Beyond a Radical Minority: An Interview with Anarchist Writer Chris Dixon

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By Carwil Bjork-James
October 7, 2015
Agency

Introducing Agency’s Anarchist Profiles Series

Chris Dixon’s Another Politics: Talking Across Today’s Transformative Movements, published last year by University of California Press, is a compelling introduction to anti-authoritarian politics in North America. Drawing on dozens of interviews, Chris offers a primer on an approach to organizing against capitalism and social oppression that also refuses top-down structures, including the state, political parties, and hierarchical organizations. Another Politics highlights the role of anarchism alongside black liberation, feminism, Zapatismo, and revolutionary nonviolence in informing the current generation of radical action.

Chris describes himself as both a cheerleader for radical movements and as someone who attempts to pose tough questions radicals need to reflect upon. I caught up with him in the wake of a thirty-city tour bringing the book to activist communities across Canada and the United States.

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Carwil Bjork-James (CBJ) for Agency: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your own background and how that led to writing this book.

Chris Dixon (CD): I am originally from Anchorage, Alaska, on traditional Dena’ina territory and I currently live in Canada, in the national capital Ottawa, which is on unceded Algonquin territory. Between those two parts of my life, I lived on the West Coast of the United States in every single state, and I moved into the Canadian context about eight years ago. And in all of those different places, really since I was in my early teens, I’ve been involved in radical activism related to antiracism, environmentalism, labor solidarity, feminist politics, and environmental defense.

What led me into graduate school was my hope to try to use the resources of where I went, the University of California at Santa Cruz, to try to further the struggles that I care about. I went in basically to try and do research and ultimately write a dissertation that would provide some space for reflecting on a whole set of transformative politics and radical activist efforts across North America. Ultimately, what that involved was me traveling around the US and Canada interviewing dozens and dozens of long-time anti-authoritarian activists and organizers involved in a whole bunch of different kinds of movements. And I was asking a series of questions that basically came down to: What are we learning as we do this? What kinds of challenges are we consistently coming up against? And what kinds of unanswered questions are we still struggling with in the midst of all of this? That’s the research that became this book.

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