Generally, I do not think much of people with nothing to offer but ideas. I find it an unacceptable division of labor, and the ideas are often spurious.
Having said that, here are a few unfertilized ova, some chicken-scratched proposals which I feel I do not presently have the time or knowledge to actually pull off. If you have feedback for me which would make these project ideas easier to work with and find takers for, or additional practical projects that you want to see listed, please tell me, especially if something is being done already. Give links if possible.
My impression of anarchist academic
circles is that too much brainpower is spent chewing over
past events and figuring out cosmic big-pictures while
not enough goes toward making lessons and insights
available to activists or organizers in the field. What I
have in mind is basically a policy research and
advisement group serving the information and planning
needs of those engaged in more day-to-day struggle. (I am
dichotomizing to make a point, not to promote a division
per se.) It should be a place where scholars and
ground-pounders can meet and bounce theory/praxis issues
around. Potential conflicts between long-range
movement-level action and immediate grass-roots level
action could be recognized and discussed.
Some topics that come to mind are:
Theories abound for all these already. What I think would be useful for people in the middle of a project and trying to solve problems is some history of what these issues have meant to anarchists, some general rules which seem to govern the issues, and some real-world examples or solutions that could be tried. Also, what characteristic blunders are anarchists especially prone to?
If you had any doubt that the State of Indiana exists, you could get out a road atlas and see that it probably does. I had an idea several years ago of producing road maps of the Lakota Nation according to the 1868 Fort Laramie treaty, which Indians could then sell all along the treaty borders to travelers entering the area.
Just as ideology serves as a map, so to speak, maps can be insidiously ideological. Watching the news in Germany one night in 1988, I was dumbstruck that the weather map showed the country's borders as of 1937. Maps of any contested or notional territorial holding, such as EZLN territory, bioregions, or "Anarchist Spain", would be great propaganda.
What mapping programs are there? I know of one called Geographic Resource Analysis Support System (GRASS) developed by the military for environmental impact modeling. I also know of urban mapping software used by social service agencies, which brings up another point...
Does anyone have games or models which grant real latitude in policy or social decisions? What tools do the elites use in their planning and decision-testing activities? What exactly are the philosophical or epistemological issues surrounding modeling?
Alta Analytic's Netmap is a database that relates and displays information in graphic form. I saw a demonstration where it was used to produce a 2-dimensional representation of Dutch organized crime networks from individual criminal files. Such capability might be useful for activist or union campaigns having a need to make complex information viewable and discussable.
What I am thinking is not "journals about anarchism," but journals about something-or-other informed by an anarchist world view- anthropology, planning, etc. About a year ago, some friends and I were considering one on the politics and practice of development work. I think our talent pool was not sufficiently dense and I at that point had been out of the writing game for too long to be useful. But I'm still interested.
Briefly, I propose a technology-transfer/community development organization based around building dual power for class struggle and emphasizing democratic political participation and definition of the development process. One explicit goal would be to combine reformist tacticalism and revolutionary strategizing in some way that will overcome the traditional weaknesses of both.
This is just a weird one. I am imagining something like a democratic Jesuit order, with independent finances, that would support members in-kind and direct them in various organizing or activist tasks. Perhaps a neo-Dolcinite order would be appropriate.
Less drastically, there could be an Old Revolutionaries' Retirement Home for those who were too busy fighting the power to plan for old age.
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