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International Colloquium “Mikhail Bakunin and the IWA”

In 2014, we count 200 years of Mikhail Bakunin’s birth and 150 years of the foundation of the International Workers’ Association (IWA). To celebrate these dates, the Biblioteca Terra Livre will organize the International Colloquium “Mikhail Bakunin and the IWA”. By this event, we intend to remember the importance still present nowadays of the thought and the actions of Mikhail Bakunin and the experience of the IWA to anarchism.

For a long time, Bakunin was seen as an inspiration for the rebellious spirit of anarchism, characterized as a revolutionary who gave importance just to the action without any political project nor a preoccupation with theory debates. This vision, present among most part of the academic studies that have the same view for anarchism as a whole, is superficial and biased. If it is true that Bakunin contrasted practice from theory, we can say that the Russian revolutionary never detached one side from the other, as he thought that theory and practice should have mutual influences. These same studies, when analyzing the IWA, have no regards on the importance of the federalist currents, precursors of anarchism, for the organization. If they did not put them completely aside, they affirm that federalism contributed little or that it was a minor current among other assertions.

In the last years, some studies, most of them developed out of universities, started to make a revision of Bakunin’s theory and militant experiences as well as the federalist role in the IWA. Thus, the celebration of Mikhail Bakunin’s 200 years and 150 of the IWA offer us a good moment for the restatement of these perspectives.

One more time the Colloquium organization will be done in a horizontal and self-managing way by the Biblioteca Terra Livre. Over the last few years, we have concentrated efforts for the dissemination of anarchist ideas in a great variety of spaces. We aim to propagate anarchist thought through material research, such as books, pamphlets, films etc., as well as through organization of public activities like film clubs, debates, seminars, fairs and conferences. In the last three years we had the experience of offering the International Colloquium “Élisée Reclus and Geography of the New World”, in 2011, together with the Laboratory of Political Geography of the Universidade de São Paulo, and also the International Colloquium of Anarchist Education: 100 years of The Modern School of São Paulo, in 2012, and the International Colloquium on Science and Anarchism, in 2013. These last two colloquiums had no institutional support or participation, as they were organized only by members of the Biblioteca Terra Livre and by the help of some comrades.

Another important aspect in the organization of this second symposium was the participation of many individuals and groups through a collective sharing of expenses to attend and share their experiences and practices. The event included the participation of members of the Fédération Anarchiste – FA (France), Grupo de Estudios José Domingo Goméz Rojas (Chile), Federación Libertaria Argentina – FLA (Argentina), Ateneu Heber Nieto (Uruguay), as well as individuals and groups from different parts of Brazil.

We understand that traveling to São Paulo is very costly and requires a lot of effort, but we believe that the possibilities that can be created are extremely rewarding.

In order to try to facilitate economic support and expand the opportunities for dialogue and action, we are also organizing on the eve of the conference, just like in the other years, the 5th Anarchist Fair of São Paulo. We hope that with the realization of the Anarchist Fair, in conjunction with the Colloquium, we can enable a wide possibility of exchanges and contacts during the period as well as the possibility for each group and individual that seeks economic support to sell some materials during both Fair and Colloquium.

São Paulo, March 29th 2014,

Biblioteca Terra Livre


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