Elon University Hosts “Imaginative Activism” Social Justice Workshop

On January 12, an email went out from a staff member at Elon University promoting a social justice workshop called, “Imaginative Activism: Creativity and Social Movements in a Polarized Era.”

Universities around the country will be holding similar activism events, in particular – anti-Trump events. Things like ‘Trump protests’, teach-ins,  and various other politically motivated events are being taught in place of actual courses during the current week leading up to the inauguration.

The ‘Imaginative Activism’ event email was sent by Dr. Raj Ghoshal, an assistant professor of sociology at Elon University. Ghoshal describes himself on his website as, “a political and cultural sociologist; the core topic I study through these lenses is race in the United States.”

At Elon University, Ghoshal currently offers courses on, “Introduction to Sociology, Race and Ethnic Relations Protest!” and “Legacy of the 1960s Quantitative Methods.”

The email (which mirrors the flier) reads:

Imaginative Activism:
Creativity and Social Movements in a Polarized Era
Mon, January 16, 5:30-7:00pm * McKinnon Hall (Moseley 1st Floor)

Elon University - Paxus Calta - FlierLooking for ideas about creative ways to help address inequality, climate change, racism, sexism, or other issues? Taking part in social movements does not need to be scary, boring, or repetitive. This workshop looks at two ways that regular people can create social change: (1) Demonstrations and rallies, with an emphasis on how to make them exciting and newsworthy; and (2) Building and sustaining alternative models of living, such as ecovillages and intentional communities.

This interactive workshop ”“ free to Elon students, staff, and faculty – includes designing actions and role-playing them with the group. It is facilitated by Paxus Calta, the former lead anti-nuclear campaigner for Friends of the Earth International. He has participated in activism on three continents, and been involved in both oppositional and propositional politics for over 30 years. He is a member of Twin Oaks Community, the country’s most prominent income-sharing intentional community.

According to its website, the Twin Oaks community is, “an intentional community in rural central Virginia, made up of around 90 adult members and 15 children. Since the community’s beginning in 1967, our way of life has reflected our values of cooperation, sharing, nonviolence, equality, and ecology.”

The Twin Oaks description continues:

“We do not have a group religion; our beliefs are diverse. We do not have a central leader; we govern ourselves by a form of democracy with responsibility shared among various managers, planners, and committees. We are self-supporting economically, and partly self-sufficient. We are income-sharing. Each member works 42 hours a week in the community’s business and domestic areas. Each member receives housing, food, healthcare, and personal spending money from the community.”

The community makes hammocks and ‘casual furniture’ to generate income.  The description also notes that, “A number of us choose to be politically active in issues of peace, ecology, anti-racism, and feminism”  In other words, it’s basically a commune started in the 60’s didn’t fizzled out.

Paxus Calta
Paxus Calta at a protest at the Temelín Nuclear Power Station, Czech Republic 1996. (Wikipedia)

Paxus Calta has an extended bio on the Twin Oaks Community page. According to that bio, Calta goes by “Paxus Adrian Zakarya Adelova-Calta” but his real name is Earl Schuyler Flansburgh and he is also known as ‘Sky’.

Calta is apparently the brother of John Flanburgh who plays in the musical group They Might Be Giants.  Calta’s Twin Oaks bio goes into great detail about the names Adrian, AdelovaZakarya and Calta.

Regarding the last name, Calta, Paxus’ bio says that he one time found out that the Sicilian word for Castle was Calta, however Paxus says that, [SIC] “when i choose it the only thing it meant was ‘power’ in a language i had made up many years earlier.”

According to Wikipedia, Calta is more radical than the Twin Oaks bio lets on:

Calta authored a pamphlet about polyamory which has been translated into 5 languages. Calta considers himself an anarchist and is the principal organizer of the Fingerbook Propaganda Project, which produces and distributes “Fingerbooks” (small handbooks) on consensus decision-making, designing revolutions, polyamory, and intentional communities.

The Anarchist and Fingerbook maker’s workshop, as previously mentioned, is free to attend and, unlike other similar workshops at other universities, this one is not being held in lieu of an actual class. That’s a good thing perhaps, given it costs $31,247 a year to attend Elon University.

Calta’s event will take place tonight, at 5:30 p.m. according to news posted on the Elon University website.


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