Monday, February 07, 2005

National Conference of Organized Resistance

I was rather disappointed with NCOR, to tell you the truth. Many of the seminars/workshops that my friends and I attended seemed to contain great potential, in terms of education, information, and engagement, but there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm or professionalism or dynamics of any kind in the speakers I encountered. There was also a dearth of practical application, which was equally disappointing.

On Saturday I attended Beyond the Gender Binary, which was a discussion, essentially, on what the gender binary is (male and female in both gender and sex) and its implications. The two discussion leaders, while obviously possessing strong knowledge and experience, were very lackluster speakers and leaders. I really enjoyed discussing with my small group, and hearing some ideas about gender and sexuality, especially in terms of consumerism, but felt disappointed nonetheless. I did have a personal epiphany, however, in that I realized when talking to Emily that I never discuss my bisexuality/bicuriousity with my female friends-- only my male friends. Another aspect of the discussion I enjoyed was the examination of language. I felt pretty good about leaving that one and and moving on to....

The intriguingly-dubbed Beyond a Culture of Oblivion. Again this workshop suffered the same setbacks. I loved listening to talk about the community-wide effects of substance use, radical sobriety and why SXE (straight edge) kids do what they do, but left feeling unsatisfied. The four leaders seemed unprepared and unenthusiastic, and that put a damper on audience participation.

After a vegan lunch, Poe and I proceeded onto Youth Liberation, discussing youth rights and specifically, ways that youths' rights are denied and abused. (Behavioral modification programs were a big attention draw.) I was thrilled to hear from current and future educators discussing how to mix anarchist or anti-authoritarian or democratic or youth-respectful values into their classes.

Last of all was Protecting Health as a Human Right, hosted by Ipas and discussing reproductive rights. We went over a timeline of how r.r. have progressed and regressed in America, and the implications of various legislation, etc. The information presented was very good, but the two girls leading the workshop read to us for an hour and a half, essentially. There was little engagement, and discussion only began ten minutes before the session drew to a close, when most of us had to begin leaving. Very disappointing.

After a lackluster day all around, the four of us -- Dan, Emily, Poe and myself-- decided we would only attend "Staying Healthy and Safe in the Streets" on Sunday, but we ended up sleeping through that anyhow. I am not sure if I will attend NCOR next year.


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