• Every Day We Must Get Up and Relearn the World: An Interview with Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

    Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Christopher Griffin (see profile) , Robyn Maynard, Hannah Voegele
    Commoning the Means of Knowledge Production, Feminist Humanities, Political Philosophy & Theory, Postcolonial Studies, Queer Theory Group
    Decolonization, Political activists, African Americans, Indigenous peoples, Civil disobedience, Black lives matter movement, Prison abolition movements, COVID-19 (Disease)--Social aspects, Idle No More movement, Anti-globalization movement
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    Mississauga Nishnaabeg, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, White Supremacy, carceral studies, freedom dreams, politics of recognition, counternarratives, rehearsal, Robyn Maynard, Canadian politics
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    The pandemic has been the most vivid agent of change that many of us have known. But it has not changed everything: plenty of the institutions, norms, and practices that sustain racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and cisheteropatriarchy have either weathered the storm of the crisis or been nourished by its effects. And yet enough has changed for us to see that the pandemic has profoundly recontextualised those structures and systems of violence, bringing us into a fresh negotiation with, for example, the question of how we discuss and imagine freedom. Responding in part to this unexpected provocation, activist-scholars Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson forged a collaboration from the lockdown of 2020, corresponding by letter to create their latest book, Rehearsals for Living (2022). In this interview, we asked them to explain the epistolary form of the book and expand on the concept of “rehearsal”, before inviting them to reflect on a series of issues that animate our current crises: the politics of recognition; the notion of apocalypse; ways to disrupt linear temporalities; practises of reciprocity against proprietary logics; the gendered violence of state apparatuses; and worldbuilding as a method of resistance. In their expansive answers, Robyn and Leanne draw on their experiences as organisers and educators, commenting on anticolonial struggles, the Movement for Black Lives, and the rise of abolition discourse. Stressing the need to build a multiplicity of shared homespaces in the face of racial/colonial capitalism and organized abandonment, they challenge us to rethink the predicaments and possibilities of the present, enabling us to imagine futures liberated of extractivist, carceral governance – “planting more liberatory futures in the present”, as Robyn puts it. The task of sowing those seeds is a collective praxis of rewriting the narratives that constitute us, refusing to hear that nothing can change and insisting that everything must.
    From "Born in Flames," a special issue of Interfere, edited by Francesca Kilpatrick and Hannah Voegele, available here: https://interferejournal.org/born-in-flames/
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    8 months ago
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