Renewing the Anarchist Tradition

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Renewing the Anarchist Tradition Conference

Renewing the Anarchist Tradition is an annual conference of anarchist intellectuals. Started in 1997, it has brought together anarchists and anti-authoritarian scholars and activists desiring to critically engage both with the tradition itself and the world at large. Participants and presenters at the conference aim to foster a more rigorous contemporary theoretical framework for anarchism as well as a stronger foundation from which anti-authoritarian movements can organize and resist. The conference is co-organized by Institute for Anarchist Studies members Andrea Maria, Cindy Milstein and John Petrovato. The 2007 conference was held in Montpelier, Vermont.[1]

In a historical moment characterized overwhelmingly by war, exploitation, forced displacement, dispossession, and environmental devastation, it might seem strange to spend a peaceful fall weekend in conversation with friends and comrades in Vermont. But we believe that the contemporary context makes it more important than ever to foster a space in which to collectively and honestly appraise the strengths as well as weaknesses of different anarchist practices, platforms, convictions, dogmas, truisms, and theories in helping us to understand and ultimately transform the layered systems of domination and oppression that structure it. We also see RAT as a place to discuss and share theoretical tools from beyond the anarchist tradition(s) that can add to building more sustainable social movements and practices, and eventually a world characterized by freedom, justice, and dignity for all.[2]

The conference intends to support and nurture "a new generation of anti-authoritarian public intellectuals" from varied backgrounds and experiences.[2] The conference is self-described as "a scholarly conference," in virtue of the claimed quality of the presentations and discussions rather than the professional identity of the participants, and being active in academia is not a requirement for participation, though notable radical academics are presenters.[3]The conference has served as a fertile environment for organizers, scholars, writers, artists, educators, publishers, and students from a diversity of left libertarian and anarchist tendencies to collaborate and develop long-term relationships.

Presentations at the conference have focused on topics ranging from the nature of social change and the changing nature of state, technology and capital to anarchists' position in relation to the geopolitics of war and terrorism; from emergent forms of both domination and resistance in a globalizing world to the role and possibilities of anti-authoritarian art and propaganda; and from the persistent importance of concepts such as class, community, and labor, to the challenges for anarchists of confronting issues of identity such as gender, race and sexuality.[2]


  1. ^ McKay (NEFAC). "Report from the Renewing the Anarchist Tradition conference". Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  2. ^ a b c "Renewing the Anarchist Tradition Conference". The Institute for Anarchist Studies. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  3. ^ Weikert, Will (2006). "Critical Multitude, War Machine: What the Left Can Learn, and the Right May Have Already Learned, From a Bunch of Bicyclists". Situations: Project of the Radical Imagination. 1 (2). Retrieved 2008-03-09. 

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