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On the Successful Toronto Book Launch of *Continuity & Rupture*

The Toronto launch of Continuity and Rupture yesterday evening went better than expected. Indeed, I was quite surprised by the turn out and support. Although this is my second book, and so I should be a little familiar with launches, since C&R was shorter than The Communist Necessity, less a polemic and more of a rigorous examination of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and the result of three years of writing and rewriting, I was far more anxious about its reception. Moreover, the DIY aesthetic of my first Toronto book launch (it happened in the back room of a bar) made it feel less official and thus less nerve-wracking than this one which happened in Toronto's oldest still operating independent book store. Hence, I feel that I need to deliver an extended thank-you to the people who made yesterday night's event a success.

First of all, I want to thank Another Story Book Store that took a chance on me and provided a comfortable launch space. Another Story has been my favourite Toronto book store for years: I grew to love it when I was living at the northern border of the Roncesvalles neighbourhood during the first two years of my daughter's life. I used to take Samiya on stroller walks down the Roncesvalles stretch, ending at Another Story where I would often spend money I should not have been spending. (Two of my favourite purchases from that period were the children's book Tunjur Tunjur Tunjur that Samiya still loves, and Jerome Klassen's Joining Empire that I didn't get around to reading until this past summer.) Anjula Gogia, who arranged and MCed the launch event, was amazing and generous; her work as the director of the now defunct Toronto Women's Book Store has contributed a lot to the left activist-intellectual scene in the city. I'm looking forward to my friend Tyler Shipley's upcoming book launch in Another Story with his soon-to-be published Ottawa and Empire.

Secondly, I want to thank the people who agreed to be on the panel discussion: Kim Abis, Hamayon Rastgar, and Rachel Gorman. All three are thinkers and organizers who have had some impact on my intellectual and communist development over the years; each surprised me with what they said about my book even though I expected them only to talk about the political concerns raised by the book and not the book itself. Kim delivered a delightful introductory talk that "roasted" me in a loving manner while simultaneously promoting the book as a worthwhile read. Since Kim is one of those fellow organizers who has constantly challenged me, who knows how to deliver criticism in a thoughtful and comradely manner, and whose way of being is something I am still learning from, his words reflected precisely what I've come to respect him for. Hamayon's discussion on the international aspect of Maoist struggle was humbling, particularly when he mentioned that the book possessed worth in the philosophical development of this struggle. Hamayon is the main person, years ago, who encouraged my drift towards Maoism; his intellectual fingerprints are all over the book. Finally, Rachel's talk was humbling: she wrapped up the discussion by talking about why she thought my book was important, saying nicer things than I would have said about it, referring to some of its concepts in light of her own experience with Toronto organizing. A long time Toronto organizer and now a rising star in critical disability studies, Rachel is one of the people I looked up to when I first moved to Toronto and got involved with left activism in the city… Years ago, when I furiously took notes on her keynote talk at the first Israel Apartheid Week (that would be one of the origin sites of the BDS movement), I never imagined that one day she would write an amazing endorsement of my book or would speak about such a book at a launch (then again, back then, I never imagined that I would write such a book). I'm sure all three contributed to the book sales last night: Another Story sold thirty copies, which means more than half of the people in attendance bought a copy!

Finally, I'm grateful for all of the people (around 50) who showed up to pack the audience until there was standing room only. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that this many people would show up for a talk on a Maoist book let alone one written by myself. It was great to see some people I hadn't seen in a while as well to be shown all the support. The participation of older leftists such as Carole Conde and Karl Beveridge (long time Toronto left artists), and Esteve Morera and Alina Marquez (my former PhD thesis advisor and his brilliant and supportive partner) was lovely. I hope that the messages I wrote in some of the books weren't too pithy (it's hard to think of clever autograph statements on the fly), and I did my best to recognize each individual. Those comrades and friends that were not able to make it last night for a variety of reason (thank you for trying, thanks for all the thoughtful regrets) can still buy the book from Another Story––please consider getting it there instead of using one of the online big chains since it is always good to support a local independent book store that supports leftist events.

Now I'm better equipped for the launches in other cities that will be happening through February and into March. It feels good that a project I've worked on for three years is getting some recognition. Hopefully this recognition will be enough for Zero to publish not only more books of mine but also books that come from the same theoretical tendency. My objective in this, as Rachel indicated in her talk, was to crack open the edifice of intellectual production so as to allow for Maoist work to return to the left establishment mainstream. My wish is that it will, in the very least, be a few small steps in this direction.