt to) within larger radical spaces: Why, for instance, are queer space, women’s space, or space by and for people of color important; how do these and other marginalized/oppressed groups use space as part of their struggles and organizing?

How does space operate within the social landscape and the machinations of capitalism? How can anarchists support and join poor and disenfranchised peoples’ struggles around space, such as fights against gentrification and displacement?

Potential workshop topics include but are not limited to: Gentrification and anti-gentrification struggles, squatting, community, Europe’s autonomous radical communities and their role in popular uprisings (ie, the recent events in Greece), self-sustainability in urban or rural environments, decolonization and resisting the police state, the relationship of anarchists to anti-imperialist/nationalist struggles for autonomy, Queer space, safe space, space as a human right, the use of autonomous spaces by oppressed groups, “spiritual space” - anarchism and non-hierarchical spirituality, the history and practice of anarchist spaces, problems of unity vs. fragmentation within anarchist space, collective living, workers’ collectives and non-hierarchical workplaces, reclaiming the commons, democratizing/infiltrating media space, the “infoshop movement,” reclaiming corporate and governmental spaces, “anarchist space” and its intersection with other spaces of resistance.
Yet, I also wonder whether such a vague theme will increase the likelihood of the same old cookie-cutter discussions and workshops, the same old activist outlines getting new names, annual NCOR presentations changing around a few words to fit the 'theme' but not changing in substance. This is kind of just my whining -- I'll of course go to FOR, and I'm not sure yet if I'll have anything interesting to contribute, I recognize how difficult it can be to put together an interesting presentation. But how much of the conference is going to be devoted to recycling the same old thing -- essentially working to reproduce anarchist ideology -- rather than using this gathering of anarchists, this "anarchist space," to learn and try new things together, to experiment with space?

Proposal and other information is available through the link above.

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