Recent News

As always, we had a difficult time deciding on our grantees, given that we received many worthy applications for writing and translation projects during each round. We’d like to congratulate all the following people on their IAS grant awards! Here’s a glimpse of their upcoming projects:

Late 2012
Theatre and the Art of Transgression
Tamara Lynne ($500)
This article explores questions raised through participation in the international movement of theatre artists practicing Forum Theatre. Through examination of experiences from an international festival of Theatre of the Oppressed hosted by Jana Sanskriti in West Bengal, through conversations with practitioners here in the US, and through direct experience creating work with communities, Tamara Lynne explores the question of making and breaking rules and the radical possibility that occurs in the moment of transgression.
Tamara is a writer and theatre artist based in Portland Oregon, with work focusing on intersections of art, performance and activism. She is founder of Living Stages, a theatre organization committed to community empowerment and action. Since 2001 she has created theatre with students, day laborers, farmworkers, rural Oregonians, educators, bus drivers, and homeless communities. Currently, she practices theatre as a process of organizing in neighborhoods along 82nd Avenue as part of the Eastside Forum Project. International work has included time in Brazil studying and creating theatre with members of the MST, Brazil’s Landless Movement and exploring the potential of art in the process of movement-building; as well as creating theatre in India with members of Jana Sanskriti, the most expansive Theatre of the Oppressed organization in the world and a social/political force in rural villages across India.
A Freebooting Union Breaking New Grounds: Episodes from One Hundred Years of Swedish Syndicalism
Translation into English by Mikael Kopimi Altemark ($500)
The Swedish syndicalist labor movement, being one of the few libertarian mass organizations to survive World War II, deserves a kind of attention going beyond the meager information provided by academic journals and outdated magazine interviews. The revolutionary union SAC (Sveriges Arbetares Centralorganisation) has had to operate in the context of the world’s most successful welfare state (now rapidly becoming one of the most deregulated states), and the shop floor experiences of its members offer more interesting material than sectarian bickering or yearning for glories past. In this translation of Fackliga fribrytare, railway worker and longtime SAC member Ingemar Sjöö presents selected episodes from the history of Swedish syndicalism—an engaging narrative that sparks many intriguing questions. What is the background to the current ongoing reorganization of SAC? Why is it that paperless restaurant workers and cleaners have taken to reviving the tactics of “the registry method”? And what is it? Sjöö sketches the changing landscape within which SAC has had to navigate these past hundred years, contextualizing the story of how workers in forests and quarries as well as on the rails (and now service workers) might combine direct action and gradualism in order to disarm bosses of their powers to set wages and control the hiring and firing of employees.
Mikael is a professional freelance translator living in Stockholm, Sweden, where he is a member of a small SAC branch. Having received his BA in English linguistics at Stockholm University, he is currently pursuing translation studies at the Institute for Translation and Interpretation. In the late 1990s, he followed in the footsteps of many hundreds of youths when he joined the libertarian movement and became part of the third generation of the modern Swedish Anarcho-Syndicalist Youth Federation (SUF). The organization had many positive spin-off projects, including the popular fare strike initiative, and Mikael became part of the network around Piratbyrån, which developed a notorious weapon in the class struggle: the Pirate Bay Web site for peer-to-peer sharing. He was also involved in running the Swedish Internet magazine and the a-infos service. Currently he is working on translations into Swedish of the book Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism and short stories by the Scottish anarchist James Kelman.
Early 2013
Scarcity Is a Lie! Building Social, Emotional, and Analytic Capacity for Transformative Justice and Decolonization on Stolen Land
Kristin Herbeck and Anne Yukie Watanabe ($750)
This essay explores the ways in which colonialist logic and ideologies of domination are reproduced in transformative justice/community accountability (TJ/CA) efforts. The coauthors ground their analysis in the historical context that underlies these tendencies, especially settler colonialism, heteropatriarchy, the state-based co-optation of feminist antiviolence organizing, the logic of criminalization, and the racialized pathologization of interpersonal violence. This project brings together Kristin’s and Anne’s own experiences with TJ/CA with a review of existing literature on the struggles and limitations of applying TJ/CA models in practice, focusing on the dichotomies constructed around perpetrator/survivor/bystander identities, the reactive ways in which TJ/CA models are often applied, and the individualistic analysis of violence that excessively centers simplistic models of “perpetrator/aggressor accountability” as the avenue to healing harm to the community or communities and survivor(s). The coauthors aim to build on ongoing conversations that are critical of the ways that antiviolence activism has been incorporated or co-opted into state agendas/projects of colonization and institutionalized racism, and instead suggest how to incorporate this work into projects and visions of liberation that open up possibilities for what it would mean to live in as well as address interpersonal violence in a world without prisons or state-based violence.
Anne has been organizing around survivor support and perpetrator/abuser accountability for about four years, and studied US history at Smith College, focusing on women, gender, criminalization, and social movement histories.
Kristin has been engaged in survivor support and community accountability work in both radical and nonradical communities for six years. She struggles primarily to develop solidarities between community accountability, survivor support, and anticolonial self-determination movements across North America for indigenous peoples and people of color, informed by critical linkages made by radical women of color in the antiviolence movement.

Late 2013
Brick by Brick: Toward a World Without Prisons
Layne Mullett ($300)
The US prison system and a broader web of related repressive apparatuses (surveillance, policing, etc.) are essential for the maintenance and growth of empire. If we are serious about ending empire, capitalism, and white supremacy, we must directly confront the prison-industrial complex. This essay will explore what might be needed to wage a successful struggle against that system, and what antiauthoritarian and intersectional politics can bring to this struggle. Specifically, the essay will address why fighting prisons is a key element of confronting state power, some lessons we can draw from antiprison movements and political prisoners past and present, and what it might mean to take a prefigurative approach to antiprison organizing. The project will draw on Layne’s own experiences as an antiprison activist as well as current examples of resistance coming from inside the prison walls. It will also look at radical queer and feminist work, and what this can and does bring to our efforts to construct a contemporary movement against mass incarceration.
Layne is an activist based in Philadelphia, PA. She is involved in a variety of organizations working against state repression, prisons, gentrification, and austerity measures, and for the freedom of political prisoners. Layne is also a founding member of Decarcerate PA, a grassroots campaign working to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania.
Social Movements, Financial Resources, and the Role of the Radical Flank
Heather Pipino, Griffin Shumway, and Reid Kotlas ($300)
Money is a key resource for social movement organizations, but there is little history on the role of financial resources on reaching movement goals. People’s movements have been derailed or co-opted by elite dollars, and elite influence increasingly works hand in hand with state repression to block radical social transformation. Yet scant research shows that social movements were successful from a combination of elite, outside donations and a strong, organized radical flank of the grassroots. This essay will explore the role of class solidarity and the radical flank in relation to movement dollars in order to find out what it would take to resist marginalization and change the politically possible in the face of increasing state repression.
Heather, the fund-raising organizer for the Vermont Workers’ Center, has a decade of organizing and fund-raising experience on campaigns to increase labor-community solidarity, win universal health care, and achieve working-class justice after environmental disasters.
Griffin, a Vermont Workers’ Center member from Windsor County, VT, is a recent graduate of Goddard College and focuses his time doing education work.
Reid, a Vermont Workers’ Center member from Windsor County, VT, holds an MLit in philosophy from the University of Dundee (UK) and is an adjunct instructor at River Valley Community College in Claremont, NH.
Antiauthoritarian Organizing in Postcoup Honduras
Sandra Cuffe and Dawn Paley ($500)
In an investigative essay, the coauthors will explore the role of the groups that decided to continue their resistance outside mainstream politics following the 2009 coup d’état in Honduras. Cuffe and Paley will carry out interviews with antiauthoritarian activists and groups in the lead up to the November 2013 election period as well as during and after the elections. Their essay will examine not only how non-political-party-affiliated activists believe change can happen but also gauge how their work impacts the electoral discourse of LIBRE (the leftist party formed after the coup), and what the future holds, from their perspectives, if the Left is to take power.
Sandra is a freelance journalist. She lived in Honduras from 2003 to 2007, and returned for six months in the wake of the 2009 coup d’état.
Dawn is a freelance journalist, researcher, and editor. She is working on her first book, tentatively titled Drug War Capitalism.
“My Dungeon Shook”: James Baldwin, Prison Abolitionist Solidarity in the Face of the Ongoing Nakba, and Antiblackness–
Che Gossett ($300)
This essay will address the legacy of black American radical anti-Zionism through the anti-Zionist (but not anti-Semitic) writing of Baldwin. Problematic liberal racial justice slogans and rhetoric that compare racist segregation and the Israeli apartheid conditions that Palestinians are made to endure to that of blacks in the United States prior to the onset of the civil rights movement often fail to take into account the social truth of antiblackness in contemporary US society, invisibilize Afro-Palestinian resistance, and downplay black radical anti-Zionist legacies. While antiblack de jure segregation was struck down in the courts, de facto segregation and antiblackness continue, as mass incarceration and stop-and-frisk policies make abundantly clear. This project will ask what political solidarity formations might challenge the use of carceral violence as an instrument of settler colonial and racial apartheid regimes through political alternatives to Islamophobia and Orientalism as well as Cold War racial liberalism and liberal antiblack racism found in the work of Baldwin. How might, from Palestine/Israel to the United States, abolitionist collectives work in solidarity to abolish the prison-industrial complex as well as end occupation, Israeli apartheid, and the prison system as an apparatus in the perpetuation of a racial capitalist order? How might we build stronger solidarity movements against the ongoing Nakba waged through Israeli state violence and ongoing carceral violence in the United States? Finally, in a time of pinkwashing and branding of Israeli apartheid, how can Palestinian and black queer and/or trans solidarity in the United States be strengthened?
Che is a black genderqueer writer and activist, contributor to the anthologies Captive Genders (Eric Stanley and Nat Smith, AK Press, 2012) and the Transgender Studies Reader (Aren Azuira and Susan Stryker, Routledge Press, 2013), and recently returned from a phenomenal delegation of librarians and archivists to Palestine. They are currently working on a biography of a queer of color AIDS activist, Kiyoshi Kuromiya.
Trust Each Other: You Don’t Have to Be Sad to Be a Militant
Carla Bergman and Nick Montgomery ($500)
This project aims to articulate two interrelated concepts: joyful militancy and sad militancy. In the spirit of openness and figuring it out as we go, the coauthors avoid firm definitions of these terms. Broadly speaking, they use the concept of joyful militancy to stand in for conviviality, friendship, kindness, vulnerability, generosity, mentorship, and love in radical social movements today. Sad militancy, by contrast, stands in for the elements of condescension, fear, resentment, competition, and control that plague our movements. Carla and Nick think that people can participate in actions of resisting and creating alternatives to the dominant order, and at the same time can and must carve out moments and spaces of joy, of a thriving life. They are most interested in the conditions that sustain joyful and sad militancy, and how joyful militancy can be cultivated and sad militancy can be warded off. This project is also empirical, grounded in interviews with organizers from a variety of radical social movements, with these questions in mind. The coauthors expect to get a number of different (maybe even contradictory) responses, with the aim of reflecting this diversity while charting out resonances and points of convergence in this essay.
Carla is a community organizer, curator, and writer who mucks around with her partner and two unschooling kids in East Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories. Currently, she is the director of the Purple Thistle Center, and has worked with youths creating projects, mentoring, facilitating workshops, and making a variety of publications for the past fifteen years. She cofounded the art and activist publication RAIN, and cofounded the Thistle Institute, an alternative to the university, in 2011. She is currently working on a film about the Thistle and youth liberation, forthcoming in winter 2014, and was part of the editing crew of the AK Press book Stay Solid: A Radical Handbook for Youth.
Nick is a lover of permaculture, nerdy theory, radical politics, and sauerkraut. He lives on Lekwungen territories in Victoria, BC, and is a PhD student at Queen’s University. He cofounded the People’s Apothecary, a medicinal herb garden commons, and A Freeskool, which hosts workshops, skill shares, and other free (un)learning activities. He’s currently coediting a book on settler colonialism and codirecting a documentary on food justice. Nick is interested in creating and maintaining alternatives to the dominant order as well as making connections between decolonization, feminism, autonomy, permaculture, and other stuff, which he blogs about at Cultivating Alternatives.
Voces Libertarias: The Origins of Anarchism in Puerto Rico
Jorell Meléndez ($300)
This essay will be comprised of translations of the core three chapters of Jorell Meléndez’s book Voces libertarias: Orígenes del anarquismo en Puerto Rico into English. In these he traces the origins of anarchist ideas on the island at the turn of the twentieth century, as the country faced a change in the imperial matrix, hurricanes, famines, changes in the modes of colonization and production, as well as the construction of workers’ identity along with their radicalization. This translation aspires to give a new generation of radicals a history that has been forgotten by anarchist historiography, that of Puerto Rican anarchism. It seeks to create transhistorical conversations that might allow us to envision new strategies based on the victories and failures of the past.
Jorell was one of the founding members of the Colectivo Autónomo C.C.C., which ran a Centro Social in Puerto Rico. He has presented on the topic of Puerto Rican anarchism in local and international forums including the United States, Canada, and England. He is a radical historian, has been a member of the local punk community for more than a decade, and is now working towards his PhD at the University of Connecticut.
The Next Grant Application Deadline
If you’d like to apply for one of our writing and/or translation grants, our next deadline is January 15, 2014, midnight EST (late applications will not be accepted). You can apply online at
The IAS prioritizes work from people who are reflecting on struggles and organizing in which they participate. We welcome applications from people who do not think of themselves as writers and who are not rooted in university contexts. We especially encourage women, queer people, people of color, working-class people, people with disabilities, grassroots activists, and others often excluded from scholarly life to apply.For more information on our grants and applications, including an FAQ, follow the link above, and feel free to email us with any further questions.
The “Care” Issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory
The beautiful new issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, on the theme of care, is now available at your local bookstores and infoshops as well as through AK Press. Weighing in at 120 pages, its contents include:
“Introduction” by Maia Ramnath, Paul Messersmith-Glavin, and Lara Messersmith-Glavin
“Home Is Where Our Hearts Are,” about the housing struggle in Portland, OR, by Heidi Whipple, Meddle, and Kari Koch
“Alternatives to EMS” by Rosehip Medic Collective
“Peer Support and Mental Health” by Julia Smedley
“Class and Health: Community Acupuncture” by Paul Messersmith-Glavin
“To Care Is to Struggle” by Kevin Van Meter
“There Is No Good Faith: The Green Economy, Climate Change, and Reimagining Social
Movements” by Kari Koch
“Without Delusion: Rethinking Both Self and Determination,” on Buddhism and anarchism, by Joshua Stephens
Book Reviews:
“Books on Occupy’s Eternal Now” by Maia Ramnath
“Legacies of Liberation: Review of Love and Struggle and Truth and Revolution” by Geoff Mc
“‘Not Just Warming Ourselves with Their Memory’: The Power of Social Movements” by Stina Soderling
“Caring Too Much to Care Any Longer” by Britt Parrot
“Remembering Joel Olson” by Joe Lowndes
To order the latest issue from AK Press, visit:
Two New Titles in Our Anarchist Interventions Book Series
We’re excited to announce that titles five and six—Anarchists Against the Wall, coedited by Uri Gordon and Ohal Grietzer, and Undoing Border Imperialism, by Harsha Walia—of our growing collection of books are now in print. They are part of the Anarchist Interventions series, a collaborative project with our friends at AK Press and Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. Both books focus on contemporary movements, and both feature a wide variety of radical voices and provocative insights. As with all our other books, at least 50 percent of the net sales from each title in the Anarchist Interventions series are donated to the IAS, thanks to the generosity of each author; and in the case of Gordon and Grietzer’s book, all other proceeds will be donated to the Anarchists Against the Wall legal defense fund.
Here are descriptions of each title:
Anarchists Against the Wall: Resisting Occupation and Apartheid in Palestine/Israel
Edited by Uri Gordon and Ohal Grietzer
Preface by Alfredo Bonanno
This multiauthor collection serves as an introduction to Anarchists Against the Wall, an Israeli initiative maintaining active solidarity with the Palestinian popular struggle in the West Bank as well as other solidarity activities inside Israel. The book investigates the nature of the solidarity principle in the dichotomized anarchist/state paradigm, and offers individual and collective reflections on close to a decade of direct actions and demonstrations against the construction of the Segregation Barrier as well as the daily violence and dispossession in occupied Palestine. To order copies, go to
Undoing Border Imperialism
By Harsha Walia
Preface by Andrea Smith
Undoing Border Imperialism combines academic discourse, lived experiences of displacement, and movement-based practices into an exciting new book. By reframing immigrant rights movements within a transnational systemic analysis of capitalism, labor exploitation, settler colonialism, state building, and racialized empire, it provides the alternative conceptual frameworks of border imperialism and decolonization to understand the freedom to stay, move, and return as essential for self-determination. Drawing on the author’s experiences in No One Is Illegal and the recognition that social movements themselves produce critical theory, this work also offers relevant insights for all organizers on effective strategies to overcome the barriers and borders within movements in order to cultivate fierce, loving, and sustainable communities of resistance striving toward liberation. Several of the chapters delve into the challenges of building broad-based alliances while maintaining radical political principles, fostering antioppression leadership while opposing hierarchies, and affecting tangible change while prefiguring transformation.
The author grounds this book in collective vision, from a roundtable on movement building with No One Is Illegal organizers to interspersed narratives from dozens of bold activists and writers of color from across North America. Contributors include Yogi Acharya, Carmen Aguirre, Tara Atluri, Annie Banks, Mel Bazil, Nazila Bettache, Adil Charkaoui, Yen Chu, Karen Cocq, Jessica Danforth, Ruby Smith Díaz, Nassim Elbardouh, Craig Fortier, Harjap Grewal, Mostafa Henaway, Freda Huson, Syed Khalid Hussan, Jane Kirby, Aylwin Lo, Karla Lottini, Alex Mah, Robyn Maynard, Graciela Flores Mendez, Cecily Nicholson, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Toghestiy, Sozan Savehilaghi, Mac Scott, Lily Shinde, and Rafeef Ziadah.
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The IAS grant-giving program is entirely funded by the generous donations of people and collectives like you. And while we try to cover the print costs of our journal and book series through sales, we usually fall far short. Your support for these and other IAS projects allows us to help grow and nurture anarchist debate and discourse around the world. Please consider making a donation as small or large as you like! Every little bit helps—from $20 to $200 to $2,000.
It’s easier than ever to donate to the IAS online. Visit our “Support the IAS” page at, where through PayPal or Network for Good along with your credit or debit card, you can sign up as a monthly sustainer for as little as $5 to whatever larger amount fits your budget, or give the IAS an annual or one-time donation. You can also send cash and/or checks or money orders made out to the Institute for Anarchist Studies to: Institute for Anarchist Studies,
P.O. Box 15586,
Washington, DC 20003.
Another way to contribute financially is by hosting one of the many speakers on the Mutual Aid Speakers’ List at an event in your town and donating the honorarium to the IAS. For a list of our speakers, see
Thanks in advance for your generous contributions!