Perspectives on Anarchist Theory

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Vol. 3 - No. 2
Fall, 1999

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Institute for Anarchist Studies Update

In these politically uncertain times we need to continue to gather strength by exploring new ideas and the potential for change. At the IAS we have been doing just that and there are quite a few things to report.

I want to first mention a very important organizational change. This June the IAS board voted to make me the General Director of IAS. I am very excited to take on this role and I am inspired by the challenges this position presents and the contributions I can make to the growth of the IAS. Chuck Morse (the founder of the IAS) has held this position since the organization’s inception more than three years ago. It was agreed that this administrative change would help bring new perspectives to bear on the direction of the IAS and also help Chuck devote more time to fundraising and other IAS activities. Chuck will, of course, continue as a member of the IAS administrative staff, co-editor of the newsletter, and a member of the board.

We have also been working to develop the principles and structure of the IAS. For the last six months three local board members met regularly to address IAS developmental issues. We have focused on reevaluating our grant priorities, board development and finances in light of the current weakness of radical theory and politics. We feel the main purpose of the IAS is to cultivate and help re-build a radical movement and we are working to refine our principles and strategies accordingly. In addition, the board passed a proposal to strengthen the percentage of local board members based in New York City so that there will be more of a support network and radical milieu around the IAS headquarters in. We have also set ourselves the task of rewriting the brochure and translating it into several languages. Please see page 10 for a detailed report of our endeavors over the last six months.

The IAS continues to award grants to exciting projects and see the results of previous grant awards. It has always been our hope to support foreign language projects and we recently took a step in that direction. We are very excited to give out our first grant for a non-English language project to Fernando Lopez for his Spanish-language study of the Federación Anarquista Comunista Argentina, an Argentinean anarcho-communist organization. We have also given a grant to C.W. Brown who will address American right-wing activities through an anarchist analysis. (Read more about our June 1999 grant awards on page 3). Also, we were excited to receive a finished copy of Mark Bonhert and Richard Curtis’ project, Passionate and Dangerous: Conversations with Midwestern Anti-Authoritarians and Anarchists. (See page 3 to read more about the project and find out how to obtain a copy.)

We are also in the middle of our 1999 fundraising campaign, whose success will allow us to continue awarding grants, publishing Perspectives, and add $10,000 to the IAS endowment. We will be able to add $10,000 to the endowment thanks to a combination of two sources: last November 1998, a generous IAS supporter pledged to donate $8000 to our endowment upon the success of the our 1999 fundraising campaign and we will add $2000 to that amount, bringing the total to $10,000 (see page 11 for more details). We have set big goals for ourselves this year but we anticipate success with the generous help of longtime supporters, new friends and those who have already donated.

Perennial Books has changed their name but not their commitment to the IAS and radical literature. Perennial has become Raven Used Books (located in Amherst, Massachusetts) and continue to help the IAS by making forty-eight titles available to IAS donors (please see the insert enclosed in this issue for a listing of the exceptional books they are offering).

The IAS has been in existence for three and a half years, we have given away $17,000 to eighteen projects, we have published six issues of Perspectives (including this issue), and we are settling in our new home in NYC. What is especially encouraging is that the IAS has taken root in the widespread anarchist and radical community and is appreciated by activists and writers both nationally and internationally. All of these accomplishments and the growing support for the IAS are inspiring us to continue and improve our work.

~ Rebecca DeWitt
September 1999