Book Launch: "Why Don't the Poor Rise Up? Organizing the Twenty-First Century Resistance"

February 27, 2018

Michael Truscello, Ajamu Nangwaya, John Clarke, Sara Sagaii, & Samir Gandesha


C0-sponsored by SFU's Institute for the Humanities, SFU Public Square, SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement, and SFU's Labour Studies Program

Book Launch & Panel Discussion

Why don't the poor rise up? Even mainstream media such as the New York Times and The Economist have recently posed this question, uneasily amazed that capitalism hasn't met with greater resistance. In the context of unparalleled global wealth disparity, ecological catastrophe, and myriad forms of structural oppression, this vibrant collection offers a reassessment of contemporary obstacles to mass mobilization, as well as examples from around the world of poor people overcoming those obstacles in inspiring and instructive new ways. With contributions from Idle No More organizer Alex Wilson, noted Italian autonomist Franco "Bifo" Berardi, Cooperation Jackson organizer Kali Akuno, Cape Town-based anarchists Aragorn Eloff and Anna Selmeczi, and sixteen other scholars and activists from around the world, including a Foreword by Affiong Limene Affiong, Nigerian co-founder of Moyo wa Taifa, a Pan-Afrikan Women's Solidarity Network, Why Don't the Poor Rise Up? presents a truly global range of perspectives that explore the question of revolution, its objective and subjective prerequisites, and its increasing likelihood in our time.


Michael Truscello, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in English and General Education at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His academic interests include anarchism, the politics and poetics of infrastructure, petroculture, media studies, and technology studies. In 2013, he co-edited a special issue of Anarchist Studies on “anarchism and technology” with Uri Gordon. In 2011, he produced the documentary film Capitalism Is The Crisis: Radical Politics in the Age of Austerity. He is the author of Infrastructural Brutalism (MIT Press, forthcoming).

Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is an organizer, writer and educator. Ajamu is a lecturer in the Institute of Caribbean Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus and his areas of research interests are Rastafari ital livity and economic and social development, labour self-management and worker cooperatives, gender, development and social justice, music/the arts as a transformative force, and anarchism and participatory democracy. He is the co-editor with Dr. Michael Truscello of the recently published anthology Why Don’t The Poor Rise Up?: Organizing the Twenty-First Century Resistance. Ajamu is also the co-editor with Kali Akuno of the publication Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi. He worked for a number of years with the American South-based Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund as a cooperative educator and developer. He was a participant at the founding conference of the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives and was elected to its first board of directors.

John Clarke first became involved in anti-poverty struggles in 1983 when he helped form the Union of Unemployed Workers in London, Ontario. Since 1990, he has worked as an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). 

Sara Sagaii is an Iranian housing and anti-war activist and a graduate student in the SFU School of Communication. She has organized against demovictions and for tent cities. She was a coordinator on the Jean Swanson for City Hall 2017 by-election campaign and is currently on the steering committee of the Vancouver Tenants Union.

Samir Gandesha is an Associate Professor in the Department of the Humanities and the Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University. He specializes in modern European thought and culture, with a particular emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. His work has appeared in Political TheoryNew German Critique,  Constellations Logos, Kant StudienPhilosophy and Social CriticismTopia, the European Legacy, the European Journal of Social TheoryArt Papers, the Cambridge Companion to Adorno and Herbert Marcuse: A Critical Reader as well as in several other edited books. He is co-editor with Lars Rensmann of Arendt and Adorno: Political and Philosophical Investigations (Stanford, 2012). He is co-editor (with Johan Hartle) of Spell of Capital: Reification and Spectacle (University of Amsterdam Press, 2017) and Aesthetic Marx (Bloomsbury Press, 2017) also with Johan Hartle. In the Spring of 2017, he was the Liu Boming Visiting Scholar in Philosophy at the University of Nanjing and Visiting Lecturer at Suzhou University of Science and Technology in China.