I recently published an article in the journal Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, sharing some suggestions for how to form revolutionary study groups. It is available for free download here: DIY study strategies. Feel free to distribute it if you find it useful. This is the third part of a series on revolution, education, and reading; the first two parts can be found here.
The full issue of the Perspectives journal focuses on anarchist strategizing, and can be purchased here, from the Institute for Anarchist Studies and AK Press.
In the article, I lay out some methods for learning from each other instead of treating the text or the facilitator as an authority. I also wrestle with how to navigate differences in literacy skills among study group participants, and suggest some practical and creative ways to make texts and discussions more accessible to folks who have varying degrees of access to formal education.
The article includes reflections on a study group the Black Orchid Collective did together last year, and the appendix includes step-by-step outlines of a particular group session, writing prompts, and graphic organizers for note taking that we’ve developed.
My hope is that other affinity groups, collectives, and learning commons projects will engage with this and provide critical feedback based on your own experiences learning together. I also hope you all will write up your own reflections on collective study so that we can share practical tips with each other for how to learn outside of the capitalist education system. Our enemies have their think tanks, schools, and universities. We have processes of freestyle thinking and learning that cannot be enclosed, and that can grow rhizomatically if we put in the effort to make it happen.
If folks are interested in continuing these conversations, I write semi-regularly for the blog Creativity Not Control. It’s a collaborative project I’ve been working on with several public school parents; we are also involved in organizing against the school to prison pipeline and other forms of inequality in the schools. We want learning for life, not for labor. If this resonates with you, we welcome guest posts and collaboration in Seattle and beyond.