ORF 2015 Timetable

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Full Programme (click to download PDF)

ORF 2015 Full Programme



Click on the title to join the facebook event for each panel! General ORF facebook event here



Two Oxford Spires: From Magdalen to Windrush

Old Refectory

Elleke Boehmer and Dom Davies will present their photo series on the divided nature of the city of Oxford, with a response from Sam Hollick, Green City Councillor


Denis Goldberg:

“The Prisoners’ Struggle: from South Africa to Palestine”

South School, Exam Schools

(NOTE not in Wadham!)

Organized by: Israeli Apartheid Week

Denis Goldberg is a veteran of the South African national liberation movement. As a member of the ANC led armed struggle, Goldberg was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Rivonia Trial alongside Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders. Upon his release to Israel in 1985 after 22 years in prison, Goldberg resumed campaigning against apartheid and colonialism, condemning Israel for supporting the South African apartheid regime as well as for its treatment of the Palestinians. He has been involved with many struggles for justice since, both in South Africa and abroad, ranging from education justice to work against rape and sexual violence. In 1988 Goldberg was awarded the Albert J. Luthuli African Peace Award, and in 2009 the Order of Luthuli (Silver) by the President of South Africa. He is also an Honorary Life Member of the Unison Trade Union in the United Kingdom, and has lectured at many universities around the world.

Chaired by Dr Sudhir Hazareesingh F.B.A., Balliol College.


Sink or Swim – The Case for Radical Climate Action in 2015


Organized by: Sam Brook


• Bill McKibben – Founder of 350.org and the global fossil fuel divestment movement (Via Skype)

Phil Ball – Greenpeace activist and member of the Arctic 30 who were arrested and detained by Russian authorities for protesting a Gazprom oil rig

Tabitha Spence – Campaign against Climate Change

Adam Ramsay – Environmental Campaigner and Journalist

2015 is a sink or swim year for the Climate movement, a year in which a vast social movement must organise and agitate for a decisive decision at the next United Nations COP on Climate Change. March, Occupy, Organise. As part of Oxford Radical Forum 2015, come and hear the motive and the method for a radical intervention in the climate crisis in 2015.



Free Education: Resistance and Reimaginings


Organized by: Kate Bradley and Angie Normandale (student activists, Oxford)


Rachel O’Brien, Birmingham Defend Education/National Campaign Against Fees

and Cuts

Dr. Joel Lazarus, University of Warwick/People’s Political Economy (PPE)

Professor Mike Neary, Lincoln University/founder of the Social Science Centre

Against the backdrop of rising tuition fees and the increasing commercialisation of universities, the student movement has begun to organise for free education- but what might a truly free education look like? We will hear first from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, which is fighting to make universities fair and democratic, and then from the founders of the People’s Political Economy and the Social Science centre, two radical projects which investigate new ways of sharing knowledge.

LUNCH: 13:00-14:30


Neoliberalism, the Workers’ Movement and the Struggle for Social Justice in MENA


Organized by: Miriyam Aouragh, RS21


Mohamed Boutayeb, trade unionist and Al Monadila activist from Morocco

Anne Alexander, MENA Solidarity Network and Cambridge University

• Bill Mac Keith, National Union of Journalists and Oxford & District Trades Union Council

Four years after uprisings swept the Middle East and North Africa inspired millions of people across the world to demand radical change many wonder: have all those struggles for freedom and social justice been in fain now that the region is faced by counterrevolutions – be it the crackdown on activists in general, a civil-war situation in Syria, fascist-like political repression in Egypt leading to thousands of arrests and death sentences, or the dangerous emergence of Daesh/IS? But at the same time we should not forget that thousands activists across the region tirelessly organise and agitate for change.

One of the arena’s where the struggles continue though is hardly ever broadcasted on mainstream media are the various workers struggle. ORF is extremely proud to host Mohamed Boutayeb from Morocco, one of the countries swept by protest yet rarely part of our discussions about the Arab world. He is a key organiser in protest campaigns, is one of the editors of Al-Monadil/a [http://www.almounadil-a.info/] and was involved in the general strike last October. We also have Anne Alexander, tireless activist in the MENA Solidarity Campaign, organiser of dozens of solidarity campaigns and co-author of Bread, Freedom and Social Justice. With them will will discuss what we can learn about struggles from below and the responses of the state in these paradoxical times of revolution/counter-revolution.

Update: We are very happy to add to our panel Bill Mac Keith, delegate from Oxford branch of the National Union of Journalists to Oxford & District Trades Union Council. With Oxford TUC he has been involved over the years with trade unions in Nicaragua, Palestine, South Africa, Nicaragua, France, Pakistan etc. At the meeting he will confirm hope that contact with TUs in Morocco which started very recently will be strengthened.


Film Screening: Screaming Queens

Old Refectory

Organized by: Kae Smith

Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria centres around a key turning point in LGBTQ history which occurred in August 1966 in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. This was one of the first recorded transgender riots in United States history, preceding the more infamous 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City.

We will have a screening of the film followed by a discussion with Trans rights activist Kae Smith (Ruskin College).


Insurrectionary Anarcha- Feminism: Arming Joy Against Formal Organizing, Socialism, and the Patriarchal Left

Old Refectory

Organized by: Aylon A. Cohen


Aylon A. Cohen

• The (A)nti-Social Centre

• Aylesbury Occupation

While growing in popularity in the last few decades, Insurrectionary anarchism has only recently begun to receive more sustained theoretical attention. Eschewing formal organizing in favour of affinity groupings, insurrectionary anarchism renews focus on the importance of directly attacking institutions of oppression not only as a means for achieving freedom but also as a practical tool for learning about freedom. This workshop strives to take seriously insurrectionary anarchism’s emphasis on the political importance of joyful attack.

Insurrectionary approaches extend the anarchist focus on prefigurative politics to the domain of desire by advocating that resistance is itself an enjoyable act that is liberating. The first part of the workshop outlines and introduces an insurrectionary anarchist style of resistance as a counter to ‘formal’ modes of organizing, as broadly illustrated by today’s ‘revolutionary’ socialist, party-oriented, and unionist organizations. The second part of the workshop applies insurrectionary anarchism to the problem of patriarchy pervasive in leftist organizations. The workshop explores how informal modes of organizing are best suited for feminists striving to attack the power that patriarchal ‘comrades’ obtain in leftist organizations. The workshop thus investigates why feminists should seriously consider insurrectionary anarchism as the way to combat patriarchy.


The Future of Neoliberalism in Europe


Organized by: Oxford Left Review


Marina Prentoulis, member of Syriza London, has been active in recent Anglophone commentary on the Greek situation. Marina is a Lecturer in Media and Politics at the University of East Anglia, currently working on social movements in Europe

Richard Seymour, writer and activist, well-known for his blog Lenin’s Tomb. Richard is currently preparing a PHD in Sociology at the LSE and has written for international media outlets including The Guardian, London Review of Books and Al Jazeera

Ellie O’Hagan, Guardian columnist who also works with the Centre for Labour and Social Studies, a thinktank focusing on working rights and inequality. She has also worked with several Latin American organisations. Ellie writes on trade unions, activism, feminism and Latin America.

As part of the Oxford Radical Forum 2015, the Oxford Left Review hosts a panel discussion on the nature of neoliberalism in Europe. The growth of a European ‘left populism’ poses pressing questions about the future of neoliberalism on the continent. How has neoliberalism changed European societies, and what now are the prospects of transcending it?


Malcolm X Memorial

Moser Theatre

Screening of Malcolm X‘s Oxford Union Speech from 1964 with discussion led by Abdi-aziz Suleiman (NUS Black Students’ Campaign) on the continued relevance of Malcom for the struggle today.



The Future of Trans Politics


Organized by: Kae Smith


Noorulann Shahid, NUS LGBT Campaign.

Sabah Choudrey, organiser of UK Trans Pride 2014

Trans people face enormous enormous structural barriers to just exist at the moment. A lack of adequate healthcare provision, transphobic hate crime and a lack of political representation amongst many other issues contribute to a structural oppression that leads many to conclude that this is the new civil rights frontier.

How must we as organise to achieve this and what at present stands in our way? This event at this year’s Oxford Radical Forum aims to contribute to this discussion as a way forward today.


Am I an Extremist? Counter-terrorism and the Criminalisation of Dissent

Old Refectory

Organized by: Oxford rs21


•  Karma Nabulsi, University of Oxford

•  Malia Bouattia, NUS Black Students’ Campaign

•  Ken Macdonald, former Director of Public Prosecutions, member of the House of Lords and Warden of Wadham College

Reforms to the Government’s counter-terrorism provisions have recently seen the state granted effectual powers of exile and detainment without charge, and the transformation of teachers and academic staff into police informants, with imprisonment for contempt of court if they refuse to cooperate with anti-radicalisation programmes.

These reforms represent one of the greatest threats to freedom of thought and expression in modern Europe, if you’ve ever questioned UK foreign policy, openly disagreed with western media reportage, or expressed desire for social or political change then you could be liable to court-sanctioned accusations of radicalisation; the definition of ‘non-violent terrorism’ is deliberately vague.

More importantly though, in a climate of acute islamophobia, the reforms passing through parliament are only another chapter in the victimisation of the most vulnerable groups in society. Come along and learn how this affects your freedom, and what we can do to stop it.

LUNCH: 13:00-14:30


Radical Solutions to the Housing Crisis

Old Refectory

Organized by: Rowan Tallis Milligan


Christine Haigh, Radical Housing Network

Andy Edwards, House of the Commons/Oxford Tenants Union

Marijam Did, Squatters Movement

We are living in a time of intense housing need. The government and councils are not providing any adequate solutions to this problem. There is not enough social housing, there is not enough housing. Rent is too high, landlords are too powerful. Three speakers from three housing movements offer their responses to the housing crisis.

Neoliberalism, War and Resistance in Eastern Europe


Organized by: Nick Evans, rs21


Yuliya Yurchenko, University of Greenwich

Jan Ladzinski, rs21.org.uk

One of the themes of this year’s Oxford Radical Forum is the dynamics of counterrevolution and imperial intervention from MENA to Eastern Europe, which have divided and confused international solidarity movements. In this panel, we will be looking at the situation in Eastern Europe. Too often, commentators talk about the unfolding events solely in terms of geopolitics, without looking at the processes of neoliberalism, and resistance from below.

We will discuss how we can correct that, and what it means for the kind of solidarity we can offer to those resisting the power of the oligarchs, the imperialists and the far-right.


Digital revolutions: Neoliberal infrastructures of exploitation or revolutionary possibilities for the exploited?

Old Refectory

Organized by: Miriyam Aouragh


Jenny Chan, Oxford University China Studies Center

Christian Fuchs, University of Westminster

Among the many debates about new social movements has been the notion of a new digital media revolution. But what are the political, economic and above all material realities behind these so-called progressive changes in our media-ecologies? ORF will bring two of the best speakers and researchers on these important topics: Jenny will present “Suicide Factory, Foxcon and resistance in Chinese telecom” and Christian Fuchs “OccupyMedia! Social Media in Times of Capitalist Crisis, Revolutions and Political Struggles”.They will help demystify many of the hyped assumptions and offer a critical and empirically informed analysis that will help activists on the ground better understand the dialectics of technology and capitalism.

16:15-19:15 (NOTE different time!)

FILM: “It’s Never Darker” & Debate with filmmaker Èrika Sànchez Marcos


Organized by: Marina Massaguer Comes


Èrika Sánchez, director of the film

Marina Massaguer Comes, University of Oxford

“It’s never darker” is a feature-length documentary by the young director Èrika Sànchez. A portrait of the economist and activist Arcadi Oliveres (1945) made over a period of two years with a small film crew. Two key years in an amazing biography: from student protests against general Franco’s dictatorship in the 60’s to the anti-globalization activities and the creation of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre to the presence in the recent Indignados movement.

A road movie that combines the collective struggle of the Spanish Revolution with the loneliness of the road in his particular gospel against capital. From the roar of the masses of a society on the edge of the abyss to the individual struggle of a man to overcome the pitfalls of the human condition.

The film will be shown in the Catalan/Spanish original version, with English subtitles.


Fighting Within Feminism, Fighting For Feminism?


Organised by: NCAFC (National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts)

Why should feminists care about Free Education? What is the role of class struggle feminism within the student movement? Why is liberation about more than personal experience and identity? How can we effectively fight for our feminist and anti-capitalist demands?

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