Renewing the Anarchist Tradition Conference, Rethought for Fall 2010

The RAT conference will return this year, over the weekend of November 5-7, 2010, after a year hiatus. The break gave the IAS board a chance to rest, of course, but also to rethink the conference and its location. Both will be different from in the past.

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 four broad themes, and under each of these themes, we’ll be asking six questions, for a total of twenty-four panels. Thus, instead of a call for topics, we’ll form panels based on each of these questions, asking panelists to 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-four 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. Stay tuned for more information.

For details on the RAT 2007 and 2008 conferences, see the pull-down tabs on this Web site; for details on earlier RAT conferences, see the archives at

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