November 8, 2017
How has tear gas been used to suppress dissent?
Verso Books
November 8, 2017
7.00pm - 9.00pm
Verso Books
20 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201 United States
A roundtable with author Anna Feigenbaum

How has tear gas gone from the battlefields of WWI to the most commonly used form of “less-lethal” police force? How can activists today learn from the history of chemical weapons used to suppress political dissent and labor strikes? How might we build campaigns against the profiting off protest? Join a panel of writers, scholars and activists who will discuss their work and personal experiences organizing in the face of enormous state repression.

This discussion will commemorate the launch of Anna Feigenbaum’s new book, Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today. An engrossing century-spanning narrative, Tear Gas is the first history of this weapon, and takes us from military labs and chemical weapons expos to union assemblies and protest camps, drawing on declassified reports and witness testimonies to show how policing with poison came to be.

Books will be available for sale and beer and wine be available for a small donation.

Co-sponsored by Melville House and the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research.


Anna Feigenbaum is co-author of the book Protest Camps, and her work has appeared in Vice, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera America, The Guardian, Salon, Financial Times, Open Democracy, New Internationalist, and Waging Nonviolence. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University. Her website iswww.annafeigenbaum.com. Follow her on Twitter: @drfigtree.

L.A. Kauffman has spent more than thirty years immersed in radical movements as a participant, strategist, journalist, and observer. She has been called a “virtuoso organizer” by journalist Scott Sherman for her role in saving community gardens and public libraries in New York City from development. Kauffman coordinated the grassroots mobilizing efforts for the huge protests against the Iraq war in 2003–04. Her writings on American radicalism and social movement history have been published in The Nation, n+1, The Baffler, and many other outlets.

Mark Bray is a historian of human rights, terrorism, and political radicalism in Modern Europe who was one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street. He is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook (out now from Melville House), Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street, and the co-editor of Anarchist Education and the Modern School: A Francisco Ferrer Reader. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Critical Quarterly, ROAR Magazine, and numerous edited volumes. He is currently a lecturer at Dartmouth College.

Ali Issa is the National Field Organizer with War Resisters League where he co-ordinates NoSWATzone, a campaign to end police militarization. Ali is also the author of the book Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq. His writings and translations have appeared in Jadaliyya, The New Inquiry, Banipal, and shakomako.net. He is a co-founder of the Iraqi Transnational Collective and lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Ajay Singh Chaudhary is the executive director of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research and a core faculty member specializing in social and political theory. He has written for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Quartz, Social Text, Dialectical Anthropology, The Jewish Daily Forward, Filmmaker Magazine, 3quarksdaily, among other venues.