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Call for submissions: Anarchy now! Maps, ideas, and stories of libertarian movements in the contemporary world.

By Chuck Morse | February 18, 2010

[Are you an established or aspiring writer interested in the history of anarchism?
If so, please check out the following call for submissions.
It looks like a great project! ]

Call for submissions: Anarchy now! Maps, ideas and stories of libertarian movements in the contemporary world

English Translation: Leslie Ray

Quaderni della Rivista storica dell’anarchismo [Notebooks of the Historical Review of Anarchism], issue 5 (Autumn 2010)
published by BFS edizioni, Pisa (Italy)

Interpretive Framework:
Half a century of anarchy—this was the title that Armando Borghi gave to his memoirs, which documented the history of Italian anarchism from the late nineteenth century up to WWII. Published in 1954, his work periodized anarchism’s “classical” period: born of the First International, it entered a phase of bombings and regicide at the end of the century, and then came to have a significant presence in cultural debates and political and social movements in the early twentieth century. Anarchists actively participated in revolutionary movements (in Mexico, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Spain) and engaged with the dawning of mass society through the development of the libertarian press and direct-action syndicalism.

Over the course of just a few years, the defeat of the revolution in Spain, the Second World War, and the establishment of Bolshevik hegemony in Eastern Europe brought anarchism’s “epic,” internationalist phase to an end. The Cold War, the difficult post-war reconstruction,  the subsequent economic boom built upon America’s Fordist production model, and the development of the welfare state in the main advanced societies in Europe and North America radically modified the social, political, and cultural framework in which anarchists  acted, and made it increasing difficulty for them to find spaces for initiatives, particularly in a world dominated by the clash between the United States and the Soviet Union. Not coincidentally, most anti-colonialist movements around the globe took a pro-Soviet,  pro-Chinese mould as their reference rather than looking to the “heretical” libertarian currents of the Western leftwing.

However, in the sixties, contradictions in the new social, political, and economic model led to the birth of significant and diverse protest movements with new characteristics. The critique of bureaucratic society and the crystallization of roles in the age of super powers became a critique of hierarchy and power generally, contributing to the development of new ways of engaging in politics and “alternative” lifestyles. It was 1968. In this context, there was a remarkable rediscovery of the classical themes of anarchism, often reinterpreted in light of the cultural transformations under way. New practices, concerns, and symbols emerged from the combination of anarchism’s epic themes and the movements of counterculture. It became possible to talk of a “neo-anarchism.”

This international phenomenon had common features in Western countries, as well as in Eastern Europe and some “developing” countries—although each country had peculiarities—and the tendency gradually consolidated itself in the decades that followed. From the seventies to the nineties, a series of themes (ecology, anti-militarism, self-government, feminism) and practices (squatted homes and social centers, agricultural communes, self-governing syndicalism, municipalism, and ecological lifestyles) became elements of the anarchist lexicon, together with dynamic new cultural and artistic movements (such as punk). Anarchist symbols and practices also had a presence in the mass movements that developed over those years: from the labor organizing to campaigns against nuclear weapons and military bases and the anti-war movements.

Radical changes that occurred at the end of the century opened up new scenarios: 1989 and the collapse of  “really existing socialism”; economic globalization; the computer revolution and the birth of the Internet, etc. A series of new movements emerged following the five hundredth anniversary of the “discovery” of America (1992), in the wake of the indigenous mobilizations that challenged the iniquitous international distribution of resources and neoliberal economic policies. Zapatismo in the Mexican region of Chiapas was an example of this: the rediscovery and reinvention of the egalitarian traditions of the indigenous peoples and campesinos, the rejection of the traditional party structures typical of the Cold War, and global action through the new communicational networks. At the same time, the rediscovered freedom of expression and organization throughout the post-Soviet Eastern Europe ignited hopes for the birth of libertarian movements and cultures. This global process was encapsulated by anarchists’ prominence at the protests at the international trade summits, starting with Seattle 1999.

The passage into the twenty-first century was tinged with dark tones: from the death of Carlo Giuliani in Genoa in 2001 to the Twin Towers, the Western world saw the growth of politics of exclusion, racism, and authoritarianism, while new wars spread blood across a by-now multi-polar world, amid the resurgence of religious fundamentalism and despotic systems. At the same time, hopes for change in post-Soviet Eastern Europe waned, making way for the transition to market capitalism, the birth of new autocracies, the development of new mafias, and civil wars (even in the heart of Europe, with the long conflict in the former Yugoslavia). The global economic crisis, anticipated by the collapse of the Argentine economy in 2002 and environmental problems helped destroy the few remaining certainties of a world that needed to reinvent itself but seem unable to do so, even as the fires in Greece during Christmas 2008 marked the presence of sizable but “marginal” radical and anti-authoritarian sensibilities and movements among young people.

The Project:
The “Quaderni della Rivista storica dell’anarchismo,” a project of the magazine of the same name (1994-2004) are annual monographic publications by BFS Edizioni and the Biblioteca Franco Serantini – centro di storia libertaria, sociale e contemporanea [Franco Serantini Library - Center for Libertarian, Social, and Contemporary History]. We plan to devote the 2010 quaderno [notebook] to studies of the new forms of  anarchism that appeared internationally in the second half of the twentieth century, particularly since 1968, into the early years of the twenty-first century. We are interested in investigating the development of anarchism after its “classical,” epic period in the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. The project’s historical approach in an attempt to avoid a purely “militant” angle, aiming rather at an analysis of the new cultures, practices, and social, labor, and political movements that have emerged over this long and complex period. A research project with various contributors from around the globe, it aims to deal with the topic from an international perspective, identifying the peculiar characteristics of each macro-area examined and the main issues that have affected it.

We are not interested in a merely chronological and geographical reconstruction of anarchism: we do not intend to publish a list of groups, trends, and actions in disparate geographical areas (the Internet can produce that: with a simple search it is possible to find ample information on the current anarchist presence throughout the world). Rather, we would like to construct a sort of “imagined” mental map of what anarchism has represented in these decades in the areas under examination; how anarchists have engaged with the specific political, social, and cultural problems that they have faced and what significant responses they have (or have not) advanced, including practices, social movements, culture, and imagery.

We present you with the following outline, divided into geographical-language areas and issues. We are seeking contributors willing to submit short essays.

Provisional Structure:

1. Introduction.

2. Anarchism and movements in the Anglo-Saxon countries (USA and UK). From social ecology and post-scarcity anarchism to the economic crisis following globalization: interpretations (Chomsky, Bookchin, Zerzan, etc.), forms of urban self-government, new lifestyles, new interests (squats, Green Anarchy, Animal Liberation Front, Food Not Bombs, Critical Mass) at the root of the “anti-globalization” movement, including Black Bloc: Seattle 1999 and the protests against the international summits.

3. Anarchism and Social Democracy: the Central-Northern Europe of the Welfare State. Libertarian syndicalism (Sweden), alternative cultures (Provos, hippies, punks), self-governing practices and new lifestyles (from Christiania to the occupations in Germany).

4. Anarchism in Latin Europe (France, Spain, Italy): myths, historical memory, and discontinuity with contemporary anarchisms. From 1968 to the movements of the nineties through Situationist deconstruction and new analyses of power (Foucault): the criticism of the institutional left, new social movements, and movements for territorial autonomy.

5. Anarchism in Eastern European countries after the fall of the Berlin Wall: history and problems of a “grand illusion.”

6. Anarchism and the new insurgencies in the Eastern Mediterranean: Greece in flames.

7. Anarchism in the crucible of religious fundamentalisms: the Southern Mediterranean and the Middle East. From the war in Algeria to the conflict between Israel and Palestine; the Arab world, Turkey and the interaction with secular Western cultures, the “humanitarian” wars and the crusade against terrorism.

8. Anarchism and indigenous peoples: Central America. The campesino movements and the new Zapatista model: administrative autonomy and economic self-government, criticism of “avant-garde politics” and guerrilla warfare.

9. Anarchism in South America in the post-dictatorship age: from the years of Guevarism and the Cuban issue to the “Alter-mundialists” (the forum in Porto Alegre), and the “Neocaudillismo” of the institutional left (Chavez, Lula, Morales, etc.). Argentina and the crisis of the corralito, a symptom of today’s global crisis: social revolt, workers’ and neighborhoods’ self-organization, the institutional response and reconstruction of the state and the market; from the smoking rubble of the banks and the cacerolazos to Kirchner’s victory.

10. Anarchism and the Far East, between traditional culture and imported cultures: economic development and social transformations.

11. The big black hole: non-existent anarchism in the continent of the “society without states”: Africa between  the colonial legacy and the influence of the Soviet Bloc, ethnic and tribal hierarchies, exploitation by the multinationals.

Timelines and Formalities for Delivery:
The quaderno will be published in October 2010. We ask authors to provide us with the definitive version of their essays no later than the end of May 2010, which will enable us to translate, revise, and paginate the texts by the end of August.

Essays can be written in Italian, English, French, or Spanish; they must not exceed 50,000 characters, including notes and spaces, and submissions must include a short biographical note about the author (place and date of birth, place of residence and work, area of research and main publications) and a short abstract of the article (1,500-2,000 characters).

Please be to follow the “European” model of  bibliographical references in notes:

Volumes: author’s name, author’s surname, Title (Italics), any editors, Place of publication, Publisher, year of publication, pages. (e.g.: Emma Goldman, Anarchia e femminismo, edited by Bruna Bianchi, Pisa, BFS, 2009, pp. 18.)
Articles: author’s name, author’s surname, Title (Italics), «Name of the magazine», year of publication, issue, pages. (e.g.: Salvador Hernández Padilla, Ricardo Flores Magón: una vita in revolta, «Rivista storica dell’anarchismo», year 5, issue 2, July-December 1998, pp. 33-51.)
Web Pages: < >, Date of consultation.

The texts must be sent as Word or compatible files to the following address:

For further information:
BFS edizioni
Biblioteca Franco Serantini
Largo Concetto Marchesi s. n. civ.
56125, PISA (Italia)
tel. 050 570995

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