IAS Spring Newsletter: Announcing the Winter Grantees and More!

Dear IAS Fans, Friends, and Supporters,

It’s been a numbing few months of social disaster, from the earthquakes that hit Haiti and Chile, to the carnival of capitalism that tried to sweep Canada’s human rights record on indigenous peoples under the opening ceremonies carpet of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, to the U.S. health reform debates, to the new settlements in Jerusalem, and so on.

I always look to a variety of sources to provide explanations, analysis, and sources of courage for the world we live in. But anarchism—I always end up back with you.

Compare the USAID’s emergency relief system to the self-management of Haitian distribution and rebuilding efforts reported in Al Jazeera’s Faultlines coverage. Compare the behavior of corporate NGOs on climate change (critiqued brilliantly in Johann Hari’s piece in the Nation this month) to the grassroots anti–Tar Sands campaign coordinated by the Indigenous Environmental Network. Compare the despicable self-interest of big labor during the economic crisis to the revolutionary organizing of Miami-based Take Back the Land. These stories show the deep links between the ability of people to govern their own lives and the capacity for a triumphant, dignified politics.

In light of these stories, and all the others you share with us at gatherings, conferences, in grant applications, and while tabling at bookfairs, we wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that the IAS board is proud to support your work—your writing, organizing, and courage—because these acts of resistance are victories.

The IAS board is also pleased to announce news of the new grantees from our recent funding cycle; the happy announcement of Cindy Milstein’s book as the first offering in our new IAS/AK Anarchist Interventions series; and another fine announcement about the release of our latest issue of Perspectives. We hope you will continue to support our work, too.

In solidarity,

Shiri, on behalf of the Institute for Anarchist Studies

1. Grantee Updates

With over forty applications in the IAS winter 2010 grant cycle, it took one whole harrowing day before we finally managed to narrow the pool down to five grantees. The IAS will be supporting many of the other projects with editing assistance and/or publication in Perspectives, online or in print. We are especially pleased, though, to announce our new grantees and the following projects:

"Class, Nationalism, and the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca—Ricardo Flores Magón," by Eric Larson ($500)

As the neocolonial shadow of the North American Free Trade Agreement hung over the United States and Mexico in the 1990s, new indigenous and workers’ groups surfaced to confront the generalized dispossession of the era. In this essay, Eric will examine the indigenous organization that emerged as perhaps the strongest popular force of the period in Oaxaca, Mexico—a state that borders Chiapas in this heavily indigenous and desperately poor region of the country. Like the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), which led a revolt in 1994, the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca—Ricardo Flores Magón embraced ideas of indigenous autonomy and class-based mobilization, and adapted them to local conditions. This essay will explore how CIPO-RFM organizers in the late 1990s and early 2000s increasingly saw indigenous people not as a "class"—as did area Marxist groups—but as "peoples."

Eric is a graduate student at Brown University and an adjunct professor. He was in Oaxaca in 2006 and 2007, and continues to work with various organizing efforts in the state.


"In Search of King Ludd," by David Meieran ($500)

"In Search of King Ludd" investigates the spirited culture of resistance to industrial capitalism that flourished during the "Luddite" uprising in northern England from 1811–13. Drawing on fresh interpretations of primary sources as well as the songs and writings of the Luddites themselves, David will demonstrate that the Luddites—croppers, hatters, stockingers, weavers, and other artisans—developed a culture of resistance that was decentralized, affinity based, and direct-action oriented. The essay will also trace the unprecedented state repression of the Luddities that much like today's repression of anarchists, involved thousands of troops, spies, a subversion of the legal system, information warfare, and more. David will show that the Luddites’ objections to the increasing mechanization of their crafts went beyond the concern that machines were stealing their livelihood and ruining their way of life (which, in fact, the machines did). As the state repression intensified and the Luddites' bonds of affinity strengthened, Luddites came to realize that they were engaged in a pitched battle against an emerging "Megamachine" with far-reaching implications—a megamachine that was nourished by Adam Smith's "invisible hand," England's endless wars for empire, and the betrayal of the liberal merchant class. Finally, the essay will consider the legacy of the Luddites and implications for contemporary resistance to today's megamachine.

David is an activist, writer, and producer living in Pittsburgh. His research and activism focuses on the ever-increasing repression and oppression of everyday life that is enhanced by robotics, intelligent systems, "less-lethal" weapons, and other technology associated with the U.S. military, law enforcement, and the health care system.


"Occupy Everything! Factory Occupations and Worker Self-management in Latin America: Strategies for Social Emancipation," by Marie Trigona ($500)

The current economic crisis has accelerated the development of new alternative forms of production as workers throughout the world engage in factory occupations as a viable direct action to defend workers’ rights and transform social relations. Argentina in particular offers one of the longest-lived experiences of direct worker management with more than two hundred permanent worker occupations. This essay will explore the motivations and strategies for workers’ collective actions and struggles for emancipation. It will closely examine case studies of worker occupations in their structures of democratic planning, relationship to the state, traditions of syndicalism and working-class resistance, network building with other worker organizations, (re)signifying working-class knowledge, and the construction of new social relations. The workplace takeovers provide examples of innovative approaches to labor organizing and lessons of strategies to resist the metamorphosing nature of neoliberal capital, essentially challenging the entire premise of modes of production within a capitalist society.

Marie is a journalist, filmmaker, radio producer, translator, and organizer whose work is inspired by international anarchist working-class history and anti-imperialist struggles. Her media work focuses on labor, human rights, community media, and social movements in Latin America. She has published a number of articles on workers’ self-management in Latin America, including the essay "FASINPAT (Factory without a Boss): An Argentine Experience in Self-management" in Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the 21st Century (AK Press). Currently residing in Buenos Aires, her adopted home, she is a graduate student at the Latin American School of Social Sciences.


"Stones and Flowers: Confronting the Crisis," by David Zlutnick and Ian Paul ($500)

David and Ian will be producing three separate texts as contributions to an upcoming journal being collected and edited by the larger Friendly Fire Collective on the topic of antiauthoritarian organizing against the U.S. financial crisis. The journal will be published before and distributed during the U.S. Social Forum this June. One text will be the journal's introduction, written by both Ian and David, outlining the crisis while also contextualizing the rest of the submissions by asserting that the radical Left has failed to put forth a large-scale and effective resistance to the crisis. In Ian's piece, it will be argued that if anarchists aim to be effective in their campaigns against the crisis, both local and national organizing will have to be further developed. David’s article will address precarity in the United States, looking at possibilities to relieve social and economic insecurity in the immediate term while developing sustained, long-term revolutionary community organizing.

Ian is an artist, activist, and writer currently living in San Francisco. He has been involved in a variety of social justice struggles over the last decade, actively participating in the antiwar, environmental justice, and anticapitalist movements. Ian is involved in various forms of anarchist organizing in the Bay Area, works with Unconventional Action in the Bay, and is also a founding member of the Friendly Fire Collective. He is currently pursuing his MFA and MA at the San Francisco Art Institute.

David has almost a decade of experience in social justice movements, including anarchist organizing, labor struggles, antimilitarism, and housing justice. He currently works with Unconventional Action in the Bay and cofounded the Friendly Fire Collective. David has a strong history within independent media, working with numerous publications and producing multiple documentary films, most recently through Upheaval Productions. He lives in San Francisco, and works with the Tenants Union and the Eviction Defense Collaborative.


"Keesha and Joanie and Jane," by Judith Arcana ($500)

This story (fiction, set in the present/near future) will be about young women, working for reproductive justice in the United States, who seek out other women who did underground/pre-Roe abortion work. The younger women are more diverse by race and ethnicity than their elders, so all have to deal with their differences as they discuss action and policy. The themes explored will include the necessary struggle to work together across generations on the dire status of reproductive health/freedom in the United States, grassroots efforts to deal with thehorrific politics of pregnancy in the United States, and the consistent use of domestic terrorism and assassination by the antiabortion movement.

Judith writes poems, stories, essays, and books; among the latter are What If Your Mother, a collection of poems and monologues about abortion, miscarriage, and the biotechnology of childbirth, and Grace Paley’s Life Stories, A Literary Biography. Most recent is 4th Period English, a chapbook of poems written in the voices of characters (high school students) talking about immigration and related themes. Judith is a coeditor for poetry at ON THE ISSUES: The Progressive Woman’s Magazine online. She was a jane (a worker in the pre-Roe abortion underground in Chicago) for two years, and continues to write, speak, and teach about reproductive health and justice. Born and raised in the Great Lakes region, she lives now in the Pacific Northwest. Her Web site is http://www.juditharcana.com.


NEXT GRANT CYCLE DEADLINE: June 15, 2010. Please send us your own project ideas! Here’s how to apply: http://www.anarchiststudies.org/apply.

2. IAS/AK Launch First Book in Our Exciting Series Collaboration

Anarchism and its Aspirations by Cindy Milstein has just been published as the first in the Anarchist Interventions series, a collaborative project of the IAS and AK Press, with a series design by Josh MacPhee of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative.

From nineteenth-century newspaper publishers to the participants in the "battle of Seattle" and the recent Greek uprising, anarchists have been inspired by the ideal of a free society of free individuals—a world without hierarchy or domination. But what exactly would that look like, and how can we get there? Anarchism and Its Aspirations provides an accessible overview of an often-misunderstood political philosophy, highlighting its principles and practices as well as its reconstructive vision of a liberatory society.

Cindy is an IAS board member and a co-organizer of the Renewing the Anarchist Tradition conference. Her essays have appeared in several anthologies, including Realizing the Impossible: Art against Authority, Confronting Capitalism, and Globalize Liberation. She is available for talks on this and other topics; see the IAS Mutual Aid Speakers list for information, including on other great speakers, at http://www.anarchist-studies.org/speakers, or email speakers@anarchiststudies.org.

Order Anarchism and Its Aspirations now at http://akpress.com/2010/items/anarchismanditsaspirations, and stayed tuned for upcoming books in our series.

3. The Print Version of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory Is Now Available

The IAS has resurrected a print edition of Perspectives and it’s a killer! The issue features articles on Murray Bookchin, art and anarchism, real universal health care, and the Movement for a New Society. It is available through AK Press at http://akpress.com/2006/items/perspectivesonanarchisttheorymagazine, or at your local anarchist bookstore (or if your local anarchist bookfair doesn’t stock Perspectives, please ask them to do so!).

Of course, the IAS is also publishing an online version of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, available at http://www.anarchist-studies.org/perspectives. The Web-based journal features everything in our print edition, plus many more articles on an ongoing basis. Subscribe to the IAS’s e-newspaper (through the IAS Web site) to receive updates and/or stay tuned to the Web site for new contributions to the journal.

4. Donate to the IAS

If you like what you’ve read here, please consider making a donation to the IAS, or better yet, becoming a monthly contributor. Any and all amounts are appreciated. And all donations go toward supporting our projects; indeed, we are completely dependent on individual donors, like you! The IAS does not receive any foundation or other grant funding but is instead completely funded by anarchists and other antiauthoritarians from around the world.

To donate, click here: http://www.anarchiststudies.org/support/donateYou can also support the IAS financially by hosting one of our speakers and also buying the first in our Anarchist Intervention Series; monies from both projects are donated in part or full to support the work of the IAS.

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