Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘#PerspectivesonAnarchistTheory’

Radical Language in the Mainstream, by Kelsey Cham C.

This essay appears in the current issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory (N. 29), available here, from AK Press!

 

As a person who did not come to radical perspectives from academia, I’ve had quite the challenge trying to find community with people whose politics I respect.

I grew up in the suburb of Newton, Surrey, territory of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen peoples. I was an athlete and last-minute procrastinator who never understood why school should be taken seriously. Though I read newspapers every day, I didn’t have the words to describe the injustices I could see and feel. My lack of trust in the school system, and my dwindling trust in the politics of high level sports led me to believe I didn’t need validation from institutions. In grade 8, I started skipping class to find freedom. A couple of years later I found myself getting into hard drugs and failing classes. Eventually, I failed out of high school completely and was pretty proud about it.

15outsiders_1500-2

(Art by Bec Young; Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative)

More than a missing diploma, more than my struggle with addiction, my biggest barrier to finding community in radical circles was a lack of exposure to their social expectations. I found very little compassion and support, and was often met with harsh judgment. Coming into these communities, I felt not smart enough and like an outcast. It took me years to understand the everyday language used in radical activist communities. Some words were long, some were short, but everyone said these words so casually I thought I would come across as stupid to ask what they meant. I’d go to talks and workshops, and some really smart dude would talk for an hour and then open up the space for questions. I remember feeling so lost by the jargon that by the end, I didn’t even know what the talk had been about. Clearly, I wasn’t going to ask the questions running around in my brain. “What do you mean by colonization?” “What is queer theory?” “Who is Marx!?” “Why are you speaking to us like my boring geography teacher?”

Read more

Indigenist Intersectionality: Decolonizing an Indigenous Eco-Queer Feminism and Anarchism, by Laura Hall

This essay appears in the current anarcha-feminisms issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory (N. 29), available here from AK Press!  Laura received an Institute for Anarchist Studies writing grant to complete this piece. 

 

The violence enacted against Indigenous women and Two-Spirit/LGBTQ people evokes deep questions about the intent and impact of colonization in a Canadian settler and state context. The horrors of colonial violence—bodies were violated and abandoned at the sides of highways, in ditches, in rivers—tell stories of the vital importance of Indigenous women’s leadership, their warriorhood, their gifts and their medicines, and also of the centrality of gendered freedom and fluid belonging in Indigenous cultures. It is a system of colonization that seeks to erase and subsume these realities and to replace Indigenous truth with illusions of our weakness. We are at a pivotal moment now as state and settler voices seek to understand what is needed, and it is a pivotal moment best informed by threads of anarchist and feminist thought woven within Indigenous worldviews. Vital intersections are made between gender and Indigeneity because the conversation is always in danger of being rerouted by policing and state voices, as well as settler voices.1 The work that Indigenous women and Two-Spirit/LGBTQ people do on the ground—to renew our connections to culture, to renew the innovations and economies of our nations—needs more support in every way, from allies across intellectual lines.

hummingbird1000

(Art by Lesly Yobany Mendoza, justseeds.org)

Read more

Abolishing the “Psy”-ence Fictions: Critiquing the Relationship Between the Psychological Sciences and the Prison System, by Colleen Hackett

This essay appears in the current anarcha-feminisms issue of Perspectives, N. 29, available here, from AK Press!

Tiana is crying. She walks into the room, a large, powerful woman wearing a bland ensemble of a faded green top with similarly colored pants. The silent tears on her face are enough to quiet the many scattered conversations happening among us. Many of us try to make eye contact with Tiana, waiting for her to tell us what is wrong. She doesn’t speak. She doesn’t look at anyone. She sits and stares.

We’re all sitting in a classroom in a women’s prison. The space is filled with remedial educational materials for GED students, collages with magazine cutouts of models and vacation getaways, and clichéd motivational posters that inspire the incarcerated to become “ambitious” and “dedicated.” In the moments of silence that follow Tiana’s entrance, I’m reminded of the poster on the wall that lists the amendments to the US Constitution. On this poster the legendary constitutional change, the thirteenth amendment, only includes the part that formally abolishes slavery and does not include the part that says, “Except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” Every time I encounter suffering in that room, including my own, I remember that sterilized, whitewashed version of history hanging on the wall and cringe. And I rage, quietly.

fullsizerender-3-3

(Art by Kristen Huizar)

Read more

Feminism … Anarchism … Anarchafeminism, by Cindy Crabb

This three part piece by Cindy Crabb appears in the current issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory (N.29), and is available from AK Press.

p1

Read more

Anarcha-Feminisms, Introduction, by the Perspectives Collective

This is the introduction to the anarcha-feminisms issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory (N.29). It is available from AK Press here!

Ok, editorial collective. Let’s talk this through. So, what are anarcha-feminisms and why do they need their own Perspectives issue?

Well, because these questions persist: what’s the relationship between anarchism and feminism? What critiques do feminists have of anarchists, and vice versa? Are anarchist spaces also feminist spaces, and if not, why not? Isn’t feminism supposed to be implicit within the meaning of anarchism, and therefore unnecessary to specify?

perspectives29_front

Supposed to be, yes. Maybe. Depends. Anarchist organizing and socializing environments are NOT always feminist (eyeroll if you agree–we thought so). The need to confront one another on the persistent failure of practices to live up to proclaimed ideals, suggesting that anarchist cultures haven’t always been able to sufficiently break free of the patterns of the society they’re trying to oppose and replace, is in itself enough of a reason for stating it explicitly.

But it may be even more than that. A certain ideal of anarchism may be feminist, and a certain ideal of feminism may be anarchist, but not all the polymorphous forms of anarchism or feminism fit that description, even at the level of principles and ideals. Just as there can be feminisms whose aim might be, for example, to insert women into state and corporate power structures, or traditional religious leadership, there can be anarchisms which promote individualist machismo in the name of autonomy, or which essentialize gender binaries in the name of “nature.”

Read more

Listening for a Multiplicity of Quiet Rumors Within the Anarcha-Feminist Archive: A Review of Quiet Rumors: An Anarcha-Feminist Reader, New Edition (AK Press, 2012), by Raeanna Gleason-Salguero

unknown

In their 1971 manifesto, “Anarcha-Feminism: Two Statements,” the Red Rose and Black Maria Black Rose Anarcho-Feminists define anarchism as “the affirmation of human freedom and dignity expressed in a negative, cautionary term signifying that no person should rule or dominate another person,” and they encourage libertarian socialist feminists to cultivate “all the groovy things people can do and build together, once they are able to combine efforts and resources on the basis of common interest, rationality, and creativity” (15). In a radical response to the repressive, violent, and “pathological structure” of the State, they conclude this manifesto with a demand for “ALL POWER TO THE IMAGINATION!” (17) Anthologized within the Dark Star Collective’s Quiet Rumors: An Anarchist-Feminist Reader, the Red Rose and Black Maria Black Rose manifesto opens the collection as a reminder of the need to be ever creative in our feminist approaches.  Also, to collectively imagine and manifest complex transformations in how people might relate to one another outside the crushing structures of power and hierarchical notions of human value.

Read more

An Appeal from Noam Chomsky: Support Radical Writing and Publishing

fullsizerender-12

In a time when money and power are concentrated into ever-fewer hands, the Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) stands out. For two decades, the IAS has been providing grants to radical organizers and thinkers, allowing them to take time to reflect and write about their experiences in struggles for social transformation.

Read more

Staying Power: The Institute for Anarchist Studies, Twenty Years Running, by Michelle Renee Matisons

Regarding the earliest days of the IAS, the story is quite simple. I was living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn when Chuck Morse called me to ask if I’d like to work with him on a new project. He explained his idea for an organization that would fund radical scholarship projects outside academia. Although it was only 1996, our circles (we had moved to New York City from Burlington, Vermont four years before to join others at the New School for Social Research) had already developed serious trepidation about “radical academia.” Was there more to life than becoming a “tenured radical?” We hoped so.

institute_of_anarchist_studies

Read more

Perspectives’ Anarcha-Feminisms Issue Reviewed, by Michelle Renee Matisons

Michelle Renee Matisons reviews the latest issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, N. 29, on the theme of anarcha-feminisms, in Counterpunch. She says, “Enter Perspectives, which should be read as part of the ongoing effort to expand anarcha-feminist ideas. True to form for the IAS, the issue offers a thoughtful cross-section of history and theory engaged in anarchist and popular movements: education, prisons, labor, health care, ecology, and Indigenous resistance are all included in Perspectives. In and of itself, given the challenging conditions of the academic/movement rift, Perspectives is valuable because it is grounded in nuts and bolts movement work, while also drawing from relevant academic resources as well.”Persp29_process07

Read more

The Institute for Anarchist Studies at Twenty, by Paul Messersmith-Glavin

Perspectives offers this reflection on the IAS’ first twenty years from the current anarcha-feminisms issue, available here, by an IAS member who has been involved since the beginning. In order to assemble a growing history of the IAS that’s as rich and multi-vocal as possible, we are inviting additional reflections from those who have been involved as board members, authors, grantees, and readers, which we can post throughout the year.

 

The Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) has received applications for writing grants throughout various waves of organizing over the last two decades. From Zapatista solidarity organizers in the nineties, to anti-capitalist globalization activists in the early ‘00s, Occupy folks over the last several years, and most recently from those working under the banner of Black Lives Matter. In 1996, the IAS was established to do just that.  We have offered material support in the form of funds that allow people to take time off work or hire childcare, so they can devote time to reflection and writing.

Some time in 1995 my friend and comrade Chuck Morse asked me to join a new organization he was forming to support the development of anarchist theory.  He was inspired by right-wing think tanks that funded the development and dissemination of their ideas, and thought the antiauthoritarian Left would benefit from something similar.  What he envisioned, he explained, was a group that would raise money and award grants to people to devote time to thinking and writing, thereby assisting anarchism to live up to its full potential.  He felt that contemporary anarchists needed financial help in the task of elaborating an anarchism that adequately responded to current conditions.

June, 2000.png

IAS Meeting, June, 2000 in NYC. (Left to right, back to front: Rebecca DeWitt, Michelle Renee Matisons, Maura Dillon, Paula Emery, Cindy Milstein, John Petrovato, Paul Glavin, Chuck Morse, Dan Chodorkoff, Shaka Shakur Jr.)

I immediately said “Yes” to Chuck, and became part of the group that founded the Institute for Anarchist Studies.  The idea of developing structured, directly democratic organizations was important to us, and founding an institute made sense. Chuck incorporated the IAS as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and away we went. We raised money through contributions of anything from twenty dollars from movement organizers, to several thousands from well-off radicals, and began soliciting applications for writing grants.  The next year we also began publishing our newsletter, Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, the name for which came from a brochure Chuck had seen at his bank, Perspectives on Banking.

Read more