Perspectives on
Anarchist Theory

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Vol. 1 - No. 2
Fall 1997


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Institute for Anarchist Studies Update
by Chuck Morse

In the last issue of Perspectives I introduced the Institute for Anarchist Studies and our goal to encourage the development of radical social criticism and ideals of freedom. I am pleased to report that we have pursued this goal vigorously and even expanded our activities in small, but significant ways.

The IAS has continued to help radical writers produce high quality, critical scholarship with its grant awards. The IAS awarded its second set of grants this July to authors whose projects will examine attempts to build social alternatives and confront urgent, contemporary issues with an anti-authoritarian perspective. It was with pleasure that we provided assistance to these individuals, knowing that our grants will help them afford time and resources that are typically scarce for those who challenge social hierarchies. Likewise, it has been gratifying to see our grants yield concrete results, as previous recipients bring their projects closer to completion. They have worked diligently: Allan Antliff is finishing the last chapter of his book, The Culture of Revolt: Art and Anarchism in America. Kwaku Kushindana and Paul Fleckenstein have also nearly completed their essays ("Avoiding New Forms of Repression: An African-American Reply" and "Civic Space and the Anarchist Dream," respectively). And, finally, Murray Bookchin is immersed in exhaustive preparatory research for the second volume of his Spanish Anarchists.

We have not only continued to award grants but have also worked to refine our ability to identify and select the most germane and far reaching projects. Specifically, the IAS Board of Directors recently decided to expand the types of work eligible for IAS support. Grants were previously directed toward non-fiction works, although we came to regard this as both an unnecessary restriction and one that could prevent us from supporting an extremely valuable project (for example, the next Homage to Catalonia). The IAS Board thus decided to make IAS grants available to all written works, whether they are fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, etc..

We have also expanded our efforts to encourage dialogue about anarchist scholarship, keep people informed about developments in the field, and publicize the IAS. First, we have added four pages to Perspectives in order to provide more in depth news and analysis, particularly longer interviews and "What’s Happening" reports. We have also posted an IAS web site on the Internet. It is our hope that this site will help the IAS reach out to potential grant applicants, supporters, and allies around the world, thus enabling the IAS to embody its internationalist commitments in practice. It is also a cost-effective way to distribute information about the IAS, thus helping us reduce operating expenses to an even smaller percentage of our annual budget. Although we will continue to add IAS literature to the site as it becomes available, you can already download a grant application, read IAS publications, and find links to a variety of useful resources and complementary projects. If you have Internet access, please set aside a few moments and take a look. The address is: http://members.aol.com/iastudy/Default.htm.

Finally, it is important to emphasize that the IAS’s ability to sustain and expand its efforts presupposes the generosity of groups and individuals who value our efforts to support radical scholarship and build a radical social institution. In particular, the IAS must raise $8500 by January, 1998 to award $6000 in grants, pay for daily office expenses, and – by placing 10 percent of every donation in the IAS endowment – continue laying the foundation for future generations of dissenting, utopian authors. Please consider making a donation to the IAS if you are not already among those who have generously donated to our 1997 fundraising campaign (see page 11). Contributions are tax deductible for US citizens and, thanks to Perennial Books of Montague, Massachusetts, we are able to offer a selection of exceptional books in exchange for any contribution of $25 or more (see page 11). This will also entitle you to a 15 percent discount on any item in Perennial’s extraordinary catalogue.

The IAS is working hard to help radical authors, encourage dialogue about anarchist scholarship, and build an organization that will be there for the next generation of dissidents. Although our efforts unfold in an era of uncertainty and change, the IAS has emerged as a solid project that is tangibly enriching attempts to confront the challenges of our time with searching critique and radical ideals of freedom.