Lisa Fithian presents: "Shut it Down"

Friday September 6, 7:00PM

@ Red Emma's

A veteran activist’s guide to direct action and strategic civil disobedience as the most radical and rapid means to social change

For decades, Lisa Fithian’s work as an advocate for civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action has put her on the frontlines of change. Described by Mother Jones as “the nation’s best-known protest consultant,” Fithian has supported countless movements including the Battle of Seattle in 1999, rebuilding and defending communities following Hurricane Katrina, Occupy Wall Street, and the uprisings at Standing Rock and in Ferguson. For anyone who wants to become more active in resistance or is just feeling overwhelmed or hopeless, Shut It Down offers strategies and actions you can take right now to promote justice and incite change in your own community.

In Shut It Down Fithian shares historic, behind-the-scenes stories from some of the most important people-powered movements of the past several decades. She shows how movements that embrace direct action have always been, and continue to be, the most radical and rapid means for transforming the ills of our society. Shut It Down is filled with instructions and inspiration for how movements can evolve as the struggle for social justice continues in the Trump era and beyond.

While recognizing that electoral politics, legislation, and policy are all important pathways to change, Shut It Down argues that civil disobedience is not just one of the only actions that remains when all else fails, but a spiritual pursuit that protects our deepest selves and allows us to reclaim our humanity. Change can come, but only if we’re open to creatively, lovingly, and strategically standing up, sometimes at great risk to ourselves, to protect what we love.

About Lisa Fithian

Lisa Fithian is an anti-racist organizer who has worked for justice since the 1970s. Using creative, strategic nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience, she has won many battles and trained tens of thousands of activists while participating in a range of movements and mobilizations, including Occupy Wall Street, anti-WTO and corporate globalization protests all over the world, the climate justice movement, and more. Lisa enjoys walking, playing with children, gardening, cooking great food, being in the wild, and raising up new generations to be agents of change. She is grateful to play her part in manifesting a world rooted in respect, justice, and liberation.

More upcoming events

@ Red Emma's
GBDSA is hosting a Workplace Organizing Training: How to Unionize, and WIN!
This event will be on Sunday, October 24 from 12:30p - 4:00p ET at Red Emma's (1225 Cathedral St, Baltimore, MD 21201). 

A celebratory but critical look at the Riot Grrrl movement

Growing up immersed in the feminist, DIY values of punk, Riot Grrrl, and zine culture of the 1990s and early 2000s gave Eleanor Whitney, like so many other young people who gravitate towards activism and musical subcultures, a sense of power, confidence, community, and social responsibility. As she grew into adulthood she struggled to stay true to those values, and with the gaps left by her punk rock education. 

This insightful, deeply personal history of early-2000s subcultures lovingly explores the difficulty of applying feminist values to real-life dilemmas, and embrace an evolving political and personal consciousness. Whitney traces the sometimes painful clash between her feminist values and everyday, adult realities — and anyone who has worked to integrate their political ideals into their daily life will resonate with the histories and analysis on these pages, such as engaging in anti-domestic violence advocacy while feeling trapped in an unhealthy relationship, envisioning a unified "girl utopia" while lacking racial consciousness, or espousing body positivity while feeling ambivalent towards one's own body. 


Cedric Robinson – political theorist, historian, and activist – was one of the greatest black radical thinkers of the twentieth century. In this powerful work, the first major book to tell his story, Joshua Myers shows how Robinson’s work interrogated the foundations of western political thought, modern capitalism, and changing meanings of race.

Tracing the course of Robinson’s journey from his early days as an agitator in the 1960s to his publication of such seminal works as Black MarxismMyers frames Robinson’s mission as aiming to understand and practice opposition to “the terms of order.” In so doing, Robinson excavated the Black Radical tradition as a form of resistance that imagined that life on wholly different terms was possible.

In the era of Black Lives Matter, that resistance is as necessary as ever, and Robinson’s contribution only gains in importance. This book is essential reading for anyone wanting to learn more about it.


The radical history of space exploration from the Russian Cosmists to Elon Musk

Many societies have imagined going to live in space. What they want to do once they get up there—whether conquering the unknown, establishing space “colonies,” privatising the moon’s resources—reveals more than expected. In this fascinating radical history of space exploration, Fred Scharmen shows that often science and fiction have combined in the imagined dreams of life in outer space, but these visions have real implications for life back on earth.

For the Russian Cosmists of the 1890s space was a place to pursue human perfection away from the Earth. For others, such as Wernher Von Braun, it was an engineering task that combined, in the Space Race, the Cold War, and during World War II, with destructive geopolitics. Arthur C. Clarke, in his speculative books, offered an alternative vision of wonder that is indifferent to human interaction. Meanwhile NASA planned and managed the space station like an earthbound corporation. Today, the market has arrived into outer space and exploration is the plaything of superrich technology billionaires, who plan to privatise the mineral wealth for themselves. Are other worlds really possible?

Bringing these figures and ideas together reveals a completely different story of our relationship with outer space, as well as the dangers of our current direction of extractive capitalism and colonisation.


Queer history is a living practice. Talk to any group of LGBTQ people today, and they will not agree on what story should be told. Many people desire to celebrate the past by erecting plaques and painting rainbow crosswalks, but queer and trans people in the twenty-first century need more than just symbols—they need access to power, justice for marginalized people, spaces of belonging. Approaching the past through a lens of queer and trans survival and world-building transforms history itself into a tool for imagining and realizing a better future. 

Living Queer History tells the story of an LGBTQ community in Roanoke, Virginia, a small city on the edge of Appalachia. Interweaving  historical analysis, theory, and memoir, Gregory Samantha Rosenthal tells the story of their own journey—coming out and transitioning as a transgender woman—in the midst of working on a community-based history project that documented a multigenerational southern LGBTQ community. Based on over forty interviews with LGBTQ elders, Living Queer History explores how queer people today think about the past and how history lives on in the present.