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Explore Bay Area Social Movement History

Recent Free Public Talks
September 2014-February 2015

A place to meet and talk unmediated by corporations, official spokespeople, religion, political parties, or dogma.

All events are free.
At 518 Valencia Street, near 16th, in San Francisco (close to 16th Street BART)

Some events co-sponsored by Freedom Archives and PM Press. Partly underwritten by City Lights Foundation and Rainbow Grocery Cooperative.

February 25 • 7:30 pm
Promises of Progress: Panama-Pacific International Exposition

On the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), Gray Brechin and Chris Carlsson discuss the relationship of world’s fairs to the idea of progress over time. How did the presentations at PPIE in their early 20th century context boost now long-held assumptions about progress and development through technological innovation and economic growth?

February 11 • 7:30 pm
Art & Politics: Rene Yañez

Rene Yañez has been at the epicenter of the Mission’s multiple art movements going back to the 1970s. Our Art & Politics series puts him in the spotlight for a retrospective of his life’s work, a free-ranging discussion of the politics that informed his work, and how his work has shaped the neighborhood and the City to which he has contributed so much.

February 4 • 7:30 pm
San Francisco’s Wild Menu:
Flora, Fauna, Feast

In 1849 San Francisco was surrounded by wild animals and a flourishing sea and bay, from which most early food was taken. But what is our “wild menu” now? How do foraging, fishing, hunting, and gathering fit into modern life? What role does conservation and ecology play in a contemporary and future wild menu? With Mark Heath, Kirk Lombard, and Chris Carlsson. Co-hosted by Wild Equity Institute and Nature in the City.

January 21 • 7:30 pm
Washed Away—Newfound Extreme Weather History

What actually happened to Darling Clementine? Historian Joel Pomerantz explores the California floods of 1862. Learn how this historic storm, which killed thousands and caused a number of San Francisco houses to collapse, can be an example for what a really extreme weather event could be like in our future.

January 14, 2015 • 7:30 pm
Home on the Grange

“Grange Future” celebrates the history and contemporary expression of ‘the grange idea.’ From the 19th century populist movement that backed the early campaign for an “information commons” in the form of Rural Free Mail delivery, to public banking and Farmers co-op banks, this vital movement is re-emerging to confront information and agricultural monopolists of our own era. Severine von Tscharner Fleming leads a panel discussion with the Internet Archive's Brewster Kahle and Matt Senate from the Omni Commons and Sudo Room Hackerspace.

December 10, 2014
Latin American Social Movements

Clif Ross and Marcy Rein, editors of Until the Rulers Obey: Voices from Latin American Social Movements present a broad overview of the social movements that have pressured one regime after another in Latin America, changing the political calculations for everyone from right to left, from Venezuela to Argentina, Mexico to Chile and more.

Co-hosted by PM Press

December 3, 2014
Tunneling San Francisco Then and Now: Where’s the Public Interest?

A discussion of the west side tunnels and MUNI expansion in the 1910s, simultaneous to the building of the Hetch Hetchy water and power system by Elizabeth Creely and Catherine Powell, with Tim Redmond to compare today’s infrastructure build-out (Central Subway, sewers, and rebuilding Hetch Hetchy aqueduct).

November 12, 2014
Art & Politics: Janet Delaney
A Photographic History of South of Market

Janet Delaney has been documenting the changing South of Market since its days as a recently deindustrialized district in the early 1970s to its present boom in luxury residential towers.

Our Art & Politics series invites solo artists to talk about their work and share a bit about their process and the relationship of art to politics and vice versa in their work.

November 5, 2014
Trees and History

Jared Farmer presents his book Trees in Paradise, reading California history through Redwoods/Sequoias, Palms, Citrus, and Eucalyptus. He is joined by Craig Dawson of the Sutro Stewards, a group dedicated to untangling San Francisco’s most fraught forest atop Mt. Sutro.


October 29, 2014
San Francisco’s Housing Wars 2014

Decades of displacement and eviction have reached another crescendo during 2013-14. Key activists from the 1990s to the present will share tactics and strategies as the war enters its latest stages.

With James Tracy with his new book Dispatches Against Displacement, Erin McElroy of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and Maria Zamudio of Causa Justa.


October 8, 2014
Making History by Making Maps

Nicole Gluckstern and Burrito Justice trace the lines of their literary history mapping project (Bikes to Books) and map-making, and are joined by historical geographer Dick Walker co-author of the fantastic project The Atlas of California: Mapping the Challenge of a New Era.

Download a pdf of the Atlas of California presentation (20MB).

October 1, 2014
A History of LGBTQ Spaces . . .

Where you Least Expect Them

At the outset of the LGBTQ History Month of October, a group of distinguished historians come together to orient us to queer historic sites and events in the city. They reflect on those that have been torn down and what it means that these centers of community are missing, and present a sampling of the many still extant social, cultural, and sexual spaces, and why these places are critical components of LGBTQ history. The presentation also showcases the work going into the Citywide Historic Context Statement for LGBTQ History, a planning document that will serve as a guide in the documentation and commemoration of LGBTQ places in San Francisco.

With Glenne McElhinney, Gerard Koskovich, Shayne Watson, Donna Graves, and Felicia Elizondo

Photo of Ocean Beach courtesy of Shayne Watson.

Please note that the presenters retain their rights to their presentations contained in this recording.

September 24, 2014
No Future at College?!?

A discussion among adjunct faculty (aka temp teachers), City College of San Francisco advocates and defenders, and Student Debt activists—how to understand the current neoliberal-imposed crisis in higher education, and what is a future worth fighting for?

With Joe Berry of COCAL, Christian Nagler from the recent unionizing success at the San Francisco Art Institute, Wendy Kaufmyn and Lalo Gonzalez from CCSF.


September 10, 2014
The Evolving Eastern Shoreline

Shaping San Francisco's Chris Carlsson provides an historic tour of the eastern shoreline from its days as tidal mudflats and open sewers crisscrossed by piers and wharves to its new incarnation as a site of ecological restoration and recreation. Anthony Khalil of Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) offers a special look at creating a revitalized Candlestick shoreline including habitat restoration and community engagement, while interpreting the wonders of the Franciscan bioregion’s ecology and biodiversity.