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Institute for Anarchist Studies Summer Newsletter

category north america / mexico | anarchist movement | other libertarian press author Wednesday August 12, 2009 11:23author by David C. - Institute for Anarchist Studiesauthor email info at anarchist-studies dot orgauthor address PO Box 15586, Washington, DC 20003, USA Report this post to the editors

Announcing the Summer 2009 Grant Awards!

Dear Friends and Comrades,

It’s been a few weeks since our July board meeting, where we took on the challenging task of choosing between the thirty-plus grant applications we received this round. We had a productive and invigorating weekend, including an extensive conversation revisiting the Institute for Anarchist Studies’ (IAS) purpose, which will be articulated in a new statement of direction on our Web site soon. Most important, we are happy to announce that we decided to fund three fantastic essay proposals (see below for descriptions):

"Sienvolando: Snapshots of Art Actions, Popular Power, and Collaborative Networks in Argentina," by KellyAnne Mifflin

"Organizing against Capitalism: Translation of Eric Duran’s ‘Creating a Counterhegemonic Economic System,’" by Scott Pinkelman

"Futures Not (Yet) Chosen: An Anti-Authoritarian Vision for South Africa," by Taylor Sparrow

Another significant decision that came out of the meeting is that the Renewing the Anarchist Tradition (RAT) conference, originally scheduled for October 2009, has been postponed. We know this is disappointing news to those old friends and new who look forward to RAT each year, but please rest assured that the conference is only taking a respite! We had a lengthy discussion on the role and function of RAT, so as to improve it the next time around. Stay tuned for more news on RAT in the coming months.

In the meantime, keep following our newly revitalized Web site and especially our journal, "Perspectives on Anarchist Theory," both online and in its future print format, and look for our upcoming themed issues on the ecological and economic crises. If you’d like to contribute to "Perspectives" in general or the themed issues in particular, see our Web site for details.

Finally, we are still looking for financial support in order to fund our grant-giving program. Please consider donating $1-10/month, or more, so we can fully realize the IAS’s potential! We also appreciate onetime donations too, and any amount small or large is welcome. [] You can also contribute by bringing an IAS speaker to your community! The school year is coming up, but inside or out of the academy you can create an exciting intellectual event that can also underscore your own organizing efforts while supporting the work of the IAS and the radical scholars it, in turn, supports. For instance, Sedition Books, an anarchist bookstore and community space located in Houston, Texas, is currently putting together a five-city tour for IAS speaker Ashanti Alston this fall. []

In solidarity,

The Board of the Institute for Anarchist Studies


"Sienvolando: Snapshots of Art Actions, Popular Power, and Collaborative Networks in Argentina"
KellyAnne Mifflin – $500

This essay will serve as a check-in with one group in relation to and beyond Argentina’s uprisings in December 2001. Revisiting the energy and momentum inspired by earlier actors, KellyAnne will explore the transition between a large-scale, yet contextually motivated movement to smaller but more permanent projects. Sienvolando is an art action group in La Plata, Argentina, that intervenes on public space, often in the form of murals, to reclaim space and communicate with its city on a level outside the mass media. It responds to immediate events both at a local and global level by working within a loose informal network of social justice organizations, and providing the visual and creative component to various struggles. This takes many forms, such as single-day illegal murals in response to government inaction, repression, and structural violence, collaborative murals for community centers, stencils and graffiti during demonstrations, and woodblocks to print in the street at festivals. Sienvolando and the groups it collaborates with are smaller in scale than their horizontal predecessors, but they have had five years to practice, assess, and redefine what it means to work autonomously and collectively. Through an analysis of the work of Sienvolando, KellyAnne will explore the use of networks and the concept of a frente (front) as a form of organizing. Working within a frente allows for a flexibility of goals and strategies without forcing unity or diverging over differences, opens space for many forms of engagement and discourse to respond with direct action around the city. This essay will refer back to Argentina’s recent history, but will emphasize what work is going on now and how people are re-articulating their movements "post post-crisis."

KellyAnne spent much of 2007 and 2008 participating in various community organizations in Buenos Aires. In 2008 she spent time painting and thinking with Sienvolando, and later wrote her undergraduate thesis on three art-centered urban social justice groups in the greater Buenos Aires area. She currently lives in Philadelphia.


"Organizing against Capitalism: Translation of Eric Duran’s Creating a Counterhegemonic Economic System"
by Scott Pinkelman – $500

This translation will make available Enric Duran’s "Planteando un sistema económico contrahegemónico" (2008) in English. The essay presents strategies for popular movements to organize economic institutions that not only provide alternatives to capitalism but also constituent a counterhegemonic force that can replace it. Informed by radical political economy, Chartalist "money as debt" theory, and the ecological imperative of "de-growth," the essay examines the shortcomings of previous alternative economic networks, situating them in the current regime of debt-driven money creation, private property, and continual economic expansion. Duran proposes a regional counterhegemonic economy in Catalonia, suggesting a coherent network of cooperatives, alternative currencies, ecological sustainable production, and autonomous municipalities. The essay will include an introduction outlining Duran’s act of "financial civil disobedience" in September 2008, and contemporary efforts to organize debtors and bank users in Spain’s "We Can Live without Capitalism" campaign.

Scott is an organizer, translator, and writer. He works with the Philadelphia-based radical newspaper "Defenestrator" (, and has given numerous popular education classes and workshops on economics.


"Futures Not (Yet) Chosen: An Antiauthoritarian Vision for South Africa"
Taylor Sparrow – $500

This essay will examine the possibility of revolutionary change in South Africa toward a radical increase in social participation in decision making, economics, and education. Drawing on broader theoretical contributions from historical and present-day anarchists, the focus will be on the life and thought of Richard Turner, a radical activist assassinated in Durban in 1978. Turner called for a utopia in which hierarchy is eliminated as much as possible; a radically de-centralized polity and economy, which would rely on widespread structures of cooperative decision-making and management. This essay will: explain and analyze "participatory democracy," as Turner conceived it, in depth; relate this vision to proposals for ending capitalism without seizing power, without setting up vanguard parties, and so on; and discuss these theoretical concepts in regard to investigating both the activist efforts that Turner involved himself in and social movements and upheavals (past and present) that shed light on the potential of moving toward a participatory democratic society.

Taylor is a historian, poet, and autonomist raised white in the United States. He worked for three years for Firestarter Press, producing materials mainly for prisoners, and was both a student and teacher at the School for Designing a Society, a space for developing radical and nondoctrinaire visions for ending capitalism.

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