Institute for Anarchist Studies Spring 2011 Newsletter 


Spring 2011 Newsletter

Institute for Anarchist Studies

Announcing Our Grant Awards for Winter 2011

As always, the Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) board is pleased to announce our latest grant awards; as always, it was also a tough decision, involving many hours of dialogue and debate to narrow it down to our four funded works. The board would like to publicly thank everyone who applied, and of course heartily congratulate Nadia Shevchenko, Asaf Shalev and Clayton Hartmann, Eric Stanley, and Thomas on their IAS grant awards. We hope to publish their finished pieces in the online and/or print versions of our journal, Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, in the near future.

Our next deadline for grant proposals is September 1st, 2011. For more information on IAS grants, see the FAQ at www.anarchist-studies.org/applyfaq. For the time being, applications can only be sent via e-mail. To request an application, please e-mail info@anarchist-studies.org .

And now, here’s a glimpse at the four projects:

Translation of two chapters of Murray Bookchin’s The Ecology of Freedom―“Introduction” and “The Concept of Social Ecology"―into Russian, by Nadia Shevchenko

By combining various disciplines, including radical political theory and history with anthropology and environmental studies, The Ecology of Freedom makes a systematic and profound analysis of the causes, evolution, and consequences of structures of domination, while simultaneously offering a vision of an ecological society that is free, cooperative, and just. Even though anarchist and environmental movements in the West have been informed by Bookchin’s ideas and concepts since the 1980s, the majority of his works are still unknown to residents of the former USSR. This translation project will make the most fundamental parts of this work accessible to a Russian-speaking audience, and thereby enrich and radicalize movements as well as theoretical thought within this demographic.

Nadia has been active in the field of social ecology for the last twenty years, working with various social and environmental grassroots movement and NGOs in the former USSR and Eastern Europe, primarily through the radical environmental movement “Rainbow Keepers” (followers of Bookchin’s ideas), organizing public campaigns and direct actions, translating, and working for education and mobilization. She received a master’s degrees in mathematics from Kiev University and in environmental management and policy from Amsterdam University.

“The Stolen Milk Riots: History and Ramifications of the Israeli Black Panther Movement,” by Asaf Shalev and Clayton Hartmann

The brief existence of the Israeli Black Panther (IBP) movement has gone relatively unnoticed in both traditional academic publishing as well as radical academic circles. Through their IAS grant-funded research, Asaf and Clayton plan to briefly trace the early beginnings of the IBP movement along with the conditions of the Mizrahi (the term Mizrahi applies to all Jews of Middle Eastern ancestry and ethnicity) ghettos that inspired it. From there they will follow the IBP’s collapse due to the spread of nationalism by the 1973 war and Cointelpro-style repression by the administration of former Prime Minister Golda Meir. They will then finish with a brief examination of how little has actually changed for the Mizrahi community in terms of socioeconomic and political disparity vis-à-vis the Ashkenazi (European Jewish) minority. Asaf and Clayton feel by highlighting the issues of intra-Jewish oppression through the accessible and marketable history of the International Black Panther movement, their research will further help the conflict to be seen not as a simple border struggle between religious camps but rather as the Imperialist project that it is, where the only solution is a no-state solution.

Asaf is an Israeli American and a Mizrahi from an Iraqi Jewish family. The question of heritage, responsibility, and identity compel him to this project. He has been inspired by the struggle of the IBPfor a long time. As an undergraduate student at the University of California, he studied political science. He continues to organize with Students for Justice in Palestine and radical Jewish organizations in the Bay Area. He has spent many years in Palestine/Israel during various times in his life. He speaks, reads, and writes fluently in Hebrew, and therefore has access to numerous resources about the subject matter. Asaf believes in employing both practice and theory in antiauthoritarian work.

Clayton studied colonial legal theory at the University California at Santa Barbara under Lisa Hajjar and Wade Said, the son of Edward Said. He first published a research project in summer 2008 with the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group that used critical race theory to point out the disparity in legal norms between Israeli and Palestinian youth engaged in lawful and unlawful protest. In addition to completing the research project, he also spent extensive time in Mizrahi neighborhoods, witnessing many of the project’s subject matter firsthand. While the continued oppression of the Mizrahi and Israeli-Ethiopian communities spur him to this historical research, it is his time spent working with the popular committees in the West Bank that give him hope for peace and justice in historical Palestine.

“Outlaw Lives: Gender Self-determination, Queer Abolition, and Trans Resistance,” by Eric Stanley

This essay will serve as an introduction to the emerging fields of study and organizing collecting under the umbrella of trans/queer prison abolition. Through an archival rereading of the 1969 Stonewall uprising, Eric will argue that the “Stonewall” moment was one example of a long history of queer abolition. While the contemporary moment of assimilation and police cooperation is produced via mainstream LGBT organizations, this essay will work to undo this logic and offer its alternative. Finally, Eric will work to build a theory of gender self-determination as an embodied theoretical and political idea that must be at the center of any and all radical analysis.

Eric is finishing a PhD in the history of consciousness department at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and is the codirector with Chris Vargas of the films Homotopia (2006) and Criminal Queers (2011). Eric’s writing has been published in the journal Social Text and in numerous anthologies.

“Genoa Ten Years Later: Lessons Learned for International Legal Support,” by Thomas

Through a series of interviews and analysis of related literature, Thomas will review the progress that the Genoa legal support team has made in mass defense projects over the past ten years since the G-8 summit in July 2001, where hundreds were arrested and many were tortured, and will assess the specific challenges of defending against international conspiracy charges.

Thomas, a law student at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, was inspired to work in the law after his experience as a surviving witness to the infamous “Diaz School Raid” in Genoa 2001. Thomas is excited about the continuing movement to end the use of the cages into which we put land, people, animals, and ideas.

Hot Off the Press: Oppose and Propose! Lessons from Movement for a New Society, by Andy Cornell

The second title in the IAS’s Anarchist Interventions book series, Oppose and Propose! Lessons from Movement for a New Society, by Andy Cornell is out now on AK Press!

Join Andy to celebrate and launch his book during the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair. You can find him at the IAS table and pick up a signed copy of his book. And you can hear from speak, twice, on Sunday, April 10: first, at 11 a.m. at the bookfair, and later, at 7:30 p.m., at Station 40, 3030B 16th Street (at Mission, across from the BART station), where he’ll offer a multimedia presentation and discussion about “The Roots of Contemporary U.S. Anarchism: From Mother Earth to Movement for a New Society.”

Andy’s book is a must-read, of course, exploring the question, Where do the strategies, tactics, and lifestyles of contemporary activists come from? Movement for a New Society, a radical pacifist organization active in the 1970s and 1980s, pioneered forms of consensus decision making, communal living, direct action, and self-education now central to antiauthoritarian movements. Brimming with analysis, interviews, and archival documents, Oppose and Propose! recovers a missing link in recent radical history, while drawing out crucial lessons on leadership, movement building, counterculture, and prefigurative politics.

Andy is an educator, writer, and organizer living in Brooklyn, New York. His writing has appeared in the collections Letters from Young Activists, The University against Itself, and The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism.

To order your copy today, head to www.akpress.org/2011/items/opposeandpropose. You can also order the first title in our series, Anarchism and Its Aspirations, by Cindy Milstein, at www.akpress.org/2010/items/anarchismanditsaspirations. And stay tuned for the third title, forthcoming in fall 2011: Decolonizing Anarchism: An Antiauthoritarian History of India’s Liberation Struggle, by Maia Ramnath.

Anarchist Theory Track at All Power to the Imagination! conference, April 1-3

The fourth annual All Power to the Imagination! conference, April 1-3 on the New College campus in Sarasota, Florida, will bring together community organizers, activists, and academics for a weekend of networking, discussion, learning, and organizing. We will share tactics, experiences, and skills as well as theories, scholarship, and research in an attempt to bridge the gaps between radical theory and practice while developing our radical vision for the present and future.

Within the conference, the IAS is curating the Anarchist Theory Track, aimed at providing a space in which to engage in theoretical discussion and debate as political practice―a forum in which theoretical discussion is not divorced from movement concerns and experience, or bound up in abstraction, but in which careful and original analysis of dynamic concepts that are key to radical Left theory and strategy can be articulated, shared, critiqued, extended, and proliferated. The track consists of the following four presentations:

Building Solidarity with the Arab Spring, with Zein El-Amine

2011 dawned with the third most important change in the Middle East. The other two were the arbitrary division of the borders of the Middle East by Cognac-intoxicated colonials. The second being the military revolutions that swept the Middle East and put in place a dictator in every country. Now this, the most positive change: the sweeping aside of arbitrary divisions and dictatorships. Arabs in the Middle East are setting the blueprint for revolution in the twenty-first century. The talk and discussion will address how Western activists can build solidarity with these revolutions, and how to harness this momentum for change locally.

Zein was born and raised in Lebanon, and lived in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain before moving to the United States. He is one of the founding members of Left Turn magazine and a longtime DC community activist. Zein leads an annual trip to Egypt, where students learn about the history, politics, and society through the literature of the country. He also works as an interpreter for the Iraqi Trade Union leadership during their visits to the United States.

Revolutionary Pedagogy in Action: Mexico’s Rural Teaching Schools, with Kristin Bricker

In the 1920s, Mexico’s revolutionary government created normales rurales (rural teaching schools) to train teachers to “bring education to the most marginalized and distant places in every state in the country and to offer a dignified form of life to peasants.” Rather than simply teaching students reading, writing, and math, rural teachers must also “assist in the organization of the populace to improve its quality of life and work on projects for social development” as well as “contribute to the struggle against imperialism and the nation’s bourgeoisie.” The Mexican Federation of Socialist Peasant Students, the semiclandestine organization that coordinates the nation’s network of seventeen normales rurales, believes that providing carefully screened applicants with explicitly socialist, anti-imperialist, and antiracist education is what has maintained the normales rurales’ revolutionary project, and has protected it from the infiltration and co-optation that has derailed all other government-funded revolutionary education projects in Mexico. This presentation will cover the history and philosophy of the normales rurales as well as some of their most infamous graduates. It will also provide illustrative details about particular normales rurales’ struggles along with tactics to defend themselves against the neoliberal government that threatens to destroy them.

Kristin is a freelance journalist covering militarization, social movements, human rights, and the drug war in Latin America. She is the Security Sector Reform Resource Centre’s Latin America blogger, a regular contributor to Upside Down World, and a former NACLA research associate. Her articles have appeared in the Huffington Post, IPS, Counterpunch, Telesur, Rebelión, Left Turn, the Indypendent, Por Esto!, and the News (Mexico). She has appeared on Al-Jazeera, Democracy Now!, Radio Mundo (Venezuela), Morning Report (New Zealand), and various Pacifica radio programs.

Lights Unto Ourselves: Nonattachment and Nonfascist Ethics, with Joshua Stephens

In his preface to Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus, Michel Foucault indicted what he called “the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us,” and argued that the book’s authors sought to “pursue the slightest traces of fascism in the body.” Despite both the anarchist tradition’s empathy with this aspiration and its preoccupation with individual agency and initiative, it’s an orientation lacking much in the way of discreet practices concerning power, the body, and the impulse to control in our everyday behavior. Conversely, the Buddhist tradition―while offering little of a coherent political vision―is arguably animated by a moment-to-moment attention to precisely these traces of “fascism in the body,” the deep, reflexive emotional habits they produce, and a mechanics for transforming them. This presentation will propose something of a conversation between the two traditions as practices, explore what that encounter yields (or fails to yield, as the case may be), and consider what that lends to self-care, solidarity, and building movements amid and across difference.

Joshua is a board member with the Institute for Anarchist Studies. He’s been active in direct action efforts in DC for fifteen years, with groups spanning the Free Burma Coalition, School of the Americas Watch, the Olive Branch Homeless Community, and the International Solidarity Movement. More recently, he spent a year living and coordinating study in DC’s Dharma House (a center dedicated to Buddhist practice and radical social transformation) and the Refuge Three Collective (a Buddhist study/practice project around race, gender, class, and sexuality). He now lives in Brooklyn and works with Time’s Up NYC, an environmental direct action project of New York cyclists.

From Potsherds to Smartphones: Anarchism, Archaeology, and the Material World, with James Birmingham

This presentation will examine how anthropology and archaeology are currently being used and misused in anarchist texts. It will focus on how primitivism engages in a “discourse of purity” that undermines anthropology; examine the dichotomous responses of many anarchists when thinking about technology (with primitivists on one side and transhumanists on the other); discuss the conflation of anticorporate activism with an antimaterialist sentiment; and look at the ways in which the study of material culture and archaeology can be productive for anarchist theory.

James is a born-and-raised Floridian, and one of the cofounders of the All Power to the Imagination! conference. He currently works at his alma mater, the New College of Florida, in the office of Volunteerism and Service Learning. His research is centered around the relationship between people and stuff.

For more info on the conference and track, see www.allpowertotheimagination.com.

New Issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory

The current print edition of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, featuring another original cover design by Josh MacPhee, focuses on the climate crisis. It features essays such as “Movements for Climate Action” by Brian Tokar and “Atmospheric Dialectics” by Javier Sethness; a review by Portland-based Parasol Climate Collective, and written by IAS board member Lara Messersmith-Glavin, of two-time IAS grantee Kolya Abramsky's Sparking a Worldwide Energy Revolution: Social Struggles in the Transition to a Post-Petrol World (AK Press, 2010) called "All Power to the People: Energy Production and the Climate Crisis"; “What We’re Reading” by John Duda, Cindy Crabb, and Joshua Stephens; and more. To order a print copy of Perspectives, visit AK Press at www.akpress.org/2006/items/perspectivesonanarchisttheorymagazine.

Perspectives on Anarchist Theory is available both online and in print form. Above and beyond the print edition, which contains select articles that also appear in the online version, additional articles are regularly posted to the IAS Web site, so check in often to see new content (www.anarchiststudies.org/taxonomy/term/43). You’ll also find information on the IAS Web site about contributing to the journal (www.anarchiststudies.org/perspectives).

Eat One Less Vegan Donut, 
Drink One Less Beer a Month, or Both, 
and Help Fund Anarchist Written Work

Just think of all the little things you spend money on each month. Nice things―like a book, your friend’s latest record, or the ingredients for a yummy dish to take to the community potluck―and annoying things, like bus fare or rent (which is actually a big thing!). Skip just one treat, or go on a rent strike, and set up a monthly donation to support the work of radical writers and translators around the world through the IAS and our grant-giving program. You’ll also ensure that all the other crucial IAS projects are able to sustain themselves, from Perspectives on Anarchist Theory and the Anarchist Interventions book series, to our Mutual Aid Speakers List and Anarchist Theory Track, to Renewing the Anarchist Tradition conference, and more. With your help, we’ve been building a smarter anarchism since 1996.

Fortunately, we’ve now made it doubly easy to give up one soy latte each month and kick the money to the IAS instead. You can now set up a recurring donation via either Network for Good or PayPal, from anywhere and everywhere in the world, and for as little as $1 to $10 to $100 per month (onetime and larger donations are equally appreciated). 

Do it today, by following this link: www.anarchiststudies.org/support/donate.

Of course, there are other ways to contribute financially to the IAS too. Throw a fund-raiser for us, buy Perspectives or the books in our new Anarchist Interventions series, and/or bring one of our Mutual Aid Speakers List folks to talk. Our Speakers List is available at www.anarchiststudies.org/speakers, and features a bunch of new people this year.

The IAS also encourages anarchists and other like-minded radicals to give frequently to the many other wonderful projects trying to build a new world from below and yet in need of funds, from your local collective spaces to your local collectives, to all our many innovative publishing, organizing, and agitating projects around the world. We’re all in this together, from Cairo to Madison, from Japan to Libya, to our own corners of the globe.

In solidarity,

Cindy Milstein, for the IAS Board

Institute for Anarchist Studies

P.O. Box 15586, Washington, DC 20003 USA

info@anarchiststudies.org / www.anarchiststudies.org / www.twitter.com/narchiststudies

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