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Institute for Anarchist Studies Newsletter, Fall 2010

Institute for Anarchist Studies Newsletter, Fall 2010

Dear IAS friends:

In the midst of the circus of witchcraft, sexual liaisons, allegations of socialism, barter medicine, and human brains in mice that is electoral politics, and throughout the ongoing horrors visited on people and ecosystems by capitalism and war, the IAS has persevered in its small way to encourage a broader and deeper debate. We see people every day engaging in projects that give life and meaning to the possibility of another world. Through book tours, support for radical authors, conferences, and collaboration in the work of other organizations, we connect in solidarity with people who are forging ties of real and free community.

In this issue of the IAS newsletter, you will learn about the four new additions to our board, updates from past grantees, and the next issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory. We hope to see many of you at the newly reconvened Renewing the Anarchist Tradition conference in Baltimore. If not, we are confident that you are doing good work somewhere else and trust that we will connect in the future.


Mark Lance IAS board member


Contents: Welcome to the New IAS Board Members! Updates on Grantees Perspectives on Anarchist Theory: Recent and Next Issues Renewing the Anarchist Tradition Conference Anarchist Interventions Book Series Mutual Aid Speakers’ List for 2010–11 And Finally, a Few Words from a Friend of the IAS—Noam Chomsky!

Welcome to the New IAS Board Members!

The IAS is happy to announce that we’ve brought on four new board members. We warmly welcome Sarah Coffey, Chris Dixon, Sara Galindo, and Lara Messersmith-Glavin to the board, and look forward to the contributions they will bring!

Updates on Grantees

We’ve recently received Scott Pierpont’s translation of Enric Duran’s Creating a Counterhegemonic Economic System. He's keeping busy translating part of Duran's book Liquidar la banca. You can read his interview with Duran here: anarchist-studies.org/node/429

Judith Arcana has also submitted her short story “Keesha and Joanie and Jane.” Focusing on intergenerational connections between radicals, this story follows two young women working for reproductive justice in the United States who seek out other women who did underground/pre-Roe abortion work.

Look for these and others of our granted essays on our Web site soon, or in future issues of Perspectives.

Also, past grant recipients Brian Tokar and Robert Graham have both recently published new books! Brian Tokar, who received IAS funding for his 2001 book Redesigning Life? The Worldwide Challenge to Genetic Engineering, recently published a new book, Toward Climate Justice: Perspectives on the Climate Crisis and Social Change (Communalism Press). His article “Movements for Climate Action: Toward Utopia or Apocalypse” is featured in the upcoming issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory. Robert Graham, who was funded for his three-volume Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, will see the third volume, The Birth of Twenty-First-Century Anarchism (1977–2009), published this winter (Black Rose Books). Volume 1, From Anarchy to Anarchism (300 CE–1939), was published in 2005, and has sold over three thousand copies. Volume 2, subtitled The Emergence of the New Anarchism (1939–1977), came out in 2008.

Perspectives on Anarchist Theory: Recent and Next Issues

The fall 2010 print issue of Perspectives (vol. 12, no. 2), looking at the politics of climate change, will be available in early November. It includes an introduction by Maia Ramnath; “Atmospheric Dialectics: A Critical Theory of Climate Change,” by Javier Sethness; “The Climate Crisis or the Crisis of Climate Politics?” by Andre Pusey and Bertie Russell; “All Power to the People: Energy Production and the Climate Crisis,” by Lara Messersmith-Glavin, for the Parasol Climate Collective; and “Movements for Climate Action: Toward Utopia or Apocalypse,” by Brian Tokar. Also included is “What We’re Reading,” replacing the “What’s Happening” column, and featuring what Cindy Crabb, John Duda, and Joshua Stephens think are some of the best new titles; a call for submissions for our next issue, which will focus on the movement building; an announcement about the Anarchist Interventions book series between the IAS and AK Press; the mission statement of the IAS; and artwork from Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative.

The deadline for the following issue, hopefully out in February, is December 15, 2010.

You can view the call for the next issue here: anarchiststudies.org/node/489

Renewing the Anarchist Tradition Conference, Rethought for 2010

The Renewing the Anarchist Tradition (RAT) conference is coming up, over the weekend of November 5–7, 2010. We’re returning after a one-year hiatus with a few changes. For one, RAT will moving further south, to Baltimore, thanks to a generous offer by Red Emma’s Bookstore and Coffeehouse organizers to host this year’s conference and, in particular, take care of the on-the-ground logistics. We hope the change of location won’t deter Canadian participants from attending, as we aim to maintain a sense of continuity in terms of past participants along with the mix of anarchists from the places now called “Canada” and the “United States.”

Second, RAT will be structured around seven tracks:

Capitalism Policing, prisons, and domestic security Militarism and empire Environment Emerging social struggles and movements Self-evaluation, reflection, and criticism: Looking at recent anarchist activity Contemporary currents in place, politics, and identity

Under each theme, there we will ask two to seven questions, for a total of twenty-two panels. We’ll form panels based on each of these questions, asking panelists to briefly offer their thoughts, and then facilitate a discussion around what we hope are some key concerns and dilemmas that contemporary anarchists/anarchism need to address. We plan to audiotape all twenty-two panels, and then air them weekly after the conference as part of a new in-the-works IAS podcast, so that the close, participatory reflection at RAT is widely available to others. The intention here, as with our new book series, is to reshape RAT as an “anarchist intervention.”

As always, RAT is meant to be a space outside professionalized, commodified sites of learning and education, where longtime anarchists can meet as peers to grapple with ideas together, in as intellectually open and curious, yet politically engaged and grounded, a way as possible. It is not an academic conference; it is a dialogue among politically active anarchists who see theory and analysis as part and parcel of their organizing efforts to transform society. RAT will also continue to be limited to 150 participants. The conference is filling up fast, but if you’d like registration information, see anarchiststudies.org/node/490 .

Upcoming Title in the Anarchist Intervention Book Series

Following on the heels of the first title in our Anarchist Intervention book series, Anarchism and Its Aspirations by Cindy Milstein, we’re proud to introduce our second offering, Oppose and Propose! Lessons from Movement for a New Society by Andy Cornell, due out this coming winter.

The Movement for a New Society (MNS), a network of feminist radical pacifist collectives in the United States active in the 1970s and 1980s, developed many practices at the heart of anarchist politics today: consensus decision making, mass direct action campaigns, collective living, unlearning oppressive behavior, and more. Participants opposed capitalism and eco-destruction in antinuclear and other movements, while they simultaneously proposed alternatives by creating everything from community-controlled housing and safety programs to antisexist men’s support groups. In this way, the MNS served as a crucial organizational link between the movements of the 1960s and the post-Seattle global justice movement. Yet the group’s political innovations created tensions of their own.

Members found their commitments to “live the revolution now” often alienated potential allies and distracted them from confronting their opponents, while their distrust of leadership and rigid commitment to cumbersome group processes made it difficult to keep their analysis and strategy cutting-edge. Andy’s book will include discussions with self-reflective former members, original documents, and a detailed history of the MNS, revealing crucial strategic lessons for activists and organizers seeking to reinvent a holistic radical politics today. Like Cindy’s book, Andy’s features Josh MacPhee’s series design along with artwork by another Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative member, Kristine Virsis. And like all books in the Anarchist Interventions series, each author agrees to donate at least 50 percent and up to 100 percent of any sales proceeds to the IAS.

In case you’re not yet familiar with our series, here’s the mission statement:

“Radical ideas can open up spaces for radical actions, by illuminating hierarchical power relations and drawing out possibilities for liberatory social transformations. The Anarchist Intervention series—a collaborative project between the IAS and AK Press —strives to contribute to the development of relevant, vital anarchist theory and analysis by intervening in contemporary discussions. Works in this series will look at twenty-first-century social conditions—including social structures and oppression, their historical trajectories, and new forms of domination, to name a few—as well as reveal opportunities for different tomorrows premised on horizontal, egalitarian forms of self-organization.

Given that anarchism has become the dominant tendency within revolutionary milieus and movements today, it is crucial that anarchists explore current phenomena, strategies, and visions in a much more rigorous, serious manner. Each title in this series, then, will feature a present-day anarchist voice, with the aim, over time, of publishing a variety of perspectives. The series’ multifaceted goals are to cultivate anarchist thought so as to better inform anarchist practice, encourage a culture of public intellectuals and constructive debate within anarchism, introduce new generations to anarchism, and offer insights into today’s world and potentialities for a freer society.”

You can order Anarchism and Its Aspirations now for yourself, your friends, and/or your bookstore or infoshop from AK Press and stay tuned for preorder information for Andy’s book.

Mutual Aid Speakers’ List for 2010–11

The IAS has nearly doubled its list of dynamic, politically engaged speakers, many of whom are either current or past IAS board members, or have received an IAS grant: Ashanti Alston, Kazembe Balagun, Alexis Bhagat, Andy Cornell, Glen Coulthard, Chris Dixon, Harjit Singh Gill, Harjap Grewal, Andrej Grubacic, Matt Hern, Mark Lance, Josh MacPhee, Andréa Maria, Todd May, Paul Messersmith-Glavin, Cindy Milstein, Joel Olson, Shiri Pasternak, Maia Ramnath, Brian Redbeard, Harsha Walia, Kristian Williams, and Lesley Wood.

By hosting a speaker, you mutually aid both your own political work and the IAS. You not only create an exciting intellectual event in your community that can also underscore your own organizing efforts but use your resources to support the work of the IAS and the radical scholars it supports as well. Your collective, college or university, organization, or community group is expected to provide all transportation costs, lodging or lodging costs (where applicable), and if possible, an honorarium. Each speaker will then donate from 50 to 100 percent of the honorarium to support the mission and projects of the IAS.

For more information on each speaker and the topics they can address, or to book a speaker(s), see anarchiststudies.org/speakers.

And Finally, a Few Words from a Friend of the IAS—Noam Chomsky!

Dear IAS supporters,

These are politically and culturally volatile times, and mainstream media and public intellectuals are increasingly framing debates in ways that exclude radical voices from the conversation. One side of the immigration debate calls on white workers to blame Latinos for their very real economic hardships, while another side condemns the racism of this message without offering any challenge to the system that exploits these populations and uses their vulnerability to lower wages for others. Debates over violence in our cities, the rights of sexual minorities, and drug and alcohol abuse focus on what laws the government ought to enforce to deal with these problems. Discussions of terrorism codify numerous assumptions about who has the right to use violence, and in what ways.

In our quest for a nonhierarchical society, we know that these debates are largely missing the important points that none of these choices are adequate, and that there are crucial alternative ways into the issues that matter to the vast majority of people in this country and the world. But creative, radical scholar-activists are not likely to be funded by mainstream institutions of any sort. If our voices are to be heard, we have to draw on the strengths and resources of our own communities to make that possible.

For over a decade, the IAS has funded the work of antiauthoritarian scholars, researchers, and theorists who engage their thinking with movements for a better world. They organize the conference Renewing the Anarchist Tradition, have organized radical theory tracks at several conferences, and publish the journal Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, among other projects.

For years, I have personally been a contributor to the IAS, one of the few organizations that make it possible for outstanding marginalized voices to be taken seriously. Please join me in supporting this important work. Contribute to the IAS today, and together we will show what a better world can look like, and to the degree our power permits, make it happen.

Sincerely, Noam Chomsky

The IAS grant program is entirely funded by the generous donations of people and collectives like you. Your support allows the IAS to grow and nurture anarchist debate and discourse around the world. Please consider making a donation as small or large as you like! Every little bit helps—from $20 to $200 to $2,000. If you can donate by credit or debit card, consider visiting the online donations page at anarchist-studies.org/support/donate, where you can also make a monthly donation of as little as $5 to whatever larger amount fits your budget. You can also send a check made out to the Institute for Anarchist Studies to:

Institute for Anarchist Studies P.O Box 15586 Washington, DC 20003

Another way to contribute is by hosting one of the many speakers on the Mutual Aid Speakers’ List at an event in your town and donating the honorarium to the IAS. For a list of our speakers, see anarchist-studies.org/speakers.