Book Launch: Shawna Potter presents "Making Spaces Safer"

Thursday May 23, 7:00PM

@ Red Emma's

Baltimore's Shawna Potter, singer for the band War On Women, has tackled sexism and harassment in lyrics and on stage for years. Taking the battle to music venues themselves, she has trained night clubs and community spaces in how to create safer environments for marginalized people. Now she’s turned decades of experience into a clear and concise guide for public spaces of all sorts—from art galleries to bagel shops to concert halls—that want to shut down harassers wherever they show up. The steps she outlines are realistic, practical, and actionable. With the addition of personal stories, case studies, sample policies, and no-nonsense advice like “How to Flirt without Being a Creep,” she shows why safer spaces are important, while making it easier to achieve them. Punk passion, candor, and anger get the job done!


"Every time someone wants me to prove sexism in the scene exists I am not going to tell them about having beer spat in my face while I’m singing or about men screaming 'shut up' while I’m talking between songs. I’m gonna hand them this book and say 'No more horror stories, here are some solutions.'" —Kathleen Hanna, Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and The Julie Ruin

“Shawna Potter’s work represents the best of punk and DIY values—an insistence that we don’t need to wait for politicians or anyone else to act. We can lead by example.” —Will Potter, author and TED Senior Fellow

“Punk made a promise of a freer, fairer, safer, and saner world, but never fulfilled it. Shawna Potter has written a field manual for how, inch by inch and scene by scene, we get there.” —Spencer Ackerman, The Daily Beast

"Making Spaces Safer has so many clear tactics for making shows more inclusive and welcoming, and, as a side effect, more fun for everyone. Whether you book bands, tend bar, want to look out for the wellbeing of your fellow music fans, or own the whole damn club.   Great tips that will help you make your space rule.” —Sadie Dupuis, Speedy Ortiz

More upcoming events

@ Red Emma's

Movement for No Society is a book that examines the division between leftist and anarchist approaches to radical politics in Philadelphia and traces its history and implications for the broader contemporary situation. As activism and electoral politics gain currency amongst radicals, the authors look to the insurgent history of this area for less compromised inspiration. Movement for No Society explores the current possibilities of direct struggle, which grounds direct action in autonomous self-organization and attack. In this presentation, we will delve into the history of local struggles in Philadelphia (including indigenous, black, and anarchist resistance) to consider the broader lessons and implications. We will discuss how the situation in Philadelphia can help anticipate the problems and possibilities offered to anarchists in the current moment.

Eric Blanc presents his brand new book on the wave of teacher-led agitation against austerity and for education for all, with special guest Natalia Bacchus of the Baltimore Movement of Rank and File Educators (BMORE). Co-sponsored by BMORE and Baltimore DSA.

@ Red Emma's

Bringing together a decade of AK Thompson’s essays on the culture of revolt, Premonitions offers an engaged assessment of contemporary radical politics. Inspired by Walter Benjamin and addressing themes ranging from violence and representation to Romanticism and death, Thompson combines scholarship and grassroots grit to disabuse readers—and rebels—of cherished certainties. Whether uncovering the unrealized promise buried in mainstream cultural offerings or tracing our course toward the inevitable moment of reckoning ahead, the essays in Premonitions are both practical investigations and prescient provocations.

AK THOMPSON got kicked out of high school for publishing an underground newspaper called The Agitator and has been an activist and social theorist ever since. Currently a Professor of Social Movements and Social Change at Ithaca College, his publications include Sociology for Changing the World: Social Movements/Social Research (2006), Black Bloc, White Riot: Anti-Globalization and the Genealogy of Dissent (2010), Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalist Struggle (2016), Spontaneous Combustion: The Eros Effect and Global Revolution (2017), and, most recently, Premonitions: Selected Essays on the Culture of Revolt (2018), Between 2005 and 2012, he served on the Editorial Committee of Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action.

When House Speaker Paul Ryan urged U.S. women to have more children, and Ross Douthat requested “More babies, please,” in a New York Times column, they openly expressed what policymakers have been discussing for decades with greater discretion. Using technical language like “age structure,” “dependency ratio,” and “entitlement crisis,” establishment think tanks are raising the alarm: if U.S. women don’t get busy having more children, we’ll face an aging workforce, slack consumer demand, and a stagnant economy.

Feminists generally believe that a prudish religious bloc is responsible for the protracted fight over reproductive freedom in the U.S. and that politicians only attack abortion and birth control to appeal to those “values voters.” But hidden behind this conventional explanation is a dramatic fight over women’s reproductive labor. On one side, elite policymakers want an expanding workforce reared with a minimum of employer spending and a maximum of unpaid women’s work. On the other side, women are refusing to produce children at levels desired by economic planners. By some measures our birth rate is the lowest it has ever been. With little access to childcare, family leave, health care, and with insufficient male participation, U.S. women are conducting a spontaneous birth strike.

In other countries, panic over low birth rates has led governments to underwrite childbearing and childrearing with generous universal programs, but in the U.S., women have not yet realized the potential of our bargaining position. When we do, it will lead to new strategies for winning full access to abortion and birth control, and for improving the difficult working conditions U.S. parents now face when raising children.

@ Red Emma's

Five years ago, in June of 2014, 10 months before the Uprising, D. Watkins was still on the come up, a freelance essay writer grinding towards success. His viral essay "Too Poor for Pop Culture" had dropped earlier in 2014, putting him on the map for a local and national audience for the first time. Red Emma's had the honor to partner with D. on his first print publication, a zine version of this essay and a few others.  At the time, we wrote that "D. Watkins' essays for Salon and elsewhere, chronicling the struggles and hustles of Black Baltimore and his own trajectory from street dealer to creative writer, are no doubt the first shots fired by a major literary talent in the making." Turns out this was a fair assessment. With his third book in five years out, writing in the New York Times, and a high-profile gig as a regular Salon columnist and videomaker, D. is a voice to be reckoned with, and one who has studiously made a point of using his success to lift up new rising voices from Baltimore's streets. To mark the fifth anniversary of his first print publication, D.'s coming to Red Emma's for a conversation with the essential Lisa Snowden-McCray of the Baltimore Beat for a conversation about what's changed, what remains to change, and how his new book We Speak for Ourselves fits into this picture.

In "Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement: Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights from the 1930s to the 1980s," Traci Parker examines the movement to racially integrate white-collar work and consumption in American department stores, and broadens our understanding of historical transformations in African American class and labor formation. Built on the goals, organization, and momentum of earlier struggles for justice, the department store movement channeled the power of store workers and consumers to promote black freedom in the mid-twentieth century. Sponsoring lunch counter sit-ins and protests in the 1950s and 1960s, and challenging discrimination in the courts in the 1970s, this movement ended in the early 1980s with the conclusion of the Sears, Roebuck, and Co. affirmative action cases and the transformation and consolidation of American department stores. In documenting the experiences of African American workers and consumers during this era—including in Baltimore City—Parker highlights the department store as a key site for the inception of a modern black middle class, and demonstrates the ways that both work and consumption were battlegrounds for civil rights.


In 1911, leading English suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst visited America. Unlike other suffragette leaders, who spent their time in America among the social elite, Pankhurst wasted no time getting right to the heart of America’s social problems. She visited striking laundry workers in New York and female prisoners in Philadelphia and Chicago, and she grappled firsthand with shocking racism in Nashville.


This book gathers Pankhurst’s writings from the year-long visit, in which she reveals her shock at the darkness hidden in American life, and draws parallels to her experiences of imprisonment and misogyny in her own country. Never before published, these writings mark an important stage in the development of the suffragette's thought, which she brought back to Britain to inform the burgeoning suffrage campaign there.

America’s suburbs are not the homogenous places we sometimes take them for. Today’s suburbs are racially, ethnically, and economically diverse, with as many Democratic as Republican voters, a growing population of renters, and rising poverty. The cliche of white picket fences is well past its expiration date.

The history of suburbia is equally surprising: American suburbs were once fertile ground for utopian planning, communal living, socially-conscious design, and integrated housing. We have forgotten that we built suburbs like these, such as the co-housing commune of Old Economy, Pennsylvania; a tiny-house anarchist community in Piscataway, New Jersey; a government-planned garden city in Greenbelt, Maryland; a racially integrated subdivision (before the Fair Housing Act) in Trevose, Pennsylvania; experimental Modernist enclaves in Lexington, Massachusetts; and the mixed-use, architecturally daring Reston, Virginia.

Inside Radical Suburbs you will find blueprints for affordable, walkable, and integrated communities, filled with a range of environmentally sound residential options. Radical Suburbs is a history that will help us remake the future and rethink our assumptions of suburbia.

@ Red Emma's
Join us for the launch of Fred Scharmen's Space Settlements!

In the summer of 1975, NASA brought together a team of physicists, engineers, and space scientists—along with architects, urban planners, and artists—to design large-scale space habitats for millions of people. This Summer Study was led by Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill, whose work on this topic had previously been funded by countercultural icon Stewart Brand’s Point Foundation. Two painters, the artist and architect Rick Guidice and the planetary science illustrator Don Davis, created renderings for the project that would be widely circulated over the next years and decades and even included in testimony before a Congressional subcommittee. A product of its time, this work is nevertheless relevant to contemporary modes of thinking about architecture. Space Settlements examines these plans for life in space as serious architectural and spatial proposals.
Fred Scharmen teaches architecture and urban design at Morgan State University's School of Architecture and Planning. His work as a designer and researcher focuses on how architects imagine new spaces for speculative future worlds and who is invited into those worlds. Recent projects, with the Working Group on Adaptive Systems, include a mile-and-a-half long scale model of the solar system in downtown Baltimore (in collaboration with nine artists), and a pillow fort for the Baltimore Museum of Art based on Gottfried Semper's Four Elements of Architecture.
@ Red Emma's
Single payer healthcare is not complicated: the government pays for all care for all people. It’s cheaper than our current model, and most Americans (and their doctors) already want it. So what’s the deal with our current healthcare system, and why don’t we have something better?

In Health Justice Now, Timothy Faust explains what single payer is, why we don’t yet have it, and how it can be won. He identifies the actors that have misled us for profit and political gain, dispels the myth that healthcare needs to be personally expensive, shows how we can smoothly transition to a new model, and reveals the slate of humane and progressive reforms that we can only achieve with single payer as the springboard.

In this impassioned playbook, Faust inspires us to believe in a world where we could leave our job without losing healthcare for ourselves and our kids; where affordable housing is healthcare; and where social justice links arm-in-arm with health justice for us all. Single payer is the tool—health justice is the goal!

TIMOTHY FAUST‘s writing has appeared in Splinter, Jacobin, and Vice, among others. He has worked as a data scientist in the healthcare industry, before which he enrolled people in ACA programs in Florida, Georgia, and Texas, where he saw both the shortcomings of the ACA and the consequences of the Medicaid gap firsthand. Since 2017, he’s been driving around the United States in his 2002 Honda CR-V talking to people about health inequity in their neighborhoods. He lives in Brooklyn.
@ Red Emma's

From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a bracingly original approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.

“The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it—and then dismantle it.”


Join us as we celebrate the release of an essential new anthology on the political and racial economy of urban life in Baltimore. Full details TBA, but save this date now!

Nicknamed both “Mobtown” and “Charm City” and located on the border of the North and South, Baltimore is a city of contradictions. From media depictions in The Wire to the real-life trial of police officers for the murder of Freddie Gray, Baltimore has become a quintessential example of a struggling American city. Yet the truth about Baltimore is far more complicated—and more fascinating.
 
To help untangle these apparent paradoxes, the editors of Baltimore Revisited: Stories of Inequality and Resistance in a US City have assembled a collection of over thirty experts from inside and outside academia. Together, they reveal that Baltimore has been ground zero for a slew of neoliberal policies, a place where inequality has increased as corporate interests have eagerly privatized public goods and services to maximize profits. But they also uncover how community members resist and reveal a long tradition of Baltimoreans who have fought for social justice.
 
The essays in this collection take readers on a tour through the city’s diverse neighborhoods, from the Lumbee Indian community in East Baltimore to the crusade for environmental justice in South Baltimore. Baltimore Revisited examines the city’s past, reflects upon the city’s present, and envisions the city’s future.