Perspectives on Anarchist Theory

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Vol. 2 - No. 2
Fall, 1998

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Institute for Anarchist Studies Update
by Chuck Morse

A lot has happened at the Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) since the last issue of Perspectives. In addition to awarding grants, publishing this newsletter, and raising money for anarchist scholarship, we have also transformed the organization in important ways designed to enhance our ability to support the development of anti-authoritarian social criticism.

We’ve made two significant internal changes. First, we have moved the IAS from Albany, New York to New York City - from the alleged to the real capital of New York State. This is an exciting step for us, as it will enable the IAS to draw upon a larger community of radicals – both to give and receive support - and to utilize the many resources available to non-profit organizations (like the IAS) in New York City. Second, the IAS board of directors recently voted to expand its members by one: welcoming Rebecca DeWitt to our already diverse and talented board. Rebecca, who has worked as the IAS coordinator and co-editor of Perspectives for the previous two years, enriches the board with her sharp theoretical mind and years of experience in anti-authoritarian publishing, activism, and educational projects.

We have also changed IAS grant policies in two important ways. First, the IAS board decided to make IAS grants available to projects written in languages other than English (although applications must still be submitted in English). Second, we have changed the way the IAS pays out grant awards. Now, in cases where a grant amount exceeds $500, we will no longer send the entire sum to a grant recipient immediately after the grant is awarded. We will now pay only 75 percent of a total grant at the time the award is made and will send the remaining 25 percent upon the completion of the supported project. Although we recognize that potential grant recipients will probably not welcome this change, we felt that this is an important way to ensure accountability among IAS supported writers.

In addition to refining the IAS as an organization we have also continued to provide real support to radical authors. In June of this year we awarded $3000 to another fine group of writers whose projects will expand our understanding of the anarchist tradition and bring this tradition to bear on issues of vital, contemporary importance (see page 1). It has also been our pleasure to watch previous IAS grant recipients bring their projects to fruition (see page 3).

Fundraising is naturally one of the most important parts of the IAS’s ongoing work and we are presently in the midst of the IAS’s 1998 fundraising campaign. Specifically, the IAS must raise $9200 by January 1999 to award another $6000 in grants, publish two issues of Perspectives, and - by placing 15 percent of every donation in the IAS endowment – make sure there will be resources available to the next generation of dissenting, utopian authors. It is important to point out that our 1998 fundraising goal is $700 more than our 1997 goal: this change does not reflect an increase in expenses but rather our pledge to increase the amount of each donation placed in the endowment from 10 to 15 percent.

It is the generous donations made by groups and individuals around the world that enables us to continue giving grants to radical writers, publishing this newsletter, and planning for the future by building the IAS endowment. You will find a list of those who have pledged or made a contribution to the IAS’s 1998 fundraising campaign on page 11 and - if you are not among those listed - please join our 1998 supporters by making a donation to the IAS. Contributions are tax deductible for US citizens and, thanks to Perennial Books of Conway, Massachusetts, we offer an exceptional selection of 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 remarkable catalogue.

Our work at the IAS requires a steadfast commitment to encouraging the development of radical social criticism and a willingness to revise our strategies when the need becomes apparent. This is exactly what we have done over the last six months and I am proud of our accomplishments. However, our efforts are ultimately driven by a desire to contribute to a much larger project of social transformation and I think it is fair to say that the IAS has made a modest but important contribution to this project in its two years of existence. We hope to offer even more in the future and look forward to continuing the fight.
~ Chuck Morse

Note: The IAS’s first intern, Troy Alexander Williams of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was invaluable to the IAS’s day-to-day work in the spring of 1998.