RAT 2007

Friday, November 2, 2007


5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
RAT opens! Registration/housing sign-in;
"bookfair" begins (and runs throughout weekend)


8:00 to 10:00 p.m. 
OPENING PANEL


Real Utopia: Paths to Participatory Society

Chris Spannos, Andrej Grubacic, Brian Kelly, and Marina Sitrin


Saturday, November 3, 2007


7:30 to 8:45 a.m.
Breakfast


9:00 to 10:15 a.m.  
SESSION ONE


Red and Black: Toward Common Ground

Glenn T. Morris and Pavlos Stavropoulos


The White Skin Privilege Concept: From Margin to Center
of Revolutionary Politics

Michael Staudenmeier


The Struggle within Capital and the Struggle against Capital

Troy Cochrane


Taking on Identities: Women and Anarchy

Leona


Ideology and Action: Commitment or Contradiction?

AnnaMarie, Senia, and Mark Bray, and moderated by McKay


10:30 to 11:45 a.m.  
SESSION TWO


Are the Streets Dead Capital?

Josh MacPhee, Dara Greenwald, and Bettina Escauriza


Making Homes without Models: Undoing Ourselves in Front of Others

Joshua Stephens, Ace McArleton, Hilton Bertalan, and Kazembe Balagun, and moderated by Mark Lance


Through the Wire: The Struggle against the Prison Industrial Complex

Isaac Ontiveros


Anarchists Against the Wall: Anarchist Organizational Principles under Pressure

Kobi Snitz


Mental Health and Mutual Aid in Anarchist Milieus

Amanda Dorter


Noon to 1:00 p.m.
Lunch


1:15 to 2:45 p.m. 
SESSION THREE


Anarchisms and Fundamentalisms

Mary Foster, Autumn Brown, Rami El-Amine, and Arya Zahedi, and moderated by Eric Laursen


The Terror of Mobile Capital

Shiri Pasternak


Toward the Intergalactica: Building New Relations of Autonomous Production, Exchange, and Livelihoods

Kolya Abramsky and Carwil James


Cybernetics, Playing Dirty, and Desire: Anarchist Organizing from a Process-Based Ontology

Brenden Murphy


Are Collectives Liberatory? Debating the Value and Future Role of Collectives

Zach Blue, Suzanne Shaffer, Alana Lopez, and Mallory Knodel


3:15 to 4:45 p.m. 
SESSION FOUR


Solidarity and Host Nations

Aragorn!, Glenn T. Morris, and Pavlos Stavropoulos


Genealogy of Anarchism in the Balkans

Ziga Vodovnik, Andrej Grubacic, and Tamara Vukov


Thinking Strategically: New Anti-Authoritarian Approaches to Reform Struggles

Chris Dixon


Félix Fénéon and Anarchist Prose Style

Alejandro de Acosta


Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and Fascism: Challenges for Anti-Capitalists

Michael Staudenmaier, Rami El-Amine, and Peter Staudenmaier, and moderated by Andréa Maria


5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Dinner


7:00 p.m. to 1 a.m.
  The IAS welcomes you to RAT and talks about itself, followed by performances and party

Sunday, November 4, 2007


7:30 to 8:45 a.m.
Breakfast


9:00 to 10:15 a.m. 
SESSION ONE


Anarchism, Religion, and Spirituality

Alana Lopez, Samuel Conway, Eric Anglada, and Mohamed Jean Veneuse, and moderated by Autumn Brown


Anarchists and Others Respond to Green Capitalism

Leona, Kolya Abramsky, Arthur Foelsche, and Carwil James, and moderated by Helen Hudson


The State is Not a Polygon

Justin Collins


When the Tear Gas Clears, We've Still Got a Movement to Build

Mostafa Henaway and Aaron Lakoff


For the Record: World Tribunal on Iraq

(45-min. film, in Turkish with English subtitles)
Discussion facilitated by Monica Fagioli and Darini Nicholas


10:30 to 11:45 a.m. 
SESSION TWO


Popular Power Struggles: Lessons from Iran, Portugal, and Argentina

Arya Zahedi, Camilo Viveiros, and Marina Sitrin


Neo-Anarchisms and Technology

Eric Goldhagen, Amanda Hickman, and Matt Thompson, moderated by Tamara Vukov


Bodies and Swarms: Radical Politics and Emergent Biology

John Duda


Anarchy in the USA: The Love-Hate (and Mostly Love) Relationship with Presidential Elections

Cindy Milstein


Anarcha-Islam(s)

Mohamed Jean Veneuse


Noon to 1:00 p.m.
Lunch


1:15 to 2:30 p.m. 
CLOSING PANEL


Unconclusions

Ramsey Kanaan, Andréa Maria, Aragorn!, and Shiri Pasternak, and moderated by Helen Hudson


Panel Descriptions


Real Utopia: Paths to Participatory Society

Chris Spannos, Andrej Grubacic, Brian Kelly, and Marina Sitrin

This panel on vision and strategy catapults the imagination into dreams of what a participatory society may look like, while distinguishing between what is feasible and what is simply a pipe dream. It proposes the practical transformation of society's key defining institutions encompassing economics, politics, kinship, culture, community, and ecology, generating new societal relations based on self-management, equity, solidarity, and diversity. Chris will provide context for how these contemporary emancipatory visions are rooted in and a direct lineage of our former anarchist and libertarian Left predecessors. Andrej will present his vision of an anarchist education for a participatory society: "participatory education." He will also discuss participatory economics as an explicitly anarchist economic vision. Marina will explore the question of the revolutionary process, of redefining and revolution, trying to offer participatory questions to the issue of how to move forward. Finally, Brian will present some of the strategic and concrete dilemmas with regard to organizing for winning a participatory society.


Chris is an activist, organizer, and anti-capitalist. A full-time staff member with
Z, he is editing the book Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the Twenty-First Century (AK Press, 2008).


Andrej is an anarchist propagandist and anarchist historian from the Balkans. The author of a few books in obscure languages, he works with
Z Balkans, Global-Balkans, and ZNet. He is a member of the post-Yugoslav anarchist collective Freedom Fight.


Brian is a libertarian communist and student at Pace University. An advocate for participatory economics and vision, he was involved in helping to reform Students for a Democratic Society as a revolutionary student organization. He does antiwar, youth, and student organizing where he lives, in New York City.


Marina is a dreamer, teacher, student, and militant. She is the editor of
Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina (Chilavert, 2005; AK Press, 2006) and the upcoming Insurgent Democracies: Latin America's New Powers (City Lights Press, 2007), and a professor at the New College of California.


Red and Black: Toward Common Ground

Glenn T. Morris and Pavlos Stavropoulos

This presentation will offer a foundation for the examination of anarchism and indigenism by exploring common principles as well as areas of potential misunderstanding or disagreement. Many traditional indigenous political systems can be described as anarcho-communist, lacking institutions of coercive authority or private property. Indigenous liberation movements also appear to have a strong ethno-nationalist and spiritualist component. How has colonialist language influenced our understanding of traditional indigenous systems? Can anarchist analysis provide a different framework through which that language is understood and used? Can traditional political systems and the contemporary indigenous movements that are inspired by them offer viable alternatives to the current statist systems? Is a true indigenous anarchist philosophy, devoid of Eurocentrism, possible or even desirable?


Glenn (Shawnee) is an associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado at Denver, and member of the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Harvard Law School, and has struggled for the rights of indigenous peoples at the local, national, and international levels for over thirty years.


Pavlos is a political science graduate student at the University of Colorado at Denver completing his masters in indigenous political systems, and a longtime community activist on indigenous solidarity, anarchist, environmental, and anti-globalization struggles.

The White Skin Privilege Concept: From Margin to Center of Revolutionary Politics

Michael Staudenmaier

For better and for worse, much contemporary anarchist analysis of oppression is overlaid with the terminology of "privilege." The original template for this kind of thinking is the white skin privilege concept, which is both popular and contentious among North American anarchists today. This talk will focus on the emergence of the white skin privilege idea within the white New Left during the late 1960s and early 1970s, especially in and around the Sojourner Truth Organization, a small revolutionary group based largely in Chicago during this period. After tracing the entry of these ideas into the anarchist vernacular during the 1980s, this talk will conclude with a discussion of the current state of the white skin privilege analysis, and an assessment of some implications for present-day anarchist theory and practice.


Michael is a longtime anarchist living in Chicago with his partner, Anne. He is a sleep-deprived but happy father of two. His political work has largely focused on supporting and encouraging resistance to white supremacy. Michael is slowly writing a book on the history of the Sojourner Truth Organization.


 The Struggle within Capital and the Struggle against Capital

Troy Cochrane

What is capital? If opponents of capitalism have any clear meaning when using this important concept it is likely based on Karl Marx. For at least two reasons, Marx's theory should be unacceptable within the anarchist tradition: it is rooted in production, labor, and surplus, and other forms of social power are excluded; and the theory informs Marx's teleological conception of social progress. Against Marx's theory, political economists Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler claim that capital is the quantification of capitalist control of the broader social process. Any institution, norm, or practice that bears on profits is "capitalized" and becomes a part of capital, including patriarchy, white supremacy, patriotism, and so on. Nitzan and Bichler's "power theory" offers a topology of the shifting power of capitalists as they struggle among themselves to accumulate. I propose to explain Nitzan and Bichler's theory of capital, and explore some of the ways it can inform anarchists and others engaged in the struggle against capitalism.


After two degrees in economics left Troy less convinced by capitalism's justifications, he fled the clutches of neoclassic thought. His journey led him to heterodox political economy. Now, as a PhD candidate in social and political thought at York, Troy's research interests include capital theory, business history, and the process of technological and social change.


Taking on Identities: Women and Anarchy

Leona

We've all witnessed fights about women's participation, noticed differences in how women and men are treated, and been party to sledgehammer identity language addressing these differences. We all suffer from the lack of nuanced tools to address the questions of differences and similarities among groups and individuals. If nothing else, postmodernism is useful to remind us that things (that is, "we") are both flexible and complicated. Consider that most (all?) of the "progress" that has been made in what is understood as the feminist movement is entirely in line with capitalist development (women as workers, women as consumers, people as interchangeable cogs, etc.). Where does that understanding lead us? Sometimes the challenge is staying clear enough to act; at other times the challenge is remembering that clarity is merely one way of seeing. Is identity a useful political tool? If so, when and how? If not, how do we talk about all this?


Leona is engaged in many anarchist, mostly publishing, projects. She has an extensive history in social services, feminist, and anti-white-supremacist organizing, and so is clear on the weaknesses of said efforts.


Ideology and Action: Commitment or Contradiction?

AnnaMarie, Senia, and Mark Bray, and moderated by McKay

This panel will explore the relationship between our political ideas and the day-to-day struggles we organize around in our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. Does ideology hamper our organizing? Does it tie us to the writings of dead white men who developed their theory in a context very different from what we deal with today? Does the need to achieve short-term victories in our organizing lead us astray from our political ideas and on to the dead end path of reformism? Or is there a different way to view the interplay of ideas and action?

AnnaMarie is active in the Northampton Committee to Stop the War in Iraq, sings with the Raging Grannies, and is a founding member of the anarchist collective reVoltarine.


Senia and Mark were active in the recent Providence IWW campaign targeting local restaurants, successfully forcing them to drop an anti-union food distributor, and mobilizing against an unprovoked police attack on the march.


McKay works with students and low-income residents to distribute food and mobilize for community struggles.


Are the Streets Dead Capital?

Josh MacPhee, Dara Greenwald, and Bettina Escauriza

In the mid-1990s, the Critical Art Ensemble proclaimed, "As far as power is concerned, the streets are dead capital!" As artists and activists who often work in the streets, and often question our efficacy, we don't take this claim lightly--and through historical and personal examples, will critically examine it. Josh will look at the efficacy of street art and graffiti, and its role in social movements. Through a critical assessment of the role street art has played in three historical examples (Paris, France in 1968; Nicaragua in the 1970s; and South Africa in the 1980s), he will lay the groundwork for the idea that street-level artistic acts, when done collectively, have a real potential to become a democratic and grassroots counterinstitution to dominant mainstream media. Dara and Bettina will add to this discussion with clips from recent projects of their own and others that attempt to reveal as well as contest power in public space.


Josh is an artist and activist, and co-edited
Realizing the Impossible: Art against Authority, a collection of writings on art and anarchism for AK Press. He is also part of the artist/worker-owned cooperative radical art distribution system Justseeds.org.


Dara is a media artist living in Troy, New York. She has been committed to participating in collaborative and political cultural work for many years.


Bettina was born in Paraguay and immigrated with her family in the late 1980s to Miami. She is interested in making art and public interventions that contest the coercive power of the built environment.


Making Homes without Models, or, Undoing Ourselves in Front of Others

Joshua Stephens, Ace McArleton, Hilton Bertalan, and Kazembe Balagun, and moderated by Mark Lance

Much of our contemporary ethical consciousness is not easily translated to specific forms of activism and subjectivity. For example, ideas of gender deconstruction, interconnectedness, and blurred boundaries found in feminist and trans theory, and nomadic subjectivities and nonunitary identities in poststructuralist thought do not immediately lend themselves to recognizable activities and embodied identities. This panel will ask whether it is possible to actually live these notions. That is, what it means to live and resist at an interstitial distance to the state and gender binaries; to have an ethical responsibility to the Other; to live as unstable and fluid; to be drifting and discontinuous; to live without anchors or revolutions; to constantly remake ourselves; to infuse our work with the same vulnerability, contingency, and possibility we bring to other encounters; and finally, what it means to live with the anxiety these position necessarily bring.


Joshua is a high school dropout and twelve-year resident of the District of Columbia. When not attempting to cull an anti-authoritarian politics from the otherwise-mindless task of walking dogs for the upwardly mobile, he dabbles in movements for self-determination and collective liberation. He enjoys fine coffee, Japanese track bikes, and a good vegan pesto, and when facing major life decisions, usually defaults to "What Would Ace McArleton Do?"


Ace has happily lived in central Vermont for five years with his loving orange cat named Poopers. He works as an out trans butch in the building trades, works with teenagers, and is a collective owner of Black Sheep Books. Ace taught gender theory at the Institute for Social Ecology, and is a member of the Free Society
Collective.


Hilton has traveled through the worlds/subcultures of high school football, television and film acting, skateboarding, radical queer activism, nonviolent direct action, and academia, finally arriving at the utopian nonsite of RAT. Hilton is currently interested in how specific acts and affects of resistance arise (such as love and humor).


Kazembe is a writer based out of New York City. He currently serves as the outreach coordinator at the Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School.


Mark is a professor of philosophy and professor of justice and peace at Georgetown University, where he writes and teaches on topics from philosophical logic to anarchism. He has been an activist for twenty years on a wide range of issues, and is a board member of the Institute for Anarchist Studies.


Through the Wire: The Struggle against the Prison Industrial Complex

Isaac Ontiveros

In the United States, in California alone, current prison expansion constitutes the largest prison-building project in world history. Concomitant with aggressive policing and economic brutality, the devastation unleashed by the prison industrial complex (PIC) on oppressed communities in the United States can be viewed as nothing less than genocidal. Given the flexibility of the PIC and its ever-expanding carnage, how does an anarchist movement ground itself in the struggles of prisoners and their communities, in their struggles against disappearance and for real community control? How does anarchist struggle accept the challenges and ramifications of genocide? How can we address the lack of a more systematic, community-based approach to the struggle against the PIC that moves beyond mere support of "our" political prisoners? How can we develop a real and effective engagement of the high-stakes onslaught affecting millions of lives?


Isaac is a member of the AK Press collective, volunteers with Critical Resistance (a national, grassroots PIC abolitionist organization), and also writes and edits for the
Abolitionist paper. He lives and works in Oakland, California.


Anarchists against the Wall: Anarchist Organizational Principles under Pressure

Kobi Snitz

Anarchists against the wall (AATW) is an Israeli group that supports the popular Palestinian struggle. The proximity of the struggle on the ground to Israeli cities presents an opportunity for intense involvement by many Israelis. At the same time, the physical risk in such activity is quite high. It goes without saying that the risks for our Palestinian partners are much higher. As a small group with an aversion to institutionalization, AATW has to be accountable for taking real physical as well as legal risks. We must strive to be democratic and open while carrying out actions that involve a high degree of trust and much outside social selection. We must maintain a situation in which Palestinians are the ones making important decisions, even as they work together with privileged Israelis. I will attempt to expand on these challenges and review the organizational success of AATW.


Kobi is a member of Anarchists against the Wall. His political involvement started when he joined CUPE local 3902 as a teaching assistant in Toronto. He continued being active as a graduate student in the United States, working on teaching assistant union drives, and to oppose U.S. aggression. His work with AATW started when he returned to his native Israel in 2003.


Mental Health and Mutual Aid in Anarchist Milieus

Amanda Dorter

The concepts of autonomy, interdependence, and mutual aid that are central to anarchist theory are also central to anti-psychiatry, psych survivor, and mad liberation movements articulated in projects such as the Icarus Project or the Freedom Center. These movements ask fundamental questions of what it means to be mad in an insane world, and create alternatives to coercive systems that currently manage and capitalize on notions of in/sanity--systems deeply authoritarian in nature, entrenched in patriarchal, imperialist, capitalist, and ableist relations that serve to generate profit, justify incarceration, and enforce conformity. Questions of mental health and mad liberation, however, figure little into the work that anarchists collectively focus on, or in the ways in which we structure ourselves and organize. This presentation will examine trends in the North American psych industry, synthesize ideas of mad liberation and mutual aid and argue for the creation of meaningful discourses, alternative organizing and support structures, and a culture of interdependence in anarchist milieus.


Amanda is a community organizer presently based in Montreal who strives toward sustainable, accountable movement building. She is currently engaged in migrant justice solidarity, anti-Israeli
apartheid work, a books-to-prisoners project, and mad liberation work. Also, she is a member of the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair collective.


Anarchisms and Fundamentalisms

Mary Foster, Autumn Brown, Rami El-Amine, and Arya Zahedi, and
moderated by Eric Laursen

In a 2005 piece published in La Vanguardia, writing about ideology in the twenty-first century, Manuel Castells argued, "In the face of an out-of-control global capitalism, and a socialism settling into retirement, resistance arises from the contradictory opposition between fundamentalism and neo-anarchism." What evidence is there that this opposition is playing out in contemporary politics--whether global or local? How are anarchists defining and understanding "fundamentalism"? How do these definitions and understandings condition our opposition to them? In different contexts where fundamentalist ideologies, class, and race overlap in complicated ways, and intersect with state repression in gruesome ones, is a simple opposition to religion an adequate anarchist stance? Is it productive of the sort of resistance to capitalism that Castells invokes? Or is a more complex and contingent set of stances and relationships to fundamentalisms important to articulate?


Mary is a member of Tadamon! Montreal and the Justice Coalition for Adil Charkaoui.


Autumn, a practicing anarcho-Catholic, is a founding member of the Rock Dove Collective, a consensus and facilitation trainer, and president of the board of directors of the Fertility Awareness Center. She is affiliated with Anarchist People of Color, the New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists, and the Signals Collective.


Rami is an Arab and muslim activist who has been involved in a wide range of local and global struggles in the Washington, DC, metro area for the past fifteen years. For the last seven years, he has been most involved in Palestine solidarity work. He is a founding member, former editor, and current writer for
Left Turn magazine.


Arya is a member of the Iran Solidarity Group and the Antithesis Collective (NEFAC-NYC). He is currently a graduate student in political science at the New School for Social Research.


Eric is an independent journalist and activist. He is a member of the New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists and the NYC Anarchist Book Fair Organizing Collective. Eric has also provided media outreach for the International Solidarity Movement-NYC.


The Terror of Mobile Capital

Shiri Pasternak

I want to tell a story about the history of outposts. From the ancient imperial law of lex mercatoria, to the imperial occupations of the Enlightenment era, to the international intellectual property regimes of the World Trade Organization, international laws of commerce have largely been policed by building and defending outposts. The newest outposts are connected through surveillance, database, and satellite communications, enforced by the U.S. global police force, and legitimized by fantasies of "democratization" and "terrorism." Let's talk about the relationship between totalitarian liberalism, the weak links between outposts, and what this could mean for our work.


Shiri is a PhD student in the planning department of the University of Toronto and moderator of the neglected Property Taskforce Web site (www.propertytaskforce.org). She is currently involved in a project mapping abandoned properties in Toronto to fight for the adoption of a "Use It or Lose It" bylaw, and is also an IAS board member.


Toward the Intergalactica: Building New Relations of Autonomous Production, Exchange, and Livelihoods


Kolya Abramsky and Carwil James

This presentation and discussion will look at the Zapatista Sixth Declaration and its call for another Intergalactica gathering. How might the Intergalactica be constructed in a way that is collective, participatory, and aimed at moving global networks beyond networks of information sharing, coordinated protest, and solidarity action? How might the Intergalactica contribute to constructing new autonomous relations of production, exchange, and livelihoods that operate away from the state and capitalist market? How might it contribute toward a politics that go beyond the electoral sphere?


Kolya is active in different global anti-capitalist networks. This has included protests, international solidarity campaigns, educational activities, and publications and translation work. Currently, he is at SUNY Binghamton, researching the conflicts surrounding a global transition to renewable energy. He attended the two Zapatista encuentros that took place in Chiapas this year.


Carwil researches strategies of grassroots autonomy and disruptive protest in Latin America as a CUNY Graduate Center anthropology student. He taught at the New College of California and worked as the oil campaign coordinator at Project Underground, a human rights group supporting indigenous resistance.


Cybernetics, Playing Dirty, and Desire: Anarchist Organizing from a Process-Based Ontology

Brenden Murphy

My goal is to build from past discussions of process or deep ontology in the direction of practical observations from, and suggestions for, organizing. The key philosophical touchstone for this will be Deleuze and Guattari's Thousand Plateaus, and borrowing heavily from dynamic systems theory and cybernetics. From here, I will build an accessible introduction to one approach to thinking in terms of processes rather than steady states from the collected experience of the Carleton Food Collective, a fifty-member anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist lunch service. The emphasis will be on the process of creating positive feedback circuits that promote the expansion of an organization and its zone of semi-autonomy by destabilizing existing structures of desire.


Brenden is a longtime organizer with the Carleton Food Collective for its G(arden) Spot project in Ottawa, where he is also studying philosophy at Carleton University.


Are Collectives
Liberatory? Debating the Value and Future Role of Collectives

Zach Blue, Suzanne Shaffer, Alana Lopez, and Mallory Knodel

Anarchists often build collective bodies to function as alternatives to hierarchal society, with the idea that collective institutions, lessons, and experiences will prepare us for life after the state. But how well do we fare? Is it possible to build viable alternatives within the constraints of capitalism? Where problems persist in our projects, can we pinpoint the sources, and critically engage with our obstacles and shortcomings? Do our projects offer inspiring and replicable examples capable of enchanting the broader public? Where do collectives fit into revolutionary anarchist traditions? Looking at practical issues facing collective organizations--specifically including organizational strengths and weaknesses, issues of gender, and relationships to capitalism--panelists will discuss the current status and limitations, and envision the future, of collective work. We hope others with experience in collectives will attend and participate in the conversation.


Zach has been a collective member at AK Press for almost six years. When he is not being overworked and underpaid, he is obsessing about the possibilities of a postcapitalist society.


Suzanne has been a collective member at AK Press for just over two years. Like most people, she has struggled with certain aspects of collective work, but would still prefer never to have a boss again.


Alana has been affiliated with Anti-Racist Action, Critical Resistance, and Anarchist People of Color (APOC) as well as various small collectives. She a founding member of the Rock Dove Collective, and is currently an active member of the New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists.


Mallory organizes in the Lower East Side community of New York City as a member of the Bluestockings Collective and ALL7 film documentary group. She also teaches physics in public high schools, throws parties, and travels.


Solidarity and Host Nations

Aragorn!, Glenn T. Morris, and Pavlos Stavropoulos

Discussions of solidarity within anarchist circles have for the most part treated indigenous movements and struggles as just another bullet in a long list of worthwhile causes to support. This panel posits the unique character of these struggles from the perspective of decolonization as well as liberation. How do we develop a true and honest sense of solidarity between members of host nations and descendants of settlers and involuntary immigrants? How can anarchists and indigenists foster a real process of truth and reconciliation? Can we go beyond solidarity and develop a movement for the true decolonization and liberation of this land, recognizing both the historical claims of indigenous peoples and the reality that nobody is getting back on the boats?


Aragorn! is involved in several anarchist publishing projects including Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, Little Black Cart, and Anarchist News dot org. In addition he writes about nihilism, strategy, and raccoons.


Glenn (Shawnee) is an associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado at Denver, and member of the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado. He has struggled for the rights of indigenous peoples at the local, national, and international levels for over thirty years.


Pavlos is a political science graduate student at the University of Colorado at Denver completing his masters in indigenous political systems, and a longtime community activist on indigenous solidarity, anarchist, environmental, and anti-globalization struggles.


Genealogy of Anarchism in the Balkans

Ziga Vodovnik, Andrej Grubacic, and Tamara Vukov

This panel will offer a historical overview of anarchism in the Balkan region, wherein special attention will be on the past and current anarchist movements in the ex-Yugoslav republics. Although anarchism in the Balkans has a long and rich history, its story is often misused and/or overlooked. Either it is reduced to an anachronistic anomaly that ended in 1914, with the peccadillo committed by young Bosnian Gavrilo Princip and that started the First World War, or it is robbed of its rich past in its entirety. There is another reason why we would like to focus on the anarchist tradition in the Balkans, and in particular, on the history and contemporary reality of the anarchist politics in the former Yugoslavia and post-Yugoslav republics. We will paint the landscape of anti-colonial struggles against European racism and colonialism, resistance to nationalism and ethnic wars, and a prefigurative opposition to the capitalist offensive in this much-neglected region of the anarchist world.


Ziga is an anarchist writer living in Slovenia. He is an assistant professor of political science at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, where his teaching and research is focused on anarchist theory/praxis and social movements in the Americas.


Andrej is an anarchist writer and anarchist historian from the Balkans. He is a member of the Global Balkans network and the Serbian Freedom Fight anarchist collective as well as a member of the editorial board of the Balkan
Z magazine.


Tamara has been active in a range of autonomous social movements, independent media, and media arts in Montreal over the past fifteen years (recently including Solidarity across Borders, the People's Commission on Immigration Security Measures, and the Volatile Works collective). In collaboration with the Global Balkans network, she is currently filming a documentary on the impacts of the postwar neoliberal transition in Serbia to be completed in 2009.


Thinking Strategically: New Anti-Authoritarian Approaches to Reform Struggles

Chris Dixon

The question of strategy--how we might win in the near and long term as we struggle against exploitation and oppression--is pressing. In this presentation, I will discuss one promising, though perhaps surprising, area of strategic reflection: the relation between reform and radicalism. Many anti-authoritarian organizers in the United States and Canada have embraced an approach--or set of approaches—oriented toward building movements on the basis of collective fights for survival and dignity. This approach, visible in diverse groups, fuses autonomous politics with a groundedness in some of the most oppressed sectors of society (such as migrants, prisoners, and First Nations and other racialized communities). In the process, it suggests new ways of thinking about the possibilities and limitations of reform struggles. Building on in-depth interviews with anti-authoritarian comrades in five North American cities, I will explore this approach as potentially more widely usable.


Chris is a longtime anti-authoritarian writer and organizer, and a PhD candidate in the history of consciousness program at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is a member of the Colours of Resistance administrative collective, serves on the advisory board for
Upping the Anti, and has recently moved to Sudbury.


Félix Fénéon and Anarchist Prose Style

Alejandro de Acosta

The self-effacing French art critic, journalist, and anarchist Félix Fénéon (1861-1944) wrote comparatively little, none of it in the form of a great treatise or theoretical work. This talk takes up his anonymous journalistic "filler" pieces, Novels in Three Lines, as material for speculation concerning contemporary possibilities for anarchist prose. In the Novels, Fénéon deployed a short prose style that subverted the function and effects of the reportage of trivial news items, transforming them through euphemism, irony, suspense, and surprise into subtle commentaries on the violence and injustice prevalent in his society. Recent decades have seen both the rise of various vehicles for anarchist prose (newspapers, magazines, zines, and Web sites), and growing feelings of apathy and information overload. The question of an effective and appealing prose style, at the intersection of anarchist aesthetics and politics, continues to be critical: we want to be inspired and challenged, not merely informed.


Alejandro teaches philosophy at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. He also operates the micro-press
mufa::poema.



Islamophobia, Antisemitism and Fascism: Challenges for Anti-Capitalists

Michael Staudenmaier, Rami El-Amine, and Peter Staudenmaier, and moderated by Andréa Maria

Both contemporary capitalism and resistance against it are in part defined by, and have developed in response to, a series of oppressions that are not neatly reducible to "class." In a post-9/11 world, Islamophobia and antisemitism are particularly contentious examples of this dynamic. To what extent does the continued hegemony of global capitalism depend on these two forms of oppression? In what ways have anti-capitalist resistance movements intentionally or inadvertently replicated these same phenomena? This panel will attempt to come to grips with the contradictory character of both capitalism and anti-capitalism by bringing together advocates of various radical paradigms, including anti-imperialism, anti-fascism, and the "three-way fight" analysis.


Michael is a longtime anarchist living in Chicago with his partner, Anne. He is a happy but sleep-deprived father of two. For most of his adult life his political work has been focused on supporting and encouraging resistance to white supremacy. He is very slowly writing a book on the history of the Sojourner Truth Organization.


Rami is an Arab and muslim activist who has been involved in a wide range of local and global struggles in the Washington, DC, metro area for the past fifteen years. For the last seven years, he has been most involved in Palestine solidarity work. He is a founding member and former editor of
Left Turn magazine, for which he continues to write.


Peter is an anarchist historian whose works focuses on modern European right-wing thought, including fascism and Nazism. He is a former faculty member at the Institute for Social Ecology, and recently returned from a year of research in Germany and Italy.


Andréa grew up in the anti-globalization movement, and was formed politically as an ally in struggles for migration justice. She is a board member of the Institute for Anarchist Studies, a member of the Ontario Coalition against Poverty, and is working on a book of interviews with international solidarity organizers. Based in Toronto, she works as an independent researcher and media producer.


Anarchism, Religion, and Spirituality

Alana Lopez, Samuel Conway, Eric Anglada, and Mohamed Jean Veneuse, and moderated by Autumn Brown

Religion, spirituality, and radical politics have historically had an antagonistic and critical relationship. Is it inevitable for religion and spirituality to conflict with radical thought, or is this a product of external--cultural, economic, and/or political--factors exerting a coercive influence on either radicalism or religion? Are religious/spiritual and radical worldviews truly opposed? What part does religion/spirituality play in a postrevolutionary society? What part does radicalism play in a religious/spiritual society? What new relationships can be generated between radicalism and traditionally religious practices of ritual and service? Join a panel of representatives of diverse religious and radical backgrounds to discuss these issues.


Alana has been practicing yoga since 1995 and was certified as a hatha yoga teacher by the Integral Yoga Institute in 2003. She has experience instructing kids and adults, and worked with both currently and formerly incarcerated men and women. Alana first became active in anarchist politics in 2002, and has been affiliated with Anti-Racist Action, Critical Resistance, and Anarchist People of Color (APOC) as well as various small collectives. She a founding member of the Rock Dove Collective, and is currently an active member of the New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists.


Samuel studied Christian and Muslim theology at Sarah Lawrence College, and is affiliated with the New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists as well as the Signals Collective. A practicing Catholic and anarchist, Samuel is currently working on a book about monotheistic anarchism titled
The Abrahamic Anarchists. He is from Stearns County, Minnesota.


Eric is a college dropout who lives in Dubuque, Iowa, at Hope House, a Catholic Worker community where they feed the hungry, host roundtable discussions, grow vegetables, do critical mass bike rides, and are at the nascent stages of creating a school based on anarchist principles.


If you want to know me (Mohamed), you have to talk to me in the real world. So I'll pretend to tell you something about myself instead. I am socially constructed as male, heterosexual, and a person of color of medium height. I wrote my undergraduate thesis,"Anarca-Islam(s)," with Richard Day. I identify as a Muslim and a post-anarchist, reinterpreting islams in light of anarchisms, and that alternatively would and could be seen as a reinterpretation of anarchisms in light of islams.


Autumn studied Christian and Jewish theology and biblical languages at Sarah Lawrence College and Oxford University, and is a practicing anarcho-Catholic. She has written several papers on the rhetoric of liberation in early Hebrew narratives, is a founding member of the Rock Dove Collective, and is president of the board of directors of the Fertility Awareness Center. Autumn is affiliated with Anarchist People of Color (APOC), the New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists, and the Signals Collective.


Anarchists and Others Respond to Green Capitalism

Leona, Kolya Abramsky, Arthur Foelsche, and Carwil James, and moderated by Helen Hudson

Being anti-capitalists in the twenty-first century requires that we grapple with what Naomi Klein calls "disaster capitalism"--the ways in which capitalism profits and extends its reach by "responding" to the very crises it creates in the first place. Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent neoliberal responses to the ecological crisis in the United States. Thomas Friedman, arguably the most famous U.S. neoliberal columnist, summed it up in a recent New York Times article titled "The Power of Green": "I want to rename 'green.' I want to rename it geostrategic, geoeconomic, capitalistic and patriotic. I want to do that because I think that living, working, designing, manufacturing and projecting America in a green way can be the basis of a new unifying political movement for the 21st century." Twenty years ago, when concern for the environment and living ecologically was considered fringe, a vibrant eco-anarchist movement made significant contributions to the green movement. Indeed, many anarchist activists today would say that they came to their anarchist politics through environmental activism in the 1980s and early 1990s. Yet the eco-anarchist presence in today's debates about the eco-crisis has waned. Now that it is mainstream, capitalist, populist, and even patriotic to be green, what would it mean to revitalize a radical eco-anarchism? What lessons would we draw from its past? What new questions would we ask?


Leona is engaged in many anarchist, mostly publishing, projects. She has an extensive history in social services, feminist, and anti-white-supremacist organizing, and so is clear on the weaknesses of said efforts.


Kolya is active in different global anti-capitalist networks. This has included protests, international solidarity campaigns, educational activities, and publications and translation work. Currently, he is at SUNY Binghamton, researching the conflicts surrounding a global transition to renewable energy.


Arthur is a member of the Free Society and Black Sheep Books collectives. He worked as an organizer for several Indymedia projects, produced two documentaries on the anti-globalization movement, has been involved in community radio news programming, and worked with a variety of nonprofit and progressive organizations to develop strategy and technological solutions. Arthur has taught at the Institute for Social Ecology, and currently programs for a living.


Carwil researches strategies of grassroots autonomy and disruptive protest in Latin America as a CUNY Graduate Center anthropology student. He taught at the New College of California and worked as the oil campaign coordinator at Project Underground, a human rights group supporting indigenous resistance.


Helen is a Montreal-based organizer, with experience working on prisoner justice issues, migrant struggles, and women's and queer liberation. She is currently part of the Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar committee and the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair collective, and an IAS board member.


The State Is Not a Polygon

Justin Collins

World political maps are profusely distributed, being so common as to rarely be critiqued. More often than not they only provide a backdrop for the diagramming of global political activity, thereby becoming the stage on which history is written. Yet I will argue that the space of the state may be cartographically rendered in other ways, thus providing an alternate cartographic perspective of "who" and "what" the state is. This reorientation of the map will hopefully portray the activity of the state as invasive--as interrupting heterogeneity to impose homogeneity. I will offer a brief introduction to poststructuralist geography, and then relate the concerns of poststructuralist geography to the anthropological study of (il)legal flow. Finally, I will attempt a poststructuralist mapping of (il)legal flows by providing a particular cartographic model.


Justin is interested in mapping as a tool for creating nonauthoritarian places. He lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania.


When the Tear Gas Clears, We've Still Got a Movement to Build

Mostafa Henaway and Aaron Lakoff

At RAT 2004, Chuck Morse argued that the anti-globalization movement was dead, and Aaron vigorously contested that idea. Now, three years later, Aaron concurs . . . kind of. Reflecting on the recent demonstrations against Bush, Harper, Calderon, and the Security and Prosperity Partnership summit in Montebello, Quebec, we will question the utility of large street demonstrations. While police lines, miles of fences, and tear gas canisters have become the most visible symbols of confrontation between anarchists and the state since the turn of the millennium, we would contend that the real focal points of confrontation are in the everyday--deportations, job precarity, evictions, and so on--and that this is where we should focus our organizing energies. Given that the anarchist movement, organized through the People's Global Action bloc, seemed to have relatively little impact in the Montebello demonstrations, we ask the following question: What are the points of confrontation for the anarchist movement--large street demos, or local, community organizing? Where should we put our efforts in the context of a revolutionary strategy?


Mostafa is an organizer with the Immigrant Workers Centre in Montreal, and was active in the Ontario Coalition against Poverty and the Toronto coalition of concerned taxi drivers. He is also involved in a campaign around the precarity of immigrant and migrant workers in Montreal through what is now called temporary worker programs in Canada.


Aaron is a community organizer and independent journalist from Montreal. He works with a variety of different anti-authoritarian groups, including Block the Empire, Solidarity across Borders, and more recently, the People's Global Action (PGA) bloc. Aaron has filed radio and print reports from Israel/Palestine, Haiti, Mexico, and across occupied Turtle Island.


For the Record: World Tribunal on Iraq

(45-min. film, in Turkish with English subtitles)

Post-film discussion facilitated by Monica Fagioli and Darini Nicholas

One of the most creative initiatives against the U.S.-led war on Iraq, the World Tribunal on Iraq, was a worldwide attempt to document and expose the depth as well as extent of the suffering and damage brought on by this illegal and illegitimate war. Featuring Arundhati Roy, Eve Ensler, Hamid Dabashi, and countless other committed activists from around the world, For the Record documents the culminating session of this tribunal of conscience and its innovative organizing process, bringing out the inspiration and hope that it holds for voices against the war and all civilians, Iraqi and non-Iraqi, who are directly and indirectly affected by this illegal military occupation. Produced by Zeynep Dadak, Basak Ertur, Enis Kostepen, and Alisa Lebow; edited by Merve Kayan.


Monica and Darini are with the Action Wednesdays collective in New York. Wednesdays-against-the-War (now aka Action Wednesdays) came out of a discussion/working group meeting at the Brecht forum to address and develop actions/affinity groups on issues concerning "the war" (on terrorism, Afghanistan, Iraq, "civil liberties," migrants, dissidents, and the possibly impending war on Iran) that at present continues to not only inform, mobilize, and deepen our analysis but also provide spaces for consciousness-raising, exchange, and dialogue with voices from the Middle East.


Popular Power Struggles: Lessons from Iran, Portugal, and Argentina

Arya Zahedi, Camilo Viveiros, and Marina Sitrin

Throughout all of history, and all over the world, people have organized in various ways to collectively run their societies. This panel will discuss three of so many inspiring examples: Iran, Portugal, and Argentina. During the Iranian and Portuguese revolutions in the 1970s, as in Argentina in the early 1900s and contemporarily, factory takeovers and widespread political participation emerged from popular power struggles and direct democracy movements. This panel will explore the social, political, and economic context of these experiments in popular power, including the challenges and contradictions of the movements. The session will end with an open discussion. What are the current challenges and obstacles to building popular power? What roles have anarchists and other political tendencies had in these social movements? What are the strengths and weaknesses of anarchist involvement in these experiments, and in building horizontalism? We can learn much from the histories of these struggles. They have many ways to offer us insight and inspire us.


Arya is a member of the Iran Solidarity Group and the Antithesis Collective (NEFAC-NYC). He is currently a graduate student in political science at the New School for Social Research.


Camilo is a community organizer in southeastern Massachusetts. His parents are immigrants from the Azores, Portugal, during the Salazar dictatorship.


Marina is a professor at New College of California and the author of
Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina. She is working on a new book with Citylights Press called Insurgent Democracies: Latin America's New Powers.



Neo-Anarchisms and Technology

Eric Goldhagen, Amanda Hickman, and Matt Thompson, and moderated by Tamara Vukov

Manuel Castells heralded anarchism as the ideology for the twenty-first century, as "an instrument of struggle that appears commensurate with the needs of the twenty-first century social revolt." Is Castells being overly optimistic? How precarious is neo-anarchism's reliance on technologies--technologies that cohabit well with anarchist ideology because they allow for greater economic and organizational decentralization, and more effective social and political networking? Should anarchists be more wary, given twenty-first-century capitalism's capacity to appropriate the concepts and practices that we imagine to be our own: decentralization, networking, autonomous activity, and transnational and international relationship building? And if so, what should be done? What would a truly anarchist or anti-capitalist Internet look like? In light of the current debate of Net Neutrality in the United States and its implications for anti-capitalist or extra-capitalist communications, what interventions can or should anarchists make for Internet justice to prevail?


Eric is a technology worker and activist whose day job is building Free Software with the Openflows Community Technology Lab (openflows.com). He is a member of the Autonomedia publishing collective (autonomedia.org), founder of a free public access computer facility at ABC No Rio (abcnorio.org), and part of the InterActivist Network (interactivist.net).


Amanda is the technical director of the Gotham Gazette and active in the nonprofit Open Source Initiative. She is part of the InterActivist Network, an activist technology infrastructure and skills sharing project housed at ABC no Rio, and writes about software freedom and the role of proprietary software in movement-building organizations.


Matt is a communications strategist and viral video producer for organizations dedicated to social change. His recent work focuses on storytelling and grassroots organizing around media issues, especially the future of the Internet. Matt's viral video
Save the Internet: Independence Day won a 2007 Webby People's Voice Award.


Tamara has been active in a range of autonomous social movements, independent media, and media arts in Montreal over the past fifteen years (recently including Solidarity across Borders, the People's Commission on Immigration Security Measures, and the Volatile Works collective), and is a postdoctoral researcher at the Media@McGill
center.


Bodies and Swarms: Radical Politics and Emergent Biology

John Duda

Although much enthusiasm has arisen in radical, anti-authoritarian circles for metaphors and models drawn from recent biological research into complexity, emergence, networks, and self-organization, a degree of critical rigor is called for when borrowing across such vastly different domains. My contention is that such enthusiasm, at worst, has tended toward an unsophisticated vitalism, and at best, has conflated two different and incompatible strands of biological thought into a consequently inconsistent theoretical foundation for radical politics. This presentation will attempt to help work through this confusion (or at least make the problems clearer), with a critical look toward contemporary radical discourses as well as the concepts in theoretical biology these discourses are mobilizing.


John is a PhD candidate at the Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University, where he is working on a critical history of the concept of self-organization. He is also a founding member of the Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse Collective in Baltimore, and participates in a variety of Indymedia technical projects.


 Anarchy in the USA: The Love-Hate (and Mostly Love) Relationship with Presidential Elections

Cindy Milstein

Nearly as early as Hilary or Obama, anarchists were hot on the campaign trail. Plans to resist the 2008 U.S. presidential elections were afoot in 2006. Landauer once observed in relation to "anarchist assassination politics" that they "proceed from the intentions of a small group . . . following the example of the big political parties. . . . What they are trying to say is: 'We are also political.' . . . [Yet] these anarchists are not anarchic enough." His comments apply to electoralism too: being political is the right impulse, but the tactic(s) and indeed the focus are wrong. Certainly, in the United States, presidential elections represent rare moments when many people "participate." But why the anarchist fascination with something that's far from anything we'd recognize as politics? And why, if we choose to engage, do anarchists frequently use strategies that mirror statist and/or liberal forms, or are simply unimaginative? Perhaps, in zeroing in on presidential elections, we aren't anarchic enough either.


Cindy is a RAT co-organizer, IAS board member, and collective member of Free Society and Black Sheep Books. She also taught at the "anarchist summer school" called the Institute for Social Ecology. Her essays appear in several anthologies, including
Realizing the Impossible: Art against Authority and Globalize Liberation, and maybe one day her own book.


Anarcha-Islam(s)

Mohamed Jean Veneuse

In my presentation, I will discuss the creation and development of an Islamic poststructuralist anarchistic interpretation. There are three points, for now, of intersection: anarchistic tendencies in Islam(s), Islamic tendencies in anarchism(s), and those tendencies that exist in both these lifestyles. I intend to speak of the reasoning(s) that I believe have allowed others like me to become both Muslims, Muslimas, and post-anarchists; the reasoning(s) that have led me, an anarca-Muslim, to become anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian, and to look for an "us." This is an "us" built on new lines of alliance, new forms of cooperation, and new ways of living, and that leads these disparate communities to come together to create and bear witness to the creation of a new community.


If you want to know me, you have to talk to me in the real world, in the open theater as Antonin Artaud would say. So I'll pretend to tell you something about myself instead. I am socially constructed as male, heterosexual, and a person of color of medium height. I've written my undergraduate thesis, "Anarcha-Islam(s)," with Richard Day.


Unconclusions

Ramsey Kanaan, Andréa Maria, Aragorn!, and Shiri Pasternak, and moderated by Helen Hudson

At each successive RAT, a few unpredictable topics grab our imaginations and hijack the neurological zone that is supposed to regulate intellectual obsession. For reasons that are sometimes obvious and sometimes harder to explain, these topics rear their heads during a panel or presentation, and then keep popping up in subsequent sessions, spilling over into mealtime conversations and late-night debates. And then on the car ride home, you're left wondering why no one proposed a panel about THAT topic, why there was no forum for THAT strand of debate to unravel. In this unconclusion to the RAT conference, panelists will identify the topics we just couldn't quite get enough of, venture to explain why, and throw out some provocative questions for further discussion, research, and maybe even action, ensuring that these the topics will be squatting the corners of your brain for weeks to come.


Ramsey has done some stuff, for a long time, including AK Press, the SF anarchist bookstore Bound Together, and the Bay Area Anarchist bookfairs. In his downtime, he recently co-founded a new publishing venture, PM Press. He writes, and talks, with extreme reluctance, and great difficulty.


Andréa has done some stuff, but neither as much nor for as long as Ramsey.


Aragorn! is involved in several anarchist publishing projects including
Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, Little Black Cart, and Anarchist News dot org. In addition he writes about nihilism, strategy, and raccoons.


Shiri is a PhD student in the planning department of the University of Toronto and moderator of the neglected Property Taskforce Web site (www.propertytaskforce.org). She is currently involved in a project mapping abandoned properties in Toronto to fight for the adoption of a "Use It or Lose It" bylaw, and is also an IAS board member.


Helen is a Montreal-based organizer, with experience working on prisoner justice issues, migrant struggles, and women's and queer liberation. She is currently part of the Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar committee and the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair
collective, and an IAS board member.

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