How the Poor Continue to Die, by Kevin Van Meter

Of the numerous realities the pandemic has uncovered, few are as stark as how front-line, essential, service industry workers are not just seen as replaceable but as expendable. And many are out of work. When a member of the working-class is without wages and the paltry handouts from the government vanish, reproduction of one’s biological functions and faculties are still required. Working in front-line, essential, service industries is work as is seeking to obtain work in such sectors.

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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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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Friendship is a Root of Freedom: from Joyful Militancy, by Nick Montgomery & carla bergman

“To become what we need to each other, and to find power in friendship, is to become dangerous.”
—anonymous [1]
“I have a circle of friends and family with whom I am radically vulnerable and trust deeply – we call it coevolution through friendship.”
—adrienne maree brown [2]
“These are not just words; they are clues and prods to earthquakes in kin making that are not limited to Western family apparatuses, heteronormative or not.”
—Donna Haraway [3]

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(art by Pete Railand)

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The Seeds of Anti-Capitalist Revolt Found in Everyday Resistance: A Review of Guerrillas of Desire: Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible by Kevin Van Meter (AK Press, 2017), Review by Scott Campbell

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Back when I first began selling my labor for a wage in the wasteland of suburbia’s strip malls, I can recall the tedium of stocking shelves, summoning up insincere courtesy in the face of entitled customers and obnoxious bosses, comparing the stacks of money counted at the end of the day with the totals on our paychecks, and feigning adherence to whatever motivational façade management cooked up to mask the reality of our exploitation.
Yet I also remember, much more vividly and fondly, the latent and occasionally eruptive defiance among my co-workers. This included the constant collective complaining about the job, taking more and longer-than-approved breaks, working as little as possible, fudging time sheets, stealing, and the intermittent screaming matches with the boss in the middle of the store. Underpinning all these actions was an unspoken but broadly understood code of silence when it came to such transgressions and, when appropriate, expressions of support for them.
At the time, I didn’t think much about this, it was just how things happened and I’ve encountered similar experiences to varying degrees in every workplace since. Our actions weren’t guided by a political framework nor was there any attempt to organize them in a directed manner. It was more a spontaneous, innate reaction to experiencing the coercion of capitalism. I had cause to reflect upon this anew while reading Kevin Van Meter’s new book, Guerrillas of Desire: Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible, published by AK Press and the Institute for Anarchist Studies.

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Guerrillas of Desire Book Tour!

Following the release of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown, and Walidah Imarisha’s Angels with Dirty Faces, which won the Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction, the Institute for Anarchist Studies is proud to announce the publication of Kevin Van Meter’s Guerrillas of Desire: Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible, published in conjunction with AK Press. Join Kevin as he reads from and talks about his book on these upcoming dates!

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The Fourth Star: The New Junior Wobblies and the Next Generation of Union Militants, by Sadie Farrell and M.K. Lees

Several factors played into our collective decision not to run a print issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory for the current year. We sincerely thank all inquiries and submissions sent for what was hoped to be an issue on Play. A call for submissions for a Beyond The Crisis print issue of Perspectives (2018) is here.
This is an article written by two Wobblies in response to our call for Play essays. These organizers bridge the gap between play and the practice of organizing skills via educational skits and fun activities led by the New Junior Wobblies, the young members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
The IWW globe logo holds three stars representing Education, Organization and Emancipation. This article looks at Recreation – a  fourth star – from challenging uneven relations of power, to making joy central to organizing against capitalism, regardless of age. 
Shortly after a wave of government repression and internal splits nearly destroyed the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) as a functioning labor organization, a group of Wobblies felt the immediate need to find new ways to raise the next generation of revolutionary unionists.  As a part of solidarity support for striking IWW coal miners in Colorado, children of union members were invited to join an IWW organization of their own.  These Wobbly kids formed “locals” to organize support for their striking parents, and alongside them, develop a rudimentary understanding of the world and how they might soon be a part of organizing to change it.  To the IWW tripartite motto, “Education, Organization, Emancipation” they added “Recreation,” and in 1927, the Junior Wobblies Union was born.

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(Junior Wobblies in the 1920s)

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Guerrillas of Desire: New IAS Book on Everyday Resistance and Organizing Available for Preorder!

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Silvia Federici says it is “beautifully written” while illustrating “the power of the refusal of work of those capitalism has subjugated.” George Caffentzis believes it is an “important exploration of the revolutionary possibilities of our time.”  Kevin Van Meter’s Guerrillas of Desire: Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible is the latest Institute of Anarchist Studies book to be published in concert with AK Press.

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