Radical Language in the Mainstream, by Kelsey Cham C.

Institute for Anarchist Studies

This essay appears in the current issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory (N. 29), available here, from AK Press!

As a person who did not come to radical perspectives from academia, I’ve had quite the challenge trying to find community with people whose politics I respect.

I grew up in the suburb of Newton, Surrey, territory of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen peoples. I was an athlete and last-minute procrastinator who never understood why school should be taken seriously. Though I read newspapers every day, I didn’t have the words to describe the injustices I could see and feel. My lack of trust in the school system, and my dwindling trust in the politics of high level sports led me to believe I didn’t need validation from institutions. In grade 8, I started skipping class to find freedom. A couple of years later I found myself getting into hard…

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