As Occupy protests have erupted across the world to decry the injustice of our current economic system, the question arises: What are we fighting against? At present, Vancouver lacks any adequate forum for broad-based deliberation about what capitalism is and how it functions. It is for this reason that we are hosting a series of teach-ins to explore how capitalism operates, its inherent violence, and how it intersects with other forms of oppression.
Our aim is to initiate meaningful deliberation in Vancouver around how capitalism operates, and its reliance on both visible and invisible forms of domination and exploitation in order to function. Rather than being simply a lecture series, we hope to create a learning space where attendees become participants, working together by sharing and analyzing their experiences. The planned events will bring together a range of scholars, activists, organizers, and occupiers, as well as others interested in exploring how capitalism affects both their and others' lives.
Each event will be split into three equally important components that will work to build both personal and community-wide understanding of the topics. First, a discussant will explore the themes of the event within a historical and theoretical context. This will create a system-wide explanation or "big picture," demonstrating not only what the specific form of oppression addressed is, but also how it operates within capitalism. The aim of this presentation is to introduce the conceptual framework that will operate throughout the night. Then, a second speaker will explore the topic in a historically present context, using examples from living communities to reveal the connections between past and present, theory and practice. This speaker will not only expose how certain oppressions intersect with capitalism, but will also bring to light how these oppressions may function outside of capitalism. Thus, this speaker will illustrate both the connections and disconnections of various forms of oppression within capitalism. The third component of the night will be a participatory workshop, with strong facilitation, involving all attendees. There will be small group discussions with small or large group movement activities that will enable individuals to explore how the topic at hand functions in their own life, to learn about the experiences of others, and to see that oppression functions systemically, affecting everyone in different ways. Using these three components, and by exploring a variety of connected oppressions, we hope to facilitate holistic education about what we are fighting against when we protest capitalism.
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