Upcoming research trips to Glasgow and Reykjavik

Researchers from the Cosntitutionalising Anarchy project will be visiting Glasgow and Reykjavik this month to speak with activists about the relevance of anarchist theory to contemporary politics.

A recent Anarchy Rules! workshop, at the Anarchist Studies Network conference, Loughborough University 2016
A recent Anarchy Rules! workshop, at the Anarchist Studies Network conference, Loughborough University 2016

Glasgow – 15th October – Centre for Contemporary arts

In Glasgow, the team will be running an interactive workshop at the Centre for Contemporary Arts as part of the 10th anniversary celebration for the Radical Independent Bookfair Project. The workshop will involve discussions about how anarchist organising can help re-think what constitutions can be and how they can support social change. The workshop will take place in the CCA’s Intermedia Gallery from 1:00pm to 3:00pm on the 15th of October and is free to attend.

Ruth Kinna, the lead researcher on the project and Professor of Political Theory at Loughborough University, said: ‘Constitutions have typically been used to establish systems of domination through hierarchy, something anarchists are opposed to. But we believe that thinking about constitutional practices in new ways can help everyone interested in anarchist organising think creatively about rule-making.’

Alex Prichard, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter, added: ‘Even anarchists who reject constitutions have rules. The criticisms anarchists have of how rules operate in mainstream politics are reasons to think about how the openness and flexibility of anarchist organising can be used to support egalitarian, libertarian and democratic principles.’

On the relevance of the project to political developments in Scotland, Thomas Swann, Research Associate at Loughborough University, said: ‘The political climate in Scotland is particularly interesting for the topics raised by our research. Not only has there been a resurgence in radical left thinking about how society should be organised in the wake of the 2014 referendum on independence, but the prospect of another referendum and independence in the near future makes questions of how constitutions are written and how they operate highly relevant. Hopefully the discussion we’ll be having in Glasgow and our research can suggest how constitutionalising can work in participatory and democratic ways.’

Reykjavik – 18th to 20th October

In Iceland, the research team will be speaking to left-wing activists and Pirate Party members and will also speak at a conference at Reykjavik University convened by Katrin Oddsdottir, CEO of the campaign group The Constitutional Society and Attorney to the District Court. The conference will include contributions from noted legal scholars Laurence Lessig (Harvard University) and David Carrillo (UC Berkley) and communications expert Arne Hintz (Cardiff University). The researchers from the UK will discuss the problems with modern politics, pointing towards solutions that can be found in radical ideas of constitutionalism and democracy, highlighting the role of social media in realising these.

Research Associate Thomas Swann said: ‘The questions raised by this research are particularly relevant in Iceland, where innovative crowd-sourcing methods have been experimented with in trying to write a new constitution. With the potential of success for the Pirate Party in the upcoming elections, new forms of participation and democracy are becoming increasingly important, and not just for Iceland.’