Wednesday, October 21, 2009

United Anarchists of America

How many anarchists did it take to organize the recent Southern California Anarchist Conference? No one is really sure. Not even the organizers. Yes, the idea of a conference for anarchists sounds like a punch line waiting to happen. Anarchists find that troubling. “The mainstream recognition of anarchism is chaos and breaking stuff,” says Sara Galindo, sounding exasperated. “We have to redefine it time and time again.”

Galindo and others involved in planning the conference sit in front of the Library for Social Studies and Research in South Central Los Angeles. Technically, the conference is taking place inside the library, but the important discussions occur outside, on the sidewalk.

A handsome 20-something man elaborates on Galindo’s thoughts. “Blowing stuff up is what people think of when they think of anarchy,” says the man, who introduces himself as D’Angelo but declines to give his last name. “Busting a window, I don’t consider it violence. Bombing a baby — that’s violence. The Anarchist Cookbook is not a book anarchists live by. Yes, there’s bomb-making equipment in that book. But this government makes bombs. They make bombs for profit.”

Proponents of anarchy believe that no human being should dominate another. The ideal society is decentralized, with no coercive rulers, no hierarchies, and everybody equal. Anarchy is a great refusal to follow authority.

“We don’t plan to overthrow the U.S. government in 10 years,” Galindo says. “The core of it is changing relationships. With the people we meet on the street. The people we ride the bus with.”

As D’Angelo says, “We don’t want to overthrow the state only to become the state. Not just the U.S. government, but all governments are the problem. It’s not some monster living on the hillside. It’s people.”

Read the rest: Anarchists Unite

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