The Comité Organizador de la 3ra Conferencia Anual de la NAASN, Puerto Rico accepted the heavy mantle of organizing the third annual North American Anarchist Studies Network Conference in Puerto Rico this year, which is scheduled for January 7-8th, 2012 in San Juan. The organizational committee includes two teachers, a farmer, an artist, a student, and a poet. In this interview they provide an in-depth introduction to the history of organizing the conference, the state of anarchism in America and Puerto Rico specifically, and the past, present, and future of anarchist studies.
For more background on the Committee and the Conference, see their mission statement.
Q Interest in having Puerto Rico host this conference began a long time ago – I know that in Toronto last year the idea was certainly floated around, and people on the listserv began suggesting it immediately afterwards.
What was the initial reaction to the idea among Puerto Rican anarchists?
Who picked up and ran with the idea in the early stages?
A We cannot speak of a concerted reaction among Puerto Rican anarchists because although there’s an always evolving non-written history of organizing, there isn’t that much of an anarchist milieu going on from where to draw any explicit opinion. Nevertheless, there are certainly some moderately small groups with different agendas, in addition to anarchists in other socialist organizations as well as individualists, who have nodded their heads in agreement, recognizing the importance of opening spaces for the discussion of such thinking on a bigger scale. At first, members of the ad hoc NAASNPR committee presented the project of housing the third NAASN conference to other groups akin to anarchist thought, but since they were mostly focused on other projects it was put on hold. The first formation of the organizational committee structured the foundations of what would be the conference itself (booking the first venue, the call for papers, the announcing of the event, etc.) and eventually other comrades got in touch to help volunteer with issues such as food, artwork, planning, logistics, writing, and transportation, among others.