Building lasting radical institutions: The AKA Autonomous Social Centre in Kingston, Ontario

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On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, organizers Khatija and Madeleine talk about their work as part of the AKA Autonomous Social Centre in Kingston, Ontario.

So many of the changes that need to be made in the world are urgent. So many people are suffering and struggling valiantly to survive. So many aspects of the natural world are being destroyed. As a consequence, many formations of people working together to create change exist in a cycle of constant urgency, turning from one campaign to another without pause for breath or thought. Such work is certainly important. But what if some of us decided to take a different approach? What if we decided meet this urgency not by deliberately working faster, but by turning to projects that meant working slower, being intentional, turning a more deliberate eye towards the long-term? What might be gained by investing some of our energy in building lasting organizations and institutions, in doing the unglamorous work of building what Toronto activist Alan Sears has named "infrastructure of dissent"?

The AKA Autonomous Social Centre in one experiment in doing just that. Khatija and Madeleine talk to me about the co-operatively owned and run space and the interlinked collectives that constitute the project, the broad array of groups and events from the wider community that animate it, the possibilities that the Centre supports, and their thoughts about why this kind of slow, deliberate, long-term work must be one element in overall struggles for social change.

For more information about the AKA Autonomous Social Centre or to inquire about holding an event in their space, email germinations[at]

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada through in-depth interviews that concentrate not on current events or the crisis of the moment, but on giving people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to take a longer view as they talk about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. To learn more about the show in general, click here.

You can also learn more about ways to listen or go to the show's page on To learn more about suggesting grassroots groups and organizations for future shows, click here. For details on the show's theme music, click here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

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