The aspirations of anarchism have always, at their heart, revolved around what could be understood as “feminist” ethics—self-determination, voluntaristic and consensual association, egalitarian relationships, and loving freely as well as queerly, to mention a few. Moreover, the bulk of what we anarchists have actually done in practice, and still do, imperfectly and yet beautifully, falls under the banner of self-organized collective care, freely gifted—or again, what could be seen as feminist ethics.
Originally published by Cindy Milstein.
Yet for a host of reasons—including patriarchy and heteronormativity within our own circles—such aspirations and practices of communal care have long been devalued, demeaned, or destroyed, or made invisible. The tide is turning, though.
As The Anarchist Feminist Turn: Embodying Care, Engendering Love will contend, it is not only anarchist feminists’ long-overdue turn to be seen, heard, and taken seriously, as many feministic anarchists are themselves asserting in praxis, without or with the label of “anarcho/a/x-feminist.” Moreover, the contemporary turn of world events—from the global phenomena of pandemics, fascistic regimes, and collapsing infrastructure for social well-being, to capitalist-fueled climate disasters and displacement—has compelled a turn within anarchism toward prioritizing, first and foremost, do-it-ourselves forms of mutual aid. That is, taking good care of each other.
This edited anthology aims to portray what anarchist feminist ethics look like “on the ground” in this current era: how collective care is embodied, and thus how expansive forms of love are engendered, in the ways that we put anarchism into this imperiled world so as to mend it. The collection will offer not so much a definition, definitive or otherwise, of “anarchist feminism.” It instead hopes to create an intricate portrait of the many ways that it can be understood in and through present-day experiments.
Specifically, I’m looking for written pieces and illustrations that:
- speak bravely from the heart
- are gorgeously crafted in terms of their prose/art and insights
- bring various lens to bear, including various genders, cultures, geographies, and more
- explore the messy beauty of “anarchist feminism” in practice, especially as a participant
- emphasize the anarchist feminist possibilities we ourselves are creating
- and draw out the power of anarchist feminist sensibilities within everything from collectives, spaces, and bookfairs, to media and the arts, to uprisings, social movements, and direct actions, to organizing efforts and projects (eviction defense, mutual aid, emotional aid, solidarity work, transformative justice, harm reduction—the list is endless), to rituals and healing arts, and more
Anthologies, to me, are containers: of possibility, intervention, dialogue, inspiration, and more—all attempting to hold onto the fullness of who we are and could be. If you’ve read some of my previous curated anthologies, you know I lean into pieces that are able to gracefully wrestle with generative tensions. I look for writers and artists who doesn’t shy away from bittersweet honesty and tender vulnerability, and through compelling narrative arcs or artworks that avoid tidy or happy endings, offer much-needed complexity, rebellious empathy, and cracks in the walls that divide us.
Please check out some or all of my previous curated collections for a sense: There Is Nothing So Whole as a Broken Heart: Mending the World as Jewish Anarchists; Deciding for Ourselves: The Promise of Direct Democracy; Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief; and Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism (all on AK Press at http://www.akpress.org), and the collaborative book I did with Erik Ruin, Paths toward Utopia: Graphic Explorations of Everyday Anarchism (PM Press).
Contact: Please get in touch via email at cbmilstein [at] yahoo [dot] com.
Submissions: You can submit either ideas for stories, or something that you’ve already written and have on hand (if so, send me a .doc or .docx file if possible). It’s preferable if you have a relationship to the story—for instance, as a collective member of a space, participant in a social movement, or someone actively engaged in a mutual aid project. While I’m happy to consider previously published works, I’m mostly seeking new material for this anthology.
You can also submit pieces of artwork, or ideas for them, based on samples of your prior work. They must be reproducible at a high quality in black and white, or gray scale. It’s preferable if your art is politically (not electorally) engaged—whether or not you sell it—such as street art, say, or in protests, organizing, or solidarity efforts.
Please note: All contributors to this anthology will get one copy of the finished book, and hopefully discounts on additional copies. Depending on the publisher, there may be a small honorarium for each piece, but more likely, this will be a labor of love, including for me.
Deadline: on or before January 15, 2022
Questions: Email me with any and all questions.
Sharing is caring: Definitely feel free to circulate, post, text, or email this “call for contributions” to anyone, or any project/group, you think might be intrigued and/or be would be a good fit for a potential submission!
 The book title is tentative. More important, while it should go without saying, by “anarchist feminist,” I mean “queer and trans” too, regardless of how one individually identifies.
(Photo of in-progress mural by Zola on the stolen lands of Tio’tia:ke/Montreal)