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Anarchism, Decolonization, and Radical Democracy || Symposium: Haverford College, Haverford, PA, March 27th


Organized by Andrew Cornell, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies at Haverford College and Institute for Anarchist Studies author.

Anarchism has inspired global social movements for more than two decades, yet remains peripheral to academic debate. Scholars have developed sophisticated conceptions of radical democracy, but these have been slow to inform on-the-ground organizing. Both frameworks critique the imperial foundations and racial exclusions of liberal theory and institutions, as do a growing contingent of scholars and activists who demand a thoroughgoing decolonization of our social, political, and intellectual lives.

This symposium explores what common ground and what tensions exist between these critical perspectives by providing a unique forum for conversation amongst an international ensemble of respected organizers and scholars.

Full schedule and more information at:

Dilar Dirik
Chris Dixon
J. Kēhaulani Kauanui
Ruth Kinna
Todd May
Harsha Walia

Marina Sitrin, author of Horizontalism, on the Significance of IAS Support for Writing

Marina Sitrin,  author of Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina (AK Press: 2006) is a past recipient of an Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) writing grant.  She has this to say about the financial and political support she received from the IAS:  “The funding I received from the IAS made all the difference in my being able to compile and write what became Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina. It was the financial support for sure, but also the confidence that a group of people had in the project that gave me the extra push I needed to complete the work.”


If you haven’t yet supported the Institute for Anarchist Studies with a generous donation, please do so now, so we can continue to support radical writers who lack other forms of support, to enable them to make awesome contributions such as Marina’s book!

We are currently at 38% of our goal of raising $6,000 with less than 30 days left. Please help!


The Violence of Bureaucracy: A Review of Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India by Akhil Gupta (Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2012) by Dalel Benbabaali

According to anthropologist Akhil Gupta, the structural violence of the state in India kills two to three million people every year, mostly lower caste or tribal women and children. Yet, numerous anti-poverty programs target a population that actively participates in the democratic project through the electoral process. Gupta tries to explain this paradox in his new book, based on a detailed ethnography of the Indian bureaucracy. 


“To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorised, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished.”[1] Without directly referring to this quote from French anarchist Proudhon, Gupta provides a similar description of the Indian government that perceives poor women and children as “segments of the population that had not been as extensively surveyed, counted, classified, measured, injected, or schooled in the past” (261).

In fact, his references are less Proudhonian than Foucauldian. Basing his argument on the concept of biopower as it was elaborated by Michel Foucault, Gupta suggests that poverty in India has been normalized through numerous statistical projects aimed at measuring it. As a consequence of this normalization, the killing of the poor is neither considered a violation (of law, justice, morality or the Constitution), nor a scandal that delegitimizes power.

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Send Us Stuff! New IAS Mailing Address

Want to donate to support struggling radical writers and independent publishing by check?  You can put a check in the mail to support the work of the Institute for Anarchist Studies.

Also, send us your magazines, journals, ‘zines, books to be reviewed either on this website or in the print version of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory.

Send it all here:

Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS)

P.O. Box 90454

Portland, OR 97290


Support Radical Writers and Publishing!

The Institute for Anarchist Studies’ (IAS) winter 2015 Fundraising Campaign has surpassed 10% of its goal of $6,000.  Please take a minute to read this appeal and donate generously.  The IAS’ continued work depends on it.


In a rare Pacific Northwest appearance: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, speaking on her new book, “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States”

In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the indigenous people was genocidal and imperialist—designed to crush the original inhabitants. Spanning more than three hundred years, this bottom-up history significantly re-frames how we view our past. Told from the viewpoint of the indigenous, it reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US Empire.


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Support the IAS!


The Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) will be awarding thousands of dollars to struggling writers in the form of grants late in February. The people receiving these grants, writing on antiauthoritarian themes, are folks with no institutional support. The funds we provide will aid them to do things like take time off work and hire childcare, so they can devote time to writing.

We are also preparing the new issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, on the theme of justice.  This issue will feature three essays by five folks who recently received writing grants. We hope to print the issue in March.

Finally, we are publishing Walidah Imarisha and adrienne brown’s new collection of essays, called Octavia’s Brood:  Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, in collaboration with AK Press, in April of this year, as well as Walidah’s next book, Angels with Dirty Faces, on the nuances of prison abolition, due out early in 2016.

To do all this, and more, we really need your help.  We recently lost our non-profit status, and as we struggle to regain it, we are depending on your help so we can continue to thrive.

The IAS is in its 19 year.  As we approach twenty years of supporting radical writers, as well as publishing Perspectives, our book series with AK Press called Anarchist Interventions, and our new series, starting with Octavia’s Brood, please take a minute, look at our indiegogo fundraising campaign, and make a generous donation.  We really need your support right now!

Go Here!:

Thanks so much!


Ready to Fight: Developing a 21st Century Community Syndicalism by Shane Burley

Consistent with the ‘strategy’ theme of the current issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory (No. 27), Shane Burley lays out what the anarcho-syndicalist tradition offers movements outside the workplace.

Eviction Free Zone-2

There has been an effort by scholars and organizers alike over the last forty years to segregate anarcho-syndicalism from the rest of the broad anarchist movement. The labor movement dominated social struggles in the first half of the twentieth century, but as large business union bureaucracies were formed and new shop organizing began to diminish, the participation of anarchists in labor began to wane as community struggles around environmental issues, LGBT and women’s struggles, and housing justice took precedence. The syndicalist strategies that defined the earlier successes of anarchism internationally diminished to only the most hardcore adherents of a labor strategy, though these ideas have had spikes during periods of economic crisis. This shift away from syndicalism as a strategic foundation has robbed movements of some of their tactical inspirations, and organizers from the New Left forward attempt to reinvent the wheel every time, completely reimagining every struggle as though it was disconnected from the entire history of libertarian social movements. This is a loss as these developing community struggles can still look towards these syndicalist battles in the workplace as a model for how to democratically structure movements.

The idea of community syndicalism, bringing the syndicalist organizing strategy out of the workplace and into other aspects of life, can be a way to intentionally create a specific set of tactics. These tactical choices could take the form of solidarity structures that form as a union, which mean that they unite a set of interests against an adversary that is in control of a particular sector of society, such as labor, housing, or healthcare. These different sectors are the different puzzle pieces of social life that are all intimately affected by access to resources, and one in which a real element of class is present at all times. Since syndicalism in the workplace does not rely on simply one tactic, but instead on the use of solidarity, trying to utilize community syndicalism could simply mean a whole range of strategic points all building on some of the basic ideas of anarcho-syndicalism. The question then arises: what are the core elements of anarcho-syndicalism that can be boiled down and moved from the shop floor to the neighborhood, from workers issues to healthcare and environmentalism, and to all the sectors where class struggle takes place?

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Bring Octavia’s Brood’s Authors to Your Town!




Octavia’s Brood (IAS/AK Press, 2015) co-editors Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown, as well as many of the contributors, will be touring with the book in Spring and Fall 2015 and want to come to a campus, community center or bookstore near you!

All organizing is science fiction. A world where everyone has a home, a great education, community based transformative justice, nourishing food to eat and clean water to drink, where we are in right relation to the planet, to each other, where we are free to be and love ourselves as we are, to grow together?

We have never seen it.

But Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements (AK Press/IAS, 2015) can help us envision that world. Octavia’s Brood is an anthology of original science fiction from social justice movements written by organizers and activists. Each of the 20 stories reimagines the world we live in, putting forth compelling futures with new questions, new visions to explore.

More about the book is below, and also at the publisher’s website:

We will be touring April through June 2015, and then looking to Fall 2015 as well.

If you are interested in bringing visionary voices to your community, please contact Jen Angel

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IAS Grant Deadline January 15th!

Get us your grant applications!  The deadline is coming up fast.