Ann Withorn


Diane and Ann

ANN Withorn has been a close observer and ally to several radical movements in the United States since the late 1960s -- especially the welfare rights, women's rights, and racial and economic justice movements. She published extensively on such topics and from 1977 to 2013 and taught social movement history and theory at the non-traditional College of Public and Community Service, within the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her students were working class adults who were part of diverse Boston-area communities. She loved her students and her varied roles at the College -- which was both a natural base for organizing, and simultaneously grounded her life. Among her prior writings, Ann is most proud of Serving the People: Social Services and Social Change (1984), and For Crying out Loud: Women's Poverty in the US (1996), edited with her comrade and longtime friend, Diane Dujon, who is pictured above with Ann. Both are 70 years old. Ann is currently working on a book that draws upon her more than forty years of formal and informal radical teaching -- to be entitled Who Did We Think We Were? Radical Higher Education and the Neoliberal Imperative. She is also presently active in the effort to build a movement for a Universal Basic Income as the logical extension of the Welfare Rights Movement, in the growing Resistance Movement that is fighting rightwing forces in the US. For more information about Ann please see:

"Acting Up, Not Out: Facing the Perils and Possibilities for Radical Practice Today"

A Keynote Conversation with Ann Withorn.

Chair: Kieran Allen.

Co-Animators: Ifrah Ali, John Clarke, Sandy Hudson, David McNally, Petra Molnar, Justin Podur, and Sheila Regher.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017, in the Verney Room, 6th Floor Ross (674), 15:15-17:15.



Kieran Allen is a member of People Before Profit in Ireland and a sociologist at University College Dublin. Dr. Allen has written about radical politics in the context of Ireland and Europe, including seven single-authored books. His most recent book, Ireland’s Revolutionary Tradition (2016) brings the radical tradition back into the history of the Easter Uprising and shows how this tradition endures and challenges elitist politics to this day.


Ifrah Ali. As a second year doctoral student at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health, my research unpacks the interconnections between the social and the ecological as it relates to climate change adaptation in low and middle income counties, particularly in Africa. I pose critical questions about urbanization and climate change adaptation through an analysis of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6, related to water. I also explore the impact of an increasingly unstable climate on the lived experience and daily challenges faced by residents in informal settlements within urban areas in West Africa and their access to safe water.

John Clarke  became active in anti-poverty struggles in the early 80s, when he helped form the Union of Unemployed Workers in London, Ontario.  In 1990, he moved to Toronto to become an organizer with the newly formed Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). He has been with OCAP ever since as it carries out its work of mobilizing communities under attack to resist the impacts of poverty and austerity.

Sandy Hudson is a founding member of Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLMTO).

David McNally teaches Political Science at York University, Toronto, and is the author of six books, including Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance, winner of the 2011 Paul Sweezy Award, and Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism, winner of the 2012 Deutscher Memorial Award. David is a long-time global justice activist, and supports Faculty for Palestine, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, and Toronto New Socialists, among other groups.

Petra Molnar is a migrant rights researcher and soon-to-be lawyer in Toronto, Canada. She is a former refugee settlement worker who has researched forced migration issues in Canada and internationally, including with respect to immigration detention, health and human rights, and gender-based violence. Petra holds a Master of Arts in Social Anthropology from York University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Petra writes about the discourses that shape the relationship between law, society, and culture, as well as the politics of refugee, immigration, and international human rights law. She is currently working on a book on the Syrian conflict.

Justin Podur is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. He is the author of Haiti's New Dictatorship, and chapters in Empire's Ally: Canada and the War in Afghanistan and Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the 21st Century.

Sheila Regehr is a founding member of the Basic Income Canada Network and former Executive Director of the National Council of Welfare. Her 29 years of federal public service spanned front-line work, policy analysis and development, international relations and senior management, with a focus on fairness and equality, and on gender and race in particular. She has policy expertise in areas of income security and taxation, such as child tax benefits, child support, maternity/parental benefits, pensions and social assistance. Her insight also comes from having experienced poverty as a young parent.

Kieran Allen's Keynote Address is on Tuesday, May 2.