Section 1 (all online): Tuesdays 6-9 PM PST January 2 – March 20 (12 weeks)
Section 2 (Huichin/Oakland): Wednesdays 6-9 PM PST January 3 – March 21 (12 weeks)
I call these orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events, combined with the treatment of disasters as exciting market opportunities, “disaster capitalism.”
–Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
How do so many folks get hustled away from the actual path of collective healing (aka decolonization) by individualistic & consumerist practices that are advertised as ‘transformative’? Do you feel resonance with certain ‘self-help’ materials and tools sold to you by the yoga industrial complex and yet at other times intuit that they’re likely bullshit? Do some hippies have you hating on your mind when you know your whole self is worthy of loving on & integral to getting free? If so, this class will allow a space to unpack these attractions & aversions, all within the confines of a critically thought anti-oppression framework. Indeed, we’ll consider the self-help and related New Age industries as one contemporary facet of (possibly well-intended) disaster capitalism. This season historicizes this diversionary campaign and explores the epistemological questions around how we vet what we think/feel we know. We’ll unpack that dangerous trend of many of our ancestral truths being stolen, co-opted, commercialized and the subsequent infiltration of poison into what was once medicinal. For instance, we’ll cover the weaponization of ‘mindfulness’ and ‘compassion’ against our movements as a form of gas-lighting par excellence. Rather than spiritually bypassing or engaging in spiritual materialism, we’ll cover the need for decolonization of our whole selves requiring engagement with the broader world. No aiding & abetting navel-gazing or cop outs here, beloveds- we’re keeping it real. Thus, we’ll delve into the politics of madness & sanity as we practice discernment amidst distortion.
seasonal devotion: This season is devoted to the oppressed peoples seeking healing, peace, and justice who have, at different moments of despair & openness, fallen prey to counter-revolutionary and anti-intellectual hustling by the self-help industrial complex, the cult of positive thinking, and self-proclaimed healers. May not one more of our relatives get distracted by commercialized and individualistic scams on their paths to collective liberation.
Seasonal student learning outcomes (& whatever you co-create)
- Unlearning hyper-individualistic consumerism, spiritual bypassing & materialism, neocolonialism, nonconsensual appropriative entitlement, naiveté, & capitalist profiteering
- Supporting folks who want to bring about transformative social change to learn how to do so in ancestrally meaningful & decolonial ways
- Cultivating discernment practices, including critical thinking skills & healthy skepticism
- Deepening humility
- Healing fragmentation amongst what often get divided up in English as our mind, body, spirit, and heart & supporting wholeness
Schedule (subject to change)
- Intro to season & The Newer Age Movement (video)
- The Century of the Self part 1 & 2 (video)
- The Century of the Self part 3 (video)
- Saving the Modern Soul-Therapy, Emotions, & the Culture of Self Help Ch 1 Dr. Eva Illouz* (academic essay)
- indian Dr. David Shorter (essay)
- Counterculture Indians and the New Age Dr. Philip Deloria (academic essay)
- “Positive Attitude” Bullshit: On the dangers of ‘radical self-love’ (essay)
- Consciousness-raising session
- Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism p 1-20
- Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism p 21-30
- Multilevel Marketing Jon Oliver (video)
- Closing of season
- Do you know where your healing crystals come from? (article)
- The Profound Emptiness of Resilience (article)
- White Shamans & Plastic Medicine Men (video)
- The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking
- Confessions of a Quack (book) – trigger warning: written by a white guy & mildly racist & sexist. still some gems of insight, tho!
- Conquest Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide (ch 6 119-135 on Spiritual Appropriation as Sexual Violence) Dr. Andrea Smith
- The Promise of Happiness Dr. Sara Ahmed (academic essay)
- On Orientalism Dr. Edward Said
- Betting on Zero (video)
Assignments (All optional & strongly encouraged)
Please complete as much of the assigned materials as possible before each gathering. Give yourself time, as this material is deeply challenging and merits space to process. If you’re not able to complete the entire assignment for a class, feel free to still attend, though. If there are words or concepts you’re unfamiliar with, try to look them up. Please consider watching the films with others (documentary night!) to spread awareness & dialogue. Feel free to jot down questions that arise while doing the work.
To ensure the potency of our collective knowledge-production, (un)learning, and community building, no new participants will be able to sit in after Week 2.
Please let me know at your earliest convenience if you plan to be late or miss a gathering so that we can plan accordingly.
Also, please bring a journal and something to write with each week.
Note* This course will be audio recorded, primarily for folks who may miss a class so that they can access the recordings before our next gathering. Feel free to take this into consideration as you share with whatever level of discernment you prefer.
Since I’m committed to taking seriously questions of access and privilege, this season is offered for $240 per participant to be paid in full by the first day of class. (This is the equivalent of $20 a class). If it’s literally impossible for you to donate this, let me know. Please offer your $40 deposit to secure your spot in the class by December 21, 2017.
*Dr. Illouz currently works in an Israeli university. You can find out more about supporting the Palestinian campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel here.
This past season of Liberation Spring titled: Our Spirits, Ourselves was a truly trans formative experience that allowed me to better understand how North American culture attempts to narrow which belief systems are valid while others are kept on the periphery of acceptance. The class allowed me to see how these attempts are a direct assault on my ability to connect to the teachings and practices of my ancestors. I am Mexican American but my ancestral connection is to the land, the skies, and waters that nurtured my bloodline, Before attending this class I hesitant to accept the “accuracy” of my abuelita and abuelitos. However, now I am honored and humbled to revisit their lessons, the use of plants, and connection to the land. I feared being labeled as an atheist or someone that is “making all this stuff up.” However, this class has allowed me to see how these attempts at questioning my spiritual understanding was a result of an attempt to limit my relationship to the land and its energetic influences over my livelihood. This class allowed me to see how important it is for people who are engaged in conscious raising efforts toward liberation to also consider the role spirituality has on our ability to connect with one another through our differences and also our similarities while also recognizing their artificiality. – Johnny Aguirre
Prepare to stretch. Prepare to be amazed. Give your humanity the reboot you didn’t know it was craving. Liberation Spring is a game changing adventure for the intellect, heart, and spirit. LS offers practical community-based solutions for both living in and re-imagining the modern age of late-stage capitalism in which we find ourselves embedded. Unfurling the fabric of colonial rule and global domination is neither a project for the complacent nor the faint of heart. In fact, it takes a brave and open one. The processes and curriculum are simultaneously enlightening, confrontive, confounding, exhilarating, and gloriously messy (like all worthy and noble pursuits). Anjali Nath is the brilliant thumping pulse of this freedom school project. She’s the brainchild and lead facilitator of Liberation Spring’s sophisticated decolonial curriculum and intimate learning environment. The pedagogy invites students to learn by unlearning; to engage with innovative and ancient approaches for reclaiming land-based and indigenous knowledges for the sake of planetary renewal; one that’s equitable and just for every global citizen and stakeholder.
The most significant take-away for me, personally, was the opportunity to examine and re-examine my relationship to / with culturally appropriated ritual, ceremony, and practices. This segment of the course–with Anjali’s apt and mindful guidance –connected me to my own ancestry and mother tongue of origin. Anjali expertly and graciously led us home to deeper understandings of self and heritage by inviting all students to research particular words from our ancestral homelands. This simple yet profound assignment launched my personal journey of inquiry that has now expanded to include the study of Celtic language, Tarot, and DNA testing and mapping.
Anjali Nath’s very warm and cozy Liberation Spring freedom school is comprised of a robust,, generous, engaged, and compassionate community of people who truly care about each other and who are fervently committed to the formation of a renewable world. Liberation Spring is a rare standout from the crowd of many contemporary activist spaces and modern affinity groups which get bogged down in bureaucracy, infighting, and the prevalence of hostile call-out culture that shames members who are in the early stages of waking up from the collective sleep walk of imperial supremacy. Liberation Spring is the antithesis of shame-based anything and is one of the safer and more intimate learning spaces available. – Kelly J. Kelly