I was lucky enough to take three of Joel's political theory classes, little did I know when I signed up for the first on political extremism, I would be embarking on a journey that would mark the beginning of my own liberation. Through Joel's classes, I began to understand that Republican and Democrat were not the only two options we had. In fact we had infinite options in the pursuit of justice and liberating struggle. My main focus at the time consisted simply of "saving the environment," and I remember Joel's wise words to me at the tail end of one of his end of the semester gatherings for beer or soda with any of his students or community members that wished to come. I can't remember the name of the pizza place we were at, but I do remember Joel, myself, and two other students were more than several beers in, I can't remember the exact conversation that led to this, but I looked at Joel and asked, what do we do? How can we save the planet? He looked at me and simply stated "anarchism Justine, anarchism." I thought to myself, wait, that's a real option? And from that moment on my life was forever changed. I teach now myself, and continuously come back to this archive for inspiration. I never had the opportunity to talk with Joel directly about his pedagogy, but through this site I continue to learn, and for that I am forever grateful. Here's to one final toast Joel - "War to the palaces, peace to the villages!"
I never knew Joel, but admired him from afar, having heard stories of him from mutual friends and comrades. Although I teach history and African American Studies, I've begun to share his "How to Study Political Theory" handout with my students on the first day of class. So many of the lessons are applicable to my courses as well. My students seem to appreciate it greatly. Thank you for this archive and for your work maintaining Joel's legacy. His renowned pedagogy lives on.
The world lost Joel Olson 5 years ago today. In an age of polarized views on race and immigration, Joel will forever be with us in his words, years ahead of their time. Please do yourself a favor and dive in. In the 80's I celebrated the day an issue of Hippycore showed up in my mailbox. IIn the 90's, I was thrilled to work alongside him in Minneapolis as activists and in the Profane Existence collective. I was also in a band with his wife Audrey Creed who I'm happy to have closer in my life again. I strongly recommend the links to his "Race Traitor" articles therein. Foreshadowing a larger fight, Joel Olson spearheaded much of the struggle against Arizona's anti-immigration bills before his passing. Oddly, today also marks 3 years since I crashed my bike at 2 am in a rainstorm. Someone found me unconscious with skull and shoulder fractures and I awoke hours later in the trauma ward of Woodhull Hospital. It rained 6 inches that day, perhaps a call of mourning to those not as lucky as I.
I miss you my friend.
"The price of memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings." Thank you so much for this beautiful and comforting insight in Joel's life. We will always carry love in our hearts for Joel. He is missed every day.
Peace to the villages, war to the palaces !
This is a fantastic resource and tribute. Thanks so much for all the work that went into building this site.