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Feminist Fightback reading group: Self-Defense: A Philosophy of Violence – Part 1

May 28 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Join Feminist Fightback for our summer reading group book: Elsa Dorlin’s Self-Defense: A Philosophy of Violence, translated from the french by Kieran Aarons.

This book is a study of violent self-defense in the struggle for liberation. In the history of colonialism, racism, sexism, capitalism, there has long been a dividing line between bodies “worthy of defending” and those who have been disarmed and rendered defenceless.

Elsa Dorlin looks across the global history of the left – from slave revolts to the knitting women of the French Revolution and British suffragists’ training in ju-jitsu, from the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising to the Black Panther Party, from queer neighborhood patrols to Black Lives Matter – to trace the politics, philosophy, and ethics of self defense.

The book is 272 pages long. We will discuss this book in four sessions, two chapters at a time:

Tuesday 28th of May

  • Prologue, What a body can do
  • The production of disarmed bodies
  • Defense of self, defense of the nation

Monday 24th of June

  • Testaments of self-defense
  • The state, or the non-monopoly on legitimate defense

Monday 29th of July

  • White justice
  • Self-defense: power to the people

Monday 30th of September

  • Self-defense and safety
  • Reprisals

Please come having read the relevant chapters. Drop us a line if you would like more details at feminist.fightback@gmail.com.

We urge people to buy the book or borrow it from a library, if they can find it, to support the author. However if you are not able to do either, we can provide you with a link to read it online.

As an exception the first session will take place at Vibast Community Centre, 167 Old St, London EC1V 9NH. The venue is fully accessible. Please arrive at 7.00 for 7.15 start; we will finish at 8.30pm. All genders welcome.


May 28
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


Feminist Fightback
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Vibast Community Centre
167 Old Street
London, EC1V 9NH United Kingdom
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