IAS Awards $3,000 in Grants, Publishes 2 new books & a new issue of Perspectives in Our 25th Year! 2021 Summer Newsletter!
IAS Summer Newsletter
2021 Marks the 25th Year of the Institute for Anarchist Studies!
The Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) is excited to celebrate our 25th year – a remarkable anniversary. The IAS is proud to be here, continuing our work to advance contemporary anarchist thought. We’re moving into this 25th year by going big: renewing and rebooting our grants’ program, publishing the largest, most colorful issue of our journal Perspectives on Anarchist Theory yet, and releasing two new books (with more in the works)!
The IAS owes this long and successful history to you, our community of supporters. If you’ve bought Perspectives, forwarded an essay on to a friend, donated once in the past 25 years, or if you donate every month: we’re grateful beyond words. Thank you. We can’t do any of this without you!
Here are some highlights from the past 25 years:
1996: The Institute for Anarchist Studies is founded by Chuck Morse as a non-profit to support the development of anarchism through grants to support writers.
1997: Perspectives on Anarchist Theory begins as an organizational newsletter, eventually merging with The New Formulation: An Antiauthoritarian Review of Books to become its own journal. The Renewing the Anarchist Tradition (RAT) series of conferences is launched by the IAS, bringing together anarchists and antiauthoritarian scholars and activists desiring to critically engage with both the anarchist tradition and the world at large.
2000: The IAS begins organizing Radical Theory Tracks at the National Conference on Organized Resistance (NCOR), an annual event that brought together activists from a variety of issues, ideologies, and backgrounds for a weekend of discussions in DC.
2004: The IAS launches the Latin American Archives Project in collaboration with comrades in Buenos Aires, Argentina to encourage the study of Latin America’s rich anarchist history.
2009: The current Perspectives collective takes up producing the IAS journal, collaborating with the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, developing what Perspectives is today.
2010: The first book in the Anarchist Interventions series, Cindy Milstein’s Anarchism and its Aspirations, is published in collaboration with AK Press and the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. This is the first of now eight titles, and counting.
2011: During the Occupy movement, the IAS publishes the five part Lexicon pamphlet series on the keywords: anarchism, colonialism, gender, power, and white supremacy. 30,000 pamphlets are distributed for free to various Occupy camps and affiliated groups around the US. Each Lexicon is a two-color pamphlet featuring one keyword or phrase, defined in about 2,000 words of text. You can listen to the Lexicon series, or download the PDFs for printing and sharing in a booklet layout.
2019: The IAS reprints the Perspectives’ Anarcha-Feminisms issue from 2016, the most popular issue of Perspectives up to that point.
2021: The IAS publishes Perspectives’ Power issue, collaborating with Kai Lumumba Barrow and the Gallery of the Streets project, which is the biggest, most beautiful Perspectives yet. We also award $3,000 in grants to four creative projects, expanding grants beyond the written word to include audio and visual media.
IAS Awards $3,000 in Grants!
2021 Grant Awards are Out
The IAS rebooted our grants’ program in 2021 to include multimedia. This year’s call for grant proposals prioritized short audio and video projects that would serve as foundations, definitions, or further education on: Black and Indigenous Anarchism(s); Police Abolition and Alternatives; and Mutual Aid. We received over 60 applications for incredible projects: to say choosing what to fund was difficult is an understatement!
In response to the volume and quality of proposals, and the success of our fundraising in 2020, we more than doubled the amount we initially planned to give.
Here’s more about our grantees and their projects:
It Did Happen Here: “It Did Happen Here is an independently produced podcast that documents the organizing and unapologetic street battles against racist white skinheads in the 1980’s and 90’s. The 11 episode podcast talks to three core groups: the Portland chapter of Anti Racist Action; SHARP- Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice; and the Coalition for Human Dignity. The three groups united over and over to attack fascists on their home ground—and won it back. The Institute for Anarchist Studies provided funds to edit the podcast into consistent episode lengths and take out the swearing. It Did Happen Here will be a 14 episode (30 minutes each) series for broadcast radio, self distributed and distributed by the Pacifica Network released August 2021.”
Tajh Morris: “My name is Tajh Morris and I live in the city where capitalism has already failed, Detroit. I am a journalist, event producer, and DJ known professionally as Turtle Bugg. My career has focused on highlighting the Black American roots and filling gaps in the historiography of electronic music. Putting aside the infantile understanding of Anarchy that is being peddled in the mainstream, the focus of my project will be to explore how the modern Black Anarchist movement has roots in the Black Panther Party. This will be a multimedia project that includes an audio collage, video and essay. By combining interviews, images and narration with Black music (house, techno, and hiphop) I hope to present an educational yet entertaining piece.”
Beatriz Paz: “I am a Mexican researcher, publisher, artist, and activist. I work in the mediums of collage, book-art, animation, performance, and social engagement. I have travelled internationally as a speaker on Indigenous topics such as lack of water, land defense, and ancestral art. My project consists of an artistic outlet to my research on Indigenous resistance that manifests itself in customs, material culture and civil representation. Through a series of publications, posters, animations and videos I seek to connect the cosmogony and indigenous social organization with the principles of anarchism through texts and images that inspire solidarity.”
Clio Reese Sady: “Clio Reese Sady is a tattooist and pen and ink artist living on Ohlone land in Oakland, California. Sady is disabled, living with Bipolar Disorder. Sady loves making political art with direct action group Gay Shame. Sady has work published in Gay Genius Comics (Sparkplug, 2011) and The Collective Tarot (Eberhardt 2006, 2008 & TCT 2012). With the support of the Institute for Anarchist Studies, combined with their residency at the Prelinger Library, Sady will finish and revise their graphic novel WE ALL TRESPASS. The story explores dynamics of institutional oppression through a murder mystery set in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco.”
Congratulations to all of our grantees! We’ll be sharing and promoting the grant work as it’s completed over the next year.
Stay tuned to our website and social media to see the results of our grants IRL!
This issue features essays on: surrealism and climate change; Rojava and anarchism; solidarity and mutual aid from Puerto Rico to the embattled streets of Minneapolis and Portland; building community through online power; raising money; lessons in organizing and working out; police abolition, and insights into George Floyd Square; organizing amidst this age of protest and pandemic; David Graeber and the power of imagination; building another world of communalism against Covid capitalism; surviving the pandemic; what to do if you’re teargassed; recovering from trauma; successfully organizing towards revolution; and new book reviews! It’s a substantive and formidable collection – one of the most exciting issues of Perspectives to date.
Copies are available directly from the IAS on our website, and from AK Press.
Image credit: Power cover art, Kai Lumumba Barrow, from issue 32 of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory.
From It’s Going Down
Polyvalent Power: A Review of the Power Issue of Perspectives On Anarchist Theory
“Taken as a whole, the journal helps point to what Michel Foucault attempted to pin down about power, in that it ‘must be understood in the first instance as the multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they operate and which constitute their own organization…power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society.’
Especially relevant to these readings is Foucault’s observation that power is present in every relationship and power always comes with resistance, which is not external to power but a manifestation of power itself. Therefore, through protests, rebellions, community organizing, mutual aid, and taking care of ourselves and one another, we are not speaking truth to power, but manifesting, building, and growing a counterpower of our own. Those interested in an exploration of the different avenues that process can take or look like are encouraged to pick up and read through this volume of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory.”
Copies of the Power Issue are available directly from the IAS on our website, and from AK Press.
Image: “A Love Supreme,” by Erin Bree of Gallery of the Streets, from issue 32 of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory.
Teaser from the Perspectives: Power Issue
Excerpt of “Time Under Tension: Lessons in Organizing from a Kettlebell Gym”
by Lara Messersmith-Glavin
Your spine is straight. You have shifted your weight back so that your knees are above your ankles—this is such an uncomfortable position until you learn to trust the muscles that hold you there—and you check to make sure the bell is between your heels, not out in front of you. Your hands are slightly tacky with the chalk you’ve applied to absorb the sweat.
The handle of the bell feels solid in your palms, its circumference just a touch wider than you’d like, the rough surface familiar to your grip. You turn on your lats by squeezing your shoulder blades together, and imagine you are cracking the handle of the kettlebell like a stick of kindling in order to activate your triceps. Do you feel equal pressure between your hands and your feet? You check, and then you initiate with the glutes to protect your lower back. The strain is immense at first, like you’re trying to pick up a mountain, then you are pleased to find the weight glide smoothly upward as you stand in a perfect deadlift.
If you haven’t lifted weights, you might be tempted to think that it’s mostly a matter of brute force, that strength comes from muscle combined with determination and will. These things are important, but something kettlebell training has taught me is that strength is a skill. It comes from understanding systems and networks within the body and the brain; it comes from technique combined with practice and smart repetition, from knowing when to push, when to pull, when to tense or relax, when to breathe, and when to rest. It also comes from having a plan: strategic thinking, goal setting, and implementation over time with readjustments as necessary. These insights are more than just good lessons for creating changes in the body. In a lot of ways, they help me understand how to better create change in the world, as well.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that kettlebells have saved my life. When I first started training, I was recovering from a life-threatening flare of an autoimmune disease; training brought back a positive relationship with my physical self and gave me a community in which to heal. Over time, I felt so committed to the transformative potential of the practice that I became a certified trainer at Bleeding Hearts Kettlebell Club (BHKC) in Portland, Oregon, a city known once as “Little Beirut” and more recently as an “anarchist jurisdiction.” Over the past four years, this gym has undergone a remarkable transformation of its own, resulting in a powerful site of activism and community support.
How have these changes happened? What makes a group of gym rats, weirdos, and housewives into a force for social justice? It’s remarkable to me how much of what I see happening politically in our community genuinely seems to stem from our physical practice. What we learn in our bodies we can practice in community, and what we practice can grow into larger spheres of impact and change.
Reagan’s innovative book explores the relevance of class as a theoretical category, arguing that leading traditions of class analysis have missed major elements of what class is and how it operates. Reagan’s book combines intersectional theory and materialism to show that culture, economics, ideology, and consciousness are all factors that go into making “class” meaningful. Using a historical lens, the book studies the experiences of working class people, from migrant farm workers in California’s central valley, to the “factory girls” of New England, and Black workers in the South, to explore the variety of working-class experiences.
Intersectional Class Struggle also investigates how the concepts of racial capitalism and Black feminist thought, when applied to class studies and popular movements, allow us to walk and chew gum at the same time—to recognize that our movements can be diverse and particularistic as well as have elements of a universal experience. Ultimately, Reagan argues that class is made up of all of us, in all our contradictions and complexity.
“Intersectional Class Struggle is an immensely useful text for our times. It accessibly guides readers new to anti-capitalist struggle and intersectionality through the key debates, and also offers seasoned activists and scholars a concise, thoughtful analysis of pivotal questions about resistance and liberation. Throughout the book, Reagan uses compelling examples of solidarity in practice to bring intersectional class struggle to life for readers and to show what it can win.”
Representing Radicals: A Guide for Lawyers and Movements,is now available at AK Press as a print or e-book!Representing Radicals, by the Tilted Scales Collective – featuring a Foreword by Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center – helps lawyers understand ways to work with radical defendants, with an explicit focus on helping them achieve ends that go beyond traditional legal goals.
The Tilted Scales Collective—Jenny Esquivel, Jude Ortiz, and J.B.— works with radical defendants and movement lawyers to fight state repression. They are anarchist legal workers who have spent years organizing in solidarity with defendants fighting charges and with prisoners fighting for their dignity and lives. Their organizing has included being part of defense committees for defendants facing state repression, conducting webinars and trainings for groups of defendants, and collaborating with other groups to engage the criminal legal system in ways that can advance radical struggles.
Lauren Regan is the executive director and senior staff attorney of the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC). Over the past 15 years, Lauren and the CLDC has defended over 3000 activists from around the country for free. Lauren is a national expert in the defense of political activists, particularly those engaged in the climate, environmental, indigenous, and animal rights movements.
“Taking our struggles to the streets means being ready to defend ourselves in the courtroom. Representing Radicals is a concise and practical manual that will play an invaluable role in facilitating the cooperation between movement defendants and their counsel in the many struggles to come.”
-Mark Bray, author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook
Our 25th anniversary is a big deal (are we 125 in “activist” years?) and we’re dreaming big!
Our goal this year is to raise $25,000 to continue our work and expand our grants in the years to come! You can watch the progress on our website through our fundraising thermometer. We’re almost halfway there – your support can help us reach our goal!
Sharing and promoting our work is equally important as making donations. If you want to see more from the IAS or like what we’ve done, please follow and share our posts on social media. You can also pass on your older copies of Perspectives or our books to friends, coworkers, and comrades, or host a Mutual Aid Speaker. We encourage you to forward this newsletter to fellow radicals. IAS books and issues of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory are available on our website and at AK Press.
What would you like to see from us in the coming year, in five years, or if we’re lucky, the next 25 years? We’d love to hear your thoughts. You can reach us by email or post at the addresses below.
We’re grateful for your support on all fronts. Thank you for your donations small and large and for sharing our work with your friends!
Support Independent Radical Writers & Culture Makers
The Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) is funded by donations from people like you: anarchists, antiauthoritarians, leftists, and other like-minded radicals interested in furthering anarchist and antiauthoritarian scholarship and culture. Just take it from Noam:
“For years, I have personally been a contributor to the IAS, one of the few organizations that make it possible for outstanding marginalized voices to be taken seriously. Please join me in supporting this important work. Contribute to the IAS today, and together we will show what a better world can look like, and to the degree our power permits, make it happen. Sincerely, Noam Chomsky”
If you too enjoy what we do, consider supporting us by sharing our work, through a one time online donation, becoming a monthly sustainer, or buying an issue of Perspectives or one of our books. You can also connect with us by mail, or send checks or money orders to the address above.
The The IAS also raises funds through the Mutual Aid Speakers List, selling merch and books, and by donations at events. In this way, the IAS is both independent, yet deeply connected to and supported by anarchist and like-minded folks and movements. The IAS, in short, is about the anti-authoritarian Left sustaining its own public intellectuals and organizers while fostering critical spaces for reflection, dialogue, and movement building.