Starting Date: 09-29-2006
Ending Date: 10-01-2006
United StatesThe Renewing the Anarchist Tradition (RAT) conference, sponsored by the Institute for Anarchist Studies, aims to provide a scholarly space in which to both reexamine and reinvigorate the social and political tradition of anarchism.
RAT is meant as one contribution to the project of developing a more rigorous as well as contemporary theoretical framework for anarchism, and to assist in nurturing new generations of anti-authoritarian public intellectuals. Thus, as opposed to conferences that attempt to create anarchist organizations, statements of purpose, or focus on "lifestyle anarchism" or how-to workshops, RAT brings together anarchist and libertarian left scholars, activists, educators, writers, organizers, students, and others to explore how we make sense of our own tradition; how we understand anarchism in the context of our lives, movements, and present-day social conditions; and how the conceptual tools that the anarchist tradition provides can and need to be rethought.
Anarchism has tended to be a dynamic theory and practice, and its influence in anti-capitalist struggles around the world has become keenly apparent of late. We are, as it were, inside history, and if anarchism is to continue to be relevant to this moment of global transformations, it must not only understand the present but also scrutinize its own internal taboos and tensions; it must not only be able to describe contemporary forms of hierarchy and oppression but also articulate openings for a radical reshaping of social relations and material conditions along ethical lines. The work that all of us attempt to do now, the ideas and values we struggle to put into words and practice, will have profound implications for how this historical moment structures the future. RAT is a modest addition to the grand anarchist project of the present to ensure a freer tomorrow for all.
As in the past, we hope that RAT continues to raise difficult questions--questions ranging from the character of social change to the ongoing relevance of categories such as class, community, and labor; from the changing shape of the state and capital to emergent forms of both domination and resistance in a globalizing world; from anarchism's relation to geopolitical concerns such as terrorism and war to its ability to grapple with issues of identity such as race, gender, and sexuality; to a host of other controversial, contested, or even uncharted subjects.
Alongside a participatory weekend of presentations, panels, and debates in a supportive atmosphere, the beautiful rural Vermont setting affords the opportunity to meet other anarchists and radicals, relax around a campfire, or enjoy the fall foliage. RAT will also include a mini-bookfair, free literature tables, and possible film screenings.
Geographical Scope: National