Revisiting the Riot: Rereading Black Bloc, White Riot in the Age of Trump

Saturday, February 29, 10am-2pm, in Philadelphia

This stunning book has vibrant resonance for those of us who work to stay in the struggle…Its urgency is today all the more trenchant because of the new ripples swelling, new windows opening, struggles newly linking. —Bernardine Dohrn

Join us for a presentation and discussion with author AK Thompson.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the publication of AK Thompson’s classic Black Bloc, White Riot. Through its critical engagement with the relationship between social movements, white middle-class experience, and violence, the book offered scholars and movement participants a means of overcoming the default positions that had arisen within the intractable debates that defined the struggle against corporate globalization. Ten years later, confronted with the resurgence of street-level political violence and clear signs of global fascist insurgency, Thompson’s analysis remains urgent and has become newly significant.

Inspired by a forthcoming special issue of Theory in Action devoted to Black Bloc, White Riot’s enduring relevance ten years after its first publication, this seminar provides an opportunity to revisit Thompson’s arguments pertaining to representation, whiteness, violence, and the concept of the political. Participants will also be prompted to consider how the book’s thesis might equip radical left forces to deal with the challenges of the Trump era.

IMG_3934Facilitator: AK Thompson got kicked out of high school for publishing an underground newspaper called The Agitator and has been an activist and social theorist ever since. Currently a Professor of Social Movements and Social Change at Ithaca College, his publications include Sociology for Changing the World: Social Movements/Social Research (2006), Black Bloc, White Riot: Anti-Globalization and the Genealogy of Dissent(2010), Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalist Struggle (2016), Spontaneous Combustion: The Eros Effect and Global Revolution (2017), and, most recently, Premonitions: Selected Essays on the Culture of Revolt (2018). Between 2005 and 2012, he served on the Editorial Committee of Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action.

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