Winter/Spring 2019 activities in review
Finance Capital and the Ghosts of Empire symposium
Following on the great success of a previous gathering at Goldsmiths in 2017 titled “Colonial debts, extractive nostalgias, imperial
insolvencies – Reimagining financialization” RiVAL was pleased to help
organize a sequel at the University of Sussex in March, titled “Finance Capital and the Ghosts of Empire.” This symposium brought together artists, activists and scholars for two days of illuminating presentations and conversations about colonialism, empire and racism in the birth, development and contemporary dimensions of high finance. RiVAL is currently producing a podcast based on presentations at the event.
Thanks to the support of a Connections grant from the Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council of Canada, RiVAL co-director Max Haiven and
his colleagues Enda Brophy and Benjamin Anderson of Simon Fraser
University were able to convene a very special four-day gathering of activists, artists and scholars in Vancouver to discuss the intersection of four themes:
- the histories, legacies and actualities of empire and imperialism in racial capitalism,
- “debt regimes,” past and present, and
- emergent digital technologies and their implications for power and resistance.
The gathering included over 20 international guests, by-registration
workshops, public panels and public roundtables. In the lead-up to this
gathering, the organizing team published a series of blog posts from the invited guests in cooperation with Public Seminar, the online forum of the New School for Social Research.
Decolonization reading group
Starting in September, RiVAL hosted first monthly, then weekly meetings for the Thunder Bay community to come together and read (aloud) through the late Arthur Manuel’s incredibly important book The Reconciliation Manifesto, which we finished in late March. A huge thanks to RiVAL graduate
assistant Lindsay Benner for taking the lead for several crucial weeks.
We estimate that upwards of 75 individuals took part in the reading
group over its eight months. Based on this success we intend to relaunch the reading group in the Fall with a new text.
Grassroots organizing workshop
In January, RiVAL directors Max Haiven and Cassie Thornton led a two-day intensive workshop for new and veteran activists. Themes included meeting
facilitation, strategic planning, approaches to the media and models for organization. The workshop received very positive, enthusiastic and
gratifying reviews from the two dozen or so individuals who attended and we plan to offer the workshop again in the near future.
Winter/Spring 2019 visitors
- Gary Kinsman – Veteran queer, anti-capitalist and gender justice organizer, and retired sociology professor Gary Kinsman visited RiVAL in Thunder Bay in January of 2019 for two public events, a talk on “Connecting Queer and Indigenous Struggles” at Lakehead University (audio available here) on January 23 and a workshop “The Making of the Neoliberal Queer” at InCommon on January 24. Both talks
- Judy Haiven and Larry Haiven – Retired Saint Mary’s University management professors Judy Haiven and Larry Haiven visited RiVAL in Thunder Bay in February for two public
events. On February 4 they were the guests of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce for a lunch-and-learn session on “Why Diversity is Good for Business.” On February 6 they spoke at RiVAL on the topic of “Making Transit Racism-Free“
- Erica Violet Lee – RiVAL was very glad to be able to invite Nēhiyaw scholar, poet and activist Erica Violet Lee to Thunder Bay for a number of public events. On March 12 Erica and Tenille Campbell spoke about Land, Language and Decolonial Love at the Brodie Street Library. In the after noon of March 13 Lee delivered a talk titled “Never Was Yr Good Little NDN: On Toxic Pleasures, Painful Kinship, and the Indigenous Sacred” at
Lakehead University, co-sponsorred by RiVAL and the University’s Office
of Aboriginal Services, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities,
Department of English, Department of Women’s Studies and Department of
Indigenous Learning. That evening, Tenille and Erica also spoke at the
Brodie Street Public Library.
- Dylan Miner – To cap off a very busy Spring, RiVAL was thrilled to host artist,
activist and Director of American Indian and Indigenous Studies at
Michigan State University Dylan AM Miner. On the evening of March 22 Dylan presented a review of some of his past work, titled “This Land is Always” at The Thunder Bay Art Gallery. On March 24 Dylan led a screen printing workshop at the Finlandia Club, which was opened by a discussion about the
intersections of labour and Indigenous people’s struggles between Miner, local political theorist and historian Saku Pinta, and RiVAL co-director and activist-artist Cassie Thornton.
Podcast and audio archive