Credit: Ahmad Nimer
By Joshua Stephens
“I’m honestly still trying to kick the nationalist habit,” jokes activist Ahmad Nimer, as we talk outside a Ramallah cafe. Our topic of conversation seems an unlikely one: living as an anarchist in Palestine. “In a colonized country, it’s quite difficult to convince people of non-authoritarian, non-state solutions. You encounter, pretty much, a strictly anticolonial – often narrowly nationalist – mentality,” laments Nimer. Indeed, anarchists in Palestine currently have a visibility problem. Despite high-profile international and Israeli anarchist activity, there doesn’t seem to be a matching awareness of anarchism among many Palestinians themselves.
“Contemporary discussion of anarchist themes shifts emphasis towards more of an approach to power: rejecting power over, in favor of power with. “When you talk about anarchism as a political concept, it is defined as rejecting the state,” explains Saed Abu-Hijleh, a human geography lecturer at An-Najah University in Nablus. “It talks about freedom and society organizing itself without the interference of the state.” But, how do a stateless people engage with anarchism, a term that implies opposition to some form of state as a condition of its existence? Read more
Ever wondered what goes into the publishing decisions of outfits driven by social movements? It turns out the folks at Interface: A Journal for and About Social Movements figured you might’ve. So, one evening last summer, they threw a potluck in London (UK), and invited folks from PM Press, Common Notions, Minor Compositions, London’s student movement publication The Paper, and the IAS for a discussion about movement publishing and autonomous infrastructures.
What resulted was a pretty revealing look at the back end of radical publishing and its relationship to movements — especially in this era of global upheavals. Those curious about how the IAS approaches the cultivation of movement writers and intellectuals, as well as the strategic thinking that went into our Lexicon pamphlets will find a lot to work with, here. It was a much-needed discussion, and we’re humbled to have been a part of it. Read it here!
This summer, IAS board member Cindy Milstein traveled to Austria to present on her most recent book, Paths Toward Utopia, co-authored with Erik Ruin. She wound up sticking around Vienna for a few weeks, wandering its streets and visually documented its anarchist elements, compiling what she captured in a Tumblr blog. Well worth checking out!
Last November, IAS board members Maia Ramnath and Joshua Stephens were interviewed for the Horizontal Power Hour radio show, run out of Wesleyan University, mostly on the topic of anarchism and decolonization. Toward the end of their conversation, the host asked about their relationship to the academy, as an institution — a question likely on the lips of a good number of people interested in the work of the IAS. The discussion that followed was ultimately cut from the final broadcast of the interview, but parts of the raw audio form the basis for this trailer created to announce and promote our website reboot.
In keeping with this spirit, we’re teaming up with Bluestockings Activist Bookstore & Cafe in NYC to offer a series of introductory courses in the anarchist tradition, over the course of the next year, beginning this September. More info coming soon. For now, enjoy the video!
Take a look at all that’s available from the Institute for Anarchist Studies here! We continuously post new Perspectives on Anarchist Theory essays, announcements about events and new book projects in conjunction with AK Press, and other news, so keep checking back. For updates, sign up for our mailing list!
- Full PDF’s of back issues of our journal Perspectives on Anarchist Theory
- Info on the Anarchist Interventions book series, with AK Press and the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative
- Info on our new series of books published in collaboration with AK Press, starting with Octavia’s Brood, Angels with Dirty Faces, and Guerrillas of Desire!
- Printable PDF’s of all the Lexicon pamphlets
- Information about upcoming events sponsored and organized by the IAS.