RENEWING THE ANARCHIST TRADITION: A Scholarly Conference
November 7-9, 2008 in Montpelier, Vermont
“Call for Proposals & Ideas”
The ninth edition of the Renewing the Anarchist Tradition (RAT) conference, sponsored by the Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS), once again aims to provide a participatory and scholarly space in which to reexamine, reinvigorate, and make relevant the social and political tradition of anarchism.
Each year, RAT brings together anarchists, anti-authoritarians, and libertarian leftists who want to critically engage both the tradition itself and the world in which we live. Participants and presenters at the conference thereby contribute to developing a more rigorous contemporary theoretical framework for anarchism as well as a stronger basis from which nonhierarchical movements can organize and resist.
2008 is a strange time to be an anarchist in North America. Thomas Friedman is calling for a green revolution, and Bono is at the forefront of a global war on poverty. The bright light of the U.S. presidential election campaign, anointed by Silicon Valley capital, has harnessed massive popular desire for radical social transformation–“Change”–to propel himself toward the White House. The reception he receives abroad articulates a thirst for a genuine internationalism, even as he signals his readiness to command more of the same military interventionism that has devastated people and social movements around the world. As anarchists and anti-authoritarians, it is easy to feel marginal, dissipated, defeated, and irrelevant as we watch some of our dearest ideas co-opted, sucked of content, turned inside out, and projected into the mainstream political scene.
What better moment, then, to come together to reflect on and honestly appraise the practices, platforms, convictions, dogmas, truisms, and theories that anarchism offers? What better moment to reimbue that tradition with a crucial sense of urgency and the substance that can genuinely challenge racism, imperialism, sexism, colonial pillage, capitalist exploitation, and the multifold and mutually reinforcing forms of oppression and systems of domination?
RAT is also a place to discuss and share theoretical tools from beyond the anarchist tradition that can add to building more sustainable social movements and practices, and eventually a world characterized by freedom, justice, and dignity for all.