IAS Newsletter, Spring 2020

Perspectives on Anarchist Theory No. 31: Imaginations is Hot off the Press!;
Call for Submissions: Perspectives on Anarchist Theory Special Issue – Pandemics from the Bottom Up;
IAS T-shirts and Hoodies In Stock!;
Deeper Dive: “If You Don’t They Will:”
Book a Speaker Through the Mutual Aid Speakers List; Tell Us About Yourself! Community Survey

Hillary Lazar on LaborWave Revolution Radio

Artwork by Tararchy

Man!Here’s an interview with writer and activist Hillary Lazar on the connections between border politics and antifascism, applying intersectional frameworks to movement organizing. The discussion begins with a conversation about Lazar’s recent essay, “Connecting Our Struggles: Border Politics, Antifascism, and Lessons from the Trials of Ferrero, Sallito, and Graham,” published in Perspectives on Anarchist Theory (N30, “Beyond the Crisis” issue)

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Mutual Aid Speakers list

The Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) has revamped and updated our list of speakers. Our speakers bureau, called the Mutual Aid Speakers, are all available to come to your town and assist in your organizing efforts.
Take a look at all the awesome folks below. Many of them received an IAS writing grant, or have written books or essays over the years for the IAS. Some are either current or past IAS board members, while others are comrades, and people whose work we respect.

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Beyond the Crisis

The world is on fire. It has been, for quite some time. If you’ve done any organizing, you’ve felt it—that sense of racing about, extinguishing this flare up or that, spending precious energy and resources … Read more

An Anarchism of the Working-Class: A Review of Whither Anarchism?, by Kristian Williams (To the Point/AK Press, 2018), Reviewed by Miriam Pickens

I appreciate Kristian Williams’ pamphlet, both the thought put into it and the challenge it represents. I learned a lot from its history, and in particular gained insight into the behavior of anarchists I meet today. Williams traces some practices of contemporary US anarchism back to pacifism, looking at how contemporary anarchists unthinkingly accept much of that philosophy. In my view, that influence led to the movement prioritizing providing comfort to its participants, rather than organizing to change the circumstances that led to the discomfort they feel with society in the first place.  This emphasis accepts the inevitability of capitalism and is therefore a strategy to live within its parameters. But I don’t think capitalism will allow us these spaces.  Instead, it has to be overthrown and not allowed to come back.

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Beyond Anti-Fascism Reflection

The Beyond Anti-Fascism, But Not Without It statement was circulated in December, 2017, generating a number of both positive and negative responses.

Positive responses include Hillary Lazar’s piece, Connecting Our Struggles: Border Politics, Antifascism, and Lessons from the Trials of Ferrero, Sallitto, and Graham, in the forthcoming print issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory (N.30, “Beyond the Crisis”), as well as other writing we’ll be sharing on-line soon.

Negative responses included critiques that the call was, a) being improperly essentialistic about identity politics and b) disregarding the fact that some of the white men writing about fascism/anti-fascism are Jewish and therefore it was insulting to say they don’t understand the history of fascism.

In light of these responses, we have rewritten the statement and are including it in the new print issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory. Below you’ll find this new version, followed by a reflection on how we got from the original to this one, and what we still find inadequate and needing in our discussions of fascism and anti-fascism. And here we really want to encourage you to use our comments section for discussion, or send us your thoughts to be considered for posting on-line.

antifa_Justseeds_web
(Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative)

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Between Everyday Resistance and Overt Rebellion: Revolutionary Possibilities!, A conversation between Alexander Riccio and Kevin Van Meter

Alexander Riccio, a labor organizer based in Corvallis, Oregon who co-hosts the podcast LabourWave Revolution Radio, talks with Kevin Van Meter, author of Institute for Anarchist Studies/AK Press book Guerrillas of Desire: Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to Make a Revolution Possibleavailable here!
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Alexander Riccio: Some have read your book, Guerillas of Desire: Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible, as an attack on organized labor in general, or as one that poses an either/or decision between supporting Left organizations, such as unions, versus championing forms of everyday resistance. What do you say to these criticisms? 
Kevin Van Meter: I don’t see my work as an attack on organized labor per se, but as a critique of where organized labor has been and how it is currently functioning. I think one of the major problems with organized labor, at least in regards to business unions, is their inability to innovate, their inability to learn from their own historical lessons, and their inability to listen to the actual needs and desires of the working class outside of the union’s organizational frame.
Unions have a very particular way of going about organizing: a steward system, a contract vote, provide services, conduct a corporate campaign. For thirty years, labor unions have hired people predominately out of college rather than from within their own ranks, and during the same period, there has been a focus on corporate campaigns rather than building substantive relationships on the ground. The fact is that building relationships on the job and in communities is necessary for the Left to bounce back, pass legislation, organize unions, and be successful in the streets against forces like fascism. All of that means it’s necessary to reweave the social fabric, but unions have largely ignored this necessity.

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Care is at the Heart, an Interview with Marina Sitrin

For this interview we (carla and Nick) sent Marina Sitrin a ‘preamble’ outlining some of the ideas behind our book Joyful Militancy (available here!), and then included a couple questions based on Sitrin’s other writings (especially Horizontalidad: Voces de Poder Popular en Argentina). We do not include the preamble here because as time went on in the researching, interviewing and writing of the book our ideas and articulations shifted. For that, we are deeply indebted to all our interviewees who offered new insights and shed light on areas that needed reworking. Instead we have added a short overview about the book, below, so the interview can stand alone. Our website also includes the book’s introduction and other excerpts.
Joyful Militancy Overview
Why do radical movements and spaces sometimes feel laden with fear, anxiety, suspicion, self-righteousness and competition? In Joyful Militancy, we call this phenomenon rigid radicalism: congealed and toxic ways of relating that have seeped into radical movements, posing as the “correct” way of being radical. In conversation with organizers and intellectuals from a wide variety of currents, we explore how rigid radicalism smuggles itself into radical spaces, and how it is being undone. Rather than proposing ready-made solutions, we amplify the questions that are already being asked among movements. Fusing together movement-based perspectives and contemporary affect theory, Joyful Militancy traces emergent forms of trust, care and responsibility in a wide variety of radical currents today, including indigenous resurgence, anarchism, transformative justice, and youth liberation. Joyful Militancy, by carla bergman and Nick Montgomery, foregrounds forms of life in the cracks of Empire, revealing the ways that fierceness, tenderness, curiosity, and commitment can be intertwined.

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