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(en) US, Plainfield, Vermont, Renewing the Anarchist Tradition (RAT): Call for Panelists (proposals due on or before Sept. 1)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 12 Aug 2004 07:46:52 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

A scholarly conference by and for the anti-authoritarian Left September
24-26, 2004 in Plainfield, Vermont http://www.homemadejam.org/renew
DEADLINE: by or before SEPTEMBER 1, 2004
Besides individual presentations, this year’s RAT
conference will feature a series of panels, meant to
highlight a variety of perspectives on each panel (in
order to create cordial “debates”). Currently, we have
five panels—on class, economics, international solidarity,
the anti-globalization movement, and the DIY movement beyond
capitalism—but we are seeking another five to ten.

Below, you’ll find a list of panels that have been
suggested to us for the RAT conference. If you are
interested in participating in any of them, get in
touch by or before September 1. Please provide your
name, complete contact information (especially e-mail
address), title of the panel you’re interested in, and
a two- to three-sentence description of your argument
or perspective for that panel, and send all that
information to both RAT coorganizers, Cindy
(cbmilstein@yahoo.com) and John

We especially encourage people of color, women, glbqt
people, and others often marginalized by activist and
scholarly events to propose themselves (or send us
recommendations for panelists to approach, including
an e-mail address). We will attempt to fill up panels
by the September 1 deadline, taking diversity of
backgrounds and perspectives into account. If there
aren’t enough people interested in a panel mentioned
below, we may need to cancel that specific panel. If
this becomes the case, we may suggest redesigning a
panel into an individual presentation. You may apply
for up to three panels. Finally, feel free to suggest
other panel ideas or propose a whole panel (with three
to four panelists).

Keep in mind that all panelists also need to register
in advance and pay for RAT; for registration and
logistical details, see


Race and Ethnicity

The issue of race has become an important issue for
contemporary anarchists. Magazines and journals are
filled with articles that question whether anarchism
is relevant for people of color. Further, questions
such as white privilege and the necessity of
organizing anarchists of color separately from the
mainstream anarchist movement have emerged. This panel
will explore how the anarchist movement has
articulated “race” and ethnicity, and how this relates
to building a movement. Questions may also include how
anarchists have historically understood “race” and
whether such definitions are inadequate to the

Queer and Transgender People and Anarchism

What is the nature of the relationship between sex,
gender, and sexuality, and systems of power and
capitalism, and how does all this relate to – or
question and/or remake -- anarchism? This panel will
explore various ways of approaching a project around
sex and gender as anti-authoritarians,
anti-capitalists, and queer and transgender people.

Poststructuralism and Anarchism

This panel will look at themes relating to the
intervention of poststructuralism into anarchist
theory and practice. A number of books and articles
have been published recently advocating that
anarchists should take poststructuralism seriously.
Panelists will explore how the two are compatible
and/or offer criticisms.

Marxism and Anarchism

The Marxist and anarchist traditions have a long and
interconnected history. They both have articulated a
critique of the capitalism and even the state, and
have both suggested strategies to undermine capital
and the state. While there are similarities between
Marxism and anarchism, there are also many critical
differences. This panel will look at how Marxism and
anarchism have laid out different visions, critiques,
and theories in the past and present. Panelists should
give especially importance to explaining how Marxism
and anarchism differ or could relate today.

Anarchism and the Media

How does the mainstream media influence how the public
understands political issues? What successes has the
alternative media had in providing different, even
radical viewpoints? What does the media say about the
culture we live in? Anarchists view mainstream media
outlets with contempt. How has this contempt led to
actions and counter-institutions by anarchists, and
have these been successful?

Anarchism and Ecology

Whereas the ecology issue was significant in
reinvigorating the anarchist movement of the 1980s and
early 1990s, most anarchists today have been less
interested in exploring this connection and using it
as the basis of critique. This panel will look at
various ways that anarchists have understood the
connection to ecological concerns, and raise questions
such as, Should radical ecology still be an important
issue to anarchists today, and Why has the “green”
anarchist movement declined and/or changed in recent

What Is Direct Action?

This panel will examine the meaning of direct action
as articulated by anarchists past and present. How has
the meaning changed and evolved over time, and have
such changes been useful? Does direct action imply
violence or nonviolence, or at least a certain degree
of militancy? Are specific tactics considered more
legitimate than others?

History and Anarchism

How have anarchists understood the anarchist
tradition? How is “history” in general understood, and
what relevance has it had for contemporary anarchist
ideas? How has the history of anarchism and
revolutions defined what anarchists find important?

Anarchism’s Relation to Other New Social Movements

The new century has witnessed the emergence of
thousands of social movements throughout the world.
Ranging from anti-globalization, social justice,
environmental, labor, human rights, and a host of
other broad categories, many of these social movements
incorporate much of the anarchist organizational
methods (although they do not identify themselves as
such). What relationship does anarchism have to such
movements, and to what degree should anarchists engage
in such?

Reconstructive Visions; What is Revolution?

Anarchists have always constructed visions of what the
world should look like “after the revolution.” Such
attempts are considered by some to be naive or
utopian, while others see them as absolutely essential
if the anarchist movement is to become relevant. This
panel will debate the issues surrounding
reconstructive visions. But it will also look at the
concept of revolution; has this concept changed or
evolved over the years, and is it still relevant

Anarchism and Art

This panel will examine anarchism’s relationship to
art. Anarchism has historically had a rich connection
to the arts (symbolists, surrealism, dadaist,
situationists, and so on), and has manifested itself
in the fine arts, literature, popular culture, music,
and other avenues. The panel will look at both the
history of the connection as well as offer critiques
of art’s use in contemporary anti-authoritarian scenes
and movements, as well as interrogate art’s relation
to culture more generally.

The State in the Global Economy

With the emergence of a globalized economy, questions
surrounding the state’s relevance have arisen. This
panel will consider whether the state is becoming less
important or is undergoing fundamental transformations
in the new global economy, and whether anarchists need
to “update” their critique of statecraft. Questions
that panelists might raise include, Is globalization
really occurring, and if so, in what ways? and Has the
globalized economy changed the way the we understand
the nature of the state?

Fashion and Anarchy

The question of fashion for anarchists is one that is
rarely explored. Questions discussed informally among
ourselves about whether anarchists have a “dress code”
(Why do anarchists wear so much dark clothing?) have
long perplexed us. Beyond the dress code issue, we
would like to encourage panelists to think about how
fashion relates to being an anarchist. Should
anarchists be “fashionable” or should they reject
fashion as a bourgious practice? Panelists are
encouraged to have fun with this one.

The United States Today

What is wrong with the United States? Panelists will
briefly investigate various parts of what today
constitutes the United States, at home and globally –
from notions of empire, to militarism and the “war on
terror,” to racism, to consumerism, and so forth).
Panelists are encouraged to explore the power of the
United States in relation to other geopolitical
entities, and the dynamics of the upcoming
presidential election.

The Anarchist Experience

While most of us have not had the privilege to
participate in an anarchist revolution, we all have
experiences in anarchist groups and movements. This
panel was suggested for people to discuss what the
experience within these groups has been. Have they
been frustrating or invigorating? Has working with
anarchist groups in other parts of the world changed
your understanding of anarchism? How might anarchists
do better, both inside groups and movements, and
reaching out beyond them to a other, wider

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